Mini Maker Faire shines light on local inventions


Anne Weber, 9, plays a game using physical contact as a controller with her father Michael Weber, a professor at Cuyahoga Community College and Lakeland Community College, at the Makey Makey table at Mini Maker Fair in the library Friday.

Paige Brown

About 30 exhibitors displayed their creations and technology at the fourth annual Mini Maker Faire at the University Library Friday.

“It’s a showcase of some of the making and innovation that is happening not only at Kent State, but in the surrounding region,” said Hilary Kennedy, the student multimedia studio manager.

Exhibits included everything from 3-D printing, knitting, and circuit boards to beekeeping. 

“We’ve had some new exhibits this year and a lot of returning ones, so it’s nice to see the culture continually building,” said Zach Mikrut, one of the organizers of the event and program manager of LaunchNET.

TinyCircuits, a company based in Akron that designs tiny open-source electronics, was one exhibit that drew a lot of attention.

Tiny circuit boards and creations were on display, including a magic eight ball and a tiny circuit-made toy boat.

Brandon Farmer, associate engineer at TinyCircuits, said they came out with Tiny Arcade, a do-it-yourself arcade package that customers can buy and assemble at home to create their own custom games.

“I think as TinyCircuits grows as a business, we’re going to continue shrinking electronics down into tiny form factors, continually pushing the envelope to see how small we can get things,” Farmer said.

The Spark Innovation Studio celebrated its one-year anniversary during the Mini Maker Faire and was open for visitors. While Spark was open last year, this is the first year it will be up and running with machinery on display.

“Maker Faires are basically a giant adult show-and-tell and it’s just kind of a fun way to see more innovation and more ideas,” said senior Carolanne Tkach.

This year, the Spark Innovation Studio was an entire space for makers to explore.

“Kent State has a very strong maker culture across campus, ranging from our art departments to our technology to our architecture,” Mikrut said. “We really just want to showcase that ecosystem.”

People in attendance found it hard to choose a favorite exhibit.

“I thought the medieval stuff was really cool, they had a guy in armor,” said Claudia Lorenz, a freshman from Bowling Green. “I also liked the 3-D printing and jewelry.”

Organizers were pleased with interest in this year’s event.

“We’re always excited each year to see what happens,” Mikrut said. “Attendance has been great and we’re really happy with our maker turnout this year as well.”

Paige Brown is the libraries reporter, contact her at [email protected]