The greatest show and tell on Earth was back in San Mateo this past weekend for the 12th annual Bay Area Maker Faire. The event featured almost 1,300 makers and more than 140,000 attendees. For those unfamiliar with the event, the community is the foundation of Maker Faire. It’s a community that embraces the convergence of art, science, technology and engineering. It’s a bit avant-garde, whimsical, inventive and always colorful.

There is always a plethora of drones, robots, computers, art installations, hands-on classes, demonstrations and food at Maker Faire. However, here a are few sessions / trends that stood out to me over the weekend.

Adam Savage (MythBusters) is one of those passionate, colorful community members. Savage delivers an annual speech that has been lovingly coined the “Sunday Sermon.”

Savage began his (secular) sermon describing the polarizing world we live in and quoted notable cyberpunk writer, William Gibson, “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Ultimately, Savage declared, “It has never been a better time to be a maker!” and referenced the bleeding-edge tools technology has provided us.

Here’s the entire speech with the audience Q and A:

The “State of Arduino” keynote delivered by Massimo Banzi (co-founder of the Arduino project) is one my favorite sessions every year.

Some community highlights noted in Massimo’s presentation:

  • Arduino Day, a 24-hour-long worldwide event celebrating Arduino’s birthday, took place on Saturday, April 1st 2017 and featured 499 events in 79 countries.
  • The Arduino IDE has been downloaded 23.4 million times since March 2015 (1 download every 2.6 seconds).
  • The Arduino website now has 38.2 million users – up 32.2% since 2015.

Massimo also announced Casetta Kit, a new smart home kit that will allow you to control your home’s ambient light color, doorbell, temperature and motion detection from your mobile device. The kit includes a helpful step-by-step guide to ensure the safest configuration.

I’m pretty excited about this announcement and will certainly be keeping an eye on this project.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn how far 3D printers have advanced in the past year and how feasible they’ve become. Despite some online skepticism, I was quite impressed with the ONO. It’s a resin-based printer that features an enclosed case that you control with your phone. The printer is priced at an attractive $99, the resin is $15 a bottle and a 10-pack of printing film is $15. If the ONO ships (the company is currently accepting pre-orders) and performs as advertised, it will be a fantastic entry level 3D printer to purchase for the home or office.

Another inexpensive printer that caught my eye was the MONOPRICE Mini Delta 3D Printer. Priced at $159, the printer comes fully assembled and ready to use out of the box. It also features open filament. You can use any 1.75mm filament from the brand of your choice. The printer has a ton of other cool features as well. You can learn more here.

Food was another interesting trend this year and had a significant presence at the event. Maker Faire partnered with the Future Food Institute for the first time in San Mateo. Future Food is an ecosystem centered around education. It is also focused on food innovation and the challenges the world faces in this space.

There was also the “Hands-on Homegrown” zone and the “Edible Marketplace.” I stopped by the Tinker Kitchen, which is a San Francisco based space for learning and experimenting with food using commercial-grade equipment. Tinker Kitchen offers a monthly membership for $125 a month or day passes for $25. You can learn more about the initiative here.

There was also a wide range of projects on display showcasing unique ways of growing food. The projects included: hydroponic systems, solar powered systems, automation systems, smart systems and more. I’m interested to see how this space grows (no pun intended) over the next year.

At the end of his speech on Sunday, Adam Savage stated, “Nothing ever goes according to plan.” Valuable lessons can be learned from your failures. This is sage advice for makers. For instance, I learned that it’s never a good idea to walk in front of an air canon at Maker Faire. Lesson learned.