Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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NY1 covers the "Connect A Million Minds" initiative, a five-year philanthropic program by parent company Time Warner Cable to inspire students to pursue learning opportunities and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Connect A Million Minds: Queens' Maker Faire Presents Wondrous Handmade Gadgets To The Curious

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The third annual Maker Faire, held this weekend at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, is part circus, part science fair and 100 percent fun. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

Seven-year-old William Grant, spent his Saturday soldering a robot.

"I just like building different things," he said.

He was in good company, as there were 50,000 similarly minded people hovering around Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens this weekend for the city's third annual Maker Faire.

The two-day event in Queens is designed to feed the curious mind in all people.

"We think everyone's a 'maker,' anyone that makes anything," says Maker Faire organizer Bridgette Vanderlaan. "So you could be a food maker, you could be a crafter, you could be an engineer, a scientist, a tinkerer, a kid."

People traveled from around the country to showcase their hobbies or pick up some new ones.

"I just wanted to have fun this afternoon and just maybe learn a couple new things," said a young visitor.

"There's never been anything quite like it before, a place that encourages people to build their own things and welcomes all sorts of creators and artists and inventors," said Ken Murphy, the creator of Blinky Bugs.

While there were some annual favorites, like the life-sized version of Mousetrap, that never fail to draw a crowd, there were also plenty of unfamiliar items to keep those crowds coming back. After all, a fair focused on innovation means new exhibits every year.

"Things change so fast now. Computers can become obsolete in three months, so what can happen in a year is amazing," said a visiting child.

In addition to some hands-on experiences, visitors got a chance to come face to face and interact with the future.

Robert Ellenberg of the Drexel College of Engineering said that future will no doubt include humanoid robots like the ones he is developing. He brought a robot out of the lab to Maker Faire in the hopes of inspiring others to join him.

"I remember being eight, 10 years old and thinking I want a human-shaped robot and here I am at 28 in grad school doing exactly that," said Ellenberg. "I never thought it was possible and I bet a lot of people that came to Maker Faire today didn't think it was possible either. But we've changed that a little bit."

To find more hands on math and science learning opportunities in your community, visit www.connectamillionminds.com.

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