Maker Fair showcases inventions

Brooke Grasso
Editor in Chief

Innovation, experimentation and creativity took the stage at the second annual Mini Maker Fair Wednesday in Sneaky Park as part of ShowCASE week, or Celebrate the Arts, Scholarship, and Engagement week.

Showcasing their passion for creation, 30 students and faculty shared their works ranging from a banana piano and hand built arcade game to a lie detector test and a super-conductive levitating demonstration.

“Whatever they are creating based on any of the principles they’re using, they will probably remember for a long time,” Vinaya Tripuraneni, university librarian said.

“It’s not like a theory you learned in class and then you walk away and forget. It stays with you and has an impact on you.”

Tripuraneni put on the mini maker fair and said when she looked around the event she was excited about the creativity and innovation she saw.

Benjamin Haddad, physics lab manager, hosted a table with some of his creations, including a homopolar motor made out of only a magnet, nail, battery and wire and a levitation demonstration.

“I’m always making stuff, it’s my job,” Haddad said.

“The bar is so low for making cool stuff right now, it’s like this golden age of making.”

Haddad poured liquid nitrogen over a ceramic disk in order to make it super conductive at a temperature of -200 degrees Celsius.

When he then placed the disk over the magnetic strip, the disk floated above it until it heated up beyond the critical temperature.

Demonstrations are a major part of Haddad’s day.

When one of the demonstrations of the Meissner effect, where a magnet floats on the super conductor, was too small for the whole class to see at once, he made the example on a bigger scale, floating the superconductor on the magnet instead.

Senior computer science major Andrew Murillo hand built a working arcade game from three 4 x 8 planks.

The inspiration for this project came when he was on the phone with his brother and mistook the sound of his typing for the sound of arcade buttons.

Murillo used the old arcade style, but also put his own touch on it by painting the side of the panel with various classic arcade game characters.

With a Wal-Mart fan to cool off the inside and authentic gaming buttons and a joystick the game completely functioned.

The setup featured some of the classic games, but Murillo also contributed his knowledge of assembly language and created some of the games himself.

“It takes a long time, especially compared to today’s standards,” Murillo said.

Senior biology majors Jenna Damon and Nahiely Torres worked together on a correct vs. incorrect test, commonly known as a lie detector test.

To show the accuracy of the test, Damon asked Torres a series of questions.

When she answered accurately, the plotter stayed the same. When she said something inaccurate, the plots were skewed.

“It measures skin electro conductivity,” Damon said. “If there is a fluctuation in temperature there is a shift in the baseline.”

Junior computer science major Wariss Abedi showed how to play the piano with bananas.

With a metal ring on one finger, a simple touch to the banana played a piano key.

Abedi participated in the fair because he works in the maker space in the library, a space with a laser cutter, 3-D printer and other creative tools meant for students to come explore.

Abedi has even used the 3-D printer to print out his name, which he now has hanging up in his room.

“When they come in, they enjoy the casualness of the environment and the experimentation,” Amy Jiang, library technology coordinator said.

Jiang oversees the maker space and said she enjoys seeing students’ trial and error.

She said she feels proud to see many of them grasping the concept of innovation.

“You have fun even though you are failing something, but then you learn so much,” Jiang said. “Five years from now, everyone will be an innovator. When students graduate they will be facing a world where innovation is the theme.”

Brooke Grasso can be reached at

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