Talks & Radio

TALKS: Video of the talks given on the day (see the outlines below) is on the Maker Faire Bristol’s Youtube channel. 

RADIO: One of the Bristol Mini Maker Faire team, Harbir presents Love and Science, which airs on Bristol Community (93.2) FM every Monday 4.00-5.00 pm.  You can still listen to Matt ‘Megamaker’ Venn talk about Hackspace and Bristol’s first Mini Maker Faire: click here. Michelle Palmer, a key organiser of the Bristol Mini Maker Faire has also featured on Love and Science; to hear about her Flaming Lotus Girls exploits and experiences with Maker Faire in San Fransisco, click here.


gratitude road

Royce Creasey is probably best known in Bristol for starting Ashton Court Festival in the early Seventies. However, for the past thirty years he’s been promoting and making a safer, more efficient type of powered two wheeler. They’re known as “Feet First” (FF) two wheelers and many Bristolians will have seen Royce driving his yellow ‘Banana Bike’ FF around the city. In his talk for Bristol Mini Maker Faire 2013, Royce described the FF story, using examples to examine some of the technical, political and commercial issues he’s encountered.

women, fire and dangerous things

Michelle Palmer’s experiences, and what they reveal about the amateur /professional divide.

Serpent Mother by the Flaming Lotus Girls (Photo Tristan Savatier)

Michelle gave her own answers to questions like: What kind of spaces support makers to come up with really new things? How many Flaming Lotus Girls does it take to build a large scale structure? Does it matter if you don’t start off knowing how to weld?  Is it going to work? 

nu desine: Alphasphere

image of a series of squishy buttons around a green lit interior with two fingers pressing one down


The AlphaSphere is an musical instrument and controller which is designed for electronic music. The very first AlphaSphere elite series, has been designed, developed and manufactured in Bristol and is already being used by some very exciting musicians all over  the world. nu desine, gave a performance to show the potential of this revolutionary new musical instrument.

Iain Major: the potential of 3D printing for education.

a 3D printer with a red and white rocket inside

The 3D printer in UWE library

Iain is taking a lead within 3D Systems in the UK in matters related to Education. His company arranged to donate 3D printing machines to both the University of Bristol (it’s in the MVB) and UWE. The machine in UWE library is proving very popular and is creating a lot of interest about access for all to 3D printing.

Iain was formerly a Chemistry teacher, teaching Science in Bath and Clevedon over a period of 13 years. In 2006 he gained an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Bristol,  and set up his company Bits From Bytes with a friend the following year. Initially, Bits From Bytes filled a niche in the market by providing low-cost 3D printer kits to allow enthusiasts to build their own 3D printer, and expansion came after working alongside the University of Bath team to commercialise their RepRap project. This proved a success, and they moved on to producing a pre-built machine. At this stage, what had been a hobby business in a garage took off; by October 2010 they had moved to industrial premises and were employing around a dozen people.

Education is a personal passion for Iain, and he is keen to help schools and educational organisations such as the new Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy exploit the rich potential of 3D printing.  In recent months he has been talking to numerous national bodies including technology policymakers at the Department of Education and the Royal Academy of Engineering. 


00402206Since launching onto the market in 2012 the Raspberry Pi, a £25 palm-sized programmable computer designed to encourage children to learn how to programme, has taken the Maker world by storm. The visionary founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton, will be making an exclusive appearance at Bristol Mini Maker Faire when he opens and speaks at the event on March 23rd.

three root vegetables suspended in frame above a wooden box
BeetBox is a simple instrument that allows users to play drum beats by touching actual beets. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi with a capacitive touch sensor and an audio amplifier. Made by Scott Garner, New York

Building upon his extensive experience in leading software companies (he founded two successful mobile games and middleware companies, Ideaworks 3d Ltd and Podfun Ltd) Eben wanted to inspire a whole new generation of computer programmers and tech enthusiasts, unafraid to get to grips with circuitry and create. Eben and his team are hard at work developing new versions of the Pi and are amazed at how quickly the Pi has been adopted by engineers, enthusiasts and digital creative industries. Projects include an Australian high school tracking meteorites;  recreation of full arcade cabinets; and controlling quadroceptor drones ,an autonomous plane, a voice controlled Star Wars R5-D4 droid and a robot boat. Bristol Hackspace has used a Raspberry Pi to create a twitter-activated doorbell.

The Pi can seem intimidating at first, especially to those used to interacting with computers in more sanitised conditions. It bares the “guts” of computing and encourages innovation and exploration, traits synonymous with the “Making mindset”. Eben is no stranger to Maker Faire, having visited the Hudson Bay Maker Faire in May 2012, and intended Raspberry Pi to support creative pursuits in technology saying “”this is about getting kids to engage creatively with computers: doing interesting things. And to be fair that doesn’t even have to be programming: it can be art, it can be design, using computers in a creative way.”