After a successful inaugural edition in 2015, the Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is back with an even bigger and better event this year.
Placing a spotlight on DIY and technology, this year’s Mini Maker Faire will bring techies, tinkerers, hackers, hobbyists, crafters, artists, tech gurus, authors and inventors together to engage with the public and exchange ideas at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory from 26 to 28 August 2016.
Described as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth”, the Mini Maker Faire is a space where people with a passion for learning, collaboration and creativity can connect. Part science fair, part trade fair, and part something entirely new, the event offers a great day out for people of all ages to interact with amazing creations and experience the exciting world of the Makers.
“Makers across the world are shaking up the way that we think and interact with our environment. They’re coming up with innovative solutions to help solve social problems, as well as some really fun and creative projects – and that’s why we are returning for another year of the Cape Town Mini Maker Faire,” says Alayne Reesberg, Programme Director and Producer of Cape Town Mini Maker Faire, and former CEO of World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.
“Leading on from World Design Capital, we wanted to continue demonstrating and celebrating all of these wonderful projects,” she continues, “allowing people to meet the Makers and learn from them. We enjoy seeing this spark conversations and further action around the Maker Movement in Cape Town.”
The global Maker Movement has its roots in engineering, industrial design, manufacturing and education. It’s DIY on a whole new level, fusing technology and creative ideas with traditional craftsmanship to create and market products, and influence a new wave of manufacturing innovation. The movement empowers people to create, imagine and solve problems differently, calling for collaboration and peer-to-peer idea sharing or a “do it with others” (DIWO) approach.
The Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is based on the model of the original Maker Faire, which launched in San Francisco in 2006, and is a licensed member of what is now a global family with Maker Faires being held around the world. Globally, the event caters to the growing legions of aspiring Makers wanting to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills. “We want to offer lots of opportunities for hands-on DIY interactions for adults as well as kids,” adds Reesberg. “We want to create an open and inclusive event, which encourages these values beyond the event, and expands the connectedness of the community of creatives.”
More than 60 exciting local Makers will be on show, as well as installations by the Faire’s knowledge partners: PriceWaterhouseCoopers Western Cape, Stellenbosch University’s Launch Lab, the Cape Innovation and Technology Institute and the University of the Western Cape. Exhibits will range from home-grown drones to robotics and Arduino projects, space projects and kit makers to 3D printers, rockets and RC toys, radios to gaming and electric vehicles, as well as a host of handmade craft and fashion projects and some exciting installations of “art cars” straight from the Afrika Burn festival.
In addition, an enclosed drone zone will let visitors test their flying skills, while the PPC Imaginarium, South Africa’s most supportive art and design competition for emerging creatives, will showcase industrial design, fashion, film, jewellery and sculpture all made from concrete. PPC Imaginarium will also host an interactive workshop, together with Cemcrete, where members of the public can learn how to make their own objects from quick-drying cement.
A popular attraction with both kids and their “kidults” at the 2015 Mini Maker Faire was the participative Maker Station, run by Felix Holm and his team at the Cape Town Maker Station based in Woodstock. Designed especially with children in mind, this feature returns again this year with another mountain of defunct appliances that can be upcycled into innovative creations.
Another highlight of this year’s event is a specially curated session presented by renowned style icon and fashion editor, Jackie Burger, now of Salon 58 fame. “Jackie & the Makers” will see Burger introduce and interact with leading fashion designers and artisans who will share their creative journeys and how they bring their uniquely crafted apparel to life. This stylish, sophisticated affair is designed for anyone with a flair for fashion
The second annual Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is sponsored by the City of Cape Town, PPC, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Peninsula Beverage Company. The event will take place between 26 to 28 August 2016 at the Cape Town Science Centre, 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town, one of the support partners of the event. Tickets can be purchased via quicket.co.za. Tickets for “Jackie & the Makers” will be sold as a separate item.
Money talks and electronic gaming evolves
Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.
The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.
The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games.
It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.
MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.
“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”
New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.
“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”
Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.
Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.
This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.
A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.
Each block stores:
– A number of valid records or transactions.
– Information referring to that block.
– A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.
Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.
As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.
How is blockchain so secure?
Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.
Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.
In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.
What else can blockchain be used for?
Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.
Use of blockchain in healthcare
Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.
Use of blockchain for documents
Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.
Other blockchain uses
This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.
Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.
Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.