The variety among participants planning to attend Bangkok Thailand's first Mini-Maker Faire is a good reflection of this. However, the light natured accessibility of Maker Faires serves all of these different interests perfectly. For Bangkok's Maker Zoo, a makerspace that specializes in product development, community projects, and education, a Maker Faire is the perfect forum to show regular people that anyone can learn to use technology not only for fun, but to both solve problems and even make a decent living with.
Maker Zoo will be organizing a Hebocon robot competition toward the end of the Mini-Maker Faire on Sunday, September 27. Hebecon is a super-simple robot competition anyone can enter and since the goal is to produce the simplest of robots there really is no such thing as a 'bad design.' The idea of the Hebocon event is to serve as an icebreaker, to show regular people that the technology found at makerspaces are not something you need to be an expert to learn to use.
Participants range from children to adults, and of course, once they see there is nothing to fear, they can apply for workshops or memberships, either at Maker Zoo or a makerspace near them to explore the world of microcontrollers, motors, servos, 3D printing, and more.
Home of Maker by Gravitech is also attending. They have arranged many workshops ranging from the absolute basic, to more advanced workshops to give visitors a chance to get into the everyday work going on at makerspaces. A full list of their free workshops can be found at Thailand's Event Pop ticketing service.
We expect other Bangkok makerspaces to attend, including FabCafe and NE8T which both focus on the more artistic and fun aspects of making and technology.
Beyond makerspaces there will be clubs, vendors, and service providers heavily involved in the maker movement in Thailand. These include Chiang Mai Maker Club, Siam RepRap, a 3D printer manufacturer, Thai educational publisher and bookstore SE-ED and many more.
The fact that already one year in, there are already too many names to mention is a good sign for Thailand's maker community. How this growing community translates from clubs and spaces to actually making a positive and significant social impact still remains to be seen. But if you have time this Saturday and Sunday, stop by the Siam shopping district, right beside Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok (map), and see what you think. Maybe you will see an opportunity, project, or potential breakthrough ready to grow from Thailand's ever-expanding maker movement.
Indeed, the Maker Faire isn't the culmination of the "Maker year," it is just the beginning. From here, new people will be invited into the wider maker movement, to learn and explore, to have fun, to even create entrepreneurial opportunities and solve community problems through technical means. It's a starting point we hope to see many people meet us at and walk with us into the future.