A circus performer wobbling about on stilts might seem out of place on campus on any other day. But on Sunday, April 7, stilt walkers, jugglers and hula hoopers were among the nearly 300 visitors to the Griswold Science Building and Class of 2017 EFX Lab during the fourth annual Tri-State Mini Makers Faire.
The event showcased the creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial spirit of students, artisans, craftsmen, and businesses in northwest Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.Twenty-seven different activities were offered, ranging from juggling lessons given by the Show Circus troupe of East Hampton, MA to using sophisticated technology, including augmented and virtual reality provided by ARsome Technology of Manchester, CT.
“There was really something for everyone,” said Erikka Adams, the emerging technology librarian at the Edsel Ford Memorial Library who organized the event.
Julia Zhang, a student from Indian Mountain School, cradled tiny, black cherry tomato plant in her hands that she had planted in biodegradable pot made by Cowpots, a Canaan company that makes planters out of recycled cow manure. “It was one of my favorite exhibits because it was about using more eco-friendly products,” she said.
The Yale Society of Women Engineers exhibit helped visitors understand how advanced technology is being used to make artificial limbs move. Panel discussions by students, professionals, and hobbyists covered topics like 3D printing for social good and understanding gene sequencing.
Kids made life-sized bubbles and got their hands sticky in Ooblek, a slimy substance made out of cornstarch and water and which has the properties of a solid and a liquid. Outside, the EFX Lab The Ithaca Physics Bus, a vintage school bus refurbished into a mobile classroom, offered interactive displays centered on physics and rides on a homemade hovercraft. Food vendors kept visitors fueled for a host of other activities, including hand sewing, soldering, forging, origami, making toothbrush robots, marshmallow noodle towers, and polyhedron sculptures.
"The event just keeps getting bigger and better every year," said Robert Hilliker, library director. There were more makers this year and more faculty and student volunteers, he said. Among those in the community who volunteered were Instructor in Physics Toby Spiro, who helped students make birdhouses; senior Alexander Lulicki who displayed a solar car he constructed in the EFX Lab; and, Instructor in Art Brad Faus, who demonstrated how his students use the lab’s laser cutter for architecture projects.