Make: Magazine has brought their Maker Faires to dozens of countries all over the world, and their celebration of the maker movement has finally reached Thailand. Chevron Thailand, the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and maker groups throughout the country held the first Bangkok Mini Maker Faire last month and from all accounts it was a smashing success. The Mini Maker Faire was a free outdoor event held on September 26-27, in front of Hard Rock Café in Siam Square. The event was designed to showcase, inspire and introduce the public to Thailand’s rapidly growing maker culture. We’d been excited to hear more about the event in Bangkok following our coverage of last month’s 3D Printing & Innovation Contest.
The Bangkok Mini Maker Faire was part of a five-year ‘Enjoy Science’ program that is being aimed at children and parents to encourage their participation in STEM education. The Faire offered a wide variety of events including workshops on 3D printing, a demonstration on how to construct 3D printers using leftover materials and showcased projects and creations made by makers throughout the the country.
In addition to 3D printing companies and technology manufacturers several Thai maker groups participated in the event. The list of influential groups included the Maker Zoo, Home of Maker, PINN Creative Space, Fab Café, TRIBES, Ne8T, Maker Asia, iNex, Chiang Mai Maker Club and the Phuket Maker club. Here is a brief video about the event, however it’s in Thai so you might want to turn YouTube’s translate feature on:
“Chevron and NSTDA both realize that in an era of digital economy and innovation, the country’s competitiveness relies greatly on the capability of the people to innovate, whether innovations are in the form of inventions, handicrafts, or technology-related entrepreneurship. Innovations should not be restricted within academic or specialist area. We believe that the maker movement is one of the fundamental components that can help leverage Thailand’s competitiveness. It is our goal to support and raise more awareness of the maker culture among Thai people and to inspire them to become a maker,” said president of Chevron Thailand Pairoj Kaweeyanun.
Chevron and NSTDA also sponsored a 3D printing contest called Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World and used the Mini Maker Faire to showcase the finalists and their work. The winners were announced at an event near the end of the faire, with Miss Sirilak Sangwarnworawut taking home first prize in the student category with a 3D printed ‘artificial coral reef.’ Ms Saowakont Pummalee won the first prize in the general public category with her 3D printed Tossakan, a demon king from a Thai story of the triumph of good versus evil. Each of them won 100,000 baht (about $2,800) and a paid trip to October’s Maker Faire Berlin.
“Being a maker is far more than just a hobby. Their inventions can be the foundation of thriving businesses that are uniquely capable of tailoring their products to match the needs of each individual customer in a way that traditional mass production simply cannot compete. Therefore, it is important that we support the maker movement which can spark innovations and drive economic growth in the digital era – an age in which technology and innovation are always in demand. A strong maker culture can make significant and sustainable contributions to the nation’s scientific and technological competitiveness,” said NSTDA president Thaweesak Koanantakool, explaining why the Mini Maker Faire is important to Thailand.
One of Mini Maker Faire Bangkok’s more popular events was the Hebocon robot competition organized by Maker Zoo. Hebecon is a robot competition started in Japan and is designed so anyone can participate. Participants are tasked with making the simplest robot possible using easy to assemble parts, and the goal is actually to create a robot as unsophisticated as possible. And then the robots have to fight each other, naturally. Hebocon is a celebration of the unpredictable nature of poorly designed robots, and actually the worse an entry works, the better it does in the competition. Hebocon serves as an icebreaker for people unfamiliar with the types of technology available at makerspaces, and hopefully encourages them to learn more.
Here is a video of a Hebecon event held at a Nevada makerspace called the Syn Shop: