Maker Fairs are events that take place around the world every year. They began in the States, at the initiative of Make Magazine, a publication that talks about DIY projects and technology hacking (https://makezine.com/)
These fairs are meant for “Makers” – people interested in technology, manufacture and making things on their own. The public they talk to is the same one that would join or start a FabLab but also engage in entrepreneurial activities. All Maker Fairs that FabLab Romania has visited has at least a couple of makers who want to sell a toy or game. These makers have the concept of their toy, they know how to make it, but lack knowledge of standards, need help from experts and need knowledge regarding the market they are just trying to enter.
The Berlin Maker Fair took place on the 25th-27 of May, in the Fez Centre, Berlin. The event consisted of booths, workshops and conferences. While booths were mostly German and Austrian, the workshops and conferences were held by people from all over Europe.
List of exhibitors: https://maker-faire.de/berlin/meet-the-makers/
List of workshops: https://maker-faire.de/berlin/workshops/
List of lecturers: https://maker-faire.de/berlin/vortraege/)
Exhibitors could showcase their work, have small workshops or hands-on activities. Because of the wide range of interests the makers have, exhibitors were as diverse as teachers, product developers, retailors, DIY jewelry or cosplay makers, FabLabs and hackerspaces. We had the pleasure to talk to them about the toylabs project in order to collect feedback about the general idea if the project (to see if they found the platform interesting); and to welcome other FabLabs, DIY experts and small scale toy manufacturers to the platform. We showed them the platform and how it works using mobile phones.
Dissemination material, in the shape of flyers and keychains was given to those interested in the project. Flyers presenting the Toylabs project were also placed in keypoints around the fair: main info point for the event and flyer stands. Both AIJU and FabLab Romania talked to both exhibitors and visitors at the fair and gave put flyers. While FabLab Romania talked mainly to other fablabs and talked about the manufacturing opportunities, AIJU gave an insight to the toy industry and also acted as a standards expert, answering questions regarding toy making initiatives.
FabLab Romania also held a presentation in one of the amphitheaters. We talked about the platform, the general concept and how the platform can help those just starting out with a toy idea as well as how the platform can engage other fablabs and help grow the maker community.