On Friday, September 8, 10 AM, the National Taichung University of Science and Technology Stadium was already full of students who were excited for the opening ceremony of the “2017 Central Taiwan Maker Carnival.” The participants this year all showed up at the exhibition hall for the ceremony. The Maker Carnival opened from 10am to 5pm, Friday thru Sunday, and had the three theme pavilions of Augmented Reality, Popular Science Handmade Experiments, and Precision Machinery x Makers, leading over 60 teams of makers for this exhibition. The energy sticks that symbolize the maker spirit, were lit together by Deputy Director Chenyang Shih of Workforce Development Agency, Director Jui-chia Chen of the Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch, Workforce Development Agency, Principal Chun-Hung Hsieh of National Taichung University of Science and Technology, the vendors, and maker representatives, to highlight this year’s slogan of “Technology, Innovation, New Vision” and declare the beginning of this three day event.
You could easily spot the “Dream Econovans” designed by the Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch right after you enter the National Taichung University of Science and Technology, before you even reach the stadium. There are portable 3D printers and other equipment in these vans, and this year, the “Dream Econovan Creative New Life” interactive game was added. It provides information on job opportunities, vocational training and consultancy.
This was the second year of the Central Taiwan Maker Carnival, and the opening ceremonies and other activities of both years were all covered by vMaker. The venue was changed to National Taichung University of Science and Technology for this year, and it had a much stronger lineup, with twice as many booths as last year, and a bigger variety of maker creativity and technology. Besides last year’s popular exhibitors like Acer, Feng Chia University, and the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, this year, the Regional Branch also invited special guest, team T-Max from Canada, to showcase their handmade motorcycles, interact with visitors, and share the latest maker or technology information with them. Principals from nearly 20 middle schools and universities were all present to show support for the maker movement. The Friday afternoon forum gathered a few of Taiwan’s important makers and scholars to discuss the trends and their expectations for the maker movement.
The Ministry of Labor set up booths in different maker bases, to not only highlight the features of each base but also provide interactive experiences for all the makers and visitors, where they could make things of their own. The Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Penghu-Taitung Regional Branch showcased their Circuit Scribes to allow visitors to experience “drawing” wires to light up LEDs. The Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch brought their own maker products, the robot arm and the mini robot arm vehicle, that visitors could try out for themselves. The maker teams from schools of this region also exhibited their products such as the retro video game machine and the glowing 3D printed Notre Dame de Paris model.
Director Jui-chia Chen of the Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch, Workforce Development Agency said that the 2017 Maker Carnival not only showcased the 5 different areas of creations: IoT technology, smart homes, health care, green energy and augmented reality from, but they also helped to promote the achievements of the maker movement, as one of the highlights this year. The maker spirit focuses on doing things for yourself, from thinking to doing, and learning by doing. This process is the key for makers to be competitive in their future. Building businesses from the makers’ perspective, is what the Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch focuses on when promoting maker culture, because helping makers enter the market also sells their products. Through the guidance of the Regional Branch, some makers have successfully made their transformations. With digital tools, computer graphics and their own hands, makers are able to create the products they imagine, and turn “Maker + Innovation + Entrepreneurship” into the industrial innovation of central Taiwan.
Meanwhile, in the Zhongzheng Building of National Taichung University of Science and Technology, a Makerthon was being held. The number of participants or teams was at an all time high this year. During the three day two night Makerthon, participants were allowed to use various kinds of devices and equipment to maximize the capability of the Internet of Things, to start a new page for the digital life of the next generation. The Makerthon was being broadcast throughout the entire process, you could support the participants at the exhibition without distracting them from their creative work. The workshops, forums held here were full of domestic and international iconic figures in the maker and innovation scenes, proving that the innovative energy of central Taiwan is a force to be reckoned with.