Maker Faire Rome: a look into the future

From Hackaton to Maker Faire

The fourth edition of the Maker Faire in Rome has just ended (remember last year?). It took four editions and as many places, but it seems that from this year the wandering Maker has finally found the right place in the remote land of the (new) Fiera di Roma.

Obviously, by the right location I mean a place that has large spaces, stands free from the crowd, and gives everyone the opportunity to look and observe everything comfortably, without being in front of hundreds of crowded and curious people.


Large spaces and critical issues

However, the solution is often also the source of the problem and probably because of the large extension in terms of square meters of the Fair, which for the first time I had the impression of forcibly filled stands (to make up numbers?) And of a considerable effort.

From everyone that did not correspond to the real interest of the public, I saw too many empty and little sad stands who did not really know what to do and who to talk to.

A famous’ uncle ‘used to say that’ from large spaces comes great responsibility ‘(grant me the poetic license) and I sincerely hope not to see the same stands again next year that try to launch (for the umpteenth time) an App already launched by others at different times.

Multinationals and surprises

With so much space and disposition, you have time to get around better and to look at the world with different eyes.

Do you happen to take a tour several times around the colorful multilingual Google stand, where properly prepared guys told in English some of the functions and news of the great G.

Unfortunately forgetting that they were in Fiumicino (headquarters of the Fair) which has only international airport and chatting in English with the teachers to explain the school project was practically useless?

 But the Maker is also a magical place that leads you to look at things in a different way, where you happen to come across ‘lunch break’ projects like that of the guys (pass the term to me, right?) Of Eni’s ICT department. In practice, the large company with the six-legged dog designed by Luigi Broggini, has exploited (pass me this too please …)

Its employees to understand if they had internal ideas for energy saving. For many it would be exploitation of the worker, instead, it is a real technological voluntary service, a challenge between colleagues, with truly incredible results, ranging from probes for the control of water in wells, up to the idea of a digital home that is so simple.

To be incredulous: a simple chip connects every single plug with every electrical socket in the house and connects (with the inevitable App) all the electrical appliances present, telling you how much you are consuming in real time and what your expenses and yours are critical issues in terms of consumption. Do you understand? One plug and one socket. That’s all.

From Hackaton to Maker Faire

But Eni has also become the promoter and sponsor of ideas and projects of young people from different training experiences, bringing them in some way to the fore of the great international Fair (Fiumicino).

Maker Faire Rome
Large spaces and critical issues

For example, the four projects proposed in the stand (ok, I confess I was impressed), by the Solar Hub, a real building designed by + Lab, capable of exploiting the potential of LSC and OPV solar panels (we’ll come back to this) by making life an architectural hybrid space

In fact, it was the LSC solar panels that made the difference in my perception of this Maker adventure, just think of the guys from the PopLab of Rovigo who invented La Fulgor, an architectural lamp capable of working both day and night, filter the solar energy during the day that becomes electricity at night without any need to connect to any type of system: in practice a self-powered solar panel.

But the LSC panel itself is also the father of the Drops of Jupiter (made by CrunchlLab), a domestic hydroponic module (and let’s go back to the eco-sustainable home) capable of creating a true vertical greenhouse at home. But (also considering the period) it is the BeSafe project that has earned all my attention.

Made by the guys from AsterApp, BeSafe is a solar-powered first aid tent that is totally self-sufficient in terms of energy thanks to its flexible solar panels.

The tent closes compactly and can be launched with airplanes or drones in places of primary necessity and is able to communicate the location and health of its occupants to the rescuers and can guarantee six days of energy autonomy.

Useful, compact, essential in many places and on difficult occasions, at the moment it is only a prototype. What are you waiting for to put it into production?


Obviously the Maker Faire is not and will never be just Eni, it would be extremely reductive if it were so, but let’s say that for once investigating through the eyes of a multinational

That many define as ‘bad’ helped me to understand that looking to the future, everything it could be useful to us and it doesn’t matter where you come from.

Gone are the days when it mattered more if the idea came to a guy in the garage rather than to an Eni engineer.

It doesn’t matter if the Limix guys who won the first prize (one hundred thousand euros) with a glove capable of translating the gestures of the LIS language into voice.

come from the University or from the basement, here are the winning ideas and honestly it really seems to me it is superfluous to try to understand its path. More action and less talk.

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