The MakerBus team knows all about being creative, but to see if they can keep up their innovative energies for 24 straight hours, they are looking for some local — and decidedly non-local — assistance.
Canada’s first mobile technology lab, the MakerBus is hosting a 24-hour live-streaming fundraiser, Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, at Vibrafusion Labs (355 Clarence St.).
Dubbed the Make-a-thon, the event was created for two purposes, which Ryan Hunt, MakerBus Co-founder and Chief Fun Officer, describes as being both practical and impractical.
“We are encouraging creative people in London to come with a project,” Hunt said. “Ideally, what the Make-a-thon will do is give people who are busy the chance, and a space, to work on projects they have had in their basements they haven’t had the time to work on.”
Practically speaking, the event stems from a request brought forward by the Mother Teresa Catholic School robotics team to help them fundraise the money they need to attend the FIRST Robotics regional competition. Half the money raised will go to the robotics team while the remainder will be used to help fund 2015 MakerBus programming.
The robotics team needs raise $3,000 to pay for the entry fee and robotics kit to participate in the FIRST Robotics regional competition. To help achieve this goal, London residents who want to support youth education are asked to pledge a small amount of money during the fundraiser.
While raising money is the “very practical” reason to host the Make-a-thon, Hunt said the “very impractical” reason requires something of a leap of faith — and some social media assistance.
“This is a bit of a longshot, but we are hoping for it nonetheless. The Mythbusters are in London that very night at Bud Gardens doing a show,” Hunt said. “We are hoping through social media, and good old-fashioned ingenuity, to encourage them to come down and see what the robotics team is doing, what the MakerBus is doing, just showing off some of the creative energy in London.”
Interested makers, artists, and members of the community are welcome to attend the Make-a-thon for any portion of the 24 hours.
During the Make-a-thon the MakerBus team and a rotating list of friends and guests will be working on various creative projects. During the event, “cutting edge technologies,” such as like microcomputers, 3D printers, and drones will be demonstrated alongside traditional arts and crafts like sewing and painting.
Hunt’s own efforts will include his latest attempt at making an LED-umbrella that lights up, offering something of a “fun way” to change how an umbrella works.
Unfortunately — or perhaps excitingly for some — Hunt’s first two models have ended up catching on fire.
“I am hoping the third iteration will fix some of those bugs and I can create one that doesn’t catch on fire,” Hunt said.
His fellow MakerBus teammates, Kim Martin and Beth Compton, will be working on their own project where they are going to take unwanted sweaters and turn them into mittens.
The goal is to put a special MakerBus twist on some of the mittens — using conductive thread to make the mittens smart-phone friendly, meaning that people will still be able to use their devices without exposing their hands to the icy winter weather.
Half of the mittens are being sold with profits to the Maker-a-thon, the other half are being donated to My Sisters’ Place. The goal, Hunt said, is to make 100 pairs of mittens in 24 hours.
To take part in the Make-a-thon, people are asked to contact the MakerBus team by email, info@DHMakerBus.com, or message the team on Twitter at @DHMakerBus. The Make-a-thon gets underway at 9 a.m. on Nov. 30 and runs until 9 a.m. on Dec. 1 at Vibrafusion Labs.