Robot invasion!

By LIZ PELLY  |  October 9, 2012

ArcBotics, the company behind this robo-critter, will participate in both events. | Robot photo courtesy of Arcbotics

Six-legged robots, mechanical snakes, and a friendly dino-bot by the name of Butch will make new friends in Somerville this week at two free events.

First is Saturday's inaugural Somerville Mini Maker Faire, which will bring local techies, artists, and engineers to Union Square. Inspired by MAKE magazine's flagship Maker Faires in Detroit, New York, and the Bay Area, the Somerville event is one of more than 50 independent Mini Maker Faires that have sprung up over the last few years.

"A common theme is DIY projects," says Gui Cavalcanti, president of Somerville crafter/maker space Artisan's Asylum, which is co-presenting the Mini Maker Faire with the Somerville Arts Council and ArtsUnion. "We have a couple of people showing off wood carving, people showing off robots they built themselves, small six-legged robots. The Asylum will have a couple of snake robots we built in-house that you can play a game with; each is 10 feet long."

From 3 to 7 pm, the event will feature how-to workshops on electronics, animation, geodesic domes, rockets, and more, along with 30-plus tables of artists and makers showcasing everything from 3D printers and home-built bikes to wearable art and junk mosaics.

Cambridge has hosted a Mini Maker Faire for three years, but after seeing community reactions to Artisan's Asylum — a haven for 250-plus artists and engineers — Cavalcanti knew Somerville needed its own event. "It's a community workshop that's gone from 1000 to 4000 square feet in all of two years. It's booming with people who want to use our tools to make their own projects."

The Mini Maker Faire features high-tech tinkerers and more old-school artisans, but on Monday, only the future is on the agenda at Could This Happen?, a gathering for scientists and sci-fi fans at Somerville's Rosebud Bar and Grill. Supported by a Somerville Arts Council grant, the event will have presenters tackling topics like artificial intelligence, neural enhancements, and robot rights in demos and informal conversations. CJ Carr will DJ using a neurofeedback system, Pete Dilworth will bring along his robotic protoceratops (the aforementioned Butch), and MIT's Kate Darling will explore questions like the possibility of robot sex. Get a taste of tomorrow starting at 7 pm.

Related: Boston’s hackerspaces make room for robots and DIY synths, computer geeks, and tech punx, Reside: At home with Eric Bornstein, Frightened Rabbit ready to emerge, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Somerville, Robotics, DIY,  More more >
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