Steel hawks at the Maker Faire


Photo by Phillip Fraczkek

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Last month, the Steel Hawks attended the annual World’s Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science.  Maker Faire is a festival that welcomes inventors and reators of all kinds for the greatest show and tell. The number of visitors reaches 80,000 over the weekend. Along with other New York City robotics teams from different schools, the Steel Hawks presented “Raptor,” a robot that they built last year.

After an exciting experience at St. Louis this past year, the Steel Hawks were invited to attend Maker Faire for the first time by NYC FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the organization that runs the FIRST Robotics Competition in New York.  The Steel Hawks conducted demonstrations with their robots and allowed people to drive them. They also discussed their activities in constructing a robot such as coding with Maker Faire attendees.

Sophomore robotics member Phyllis Alinsao stated, “[We played] a game we created which involved driving our actual robots with the assistance of team members.”  Regarding her experience at the fair, Phyllis added, “I definitely would go to [Maker Faire] again, even if my team wasn’t with me.”

Students, including those who aren’t a part of the robotics team, were open to many other activities at the festival including music concerts, mini building competitions, and free samples from technological industries. Physics teacher and robotics advisor Joel Heitman commented, “Maker Faire is an opportunity for different companies from all over the world to come and show their own innovations. People of all ages gather to learn about different things, and [the Steel Hawks] were very fortunate to participate in the event.”

Senior robotics captain Marcus Barbu reflected, “I thought that the Maker Faire was a whole lot of fun. There were lots of really crazy-looking exhibitions and all of the people seemed genuinely interested in everything being demonstrated.”

In addition to the activities at Maker Faire, senior Cindy Lin volunteered at the festival’s environmental recycling program to teach people how to separate their trash.  Cindy explained, “I talked to people about recycling and directed them to throw away their garbage into four specific bins: paper, plastic, food scraps, and landfill.”

Maker Faire welcomes many creative thinkers to engage more people in the sciences and make innovation family-friendly.