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Over 150 inventors to gather in Gujarat for ‘Maker Fest’

Sam Pitroda to inaugurate innovation fest on Jan 4.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: January 3, 2014 5:25:25 am

Over 150 inventors and innovators from across the country will converge at the “Maker Fest”,to be held at the National Institute of Design on January 4-5. The fest is a derivative of California’s wildly popular “Maker Faire”,which was flagged off in 2006 to “celebrate arts,crafts,engineering,science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset”. The event,which celebrates innovation and creativity,is now a regular phenomenon across US,Europe and Africa.

Inspired by “Maker Faire”,Silicon Valley venture capitalist and founder of The Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation in Palo Alto (USA), Asha Jadeja Motwani,has organised the fest which will be open to the public.

The event will be inaugurated by India’s eminent innovation entrepreneur and tech guru Sam Pitroda,chairman of the National Innovation Council and Adviser to the Prime Minister. An app development competition and hackathon for programmers to create solutions using Glassware,Google’s open source operating system,will also be flagged off.

“We are planning to call around 150 makers for the fair in a bid to honour local inventors and thinkers of our times. The event is a gift to the city and we are sure that the next edition will see more enthusiasm,” said California-based Motwani,who is organising the event through her foundation that funds innovation and facilitates development needs worldwide. Born and raised in Ahmedabad,Motwani is a CEPT University alumnus. She founded the Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation (MJFF) based on the pioneering spirit of her late husband Rajeev Motwani,one of the mentors of Google’s founder and one of its early investors,who is well known for his role as a catalyst and adviser to many start-ups in the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

The event will see 80 Indian innovators rub shoulders with many foreign makers and the event will also host children from schools across the city. Some of the Makers who will be exhibited at the Fest include child prodigy – Susant Pattnaik – famous for designing a wheelchair which functions on breath sensors,a team that has created state of the art drones,3-D printers,and (Evomo) – a Rural Mobility Vehicle among many others.

“Maker Faires are popular across the world for celebrating technology. People who make things with their hands — from a camel breeder or a design faculty at NID to a young innovator below 20 years of age – may be part of this fair,along with experts. As our goal is to make the process of invention more collaborative,we are also creating a ‘pop-up maker space’ — a tent full of electronics,building material,electrical circuits — at the NID campus where people will be able to invent and create things,” says MIT scholar Anna Waldman-Brown. A Fellow at the foundation,Waldman-Brown organised the “Maker Faire” in Nigeria last year.

The fest will feature 20 workshops ranging from “3D printing’ to making battery-less dice and remote. “We will be asking makers to talk about their invention. Interestingly,one of the panel discussions is titled ‘Gandhian Technology’ which will see experts debate on the appropriate use of technology,” added Waldman-Brown.

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