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Encouraging Others to Dream, Design and Invent at the Maker Faire

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Maker ceas judex chan
Professor Stefan Judex takes a selfie with his crew from Biomedical Engineering, including professor Ete Chan, at the Maker Faire. Photo credit: Stefan Judex.

They like to call it the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, and Stony Brook University was well represented at the Long Island Explorium’s seventh annual Maker Faire to do just that.

The show was held on Saturday, June 8, in the heart of Seawolves Country, Port Jefferson. It included professors, researchers and students from the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering and Applied Science as well as the Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Anurag Purwar from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his students encouraged about 75 children throughout the day to dream, design and invent with his SnappyXO Design Robotics kit. They learned how to make and build robots and catapults with his education product, invented in 2015 in his Computer-Aided Design and Innovation Lab. He created SnappyXO Design to provide an authentic platform to K-12 and college students to help them study mechanical design, electronics, and microcontroller programming in the context of robotics and experiential learning.

“Hosting the workshops and demonstrating small robots at the Long Island Maker Faire was an absolute joy! Seeing young minds light up with excitement and creativity, as they built their own robots was truly inspiring,” Purwar said.

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At the Maker Faire, making smiles, too! (l to r) Katie Brown, Angeline Judex, Ete Chan, Councilman Jonathan Kornreich, Port Jefferson Mayor Lauren Sheprow, President of the LI Explorium Katheleen de Riesthal, Trustee Rebecca Kassay, Greg Dinin and Lisa Collet Rodriguez. Photo credit: Ete Chan.

Professor Ete Chan from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who also serves as co-director of the Undergraduate Program for Professional Development, showcased a “VIP BEAR and Friends Booth,” which emanated from the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) BEAR, which stands for Bioengineering Education, Application and Research. Students from the Biomedical Engineering Society, the 3D Printing and Assistive Technology for Health (3D PATH), and the Origami Club shared innovative biomedical applications and how simple craft, 3D printing, and circuits can help biomedical applications to improve human health and quality of life.

“This was a perfect opportunity for them to further their community outreach to provide accessible 3D printed assistive technology for our community,” said Chan. Her group’s three tables included: “Biomedical Engineers: The Maker,” “Origami-inspired STEM application in BME” and “DIY 3D Printing STEM-themed Pendant.”

Professor Stefan Judex from the Department of Biomedical Engineering volunteered at the “Ask a Scientist” booth where someone asked him, “What do you actually do as a scientist?” He replied, “In biomedical engineering, we use technology to improve people’s health. Some examples include hip prostheses and medical imaging technologies.”

“I am so proud of our Stony Brook students who came to inspire the next generation of makers while introducing to them, via interactive demo and hands-on activities, how we Biomedical Engineers create things to improve human health. The Multiplier Effect of makers and innovators starts in Maker Faire,” Chan said.

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Mathematics Professor Moira Chas (right) talks to a young student about shapes and math at the Maker Faire.

Math studies patterns of shapes and numbers, and Department of Mathematics Professor Moira Chas, along with graduate and undergraduate students, took part in a “Playful Math” booth that showed different shapes with curious properties and symmetries, intriguing puzzles and more.

Other participants included Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Emma Clark Library, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, and a myriad of makers from fiber artists to illustrators to the Port Jefferson Charles Dickens Street Performers.

The Faire is part of the larger Maker Faire brand that celebrates creativity in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Since 2015, Maker Faire Long Island has been attracting more than 100 makers and 2,000 visitors each year from the New York Tri-State area and beyond. Faires are also held in New York City, The Bay Area, Berlin, Barcelona and throughout the world.

“We aim to spark a lifelong passion for technology in these budding innovators,” added Purwar. “It’s a wonderful event for young and old ones alike to come together and celebrate the spirit of making.”


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