A young maker named [Allie] drew a lot of attention at the 2nd annual Omaha Mini Maker Faire. Her booth was full of the various creations she has designed and built herself throughout the course of her short life. The biggest draw was her green design dollhouse, which focuses on environmentally friendly living. With the exception of the LEDs lighting the interior, some tape, and the requisite bit of hot glue, the entire structure and its contents were made from recycled materials.
The cardboard structure features a kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and attic. Every piece of furniture and all the decorations are made from salvaged materials and packaging. One side of the roof holds a Snap Circuits board with a solar panel that powers some blue LEDs on the bedroom wall. [Allie] poured water down the other side of the roof to demonstrate the rain water collection system. The house’s rain barrel was made from a grated parmesan cheese container, which is perfectly designed for the airline tubing running into it from the recycled plastic guttering.
One of [Allie]’s other projects is a disagreeable owl fashioned from cardboard and a salvaged canister. Hidden away beneath the owl’s platform lies a simple gear system attached to a key on the front. Turning the key causes the owl’s head to swivel back and forth. We tried to make it spin all the way around, but the full range of motion is about 270 degrees. She also brought Mountain Dew, a hummingbird model made from a spark plug and other metal bits and bobs, including a pair of soda can wings.
In addition to her crafty skills, [Allie] is one well-spoken tween. She was more than happy to discuss her creations in detail to anyone who would listen, which included at least two local journalists and this impressed reporter. We learned through a bit of light research that a robot [Allie] built a few years ago inspired a British toy company to produce a new doll, the Robot Girl Lottie. She’s an inspiration to makers of all ages.
13 thoughts on “Omaha Mini Maker Faire: Recycle All The Things”
If she had simply rehoused a clock…. Oh nevermind.
I really like the sparkplug bird.
I guess the phrase ‘angry bird’ was already taken?
Not sure that making art out of junk qualifies as a “hack”. Dude doe the road welds scrap metal into amusing animals for your front yard. Is he “hacking”?
Yes, he is, in my opinion. Taking cast off items and making something viable and new from them is central to any retelling of ‘the hackers ethos’.
Is sticking googly eyes onto a rock and selling it down at the weekend market also hacking?
Only if it winks at you as you pass by it.
These things all look like bombs.
I love this absolutely. I wonder how old she is.
She is currently 10 and built the robot that inspired the doll when she was 6. The house she built when she was 8, it also has a working wind turbine that is made from a motor, that she can also connect to the snap circuits set to charge the batteries that run the LED lights in addition to the solar panel charge system. The fact that she hooked the lights up to the snap circuit set and also built the wind turbine, clearly demonstrates hacking on an 8 year old level. She has also won local design challenge competitions the last 3 years in a row, and got an honorable mention in the Spark Lab Invent-it challenge sponsored by the Smithsonian last year, but not all of her inventions are easily transported the 4 hours it took for her and her 5 other family members to attend this event. The doll story and projects however were a great choice to bring to the event as it took place at a children’s museum where she was able to inspire other children to build, explore, and invent. Her next goal is to learn arduino so stay tuned.
“designed and built herself throughout the course of her short life”
As I progressed through the article, I was relieved to learn that she is apparently still with us. I am not being snarky .. This opening phrase has the connotation that her life was brief. Fortunately, it seems that she is still with us .. but the unfortunate phrasing made for reading that was initially unpleasant.
She is a true hacker, as the essence of hacking is that best toys are those you made yourself.
I like the idea of the Disagreeable Owl – real owl also can not turn it’s head 360 degrees.
I also made a cardboard doll-house for my little sister when I was about 12. She was very pleased, but she suggested that not all rooms’ lights should be on or off at once, hence I had to wire a switch board to light each individual LEDs in each room :-)
Now that’s what I called recycling! You are a truly role model and I will share that to my colleagues as well! I’ve seen so much neglected homes and the problem is that no one wants to put some creativity and make something with their hands! Keep up the good work!
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