Archive | February, 2014

Meet the Hero Makers: Cosplay for the Greater Good

21 Feb

HAWe made the acquaintance of the Heroes Alliance at Otronicon in Orlando a couple of months back.   It wasn’t so much their Heroes Alliancecostumes as the joyful reactions they produced in everyone around them, that made us come calling.  We were delighted when they agreed to be part of this year’s Gulf Coast MakerCon.

The Heroes Alliance is a non profit organization founded in 2005 right here in Tampa Bay, by a group of prop makers and costumers “who want to give back to the community through the costumes that we make. ”   The organization has expanded throughout the United States and now even has a sister branch in the UK.  They make regular appearances at community and children-oriented charity events–from helping local law enforcement with community functions to visiting sick children in the hospital to help brighten their spirits. Some of the groups we have worked with in the past are Give Kids the World, Base Camp, All Children’s Hospital, FOCUS among many others.

We chatted with John Frosbutter, the Tampa branch leader of the Heroes Alliance, to learn a little more about the group.

GCMC:  What’s  your day job? What are some examples of the jobs other members hold in their day to day lives?

J.F.    I am an IT person for the University of South Florida.  Our members all have very different jobs, some are self employed some work retail and so on.super heroes

GCMC:  What do you like best about being part of the Heroes Alliance?

J.F.  I think what I enjoy the most is the smiles on kids faces.  When you see a kid smile when meeting their favorite super hero it warms your heart.

 GCMC:  Do you really think you can make the world a better place by dressing up as a super hero?

heroesJ.F.   I truly believe that what we do helps make the world for kids better.  We visited all children’s one morning as the kids were waking up and one little boy looked at us rubbed his eyes and looked at his parents and said “I told  you they were real mom”.  It was great.

GCMC: Some of you are prop makers.  Can you tell me a bit about that?

J.F. We have all different skills, some of us make armor, molds for masks, and some are just really good at sewing.  We use our combined skill sets to work as a team to build the suits that we wear.

GCMC:  Gulf Coast MakerCon is a Celebration of the DIY Inventive Spirit; it’s about empowering people to be makers of their own future and ours – in short, to be heroes. What message does the Heroes Alliance bring to Gulf Coast MakerCon? 

J.F. We are all about community involvement and learning.  Anything that you can do to help someone is something. Even the little things make a difference to someone else.

We think the Heroes Alliance is a big thing and we’re grateful they’re joining us at Gulf Coast MakerCon.  In addition to their heroic presence, they may also do a prop making session for us.   Thanks, Heroes Alliance! You’re definitely Super Heroes in our book!

Kick off National Robotics Week at Gulf Coast MakerCon Robotics Showcase!

11 Feb

NRW at GCMCWe’ll be helping kick off National Robotics Week with a Gulf Coast Makercon Robotics Showcase, front and center at  our 3rd Annual Celebration of DIY Inventive Spirit.

We’ll have K-12 FIRST robotics teams from around Tampa BayFIRST_vert.  With support from a comprehensive network of Fortune 500 corporations, educational and professional institutions, foundations, and individuals, FIRST provides more than $18 million in college scholarships for participating students. Programs include FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12;  FIRST® LEGO®League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO®League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3 and you’ll be able to see most, if not all, of these programs strutting their awesome robotic stuff at GCMC.

We’ll also be featuring 15 lb. and under fighting robots in   National Robotics League demo competitions, a combat robot program with a focus on manufacturing related careers. Organized by the University of South Florida Robotics Interest Group, we’ll have high school student competitions all day Saturday, April 5, and NRL exhibition NRLrobots throughout the weekend.

We’ll also have a variety of hobby and personal robotics projects and displays, and related mechatronics exhibits., and we’ve got room for more! If you’re interested in joining us with your robotics projects, complete our Maker Application and join in our National Robotics Week Celebration!

 

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