Take advantage of our Early Bird ticket sales for Gulf Coast MakerCon, and get admission for the full weekend at half the rate of a one day pass, paid the day of, at the gate! Early Bird tickets will be on sale now through Feb. 28th.
Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) hosted the area’s first ever Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire in 2012. In 2013, our event nearly doubled in size, drawing more than 500 attendees. For 2014, LI4E is dialing up our annual DIY Celebration of the Inventive Spirit with a two day Gulf Coast MakerCon, at the Florida Fairgrounds Special Events Center April 5& 6, 2014.
With an emphasis on technical, creative and professional workshops and sessions covering everything from patent development and the inventive process, to 3D printing, programming, mechanical and electrical design, green tech and open source technologies, Gulf Coast MakerCon will provide added value for adult attendees, with a special Young Makers section for kids and families, as well. There will be a wide variety of creative nd interactive vendors, exhibitors, and entertainment that includes everything from robotics and metalsmithing, to recycled instruments, ham radio, RC modeling, automotive tech, gaming, inventions, innovations, future tech and much more.
So save the date and look for more details soon!
On October 1st, the Tampa Bay Inventors Council invites everyone to help them celebrate their 30th anniversary at the St. Petersburg College EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. N. in Clearwater. Guests will see the innovations and ideas nurtured by local inventors, and get to see Former Shark, Kevin Harrington of As Seen on TV, My Cool Inventions radio hosts Akos Jankura & John Cremeans, and TBIC founder Ronald Smith. There will be tables for inventors to show their ideas, speeches from guests and inventors will pitch their ideas and innovations.
See the attached flyer for more information. Register online at http://www.meetup.com/TBIC-us/events/137074852
Mark your calender for Tuesday, October 1st from 4-8 pm, and join the Tampa Bay Inventors Council to celebrate 30 years of Innovation in Tampa Bay!
You can find that wonderful quote on the homepage of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame website.
You didn’t know there was a Florida Inventors Hall of Fame? We didn’t either. It’s close to home, too – at the University of South Florida! It caught our eye with a recent news piece about Dr. Richard Jove, Ph.D., director of the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida®),joining the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Advisory Board. The reason we haven’t heard of it, is because it’s brand new, just kicking off its inaugural year.
According to the website, the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame ” honors and celebrates those inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, our state and our nation. The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame encourages individuals of all ages and backgrounds to strive toward the betterment of Florida and society through continuous, groundbreaking innovation. By commending the incredible scientific work being accomplished in the state of Florida, our state will attract interest, funding, and further the growth of our innovation sector. “
Florida Inventors Hall of Fame honorees will be selected annually through an open nomination process, and reviewed by Selection Committee . The first induction ceremony will be held in 2014.
How awesome is that?!
The Visual | Arts & Crafts: Artists, Artisans, & Architects
The Audible | Words & Music: Writers, Musicians, & Dance
The Edible | Gastronomy: Food, Farmers, & Chefs
Where: John F. Germany Public Library
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Set-up: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. & Break-down: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Programs can include lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations, exhibitions and food. The library will provide exhibit space and/or tables as needed, all displays must be free standing. Click here for a copy of the Interest Form and apply by September 14, 2013. Email email@example.com if you have any questions.
Here’s an awesome idea! GadgitKids works “to create a society of mobile device users whose capabilities keep pace with the sophistication of technology.” – They do this through “reverse mentoring” - a collaborative intergenerational win-win process of employing high school and college students as “GadgitKids” giving them the tools and training to be effective communicators with a passion for helping others learn technology.
“Young people, our future leaders, need confidence and support,” says GadgitKids. “You need their technical knowledge. The end result of effective reverse mentoring is a working relationship between a young person and an adult which is mutually beneficial. “
GadgitKids invites college students, or high school students entering their junior or senior year, to review the position descriptions on their website and submit an application to become a GadgitKid. Currently, applications from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties are being considered.
Visit GadgitKids at http://gadgitkids.com/apply-to-be-a-GadgitKid to apply or learn more.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal ran a piece earlier this month titled, “Tampa tech industry is healthy, but local inventors are needed.” Clearly TBBJ hasn’t been to one of our Maker Fairs, but more to the heart of the matter, TBBJ says what’s missing is funding – “Industry observers say lack of local funding has cost the Bay area promising startups such as TourWrist, a Tampa company that moved its headquarters to San Francisco to be closer to potential investors.”
We’d suggest local entrepreneurial and community support is also critical. Having a community that supports small scale innovation and invention is vital to nurturing that innovation and invention and keeping it here. And invention does thrive here in Tampa Bay!
Over the last couple of years, we’ve highlighted dozens of Tampa Bay area inventors, from Snapit Screw to Gabotronics, and FRETS1 Satellite, In10did and Mentagy at our Fairs, to website profiles of inventors like young Hunter Morera and his Select-a-Wrench, John Doyle and his Doctor Door Stop,University of South Florida associate professor Daniel Yeh’s Gates’ funded water purification device, and others.
More recently, South Tampa inventor Jeff Bonnell has been in the news with his Splashtablet Case – a unique suction-mount, waterproof case the iPad , and Palm Harbor inventor, Tanya Lewis, who signed with Master Broker Jack Di Salvo (of Oxyclean fame), and was also lauded as Mom Inventor of the Year , an honor that included two airings on QVC for her Green Glider reusable mop pad.
Inventors are alive and well in Tampa Bay, and our community is growing and getting stronger all the time. Here at Gulf Coast Makers, we celebrate makers big and small, young and older and will keep celebrating them, and working for the types of spaces and places where we can all invent and create together.
If you have an invention, an entreprenuerial experience, idea or best practice to share, or just want to talk shop, contact us . We welcome guest bloggers and maker news from all over the Gulf Coast.
A couple of years ago the America Competes Reauthorization Act was approved granting federal agencies broad authority to host contests to spur innovation. In How Contests Spur Innovation, Inventors Daily reported, at the time, that this signature event was critical to invention and economic development in America.
“In short,” Inventors Daily wrote, ” invention contests and prizes work. In fact, when applied to big problems, contests can deliver big solutions with big economic impact.
“…The Act provides a “clear and simple legal path” for Uncle Sam to run invention contests, much like the private sector. The U.S. public sector, it should be noted, accounts for approximately 25% of our $15 trillion economy.”
From America Competes was born Challenge.gov , “an online challenge platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with ChallengePost that empowers the U.S. Government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing challenges.”
So if you like making stuff – mechanical stuff, 3D stuff, coded stuff, design stuff – there’s no shortage of federal and private industry nationwide competitions to in which to try your hand and your head. If the incentive of a cause, or a prize are your best inspiration, start with Challenge.gov and Challenge Post.
And there’s plenty of other resources.
- Are you a designer? Check out Designer X’s list of competitions that includes the Canterbury Cathedral Landscape Design challenge (deadline to enter July 17) and the Sappi Ideas that Matter contest “to recognize and support designers who use their skills and expertise to solve communications problems for a wide range of charitable activities. “
- Looking for 3D printing contests? 3Ders.org has a good list.
- If you’re a coder, check out CodeChef for a list of ongoing competitions.
- Engineering students and hobbyists might enjoy browsing the Engineering Education Service Center’s list of contests , or ASME’s list.
- Budding inventor? Check out the list of Inventor Awards and Competitions at Invent Help.
Visit back here often for announcements about contests both local and national that we learn about throughout the year. And share your news about contests, both entered in and hosted! We’d love to feature your stories and photos!
Our move towards becoming an independent DIY festival and community network has triggered some interesting discussions among friends and associates. Some have expressed concern about the ability to build and support our growing maker community without the name brand behind it. Others have applauded our DIY initiative.
An interesting piece ran in Big Think today about the perceived value of “brands.”
“How important is brand name recognition?” columnist Jack Myers asks. ” It’s extremely important to establish a link, a connection through whatever process, through social media, through marketing, through in store presence, but in the long term I think it’s more important what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside of a product.”
He goes on to suggest that for those growing up with the internet “a person’s color, a person’s gender, a person’s beliefs, religious beliefs for example, are far less important than their beliefs as human beings, their attitudes toward human equality, their attitudes towards diversity, their attitudes toward giving back to the world, to their schools, to each other. So the branding, the external packaging is far less important to them than what is inside, whether that’s another human being or a package of cereal …”
Or, we’ll add, ” an event. “
Because when you get right down to it, the picture above from the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire could have been taken anywhere – a science festival, a family fun day, an engineering expo. Sometimes brand is important – especially if you’re trying to sell something tangible like magazines or products. If you’re a maker, creator, entrepreneur you want your brand to pop, to stand out, to be sought after – but even then, at the heart of your brand is – heart – what you put into it to make it special, why you believe it’s unique or useful or necessary.
And if what you’re selling – giving away, in this case – is an idea - and that idea is about a collaborative community that supports DIY self-reliance and self-sufficiency, about empowering people to develop the knowledge and skills they want and need to make whatever it is they want to make, to be creative and successful self-starters, then brand is irrelevant. It’s the idea that’s valuable, and being free of the limitations of a brand allows the full expression of that idea.
Free of a brand, we can talk about all kinds of magazines and products, honestly assess things on their own merits, and freely celebrate in the truest DIY spirit of independent, self-reliant, unfettered creativity and fun!