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Gulf Coast MakerCon Comes to Florida Fairgrounds, April 5 & 6

26 Nov

fb iconLearning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) hosted the area’s  first ever Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire in 2012. 2013 logoIn 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!

LI4E Heads to Pasco EcoFest with Artist and Maker Chuck Stephens & LearningMan

6 Nov

Tampa artist and maker,  and  Learning is for Everyone volunteer, Chuck Stephens, is bringing  his concept art,  “LearningMan”to Pasco EcoFest, in keeping with LI4Es mission to support “the ecofestCuriosity Driven Life.”

“LearningMan is a participatory interactive sculpture designed to bring attention to the plastic cycle and encourage discussion of better and more efficient recycling solutions,” says Chuck.

Inspired by the annual Burning Man Festival, our large human shaped sculpture will be constructed of bamboo with an LED lighting system (reused from our Red Bull challenge project!). Festival attendees will be encouraged to tie empty plastic drink bottles and other plastic waste to the frame throughout the day Friday and Saturday. Saturday evening the sculpture will be raised and lit up. The plastic will diffuse the light of the LEDs creating an eye catching display that will flash and change color with the music from the festival stage. After the festival the sculpture will be disassembled and properly recycled.

Besides being a fun and interactive art project at EcoFest, the purpose of this project is to increase awareness of plastic and its place in our world.

“Plastic is everywhere but few of us know how it is made or what happens to it after we put it in the recycling bin,” Chuck notes. ” With the rise of the maker movement and the advent and growth of 3D printing, the role of plastic is changing. I see a future where consumers will have access to closed loop home recycling systems where waste plastic will be turned into the raw materials for home manufacturing to create an endless array of goods. Someday, hopefully, throwing away an empty plastic bottle will be as foolish as throwing away perfectly good printer ink.

“The first steps toward this change is awareness and consumer education and LearningMan is meant to be a fun way of engaging this issue.”

Come out and indulge your curiosity with Chuck and Learning is for Everyone, at Sims Park in New Port Richey this weekend!

Join Tampa Bay Inventors Council Oct 1 to Celebrate 30 Yrs of Innovation!

19 Sep

Inventors Council flyerOn 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!

Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

6 Sep

hall of fameTo invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas A. Edison

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?!

Invention Alive and Well in Tampa Bay

29 Jul
gabotronics

Gabotronics at our 2013 Makers Fair

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 snap it screw photopurification 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.

In Celebration of Competitive Creativeness

14 Jul
IMG_1309

LI4E Makerspace Project team working on Red Bull Creation 2013 contest build.

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.

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!

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