Champlain’s Emergent Media Center Showcases the Power of the All-new MakerLab at the Mini Maker Faire

By Keeshawn Nicholson

Caption for above image: BREAKAWAY character in 3D print

Can you believe that there was once no such thing as a place where makers, crafters, inventors, artists and scientists could come together to showcase their contributions to Maker culture? Fortunately, today there is the Mini Maker Faire hosted by MAKE magazine, the first magazine fully dedicated to Do It Yourself projects, which is held every year around this time to appreciate Makers of all kinds. In Vermont, this faire is held at Shelburne farms near the Coach Barn and serves as an educational yet inspirational event for the hundreds of people it attracts. This year the third annual Maker Faire was held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4th – 5th and Champlain has been at all three, the college was able to showcase some of the amazing possibilities of the all new MakerLab, a place that possesses the tools necessary for laser cutting, 3D printing and designing. The stand showcased 3D prints of characters from the BREAKAWAY game, a game created by Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center, while Generator’s stand showcased some laser-cut leather masks made by Generator in Residence, Eric Roy.

GeneratorGenerator Masks, cut by MakerLab laser cutters.

People who attended the Maker Faire may acknowledge the Champbot contest as one of the most exciting parts of the event. In the contest, seven remote controlled robots made by seven different makers were to be put through a 150-foot long obstacle course, and then challenged to merge and submerge. Champlain’s robot was to be made in the MakerLab with a belt driven rowing system for swimming power and ballast for submerge powers. This plan was displayed at the faire, giving everyone an idea of what can be accomplished using MakerLab resources.


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Champlain College EMC Champbot plan

The Emergent Media Center also introduced Jacob Neville’s, a graduate of the MFA in Emergent Media program, experimental controller and game combo called “Connecting to the Controller”. The controller is loaded with sensors and is to be handled in such a way that children would naturally interact with teddy bears; tilting, blowing and moving the teddy bear to manipulate the character in the game. Its purpose is to emphasize that a teddy bear has more emotional value than a regular controller, which leaves the player emotionally connected to the game.

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Jacob Neville, a graduate of the MFA in Emergent Media program, holding his experimental controller. 

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Child playing “Connecting to the Controller”.

Champlain College thanks the fourth annual Mini Maker Faire for being a fantastic opportunity to showcase the possibilities of the Emergent Media Center and it’s MakerLab.