Category Archives: Uncategorized

Making Toys and Games

Firstly the vortex cannon. The idea of pushing a larger volume of air through a smaller hole creating a gush of air is the basis of the Making of a vortex cannon. The fun part was when we brought in the fog machine and filled our vortex cannon with fog. Now when we hit the vortex cannon or pressed the sides of the vortex cannon we could literally see the smoke rings. We played “blowling” with our vortex cannons and paper cups. And of course, we had very interesting and creative variations the kids came up with.

Father and Son thinking of ways to Make a different Vortex Cannon.

Father and Son thinking of ways to Make a different Vortex Cannon.

"Lets blow the cups down with my beautifully decorated vortex cannon."

“Lets blow the cups down with my beautifully decorated vortex cannon.”

Thats me explaining the simple concept behind the Vortex Cannon.

We were especially busy during the Making Toys and Games workshop as we were also hosting crew members from the channel 8 show, Junk convertors.

Ofcourse, toys can be made with many things. We had Phoebe from Barangshop teaching kids how to sew, members of the Singapore Origami Group who taught simple origami to parents, Gabriel Perumal with his breadboard electronics, Adrian Curic with motorized rubberband cars, and the folks from Tinker Tanker with whom we co hosted the Little Bits Global Makerthon. Special thanks to our volunteers and members of SAYES who also facilitated activities at the workshop. Here is a quick video montage of the workshop

Pop Up Maker Space at SSEF

This is the second time Maker Faire team is putting up a Pop Up Maker Space at the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair held in Science Centre on the 11th and 12th of March. I must say that it attracted so much crowd, especially on the second day, since the judging was over and students were much more relaxed and free.

Yasu made mircowaveable origami, David Liew did Notebook Hacking, 12 Geeks did cool tech stuff and we made microscopes.

Microwaveable origami, the name sounds cool right? Bascially, you stick heat shrink tubing with thin strips of aluminium on paper wherever you want it to be folded. Then you place it inside the microwave and the heat shrink tubing shrinks when heated, as the name suggests, and you get the shape you want!

David Liew brought embossing machines, paper design cutters, various coloured ink pads etc and students were to emboss their book cover or cards and decorate it with any of the provided materials. It was up to their creativity.

Luther and Fazli  brought bananas which played music! Actually they connected the bananas to Makey makeys and once the students touched the bananas the circuits were closed as their bodies are conductors of electricity. The Makey Makeys are connected to the Scratch software in the computer which is programmed in such a way that each banana makes a different sound (Doh, Ray, Me, Fah, Soh, Lah. Te, Doh). They also brought along a VR headset and students had the experience of virtual reality.  It was also fun comparing the commersial headsets with a $2 version.

Bananas can replace pianos?

Bananas can replace pianos (with Makey Makeys)?

The activity that we conducted was making microscopes out of laser pointers. Three easy steps:

1. Dismantle the laser pointers
2. Take the lens out
3. Attach the lens to your phone camera using a transparent tape or poke a hole through a foam sheet, fit the lens into the hole and then attach the lens to your phone camera

Did you know that grey ink that we see on a printed paper is actually made up of white dots on a black background?

Did you know that grey ink that we see on a printed paper is actually made up of white dots on a black background?

Microscopic view of a tea bag

Microscopic view of a tea bag

That isn't his blister, it's just his skin

That isn’t his blister, it’s just his skin

Mass destrcution of laser pointers ><

Mass destruction of laser pointers :P

The research students aged between 16 to 18, being so interested in Making such things, instead of saying that “All these can be bought isn’t it? Why bother Making?” shows that Singaporean youths embrace/have started embracing Making. The fact that they enjoyed the Pop up Maker Space was evident from the never-ending crowd and the excitement on their faces.

Make ‘n’ Speak Camp

Science Centre Singapore collaborated with The Kidz Parade to organise a two days long Make ‘n’ Speak camp which was all about design thinking, and of course Making. The theme of the camp was sustainability. The main objective was for the kids to Make a prototype which allows life to be more sustainable.

Day 1
The kids understood what sustainability is all about through brief discussions and also through  a guided tour around the climate change exhibition. I believe that after the exhibition they had a better idea of what the world is facing now and why thinking about sustainability is important. After that they  were told to think of two things:

(i) The problem –> The solution
The solution should be in the form of a machine and not just “Don’t do it because it harms the Earth”

(ii) A problem which already has a solution —> Make the solution more effective

There were discussions about how there should be lunar panels instead of only solar panels. Some kids talked about how water is being wasted and automatic taps and motion sensor taps were invented to decrease water wastage. Another group discussed about the waste of toilet paper because people wash hand and waste a lot of toilet paper and that led to the invention of hand dryer. Thats when one kid asked “Isn’t that a waste of electricty?”.

Thats when the facilitators stepped in to explain to the kids that we compare which is more eco-friendly and cost-effective when we find solutions. We could tell that the children tried their best to think and also attempted to answer our questions instead of expecting answers from us. The usage of the Scratch software and Makey Makey was also taught to them so that they can incorporate that technology into their innovative inventions. They were also breifed on presentation skills such as acting confident even when one is nervous by not fidgiting and having eye contact with the audience rather than just looking in front. At the end of the day each kid had his or her own idea(a rough one at least) of the prototype they might want to make.

Climate Change Exhibition

Climate Change Exhibition

Listening intently to the briefing on presentation skills

Listening intently to the briefing on presentation skills

Makey Makey and Scratch

Makey Makey and Scratch

"Makey Makey can do cool stuff. So how do I make my sprite move, mhmm?"

“Makey Makey can do cool stuff. So how do I make my sprite move, mhmm?”

Day 2

It started off with ideation where the kids thought and discussed more about their prototype and decided on a prototype their group will be taking up as their project. And then the Making started…

The children were so brilliant! Many of them had to try again and again to make their propeller rotate using a DC motor, solar-powered gadgets work, enable to the car wheels to rotate etc. Some worked in a team very well while others had issues working as team because they were not open to suggestions from their fellow team-mates. But eventually they had to come to a decision and one had to give in to the other. We were also glad to see children being able to learn from failures, pick themselves up and think of another alternative. One or two groups felt that they did not achieve what they wanted to but they did not pull a long face. Instead they explained what went wrong and what could have been better with utmost pride of their own creation. When we said dismantle certain parts of your prototype because we need the solar panels, DC motors etc back, they were so sportive. They immediately did so and brought the remaining back home.

Solar panels

Solar panels

Plane in the Making

Plane in the Making

Trying to make the pulley work

Trying to make the pulley work



The tsunami causes the turbine  to turn which produces current which is then transmitted to the houses through wires. Such  a cute and creative idea.

The tsunami causes the turbine to turn which produces current which is then transmitted to the houses through wires. Such a cute and creative idea.

"Teacher could you please help me with this?"

“Teacher could you please help me with this?”

Saying that the facilitators were impressed with the kids attitude and Making skills is definitely an understatement. They simply knocked us off our feet. And at the end of the day I thought “At their age, I was probably doodling on paper and watching cartoons. Look at them they talk about DC motors, LEDs, batteries, solar panels etc. I learnt them all in secondary school.”

Nico Nico Gakkai Beta in Science Centre Singapore

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Nico Nico Gakkai Beta is having a mini version of the craziest Japanese conference in Singapore!

Date : 11 March 2015
Timing :  7.00p to 8.30pm
Venue : Science Centre Singapore

NicoNicoGakkai Beta is a new style of academy that emphasizes user-generated research. It is an online and offline research academy that recognizes research on a diversity of merits, from cultural and artistic values to academic and industrial strengths. (
There have been four NicoNicoGakkai Beta symposiums since 2011. For the first event there was an audience of over 110,000, who left a total of over 80,000 comments.

Rapid Fire Research 100
“Rapid Fire Research 100” was one of the two formats unique to this conference. In just 15 minutes, five world class researchers made 20 pitches each about their presentation. As a result, each speaker had to go though their 20~30 years worth of research in a very short time. To the audience, it was a comprehensive guide to each field as well as a motivating talk about how (initially) humble and error-prone research turns into world changing results.

The profiles of the speakers of the first Nico nico Beta Symposium in Singapore are below:

Masahiko Inami

Masahiko INAMI is a professor at KEIO Media Design. He is also directing the JST ERATO Igarashi Design Interface Project as a group leader. He received a Ph.D. from department of engineering, the University of Tokyo in March, 1999. His research interest is in Interactive Technique, Physical Media, Robotics and Entertainment Technology. He is known as the inventor of Optical Camouflage system. He received Laval Virtual Technopole Mayenne Trophee, TIME Magazine Coolest Inventions2003, IEEE Virtual Reality 2004 Best Paper Award, ICAT 2004 Best Paper Award and more.

Koji Tsukada

Koji Tsukada is an Associate Professor of Future University Hakodate. He received his Ph.D. from Keio University in 2005. His research interests include augmented commodities, interaction techniques with novel materials, and support system for personal fabrication. He received the Ig Nobel Prize 2012 (Acoustics) for creating SpeechJammer, a machine disturbs person’s speech using delayed auditory feedback.

Takuya Nojima 
Takuya Nojima is an associate professor of the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan. He received his BE and ME in mathematical engineering and information physics, and Dr.Eng. in advanced interdisciplinary studies from the University of Tokyo in 1998, 2000, and 2003, respectively. His research interests includes haptic (particularly proprioception and physical activity) technology, and augmented sports .

Tsutomu Terada
Tsutomu Terada is an Associate Professor at Graduate School of Engineering, Kobe University, Japan. He received Ph.D. in Engineering from Osaka University in 2003. Dr. Terada is working on Wearable Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, and Entertainment Computing. He has applied wearable computing and sensing technologies to various stage performances and actual entertainment systems including theatrical performances.

Junichi Rekimoto
Jun Rekimoto is Professor in Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo and doubles up as a Deputy Director of Sony Computer Science Laboratories. His has worked in the field of Human Computer Interaction has created lasting and highly significant impact that is present in a multitude of interfaces and devices used by millions of people. His invention list includes the world first mobile augmented reality, multitouch, location sensing. He is now focusing on technologies for augmenting humans. Rekimoto strongly believes in the power of imagination as our primary drive force to create the future, and questions how our lives and this world would change if our dreams were to come true.

Masakazu Takasu
Masakazu Takasu, technical evangelist at teamLab,  Committee of Maker Faire Singapore 2015, and Shenzhen 2015 takes us on a journey to his homeland of Japan and their exciting ways of using technology, design and science. TeamLab combines these disciplines to create innovative digital solutions often with physical elements of interaction.

Through playing and experimentation, connecting prototyping with 3D graphics, art and much more, they’re creating a whole new world of gaming, interactive decorations and augmented reality.

Come on down to Science Centre to learn new facts from our speakers!

To join our event:

Making in Art workshop for families

Making in Art workshop took place at Science Centre last saturday, 14th February. There were 8 activities – Paper Pantograph, Wood Pantograph, Paper Circuits, Junk Sculptures, Fish Bone Sculptures, Harmonograph, Polymer Clay Art and Box Cards.

Download instructions for making a wood pantograph

Yet again another interesting workshop where we witnessed kids being innovative. Children were not restricted by any hard and fast rules hence the sky was the limit for their creativity. At the end of the workshop, we were pretty sure that the kids tasted the joy of learning through tinkering.

Kudos to the parents who allowed children to figure out how to Make things while guiding them  instead of telling them what was right and wrong. Afterall even Edison made umpteen mistakes before inventing a light bulb. I suppose, the spirit of resilience is also nutured in the process of Making.

Through such workshops parents and children  work together and bond with one another.

Such cool stuff made out of junk!

Such cool stuff made out of junk!

Foam Pantograph in the Making

Foam Pantograph in the Making


Awww, she loves Art and our workshop. This was an energy boost for us because we know that our effort is worthwhile.

Measurements for wood pantograph

Measurements for wood pantograph

Father and Daughter using the hot glue gun to glue junk together.

Father and Daughter using the hot glue gun to glue junk together

Snippets of certain incidents that stood out during the workshop :

While I was facilitating the Junk sculptures station where children glue random junk together to form cool sculptures, a mom told me “This is very cool, I think I get to learn more than my son when I come to such workshops”.  I was very happy to hear this because it is indeed a workshop for families as our title suggests where not only the kids are enlightened, but also their parents.

There was a significant number of kids who were asking me where to buy the hot glue gun and how much it costs. Many commented in the feedback forms that they would like to know where to purchase the raw materials. This goes on to show that they would probably go home and Make as well. It is very heart warming to hear such things.

Children are so passionate about Making and they take ownership of what they make. A child named Morgan explained to me how the castle he made works and the unique features which it contained. Another kid, Sophia, was telling me how she made her the polymer clay bear. There is so much satisfaction and pride when the children talk about what they Make.

Call for Makers to collaborate for Tampines Learning Fest

Our partner, Tampines Central Community Club is organising Play @ Tampines on 14 March 2015  at the  Open Plaza Tampines Mall (rooftop) from 11am to 3pm.

If you would like to take part contact Louis at

FAQs :
1. Who are the target audience?
Chideren aged 6 to 12, about 500 to 700 pax.

2. What kind of booths are expected – showcase or hands on?
We would like hands-on activities.

3. Indoor or Outdoor activities?
We have both outdoor and indoor (a small space).

4. Are powerpoints available?

5. Will Makers be able to sell items?

A few weeks ago we worked with Tampines Central Community Club and organised a Pop up Maker programme with around 1000 participants. Here are some of the activities we did then:

Engrossed in quilling

Engrossed in quilling

Preparing the pictures for the zoetrope

Preparing the pictures for the zoetrope

Making paper circuits with aluminium tapes as wires

Making paper circuits with aluminium tapes as wires

Children doing their own biting paper monster

Children doing their own biting paper monster


Facilitating at a Pop up Maker space

Before I joined Science Centre as an intern/temporary staff, words like “maker” and “tinkering” were at the bottom of my word bank. An Arts student like me  saw the beauty of Science through simple activities like “Paper circuits” and “Bristle bolts”. I saw the pure Physics that I painstakingly studied in secondary 4 come alive.

Barely 3 weeks into work and I feel that if I had been introduced to ‘Making’ since young, I would have been a more creative person who thinks out of the box.  The life of kids these days revolves around academics and the computer. They are given very minimal opportunities to hone their thinking skills but these are the kind of workshops which create innovative people.

Basic Paper Circuit

Basic Paper Circuit

While explaining to me what paper circuits are and how to make them, Dr Kiruthika made the paper circuit above. How many of us know that aluminium foil and aluminium tapes are alternatives of wires, because they conduct electricity? There is a huge gap between practical and theory.

Students who attended the Pop up Maker space at Poi Ching Primary School used that simple concept of electricity and made interesting things with it.

Another maker, Priyanka Gupta – founder of Just Love Crafts, came down to Tampines to teach the bursary award recipients quilling. Making is just so beautiful, it really feeds one’s soul. Moreover, quilling is not only for relaxation purposes ,it is useful as anything from decorative items to jewelry can be made using paper. Yes, you read it correctly, PAPER.

LEDs was incorporated into a quilled flower

LED was incorporated into a quilled flower

I saw the joy in children, parents and grandparents when they made items by themselves.

Grandmother qilled her own  butterfly

Grandmother quilled her own butterfly

Mother and children taking the idea of a basic ciruit and making intersting things

Mother and children taking the idea of a basic circuits and making interesting things

Look at the smiles on their faces! Making makes one happy indeed!

Look at the smiles on their faces! ‘Making’ makes people happy indeed

It was my pleasure to see people’s face light up upon making their own items and learning things which are not in their textbooks.

The pop up makerspace at Poi Ching Primary school was a real eye opener for me.

Interview with Shaun and Mantej

Last December, over 1500 people came together at Science Centre to participate in HourofCodeSG. The week long coding event was facilitated almost completely by volunteers and members of the Maker community. We are glad to share Lianhe Zaobao’s coverage of the event, as well as two student makers – Shaun and Mantej- who showcased their coding/ robotic creations at the HourofCodeSG.

14 Jan 15_Lianhe Zaobao_Page 8_From hacker to coding expert (2)

Summarised translation of the article:

In order to be better than others at computer games, Shaun Chua, picked up the skills for cracking online games, and inadvertently became interested in coding. The Higher Nitec student now no longer plays online games, but sends his free time coding to create electric toy cars and intelligent sensing system.

Shaun recently participated in Science Centre Singapore’s Hour of Code. He and 40 other volunteers demonstrated self-created robots and games, to interest children in coding. The event, attracted 1,500 children and parents.

15-year-old Mantej Singh was also a guide at Hour of Code, where he showcased his own robots. The ACS (Independent) student developed an interest in robotics after watching Terminator. At the age of 12, he was able to create robots using Lego toys that are controlled by computers.

About the Hour of Code, Mantej Singh said, “I participated in Hour of Code to share my knowledge with young ones, and showcased simple robotics apparatus to encourage them to explore the fun of coding.”

Making in Art Workshop in Feb


Join us on Feb 14th to make Drawing machines, Fish bone sculptures, Polymer clay art, Scrap metal art, Paper circuits etc and learn new skills such as Wood work, clay crafting, circuit design, and combining Arts, Science and Tech.

Register at

Making in Art Poster Final

Making: The Power to Create. Down memory Lane 2014

2014 has been a year where the Maker community in Singapore has grown by leaps and bounds. It was a wonderful year for the Maker Faire team as well, as we were more and more involved in the community events this year, with the aim of promoting Making in Education and families.

We started the year a Senja Cashew community club, where we supported the Hackidemia sessions at the Senja cashew Bursary awards.

Hackidemia session at the Senja Cashew community club

With more communities being interested in Making and learning, we moved on to the Tampines central community club in March, where we held our very first pop-up Makerspace, collaborating with Simplify 3D, Kids Parade, the Curious Design network, and the Ground up Initiative


3D printing showcase by Simplify 3D at the community pop-up makerspace – Tampines central community club


Maker Priyanka Datta teaches families about the joy of paper Quilling


We also began to bring the Maker movement into our own walls. We had the great pleasure of hosting several visiting Makers and inviting them to share, both with the Science Centre staff, as well as the visitors in Science Centre.

Andrew Quitmeyer and Marc Dusseiller facilitated a pop up Biotinkering space


Sakar, from Karkhana, sharing on the Make Break Innovate idea with the Science Centre staff

We also began to do Maker workshops for families – which have now become our signature learn thru Making workshops

Families tinker together in our regular Maker workshops. Kids learn basic Maker skills and learn how to use tools

April saw us in Shenzhen, learning from the Maker Faire Shenzhen. I must say that we were completely blown over by the scale and seriousness of the Chinese Makers.

A direct result of the Shenzhen visit was the family workshop by Karkhana – Make break, Innovate. Dipeshwor and colleagues, who were passing through Singapore on their way back from Hackteria in Yogyakarta, stopped to share their experiences, as well as conduct a short workshop on cardboard games.

Dipeshwor from Karkhana, with a family proudly displaying their cardboard game


When I say short, it often means that the workshop lasts way longer than planned, as participants usually continue to tinker and often do not want to leave the Maker workshop. Thats a very good thing, though I have now started to bring along cookies to the facilitator de-brief that happens after the workshops.

Two projects, which were the highlights of this year, were the Maker Faire bookbinding day and the Yarnbomb SG project. Both the projects were completely owned and organized by the community, and were excellent learning opportunities in how very creative projects can come out in a bottom-up manner.

Agatha Lee, one of the lead community Makers behind the YangbombSG project signs the yarnbombed pillar at SMMF’14


A teaser to bookbinding



After the warmth and generous support of the community through these projects, we launched the Hangouts initiative, a programme that allows the community to propose year round initiatives at the Science Centre, with the aim of reaching out to the public through tinkering and Making.

The Singapore Quillers meetup – held at Science Centre this December


In July, we held the biggest Singapore Mini Maker Faire  so far. Combined with the Singapore Mini Maker Faire Education day, which was held just a week prior, the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014 saw a gathering of over 250 makers with more than 150 maker exhibits, booths and workshops.

Kids light up the yarnbombed cardboard T-rex


Held at Senja Cashew community club, this was also the first time that the Maker Faire went to the heartlands in Singapore. The effect was awesome as we saw grandparents and grandchildren working, learning and Making together.

Repair Cafe at SMMF ’14



After a short break, the team came together again in October, to begin the Maker workshops for families. These workshops were an opportunity for kids and parents to experience learning with very loose structure and mostly experience the activities rather than learn about them. Facilitated by community Makers and volunteers, we also decided to make the workshops themed, so as to illustrate that Making is both interdisciplinary and widely applied. Watch out for the next Maker workshop in February, where we will be doing Making in Art on 14th February , 10am.

Families work together to make banana Pianos using Makey Makey

Family members work side by side to create marble machines out of everyday materials

Another highlight of this year was our visit to Maker Faire Japan. Invited by self proclaimed “Crazy Japanese Maker” Mazakasu Takasu, we spent a week in Tokyo immersing ourselves in the creative culture in Japan. We were astounded by the smooth way in which the Japanese transitioned from what could be considered as Japanese cultural crafts to stuff like Laser cutting and 3D printing – which are kind of the cornerstones of today’s Maker movement. This integration of the old with the new was almost seamless in Maker Faire Tokyo, leaving us completely open mouthed with amazement.

Laser engraved Japanese wood – the japanese style engraving was supposedly from EEG signals.


We also had the opportunity to discuss the burgeoning Maker Movement in Singapore and the Maker movement in Japan in an impromptu discussion with Nico Nico Beta – the Japanese equivalent of TEDx.

We ended the year on two high events. In order to raise awareness of coding as we move towards the Smart Nation campaign, we ran the Hour of Code from 8-14 March. at the Science Centre. With tech showcases from John O Brien, Henry Wong and several other Makers supplementing the online and offline coding activities, the event reached out to almost 2000 people. It was heartening to see kids as young as five years old grit their teeth as they worked out the higher levels of Lightbot – a gaming interface that taught children the basics of computer programming.

Families and kids programming at the Scientist for a Day. John Lim, in the foreground, shares how everyone can make a robot in less than half an hour by ‘hacking’ a remote control car



We also ran our first ever Maker Immersion camp in December –  a programme where we collaborated with local Makers to impart the idea of Making to children. Around 30 children took part in the Maker immersion camp, where they went through sessions on design thinking, fabric hacking, electronics and coding, interspersed with talks on the Maker culture and Making.

Kids and facilitators working on paper circuits during the Maker immersion camp


It was a very busy 2014 and 2015 looks even more busy and happening. We do hope that we can reach out to enable more families to embrace the process of Making as part of their daily lives. Watch this space for more stories and happenings  from the Maker Faire team.