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Mini-Maker Faire wants Ottawa's crafters, techno-dabblers, hackers

A Blackberry powered Nerf gun and interactive pendants that glow when wearers meet are just two examples of neat technology at this year's Mini-Maker Faire and event organizers are calling for more of Ottawa's tinkerers, dabblers and hackers to take part.

"Young people are excited about these new technologies," said the faire's co-organizer Remco Volmer. He urged anyone in Ottawa who likes to take things apart and put them back together, or make new technology, to show off their pet projects at the event from August 31 to September 1.

"We put a high value on getting young people involved," said Volmer. That's the reason the free family-friendly event is now being held at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, he said, adding that some workshops will let kids program their own robots to paint pictures and other activities will have them working with a 3D printer and a hacked foosball table that keeps score.

Being a "maker" is all about adopting the philosophy of taking things apart to find out how they work - something that has gone by the wayside as it became more difficult for people to open up new technologies and tinker with them, Volmer said.

"It's about the idea that when you share knowledge, that moves things along faster than when you have a closed system," he added. Volmer hopes that this year the fair will expand its number of makers exhibitors from 20 last year to 50 in 2013 and three times the number of kids and parents.

"It's a big show and tell where people show what they're working on," Volmer said. "It doesn't have to be a finished product. It's about process and showing kids that the fun thing is that there isn't an area that you can't hack."

The Mini-Maker Faire runs From August 31 to September 1 at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

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