The Tinkering Studio returns to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire with all essential Maker elements: new projects and eclectic materials. Do-it-yourself science. Things that may or may not work as expected. And prototypes that you can help test and shape with your own experiments.

tinkering-8 Offering projects in the prototype stage comes naturally. “It’s what we’re really good at,” says Ryoko Matsumoto of the Tinkering Studio, part of San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum. “We spend a lot of time with our activities at the prototype stage to craft an experience that has the qualities we care about, but whenever we are developing something new, we try to bring it out on the museum floor and test it with visitors as soon as possible.”

Their new balance activity began just two weeks ago, and Ryoko says she’s excited to try it out with visitors at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, a kind of “extended home base.” Since it’s so early in development, there are “definitely some kinks to work on,” and the exhibit can be shaped and refined with the experience of visitors.

This new project aims to incorporate different kinds of materials, particularly LEGO Technic pieces. In addition to the new project, the Tinkering Studio will also bring other Exploratorium exhibits on the theme of balance, including:

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Unstable Table

Take it from the Top

Balancing stick

Each comes from the Exploratorium’s traditional exhibits. They offer several layers of participation “so that people can experiment with the same scientific principles – balance – on different scales,” says Ryoko.

Such refining of an exhibit through visitor participation perfectly fits the principles of the Tinkering Studio, a place where e “visitors can slow down, become deeply engaged in an investigation of scientific phenomena, and make something—a piece of a collaborative chain reaction.”  While their projects can spring from the intricate designs of visiting artists, scientists, and inventors, each goes out to visitors in a spirit of collaborative activity, says Ryan Jenkins, a member of their team. Exhibits aim to offer entry into exploration – a fitting goal for the Studio and the EB Mini-Maker Faire.tinkering-2

So what exactly can you make and do with their new exhibit? Even they don’t know before you arrive. Come visit and see.

Read more about The Tinkering Studio and the East Bay Mini Maker Faire here.

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