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Houston we have lift off: LaunchPad visits the Houston Mini Maker Faire

 As you probably know, one of my favorite things to do is visit Maker Faires, and we in Houston are lucky to have a growing one. This year the Houston Mini-Maker Faire doubled in size and was hosted at a new venue: The George R. Brown Convention center in downtown Houston. Jason Kridner from the BeagleBoard.org Foundation, Cathy Wicks from the TI University program, and I went to spread the word about rapid prototyping with TI technology.

Jason brought a few of the classic hacks including the infamous BeagleStache Camera as well as some cool new ones. Two of my favorites were the Sitara™ AM335x-processor-based BeagleBone Black quadcopter and his low-cost development system. By combining a BeagleBone Green ($40 USD) from Seeed Studio with a Chromebook (~$100) you can put together an extremely capable development system for less than $200!

I of course brought lots of LaunchPad™ kits. One of my favorite new builds that I brought is a game of snake. I combined some software (originally written for an Arduino) with a LaunchPad kit using Energia. With a few simple tweaks I was able to get the game running on some Olimex 8x8 RGB LED displays. I even was able to add wireless controls using an MSP432™ MCU LaunchPad, an Anaren CC110L BoosterPack™ plug-in module, and the new Educational BoosterPack MKII.

We had a ton of people come by the booth and even got to teach some young engineers about how to turn their dreams into reality.

Next year the event organizers plan for the event to be even bigger and it may even become an official non-mini Maker Faire!

Thanks to everyone who exhibited and all the attendees for coming out to make this a successful Maker Faire. I hope to see all of you at a future Maker Faire. What will you make?

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