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It is the month of George Town Festival 2014 with a lot of fun-filled venture down the memory lane in Penang. In the irony of it all, a group of approximately 33 makers from Singapore, Japan, China, Indonesia and Malaysia brought the future (the possibilities) to the center of the heritage site. The Maker Villa Penang is a 3-day maker camp that took place right in the heart of Penang from the 20th to the 22nd of August 2014. The camp brought together a group of local and international makers, ranging from Do-It-Yourself (DIY) artists, crafters, designers, scientists and engineers.

As asserted by Mr William Hooi, the founder of Singapore Makers, who has led the team to Penang, “We start with the premise that great innovation comes about when interesting people comes together.”

We are born makers

The term “maker” is new to most Malaysians, but the makers have shown us that the spirit of DIY can be found in the lives of many people. The maker movement is a growing sub-culture of people who wants to become more self-reliant in DIY, especially in tinkering with emerging technologies such as 3D printing, DIY robotics, electronics and gadgets.

The event was organized by The Hyperflow Group in hopes to break down the walls between art, design and technology, providing great opportunity for many to learn, build and share ideas.

“It is our intention to make Maker Villa into a nexus of cultural and technological exchange bringing together makers/hackers from various domains for a few days of learning, staying, eating, building stuff together.  And most importantly is to appreciate the cultural diversity and heritage in Georgetown, Penang!” said William when he was asked about the objectives of Maker Villa Penang.

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Camping for days in the Ren I Tang Penang, there were many interesting activities carried out throughout the event. Here are some of the highlights.

Maker Movie Screening

The activity was held in the evening of the first day in Via Pre with a great turnout. It’s a networking session that focused on a special screening of the Maker Movie featuring the maker movements in the United States. The event was graced by the presence of many prominent participants, which includes Dato‘ Sri Stephen Yeap.

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Maker Forum

The event was held in Penang Science Cafe (PSC) @Krystal Point. Besides trying to “make the plant sing” with some hands on soldiering, the following are the keynotes of the day.

Welcome Address by Mr Ooi PE, Penang Science Cafe
Keynote Address by YB Yap SH, State Assemblywoman for Pulau Tikus
Maker Plenary

  • Mr Yoon CL, Bizwise Consulting — ‘Technology landscape in Penang/Malaysia’
  • Mr Curry Khoo, Tech4Penang — ‘Start-up entrepreneurship in Penang/Malaysia’
  • Mr YC Lee, Invest Penang
  • Mr Ian Lesnet/Jinhe Lin, Dangerousprototypes (Shenzhen) — ‘Best practices for open hardware projects’
  • Ms Maria Tsuruoka, Symax Inc (Japan) — ‘A Japanese maker’s journey in medical healthcare start-up’
  • Mr Andreas Siagian, LifePatch (Indonesia) — ‘SquareSynth DIY instrument making’

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Trip to Keysight Technologies

An insightful tour around the new Keysight campus, organized by the wonderful and friendly Keysight team. Before the makers had a wonderful glimpse of the Gen Y-friendly office, they received a warm welcome speech from Mr Chan Keng Cheong, the Keysight’s VP of Global Procurement and Materials.

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Makers Workshop

The workshop was a session held in the Ren I Tang on the third day of the camp. It’s a session where makers and enthusiasts get to be creative. The workshop cultivates not just creativity with the Dodomons, but as well as learning simple circuitry with circuit stickers (courtesy of Chibitronics) to light up the Dodomons. On top of that, there also an exploration of 3D printing using the handheld device or a desktop printer device.

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All photos courtesy of Khek Soon Law.

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