The Capital Region's first Mini Maker Faire is this Saturday at Emma Willard. So far more than 50 makers are signed up, with all kinds of projects -- from interactive maps and robotics to wearable electronics and bike generators.
Some of the projects are more whimsical, if no less technical or nerdy. One that caught our eye: a flying pizza box created by 10-year-old Emma Edgar.
Yep, she took a pizza box and made it fly.
A 5th grader at Glenmont Elementary, Emma loves reading, riding horses, and pretty much anything having to do with animals. But she especially loves making stuff. "I like putting my creative senses to work. I just love art and anything that involves creativeness."
Her interest in remote control came via her dad, but it was also fueled by a Girl Scout program. "They had an awesome Lego Mindstorm project going on with RPI," says Emma. "We built some small robots -- six inches tall-- that kicked a ball. And we built one that, when it passed a dark spot on the table, would stop or slow down."
So... the idea for a flying pizza box?
"I was thinking of inventing a new way of pizza delivery. I was flying remote control airplanes already and I just thought, why not have a pizza box that could be delivered to your door? But there's no pizza man. It would fly to your door."
For a lot of 10 year olds (or, you know, 30 year olds), that's where an idea might stop. And maybe years later they'd tell people about the crazy thing they thought up when they were ten. But Emma's dad, Marc Edgar, an engineer and remote control hobbyist, is a pretty encouraging guy. "I said, 'That sounds like fun. If I got the parts for you, would you make it?'"
Marc purchased the parts from a remote control hobby website, but he says Emma did most of the building herself. Then the two began visiting pizza shops to find just the right box.
"It was fun getting the boxes," Emma laughs. "We went to a lot of pizza shops. We wanted a bigger box -- some weren't as big as we needed. Big boxes are better because, for wings, there would be more air for it to push down and go slower."
After four or five tries, they found one that could be turned into what's essentially a remote-controlled airplane. "It was reallllly cooool," says Emma, " We just threw it -- it's just soaring up there and you want it to turn this way and it does. It's just this interesting feeling when you build it and get it up there in there air. I built this. I made it able to fly. It's a great sensation."
Emma and Marc have been flying their pizza box in the backyard, and in a Bethlehem town park, where they continue to tweak it and put on some finishing touches. They'll be displaying it for the public on Saturday at the Emma Willard Mini Maker Faire.
Photos courtesy of Marc Edgar and Lynn Edgar.
AOA is a media sponsor of the Emma Willard Mini Maker Faire.
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