Turning ideas into reality

Hovering above the rest

Kartikey atop his hoverboard, with team members (from left) Jeffrey Teo, Vairavan Ramanathan, Jerome Castaneda and Dennis Chu. The craft was created using two leaf blowers and discarded plastics.
Kartikey atop his hoverboard, with team members (from left) Jeffrey Teo, Vairavan Ramanathan, Jerome Castaneda and Dennis Chu. The craft was created using two leaf blowers and discarded plastics.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Over the weekend, Maker Faire Singapore, a gathering of inventors and creators, welcomed a record 600 makers, 330 maker booths and 78 workshops. One of the main events of the Singapore Science Festival 2016, Maker Faire Singapore was held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The Straits Times speaks to three makers.

Dismantling a remote control car was what first ignited the passion of Kartikey Agarwal, then 10, for making and creating.

Now 13, the Grade 9 student of Overseas Family School led the Hovercraft Team, one of the teams at Maker Faire Singapore.

Kartikey, attending the Faire for the first time as a maker, designed a hovercraft with a wooden base floating above cushions of air, created using two leaf blowers and plastics discarded around Farrer Road.

The team, which has six other members aged 21 to 42, brought smiles to visitors as they glided across the floor on the hoverboards.

It seemed simple. But team members said the challenge was that there were no real standards for how to create a hoverboard.

Mr Vairavan Ramanathan, 21, said: "There are no templates out there for how a hovercraft looks or how to actually build it."

UNLEASHING THE IMAGINATION

We don't want to put a limit on ideas. We want to encourage everyone to have limitless imagination. Make big ideas happen.

OMG COMMUNITY MANAGER SETH LOH

But Kartikey said: "You don't need to know everything. Just apply what you know and have fun."

He said he could not have done it without the supportive environment provided by the One Maker Group (OMG) community. Set up in 2014, OMG - a consortium of six partners, including 3D resource provider Simplifi3d and social enterprise Sustainable Living Lab - aims to foster a design innovation culture and entrepreneurship.

Kartikey's team was one of nine OMG teams at the Faire. Projects by the other teams included a machine that recycles plastic waste, "misbehaving umbrellas" that close when people approach them, and a machine spraying cotton candy.

OMG community manager Seth Loh, 29, said that, sometimes, inventions do not have to be practical.

He said: "We don't want to put a limit on ideas. We want to encourage everyone to have limitless imagination. Make big ideas happen."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Hovering above the rest'. Print Edition | Subscribe