You could say that Andrew’s DIY spirit was inherited – or at least modeled from an early age. He grew up in rural Minnesota in a house his parents built out of an old barn. This taught him the importance and power of repurposing available materials and self-reliance. In college, he discovered that Arduino was the technology that could finally bring the ideas and concepts he imagined into reality. According to Andrew, “Creative applications of technology are a wide open and mostly unexplored expanse for people who are willing to cut their own path.” Andrew credits Barry Kudrowitz at the University of Minnesota’s Product Design department with radically shifting his perspective on what it means to be a highly creative engineer.
Andrew works with technology to solve real-world problems. While working at a college in San Francisco, he built sensors to acquire data to show how his colleagues’ workshops were being used, particularly at the end of the semester. His colleagues were feeling overwhelmed by the activity but consistently unable to get the funding for additional employees to be hired. The sensor data showed drastically high usage and resulted in additional people being hired very quickly.
But it is Andrew’s more playful side that you will see at the faire – in the form of the Limbus Lab. Andrew has transformed an old school bus into his research lab. At the faire, you can visit the lab to interact with Andrew’s technology in a friendly, empowering environment. What will Andrew’s inventive and whimsical contraptions inspire you to create?
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire on May 14 may be your last chance to see Andrew Maxwell-Parish in Minnesota for a while. Shortly after the faire, he is headed out of state on a new adventure in Texas to manage a hospital makerspace at the University of Texas – Medical Branch.