The region’s biggest science fair got off to a bang – and a crunch – as a huge robotic hand squashed a car in its almighty grip.
The Maker Faire UK, at Newcastle’s Life Centre, is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors from across the globe over the next two days.
More than 300 exhibits, shows and hands-on attractions await – assuming families make it past the Robohand, a giant recycling robot and a fire-breathing dragon.
“It was quite a spectacular opening but we’ve got so much still to come,” said Life’s sciencecommunications director IanSimmonds.
“There’s Binbot, who’s quite a few metres high and made of pink wheelie bins – he’ll be stalking round the square.
“People will be laying a small railway, and we’ve a music stage with all sorts of performers, including Space Dog, who use ventriloquist dummies and theramins to create some quite spooky sounds.
“And there’s lots of local groups among the about 300 makers turning up, doing all sorts of different things.
“Usually we see about 10,000 people come through the doors from all over the UK and beyond – this weekend I think we’ve got people coming from as far away as the USA, Morocco and Japan.”
Yesterday, the six-tonne, eight-metre long Robohand wowed schoolchildren, passers-by and academics from Newcastle University as it officially opened the Faire by crushing a green Fiat with its huge hydraulic fingers.
The audience clapped and cheered as the hand crunched through glass and metal, while local drum group Spark! performed for the audience in Times Square.
“We’re very proud to be hosting the UK’s official Maker Faire at Life,” said the Centre’s chief executive Linda Conlon.
“Newcastle has a proud history of making, inventing, science and engineering so it’s the perfect place for a national event that celebrates ingenuity, entrepreneurship and creativity.
“Maker Faire UK is not only a great day out for everyone but it’s also a fantastic way to get young people interested in science and technology and for everyone to have a go at making interesting things.”
Tickets for the Faire cost from £8.95 per adult and £6.45 per child and are available from the LifeCentre reception.