If, like me, you’ve never been a Boy Scout or taken part in a Pinewood Derby — and especially if the thought of having to adhere to pages and pages of specifications makes your creativity faucet run dry — then the Nerdy Derby is for you.
Created by students at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, the beauty of the Nerdy Derby is that anything goes. Cars should fit the track, which is standard Pinewood Derby dimensions (with additional dips, and the promise of a few electronic “bells and whistles”). Beyond that, the only stipulation is to “use common sense when it comes to safety.” Cars can be any size or employ any kind of material.
Prizes will be awarded in categories like “The Underdog,” “Not So Pretty,” and “Delicious.” In the video above, racers are built from a pull-toy and a wedge of cheese.
The first running of the Nerdy Derby take place September 29 and 30 at Maker Faire New York at the Hall of Science in Queens. Visitors will be invited to bring their own cars to race, use a pre-built car, or build a car at the on-site workshop.
And if you’re at Maker Faire New York, be sure to stop by the GeekDad/GeekMom booth and say hi! We’ll be there with fun activities for families, including projects from my robotics book, and I’ll be giving a talk about “Low Tech/No Tech Robotics Projects for Kids” inspired by real robots made from everyday stuff.