I'm writing this on the train back from Newcastle after attending this years Maker Faire. I've attended each Newcastle Maker Faire and it's been fantastic witnessing it grow each year. Many of the groups displaying their projects are veterans of previous Faires and it's inspiring seeing their projects develop from one year to the next. A growing faire means new groups and although some themes are repeated many groups have truly unique projects.
As last year I've put together a short video capturing some of the activity at this maker faire. It's difficult capturing more than a sliver of what makes this event great so I encourage you to click through to the project websites. I'll link to as many as I can below the video over the next few days but for the moment would encourage you to visit the official website.
I can't find a link for the roving wheelie bins but more information on the fire breathing dragon is available here.
I can't find a link for the first robot. The second robot was from mbed. The third robot was part of a very large exhibit but again I'm struggling to find a link. The fourth scene of robots were from robochallenge. The final ground based bot was from robosavvy.
The standing wave flame tube was from Steve Mould. The wind up music disc was from the North of England Arduino Group organised by Mike Cook. I'm not sure who was responsible for the heart beat light sculpture. The interactive light table was built by Oli and the digital grafetti wall was built by the Jam Jar Collective and the musical tesla coils were from Brightarcs.
I went down to Newcastle today for the Maker Faire which is being run as part of the Newcastle Science Fest'10. I went down to participate last year and have been looking forward to this years event since. The Maker Faire isn't a full on technical meetup; there is a lot of emphasis on family fun style activities. Having said that though there is plenty of people working on some really interesting things. Below I've included a video highlighting some of what caught my eye. I'm heading down again next weekend for the BarCampNorthEast3 event. Again, I attended this event last year and had a fantastic time. As I'm writing this there are still 28 tickets available so if you're in or can get to Newcastle do check it out. In addition to the exhibitors in the video there are also several I would particularly like to highlight but couldn't include in the video principally due to my poor photography skills
- The Webcycle is an interesting project which limits the speed of your internet connection based on how hard you're cycling. The faster you cycle the faster the internet connection. Also here.
- The Curiosity Collective took the google maps directions a little too literally and ended up travelling to Newcastle from Ipswich via The Netherlands. They had a variety of projects this year around the concept of mapping.
- Sugru was in attendance demoing their moldable silicone. Definitely the type of thing worth keeping with the Duct tape.
- CamBam were showing what their software could do when coupled to a CNC milling machine.
- Hexapodrobot had a number of their robots on their stand. The finish on them really looked very professional.
- The Open Energy Monitor project had a demo of their technology.
- Brian Degger and Cathal Garvey were showcasing DIY Biology. The idea being to take idea of the garage based startup from the software world and transfering it to biology. Given that my principal interest is in biology/biochemistry/biomedicine I'm really not sure what to make of this. It definitely needs further consideration; I may well post about this again in the future.
- Mike Cook was demonstrating several of his projects with the Arduino project. Definitely worth a look as are his tutorials.
- Oomlout were demoing a number of their projects. It's a wonder they find time to run what is probably the best UK based shop for Arduino related goodness. Check them out.
- Power Tool Drag Racing
- Dry Ice effect smoke machine
- The cocktail table by Oli Wood.
- Rubot II by Pete Redmond.
I have recently returned to a project I began last winter. The project is to design an alarm clock which eases waking up on these dark and dismal winter mornings. The idea is fairly simple. 30 minutes or so before I want to wake up a bank of LEDs will begin to shine simulating the dawn. This will hopefully prime me for the alarm itself. Last winter I had the time working with a DS1307 real-time clock and was able to control the LEDs through an Arduino.
Although I'm keeping the real-time clock I'm switching the LEDs from white to blue light and I'm adding in an LCD to display the time and likely allow programming. So far I have soldered the bank of LEDs up so they are almost ready to go and setup the Arduino to pull the current time from the DS1307 and then display it on the LCD. So far the project is going well. Hopefully this year I'll actually finish it while it is still of some use. When spring comes around I'll let nature do the work.
The code is straightforward and is little more than pulling together code put together by others. Specifically the tutorials for the LiquidCrystal library and this tutorial on interfacing with the DS1307. The code can be viewed here.