Tessa, our robot elephant, has moved into the Barclays Eagle Lab in Brighton, where we’re going to make improvements to it. Today it was welcomed by the CEO of Barclays UK Ashok Vaswania and a group of local school kids who were learning to code.
Children busily making circuits, at a workshop I ran today as part of the Brighton Science Festival. They made a miniature mushroom lamp and a little wooden house with a light that comes on when it goes dark.
A group of us from BuildBrighton hackerspace, spent the weekend learning about the open web at the Mozilla Festival in London. Highlights for me included discovering free CAD software Fusion 360, having a laugh programming a Raspberry Pi and hanging out with hackerspace members, away from the space.
We had a fun journey home via the River Thames.
For my final year project, I designed a simple circuit board made from press studs and aluminuim foil. It works likes a simplified electronic breadboard, with off-the-shelf components, to allow easy progression to traditional electronics.
The product is about changing unfounded perceptions, by highlighting the craft aspects of designing electronics and by lowering the emphasis on prior technical ability. It isn’t intended to be how people make circuits forever. It’s about having an experience that shows electronics doesn’t have to be ‘techy’ and there are ways to use the skills crafts people have to come up with creative projects that use power.
It’s about sparking a can do attitude for electronics.
The conductive strips, made from aluminium foil, are on the top of the board, so it’s clear which press studs are connected together, This is different to standard breadboards, where it’s not obvious if the connections go horizontally or vertically.
The press studs can be used in 4 different ways. Components can be inserted into the holes, crocodile clips can be attached to the protruding section and conductive ribbon can placed between the top and bottom press stud. Finally, the top press stud can be sewn to ribbon using conductive thread, creating fabric based components.
Yesterdays robot session at the BuildBrighton hackerspace had a great turnout and a buzzing atmosphere.
There’s a write up about the event on the BuildBrighton website here.
When Pleos are turned on, it’s easy to forget they’re robots. They squeal when you hold them by their tail and cuddling calms them down. Kids love it when they fall asleep, because it seems as though the dinosaur likes them. A colour sensor on the nose detects green, so waggling a leaf under it’s nose encourages it to eat, of course only when it’s hungry.
I bought some second hand Pleos from eBay and took the covering off one to see the tech inside.