BANANAS! (Sunday)

Well, the second day of BANANAS! was as enjoyable as the first!

BANANAS!

The banana synth was as popular as on the Saturday – the only thing we changed there was to replace some of the blacker bananas. We did tweak a few other things elsewhere though…

Being 2 members of staff down, we couldn’t run the BANANAS! Adventures movie-making activity – but it did mean that the Monkey Maze saw a lot more action.

Masks too, of course:

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

Once suitably attired, our intrepid trained monkeys entered the perilous maze, ready to be guided around the numerous hazards. That was the plan, anyway: it was interesting to watch how one dad’s idea to send a monkey under the ginormous spider’s web propagated throughout the rest of the day!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

This became so much of a thing that some trained monkeys became deaf to any instructions that seemed to be guiding them in any other direction!

Meanwhile we had a couple of extremely dedicated MaKey MaKey tinkerers. We really liked their systematic exploration of all that was possible!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

We learned a lot too – for example the grounding properties of the building itself!

BANANAS!

Over at the video game area, we had set things up so that the trigger pads for controlling the monkey we some large tin-foil patches taped to the ground just that little bit too far away from each other.

BANANAS!

It was great watching families and other groups (we had a Brownie six(?) in at one point) figuring out ways to work together to play the game.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

We loved the way this introduced more team-working, creativity and movement.

I think these are my two favourite images from Sunday:

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

All of our photos and videos from the day can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyandvaried/sets/72157634923469089/

BANANAS! (Saturday)

Wah-hey! That was fun!

We spent the afternoon at The Public running a series of drop-in activities themed around fruit and technology. There may have been a few monkeys, too…

BANANAS! takes over the Long Room at The Public

We’ve uploaded photos and videos from the day to this Flickr set. Below are but a tiny selection to give you a feel for the day…

Greeting people as they entered the space was our banana synth. We had a few stars happy to have a tinkle, as well as others who explored playing music via their face; seeing how many bananas they could trigger at once (this also required use of the face); and how long a chain of people they could use to play notes.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

We had a good selection of monkey masks made, and when suitable kitted up, trained monkeys were sent into the perilous maze to avoid the dangers and try and find the banananananananas of myth and legend.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

We also had a table full of experimentation with MaKey MaKey circuits, pencil traces and pineapples.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

Skills learned here were then transferred to a selection of monkey and banana-related video games that needed funkier controllers.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

Meanwhile, various other bananas could be seen having various exploits around the building as people made some action adventure movies with them.

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

The good news is we get to do it all again tomorrow between 11 and 2. Come and join us – we think the banana synth alone is worth the journey!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS!

BANANAS! info and ideas

This page give extra information for the BANANAS! event a The Public in August 2013.

Things we used:

MaKey Makey

MaKey MaKey board

MaKey MaKey board

This is the little gadget that we used for the Banana Synth and the game controllers, it helps you make all sorts of different things into touchpad controllers.

Here is their website: http://www.makeymakey.com/

Games

Here are links to some of the games we played with our MaKey MaKey controllers:

Training your Monkey

Here is a Monkey Language sheet for you to download and print.

The inspiration for this activity came from Dr Techniko.

Things you can try at home:

How to tattoo a banana

Step-by-step instructions for how to make cool designs on a banana.

5-minute ice cream

A fabulous way of making your own ice cream!

Banana recipes

If you have more than 5 minutes and want to make some banana-based food, how about trying one of these BBC recipes?

Initial planning for BANANAS!

This weekend we’re running a load of crazyfun activities themed around bananas and technology.

There’s lots to get ready: from giant fruit and projected video games through to mask templates and novelty synthesisers. But the plus side is that we have to test them all and come up with all the cool ideas (well the first layer, anyway – we’re sure you’ll add plenty more inventiveness on top of what we start off with!).

Here are some photos from our initial planning meeting:

BANANAS! initial planning session

BANANAS! initial planning session

BANANAS! initial planning session

It wasn’t long before other people in the office were coming over to see what was going on. Turns out Dave-from-Marketing’s got some latent musical talent, too!

We’ll be using MaKey MaKey for a couple of the activities and we’re anticipating them being, shall we say, quite energetic, so I’ve also started making an extension/fortification board to a) make things a bit more robust b) make it easier to access as many different inputs as possible and c) provide a way of connecting a variety of different leads.

MaKey MaKey robustified

MaKey MaKey robustified

Today I’ll be making some of the things that will get attached to it. The question is, what will people then attach to the other ends of the cables?! Come along on Saturday or Sunday to find out.

Maker Night #4

A quiet night last night – I think we were all feeling the effects of the muggy weather!

Maker Night 3

A mix of returners and new faces, but all aware that there are only 2 Maker Nights remaining as part of this series at The Public, talk turned again to what made the sessions valuable and what should happen after Many & Varied depart.

We covered a lot of other subjects too including: LibraryBoxes, being able to see Saturn (or not), Iridium flares, harmonographs and giving the rugby-types at school electric shocks.

A nice phrase that came up a few times was “being a bit crap”: the importance of having a space in which you can make the mistakes you learn from; a place where you don’t have to be perfect.

Pi-Lite shield for the Raspberry Pi

A Furby shell awaiting a new face.

For the next session (6th of August) there is talk of Big Red Buttons.

There’s also a general call out for people who may have experience of working with touchscreens – do you know how to programme them? We also have someone who’s interested in using either ethernet or wi-fi connected Arduino for home automation – if you have any experience with either of these and can feed into his thinking that would be great.

Maker Night #3

For the third Maker Night at The Public we had a nice mix of returners and new faces.

I remember looking up from the middle of a stint at trying to figure out some code and being very impressed at the range of activities going on around the table: drawing, mask-making, traffic control (a nice Arduino model of some traffic lights with a pedestrian crossing), illustration, morse code and aspirations for tai-chi tracking kinect sensors!

traffic control

20130709_195201

We’re starting to get some nice link-ups between people’s projects too: with inspiration and know-how flowing in different directions. Another recurring theme is how Maker Nights are proving to be a really nice ring-fenced space that people are using to get on with the creative activities that they normally don’t get around to.

We’re halfway through our run of Maker Nights as part of our stint at The Public. The next one is on Tuesday the 23rd of July, drop-in and join us any time between 5 and 9:30pm.

Jamboree feedback

Just gathering a few bits of feedback from the day…

It all went swimmingly. Or at least as swimmingly as things can go without anything getting wet. Which was in itself an achievement, given the amount of indoor cycling.

I can now correctly identify the absence of birds from a field; various people now appreciate whole new linguistic dimensions to beer-spilling; my Macgyver-spec swiss army knife no longer bears the blunt (see what I did there) of two decades of impromptu wire stripping, while Macgyver himself saved the world from sulphuric acid and terible 80s shoes. I smoothed dead vegetables without the aid of abrasives; got improvisational with XLR cables; wished I’d brought an oscilloscope; introduced various people to the Dark Side; successfully picked some locks (one of which was a fiddly bastard); ate the correct number of poppadoms[1]; received a hands-on practical demonstration of harmonic oscillation from a two-year-old; got oil on my head; somehow managed to acquire a Rasperry Pi and at no point fell out of a hammock.

Really, what’s not to like?

[1] Too many

Lots of interesting stuff going on, and a great space to invade for the day.

[...]we went to the Big Skills Share Jamboree, on Saturday, and it was great fun. Morgan was kept busy playing with the other two kids who were there, plus beanbags and squishy balls and giant lego, so Mom & Dad got to do some interesting things. Was nice to not just be teaching locks all day! I did an hour session and taught 7(?) women how to open a basic lock, and one lady opened all the way up to a 6 pin lock in short order!

9/10 – Would definitely recommend. Could have been easier to find the place, and the car parking, but that’s not Nikki’s fault – who puts up the road signs from the dual carriageway, then doesn’t put one up at either of the last 2 roundabouts?!

I really enjoyed it as well! I was too engrossed in my circuit bending to get involved with other stuff, but even then I had lots of fun and help from some great people!

and possibly my favourite from someone who missed out:

Holy shit thats amazing! …there’s loads of stuff I need to know in there, shame I’m busy all day tomorrow. Never even knew stuff like this existed

The Great Big Skills Share Jamboree

<-- This way to the skills

We did it!

I’m not going to attempt to list all the things that happened, all the skills that were shared and all the new things that were discovered, as I would inevitably leave too much out – there was a lot!

The Great Big Skills Share Jamboree

The photos are probably worth the several thousand words that would be required…

Many, many thanks to all the people who came and contributed in their own unique ways. (Also those who supported the event from afar.)

We’ll be doing this again at some point!

Maker Night #2

Coming in the same week as The Great Big Skills Jamboree, the write-up’s been a little slow, however here are a few photos from our 2nd Maker Night at The Public…

The first wave of Makers get started:
Makers

After a quick lesson in how to solder, one chap (sorry, I can’t remember everyone’s names!) embarked on this project – a shield for a Raspberry Pi computer:
soldering project

Antonio’s on a mission to learn how to glitch visuals through sound input. Here are a few of his early experiments using live images from a webcam and tone generated through PureData:

glitch patches

Many & Varied Maker Night

Many & Varied Maker Night

The second wave of Makers wanted to do some drawing. So they did!

drawing

This is, I think, the key thing about Maker Nights – they are what you want them to be. Bring whatever you’re interested in along on Tuesday the 9th of July and join us for the next one!