Our first of six Maker Nights is on Tuesday night.
Blank canvases are always a little daunting, so we’ve seeded a few things for you to think about and get your creative juices flowing: basic skills in Arduino and soldering, as well as leaping around like a crazy leapy thing (see below). You are of course welcome to work on projects of your own devising too!
Basic skills: Arduino
Our background is in the hackspace movement and interactive art, where Arduino is a nifty little computing device that can link the digital and physical worlds. It makes it very easy to do amazing things even if, like us, you’ve never had any formal programming training.
Check out the Arduino section on Instructables for a few examples of what’s possible. On the page as we type are step-by-step instructions for projects like a capacitive touch piano, an Iron Man costume, a morse code generator, robots, blinky lights and a hacked Roomba.
We’ve got 2 Arduino kits available for you to use at Maker Nights to try out and learn the basics. Bring a laptop with the Arduino software installed on it and we’ll help you get some LEDs blinking as the first step towards your mad inventions!
If anyone feels like making a Loud Noise Device that we can use for The Great Big Skills Share Jamboree, that would be most appreciated. We’d like something fun (and LOUD!) we can use to time participant introductions and the skills-sharing sessions.
Basic skills: Soldering
There are lots of kits around for cool things that you can make yourself. To do this you’ll need to be able to solder. Again, we have 2 soldering kits for you to use and we can teach you the basics so you feel comfortable to work independently on your projects.
Leaping around like a crazy leapy thing
We gave them a quick test yesterday:
It’s a lot of fun!
Basically you can connect up different things to the board and then use these to simulate keyboard button presses and mouse clicks.
For our first attempt we sliced up some space blanket, gaffa taped it to the floor, connected the MaKey MaKey and loaded up a game featuring a jumping monkey. It may have had us jumping around a fair bit too…
- Find a fun-looking online game that needs only simple key presses to play (out of the box the MaKey Makey supports left/right/up/down cursor arrows, space bar, mouse click, W, A, S, D, F and G).
- Make a note of the URL so you can find it again.
- Bring in some things that might make interesting interfaces. The instruction booklet says “Anything even slightly conductive should work”. Tin foil, coins, graphite pencils, silverware, humans, plants, fruits, water, marshmallows, Play-Doh…
- Combine game, objects and MaKey MaKey to invent a game that’s crazy silly and fun to play!
The Youth Orchestra will be downstairs with their tuck shop, so there’s easy access to calories and additives to fuel this process!
So: see you there!
We’ll be up on the 3rd floor in the Long Room. If you go to the reception desk near the main entrance the staff will give you directions. Drop in any time between 5 and 9:30ish. The Maker Nights are free, as is the wi-fi.
Please note: The main café closes at 4:30, but you should be able to find somewhere selling food on the nearby high street if you need to.