Today I got home late from work, but right after dinner Josh and I started on his school project. He has to make a poster with 3D elements incorporated so we decided to start with headlights added to a car.
Josh was a big help with the soldering. He was in charge of stripping insulation off the wires and dispensing the solder as I operated the iron. I keep forgetting how long it takes to wire up even the most simple circuit. I’m guessing we spent about an hour getting things all wired up. It even has a nice little button switch on the front for people to press. We finished just in time for bed. Luckily it all worked on the first try!
Here are the results:
Josh still has some work to do incorporating his essay onto the poster as well as adding a few more (less technical) 3D elements. Those will come tomorrow night.
Wow, I had such a great time exhibiting at Vermont’s first ever Maker Faire yesterday! I didn’t have much to present other than an older project I built that I call the “Critter Twitter Trap”. I almost didn’t even make it to the event as I’ve been flat out busy with Work and Home responsibilities. Hacking and “Making” is my lifelong passion so I couldn’t possibly pass it up. I worked from about 9:30pm – 2am Saturday morning to pull things together for my booth.
It was really neat to see that a few of the “last minute” things pulled together were extremely popular with visitors. One was a Arduino powered laser trip wire built from a standard laser pointer pen. When guests “broke” the beam I had random sounds played through an external speaker. That was programmed at about 1am on Saturday morning. The second was not a project, but an item from my retro collection of toys. It was a Radio Shack Armatron, robot arm. I set it up so kids could pick up lego figures and deposit them into a small box. I just happened to spot it in my basement while packing up my final things and thought “what the heck, everyone loves a playing with a robot arm!”. Sure enough, the Armatron was tied up all day with kids and adults lining up to give it a try!
The heart of my display, the “Critter Twitter Trap” was really nothing special from a technical standpoint. Simply put, the trap sends a text message and posts to twitter when it is sprung. I had no idea how popular this would be although I’m sure the fact that it was mentioned in the 7-Days newspaper on Thursday didn’t hurt. People packed my booth all day asking how it worked and I had a blast explaining the details as they stood there with huge smiles. “Wow, what a great idea” was said on numerous occasions and I have to admit it felt great. Several people recommended that I pursue the idea as a commercial product, swapping out the WiFi for GSM so it could be used in remote locations. I have to admit it is tempting.
My Critter Twitter Trap
My only regret was not bringing along a friend that could manage the booth and answer questions so I would have more time to walk around. There were so many amazing projects to see amongst such creative minds.
The night ended with a cold pumpkin brew and as much excitement as it had in the beginning. You could tell the Makers knew without a doubt that this was a huge success and there will be more to come!