During a visit at Inventables HQ they took a few minutes to shot a video while chatting with with Massimo Banzi about his early experiences as a designer and maker, the development of Arduino, open-source philosophy, and how to get started with electronics and his approach to user interface design. Enjoy the video: (more…)
Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category
The work of Afroditi Psarra includes experimentation with embroidery, soft circuit and diy electronics. I got in touch with her after discovering she was holding a workshop in Barcelona around sound performances using Lilypad Arduino along with a really cool embroidered synthesizer (…and also submitting her project to Maker Faire Rome !).
Even if her background is in fine arts, as a little girl she got interested in creative ways of expression: on one side she was lucky enough to have all sorts of after-school activities that included painting, theater games and learning but also how to program using LOGO and QBasic. That was in the days of black-and-white terminals and MS-DOS commands:
I still remember the excitement of not knowing what to expect at the opposite side of the screen. So for me, technology has always been a major part of my life.
Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, creator of Chumby and NeTV, gave an interesting interview about Maker Movement and Maker economy to the chinese “Programmer Magazine” or CSDN.net.
The Maker movement, I think, is less about developing products, and more about developing people. It’s about helping people realize that technology is something man-made, and because of this, every person has the power to control it: it just takes some knowledge. There is no magic in technology. Another way to look at it is, we can all be magicians with a little training.
Some days ago Makertour was in Torino to join the Arduino Camp organized by Officine Arduino and hosted by Fablab Torino. Enrico Bassi, president of the Fablab, was interviewed by Makerfaire Rome crew around his experience in the “maker movement” and in the creation of the first fablab in the city.
During the same trip the video-crew visited the factory where Arduino is manufactured and Davide Gomba reveals where does the “Arduino” name comes from! Watch it now:
The feeling of pure joy that is felt when the first object is printed on the Prusa Mendel i3 is a priceless and a compulsary experience for any maker. The super-simple yet sturdy design of the printer is coupled with the easy to use and well maintained software crafted for the purpose of 3D printing Slic3r by Alessandro Ranellucci. The interview with them later that day was interesing too. A lot has been written about Josef Prusa he also has a TEDx talk to his name. His youtube channel has a lot of 3D printing related information. Make magazine recognizes him too! A lot can be found out about him, and google tracks his transition from the time that he was a very young enthusiastic maker to the current open source 3D printing guru. For the newbies, a single line definition of a 3D printer could be, that it is a printer which prints the uploaded 3D file, layer by layer, through an extruder, with a material mostly looking like pastic Eg ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Here is the exclusive interview with the DJ-ing, electronics hacking, Chicken Tikka masala loving Prusa Brothers :
Priya: It was lovely attending your workshop, I see that you are really passionate about 3D printing. If there was another topic that you could talk to me about apart from 3D printing, what would be that?
Michal Pruša: It would definitely be music, Techno and minimal to be preicise. I sometimes perform as DJ too.
Josef Pruša: For me, it would be tinkering in general.
P: How is it Michal, to work with your brother and what are the other interesting things that you have done with electronics?
M: Oh! we have a lot of incomplete projects. I designed an RFID access system for the fablab at home, been doing DIY PCBs for almost 5 years now. Back in high school, since I was not wanting to take exams, I requested the teacher to transfer the exam credits into a project. I successfully built a method of teaching router encoders for school students. The most memorable moment was me wanting to build my own laser cutting machine at home, and trying to import the tubes from china 3 years back, and getting it all broken through the customs. Local access to materials is important! Especially for someone who loves building things.
J: He wants to build everything from scratch, I am more of a person who spends more time in improving stuff and not reinventing the wheel. Michal, lets do one thing, lets start mining tin. (Laughs)
P: What is a regular work schedule for you people is like? All the time on 3D printers? Also what is your favourite tool around the lab?
J: I am mostly working on 3D printing, while he just assists me on workshops. As far as his individual work is concerned, there is loads of electronics, DJ-ing, organising events and of course there is college. We are fuelled by Coke and Pizza on gaming nights. We are big time into playing minecraft as it is exciting to build new stuff. We use an extension called Tekkit which is a very good modpack.
M: Favourite tool, should definitely be the glue gun and hot air solder gun.
P: Josef, what was your first project and did you publish it? Did you both start tinkering around the same time?
J: Michal has been tinkering with electronics since the time he was very young, I started only at the end of high school. But, I was into programing with php and python. My first project was using an Arduino and MaxMSP. MaxMSP talks to the arduino and an iphone. I controlled a remote RC car. (Smiles) I wrote to the local Czech magazine, nobody bothered locally, then I submitted the same to the english magazine, gizmodo and wired covered it. That was in the year 2009. The most recent coverage of that project was when Damien Stolarz of O’Reilly wanted me to write a chapeter in his book of iPhone hacks on the same hack.
M: The first time that I used a multimeter was when I was 9. I have made many projects but I am too lazy to document anything. (I catch a sneaky side glare from the older brother here.)
P: Who do you look up to in the field of technology? Which is the one city that beckons you to live in?
J: I used to look upto Bre Pettis before makerbot became closed source. Massimo Banzi, for of course Arduino and a good sense of humour. I would like to live in NewYork someday.
M: We both grew up watching Mythbusters hence Adam Savage I guess tops the list for us having this innate passion to create stuff.
P: What is the one thing that scares you?
J: Media scares me. The ability of the media to make anyone an overnight star, has lead to a bunch of people 3D printing guns. Which, as I can see, is not good for the 3D printing industry, it might bring a very bad name to all of us who are trying to do good with the same technology.
P: One last question, I saw your TEDx Talk dating 3 years back, your english then to the english now is very different, I see that now you can think in English. Whats the secret?
J: (Smiles) Good question and please do quote me on this. I learnt engish by chatting a lot on IRC channel #reprap on freenode, for the diction I watched a lot of english TV series. That TEDx talk was my first ever public speech at a large platform.
Ever wondered about the extent of diversity in electronics? Been to a theatre and wondered at the sophistication of the live stage set? Welcome to the world of theatrical electronics. An exclusive inteview with this engineer in Arts – Ben Peoples
Priya: What is theatrical electronics? I always thought that theatres bought standard stuff off the shelves.
Ben: Theatrical electonics is a field of science where we try to rapid prototype electronic items on the stage to make things appear more real. Of course, it is a huge field. With 25 different theatres around the place where I live, my plates are generally full!
P: Interesting! How long have you been associated with electronics to capture such prototyping skills? What are the general tools that you use?
B: I have been prototyping electronics for over 20 years. I have been an ardent user of Arduino for the past 6. I loved the community so much that I even teach it to other people.
P: Oh teach too? Like classes for theatre prototyping? I would like more details on that.
B: (Smiles) Well not much, they are just getting started on how to rapidly put things together and program it using an Arduino to give it an “appearence” of more complex stuff like Time machine on stage.
P: Sounds fun. What are the theatre-specific whacky things that you teach them to build in the workshop? What are the general tools needed to attend your class?
B: I teach them to build Reed-candles, an elevator, wireless fireplace, wireless-dimmer, using Xbee radios for the lighting console and more things like that. I typically teach them inside a theatre wherein they need to bring their own laptops and software. They are seated inside a rehersal space so that they get the exact feel of designing things for a theatre. Other than that, its the usual arduino boards, gear motors, LEDs and of course, loads and loads of scotch tape! (Laughs)
P: Woah! How long does it take for you to teach them these?
B: 2-3 hours to teach math and the basics, 5 hours to explain the basic expriments and seeing them prototype their first objects. So yes, in total, 8 hours.
P: What according to you, is the advantage to pick electronic skill in the field of theatre?
B: There is theatre in colleges, the person could rise up to be a technical director, there is huge demand for lighting design, scenery design and of course in this age of television and movies, every drama theatre wants to stand out and do something extra. I see a huge future for it!
P: Okay one question that intrigues me after all this conversation is how different is theatre electronics from electronic arts?
B: Interesting question! For starters, Electronic Arts is very finished and polished. Theatrical electronics is well.. more raw and duct-taped at the back. They are two entirely different industries.
P: What are the things that interest you other than prototyping and what would be your ideal birthday present?
B: I love Ariel photography. Ideal birthday present is anything photography related. For work, I have to shoot digital, but for art I shoot 100% film, and just love it.
P: Any advice for youngsters?
B: Don’t be afraid to try anything new. Ship early, ship often.
Watch Massimo Banzi, co-founder Arduino, talk about the Arduino platform and their new product, Arduino-Due.