tamberg's Blog

2012-12-31 by tamberg


I started this blog to dig deeper into ideas and projects but it seems there's so much going on at once that I never quite find the time writing anything up in depth. So, to keep at least an overview here's a short rundown of what's been going on in 2012.

Building a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic, which is a lot more reliable than the Cupcake, got me into home 3D printing again. The field is growing fast with new designs like Printrbot, Rostock or Portabee emerging, and established brands pushing the limits, resulting in ever more complex prints, like this 700 hour artwork by Micah Ganske.

For MakeOpenData in April we did tangible statistics (here's my intro), followed by "Fabbing Easter" and 3D printing with 9 year olds. As quite some people now have printers, I started @3dzh, the 3D Printing Zürich Meetup for makers, designers and those interested in DIY 3D printing. It's still small, but seems to work out nicely.

Another meetup I'm involved with is @iotzh, the Internet of Things Zürich Meetup, together with Christine Perey who also pushed me to do a DIY IoT Workshop that we held at MechArtLab. The material is CC BY SA, now my favorite license. IoT-wise, my 2012 favorite was definitely the Open IoT Assembly in London, with tons of interesting people and inspiring discussions. Plus I got to see Cosm, RIG (next to Makie Lab) and London Hackspace.

I also became a regular at the SGMK OpenLab held every Tuesday at MechArtLab Zürich. Stuff I built or presented there includes a motion triggered bed-to bathroom floor illumination for my elderly parents, which ended up on the Instructables front page and on Lifehacker. This, plus the 2010 Arduino Web LED being unexpectedly featured, helped boost my Instructables karma to 100% featured and 100k+ views.

At the SGMK OpenLab I also first met @dr_m_kroll, the hardcore Bluetooth Low Energy hacker who engineered the tōd and BLE Arduino Shield Kickstarter project as well as Matthias Ringwald who makes the btstack Bluetooth Stack. Add in Etan Kissling of BLE Adventskranz fame, and Zürich is definitely on the Bluetooth map.

During a five day workshop on physical & wearable computing by Massimo Banzi and Zoe Romano at SUPSI in Lugano, I built a first prototype of #BalanceShirt, an artificial "sense of balance" based on an accelerometer, force feedback and laser cut felt modules derived from Zoe's OpenWear collaborative clothing project.

On a last minute trip to Ljubljana, I got a lot of inspiration from Interactivos 12 and @dusjagr's NanoŠmano ŽiviSistemi DIYbio lab (built from raw planks, fittingly set up in a beautiful garden), where we built a microscope from old Web cams. Further travel led to Munich where we tested our #OktoberfestOfThings Internet connected Maßkrug, and Barcelona, to attend a city walkshop lead by @cperey and @gy4nt.

This year also brought countless gadgets like the WIMM Android watch (interesting "occasional connectivity" model), an #AirQualityEgg shield, the Twine and Ubooly, a connected kids toy. Plus a few Kickstarter projects that did not deliver yet. And I started using the Kindle as an ambient display for OpenLetten, which ran without a hiccup since June (aside from accidentally unplugging its power once). Probably as a result of the summer workshop I also got a very nice Arduino Starter Kit from RS Components (disclosure: for free). It was a great joy to unbox due to the beautifully designed packaging. I also beta tested @dr_m_kroll's BLE shield, hooked up to the floating solar fountain I plan to use as a platform for autonomous lake exploration.

For the second MakeOpenData in Basel we tried to connect a cheap blood pressure meter to the Internet. While the project could not be completed right on, we did get the core part working after a few evenings at MechArtLab, thanks to Jonas and his protocol analyzer. I learned quite a bit about the I2C protocol and EEPROMs.

Besides organizing meetups, I also presented, on DIY IoT hardware and bottom up innovation at IoT Zürich, and on wearing a SenseCam for eight months, at the first Quantified Self Zürich meetup, another nice addition to the meetup community.

So, that was 2012. Now let's build more stuff, to see what the future is all about.