Invented by Music and Visual Art graduate and founder of nu desine, Adam Place, the AlphaSphere was designed to encourage electronic musicians to perform rather than hunch introvertedly over their laptops. Initially developed on Watershed’s Media Sandbox scheme in 2010, the design features 48 pressure-sensitive rubber pads, each one programmable to produce a different sound or effect when manipulated. Breaking from the traditional attack of classical musical instruments (think of how a felt hammer hits a piano string) the pads allow you to bend and stretch the sounds as you play creating a totally unique way of interacting with music.
Last year at Secret Garden Party festvial, and now appearing at a museum near you, Roborigami is a robotic origami installation made in collaboration between an artist, robotic scientist and interaction designer.
Illuminarium – the Big Tea’se
If you were watching ‘Come Dine with Me’ in early February this year, you may have seen this impressive interactive sculpture. illuminarium.co.uk
Lee Chaos and Adrian Giddings TEMP0RARY – audience participation, circuit bending, VJ projection mapping, hand-built synthesisers and repurposed computer game hardware.
Avon Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers
The aim of the Guild is to promote and encourage the art of spinning, weaving and dyeing. It aims to cater for everyone, from beginner to experienced teacher to interested outsider, with a varied programme of lectures, demonstrations and workshops. Public exhibitions are held periodically for members to exhibit their work and to demonstrate their skills. See them magic yarn out of fluff by hand; have a go at weaving a bookmark, a birthday card motif, a karate mat for your Barbie, or a blankie for your ninja turtle.
Sketchy sketches your portrait. Or tries to, anyway, using an Android phone, an Arduino, and a simple delta robot. Made by Jarkman, an alter ego of Richard Sewell. Visit his home page to see the other wierd stuff he made in his shed.
Alison Harper – ‘Pass me Another Crisp Packet’
A textile artist who makes yarn out of discarded crisp packets. Each packet ‘yields’ between 5 and 6 yards of yarn. Alison knits, crochets, unpick and fiddles with said yarn to create ever changing and thought provoking installations. You are invited to participate and to wonder:
- where does this stuff normally go? and
- where does she find the time?
Ore and Ingot
Ore and ingot are going to show the art of bronze casting; a process which is historically shadowed in mystery. Don’t miss the excitment of watching molten metal flow. www.oreandingot.com
We are wildcrafting our own cola from an open source recipe, reverse-engineered from the original Coke. Cube-Cola brings together the science lab, the home kitchen and open source software in an iconic and delicious DIY drink. At the Maker Faire we will be running a cola-making lab throughout the day making cola from scratch, where visitors can taste Cube-Cola, talk to us about the process and participate in production. The cola will also be available in kit form to take home. http://cube-cola.org/
Underwater Woolly Wonderland – the hyperbolic knitters of Bristol. SADLY – NOW UNABLE TO ATTEND
Drop in and help make a hyperbolic crochet reef with swarms of fish and other sea creatures. The reef will be entirely woolly with items knitted, crocheted and felted. Once finished the reef will be displayed at Paper Village on North Street for the Southbank Arts Trail.
If you like this, you’ll love The Crochet Coral Reef, a project by the Institute For Figuring. This is a non-profit Los-Angeles based organization that pioneers creative new methods for engaging the public about scientific and environmental issues by putting people and communities at the core.
Justin Quinnell’s pinhole cameras
Bring a clean, empty beer can to Justin’s stall and make your own 6-month-duration solargraph pinhole camera! Experience the delights of a camera obscura! www.pinholephotography.org
Matt Venn, Mega Maker
Matt Makes Many Things. Find out more
Kumihimo on the Marudai
Kumihimo is the ancient Japanese art of braiding, traditionally used to make silk cords for constructing samurai armour, decorating swords, and tying kimonos. The equipment, called a marudai, is elegant and satisfying to use, involving repetitive movements that become meditative. There are many traditional patterns which can be made in different colour combinations. You are welcome to try a few turns.
A V-plotter (or “Drawbot”) based on the Eggbot “EiBotBoard” by Evil Mad Scientist and Schmalz Haus. It uses Processing or Inkscape to generate line drawings and Processing to read the data and then draw them. Demonstrating different drawings all day.
The SolderSplash Labyrinth
Two-player labyrinth with a modern twist; you can’t touch it to control it. Interested? Use the SplashBase Development platform and Add on SolderBridges together: we show you how you can Make and Control things.
Come and visit us to have a go on the potters wheel. There will be the option of having your work glaze fired and collected at a later date. For some inspiration that surely only a true Bristolian could supply, read JereMiah Allman’s blog. www.mazestudiosbristol.com
Matt George of mrgscienceshows will display a home made Hovercraft capable of lifting children and adults. Individual children will be given the opportunity to ride on the hover craft and experience being lifted by a cushion of air.
Bristol Women’s Workshop
Hand tools, traditional joinery methods, driftwood courses and more www.bristolwomensworkshop.org.uk
Steve Battle will be showcasing an ingenious and inspired brushbot powered by solar energy. Visit him and find out what phototaxis means! Steve has been inventing since his teens and enjoys updating heritage robotics with the Raspberry Pi. http://battle-bot.blogspot.co.uk/ .
Restech is based at Bristol and Bath Science Park, teaching young students what robots are, how robots are built and how robots are programmed. Founded by Zan Nadeem, a graduate from University West of England, they use Lego mindstorms projects to encourage students to question, to create, and to innovate whilst exploring the world of robotics.
In the early days of personal computers, each manufacturer made their own, incompatible design of eight-bit machine. From Apple we had the Apple II, the Pet from Commodore, the BBC Micro from Acorn and the Atmos from Oric. Alongside the ready-built machines were kits like the Compukit UK101, the MK14 and the Nascom. This exhibit features a few interesting eight-bit computers from a larger collection.
Pen plotters are a nearly-forgotten computer graphics gadget. Printers were used for text-only output in black and white, but plotters could produce diagrams and drawings in colour. They faded into obscurity after the laser printer and colour ink-jet became ubiquitous. This plotter is a Roland DXY-990 which has room for A3 paper and eight pens. It’s connected to a modern laptop (running Linux) which sends the drawing commands in HPGL format.
A variety of things to see and play with - Bat Boxes (echo locating like a bat) – Pisano Wheels (generative music wheels) – microcontroller Pong table – Twitbeeb (beeb/raspberry pi tweeter) – Drawing robot (energy monitoring with stepper motors) – Twitter doorbell.
Air Quality Eggs, Street Lighting and other Internet-connected-Things
Hackspaces, FabLabs and other tinker spaces are thought by some to be behind a wave of creativity that will drive the Internet of Things forward, simply because they are the home of whacky and/or down-to-earth explorations of the potential of interconnected objects. Visit Damon’s stall to see some early Internet of Things developments produced by Clean Energy Prospector.
You might enjoy Roo Reynolds blog, written to suggest that there are some areas in which Internet of Things might not be successful – here.
More interesting stuff about DIY, craft, the Maker Movement and the Internet of Things at the bottom of this page.
Come and find out what a Makey Makey is and what you can do with it, prod and pummel some conductive dough into a madcap electrical circuit, try some Scalextric tricks you’ve never seen before! The Hack Kids stall at this year’s Mini Maker faire is brought to you by a group of kids who meet each month at Bristol Hackspace, with extra special expertise from University of Bristol’s Department of Engineering.
- Hack Kids Squishy Circuits traffic lights
Dan Bendel’s Sculpture Machines
Interactive sculpture machines, influnced by comics, old and new arcade
games, animation, kinetic art, music and visits to museums Look through to view different images. Some also have poems that you can change and others you can hear strange sounds coming from the hand made headphones.
Amateur Automata Maker
I am very much an amateur maker, trying to improve my work all the time. What you’ll see on my stall are small wooden frames with moving parts, gears, cams, levers etc and I’ll show you how they are all put together to create a moving scene. Usually seen as whimsical and fun, they can be used to tell a story, convey an emotion or even be used to give a political message. The mechanisms involved employ engineering principles having to take into account things such as materials and force involved to get the intended movement. http://amateurautomatamaker.blogspot.co.uk/
Lazy Crafternoons is Chris Webb: a crafty guy with a passion for sharing and swapping skills with both crafty and non-crafty audiences. Join Chris as he demos his traditional-meets-modern patchworking and quilting skills and browse some of the items he made during his 52 week: 52 craft challenge to make a craft a week as a charity fundraiser. If you are new to sewing or have a problem, pop down and ask Chris for advice: the patchwork surgery will be open!
Quincy Lampshades was founded in 2011 by Ruth McAllister, who, inspired by the brilliance of modern quilting cottons, produces a range of beautiful, bold and winsome lampshades. Having discovered that her grandfather was once a lampshade-maker too, Ruth is determined to bring an end to beige and boring lampshades and bring colour, fun and individuality to home lighting. Ruth is also an excellent teacher in lampshade making and loves to teach people how to make their own.
Cyclelectrics - Travelling Badgers badgemaking – Russell Dicken and his RepRap 3D printer – and more…..
Why are amateur makers interesting? Is there something special going on here?
Do you think makers are ”trying to make the world more personal and magic”? The following is written by Russell Davies (it’s part of a blog post about his talk on a Radio 4 programme, September/October 2011)
When big company Internet Of Things thinkers get involved they tend to spawn creepy videos about sleek people in sleek homes living optimised lives full of smart objects. These videos seem to radiate the belief that the purpose of a well-lived life is efficiency. There’s no magic or joy or silliness in it. Just an optimised, efficient existance. Perhaps that’s why the industry persists in inventing the Internet Fridge. It’s top-down design, not based on what people might fancy, but on what technologies companies are already selling.
Fortunately, though, there’s another group of people thinking about the Internet of Things – enthusiasts and inventors who are building their own internet connected things, adding connectivity and intelligence to the world in their own ways.
They’re sometimes called Makers or Hardware Hackers. They’re not the kind of Hackers who break into people’s phones. They’re the kind of Hackers that like taking things apart so they can understand them, repair them, improve them. All sorts of things, not just computers, anything technological. It’s not a new phenomenon, of course, but it’s found some new energy and coherence recently due to things like Make magazine and events like the Maker Faires. And because of the invention of a little device called the Arduino.
The Arduino is a little, cheapish device that allows you to easily connect some electronic thing you’ve made to your computer and to the internet. And it brings all sorts of madcap invention to the Internet Of Things. It does for making connected hardware what blogging did for publishing. Makes it easy and liberates ideas. Hardware Hackers are the kind of people who strap ordinary cameras to weather balloons to photograph space, give them things like the Arduino and they make machines which blow bubbles when they see their own names on twitter. Or they make pairs of lamps for lovers separated by distance – connected lamps, so if you switch one of them off, the other goes off too – a little reminder of what your love in another timezone is up to.
These are the same curious, hybrid, inventive sort of people who built the web and pioneered social media. They’re turning from mucking about with the web to mucking about with the real world because there seems to be a whole new set of interesting things to invent, unoccupied, uncolonised space.
I always think the big difference between the Makers and the corporate Internet Of Things lot is that the IoT people are trying to make the world more efficient and controlled and the Makers are trying to make it more personal and magic. They’re imagining objects that come to life like they do in Harry Potter.
Craftspeople, Technologists and the Internet of Things
Bristol is a centre for new thinking about the relationship between Crafts, Technology and the Internet of Things. Keep an eye on the Pervasive Media Studio Events listings. Examples are:
- What Could the Internet of Things Mean to Makers? (January 2013)
- REACT Sandbox: Objects (October 2013 – March 2014)
Crafting Capital: New technologies, new economies (page describing a report by the Crafts Council, with link to the full report)