Author Archives: megadolen

Biotinkering? What’s that?

Taking apart the webcam

Taking apart the webcam

It started with just a handful of students who readily took up the hands-on challenge to build their own microscope by hacking a webcam.

In a short while, the two tables that were full of gadgets gradually drew attention, until a point that we can hardly view what was happening at Marc Dusseiller’s pop-up biotinkering space.

Wondered what else were done at the pop-up makerspace held at Science Centre Singapore on 13 Mar 2014?

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Using the glue gun to fix the camera to the base

Within the short 2 hours, the impromptu participants tried their hands at taking things apart, and putting them together again, and experimented with different items that they could view using their DIY microscope, including a live spider and a cotton stainer!

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Lots of spontaneous efforts were also put in into ensure the live insects are viewable on the DIY microscope, amusing the crowd watching the demonstration.

Cotton Stainer

Cotton Stainer

Marc also brought along plenty of interesting gadgets which captured our attention.

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Check out the two suitcases he brought his stuffs in! One of them is a “Lab in a suitcase” while the other contains stuffs that he made. Inspiring, isn’t it? Seems like some people will start packing their own maker suitcase/bag soon!

Marc's lab in a suitcase!

Marc’s lab in a suitcase!

Maker tools in a suitcase!

Maker tools in a suitcase!

If you are looking forward to some tinkering and making, check out the next pop-up event on 22 March at Tampines Central Community Club.

Kids can hack and make too!

Students who went to the Senja-Cashew Community Club on 4th and 5th January for their Edusave Merit Bursary Awards were pleasantly surprised to walk into a hall full of activities – and very unusual activities too.

Hackidemia (4-5 Jan 14)In one corner, 3D printers were humming, printing what kids doodled on the app – doodle 3D. Kids were walking around with 3D printed flowers, butterflies and even their names. Other children took their first foray into making with electronics as they tried out Hackidemia SG’s classic offerings – Vibrobots, Zombie Signalizers and Little Bits.

Parents stood back and watched, proud and at the same time apprehensive, as kids as young as 4 tried wielding a saw and mallet at the woodworking station. Makers from different parts of Singapore and different walks of life came together with a singular goal – to instill the value of hands-on making to parents and the empowerment it gives to young children who delight in the simple pleasure of seeing and loving what they have made with their own hands.

Check out the video uploaded at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire Facebook Page!

The maker roadshow at Senja Cashew Community Club was jointly organized by Science Centre Singapore, Singapore Mini Maker Faire, Hackidemia Singapore, Silicon Straits, Simplify3D, Sustainable living Lab and Senja-Cashew Community Club, leading up to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014 later on this year.

This blog entry has been contributed by Dr Kiruthika Ramanathan, Science Centre Singapore.

Quill your own fancy jewellery

Dohadwala Rashida Taher will be conducting a workshop on the use of paper strips and quilling to make eco-friendly jewellery on 28 July, 2.45pm – 3.30pm at *SCAPE Workshop, Situation Room (Level 5).

Rashida shared that her inspiration for quilling came from a book which she saw 8 years ago, and it gained traction over the years. Her inspiration for projects come from many sources ranging from the colourful flowers at the Sentosa Spring Festival to the beauty of a peacock’s plumage to the popular “Angry Birds”. She shared that once the quilling fever sets in, everything around her seems to inspire a quilling project. She has made gift tags, envelopes, photo frames, paper jewellery, magnets, candle holders, greeting cards and even incorporated quilling into decorative watches!

ready products for workshopIn her workshop, she will share the original quilling technique where participants will make a colourful pendant which will be attached with a leather string to form a necklace, and the project will be suitable for any children aged 7 and above. The finished creations can be brought home by the participants. The quilled items can be made water resistant but this process requires multiple coats with a drying period of about 2 -3 days and cannot be completed during the workshop. Hence, Rashida is offering participants of the workshop to waterproof their end products and collect from her separately at centrally located MRT stations on either 1st or 2nd August.

If you are interested to learn how to quill and make your own fancy jewellery with it, do come to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire on 28 July and sign up for the workshop at the SMMF information counter. The fee is at $8 per participant. Places are limited, so come early to secure your places!

Make your own conductive inks!

A drawing done with conductive inks

A drawing done with conductive inks

Did you know that you can use a simple recipe to make your own conductive inks, and you can use these conductive inks to draw your own circuits? Yeo Wee Kiang, a fresh PhD graduate from the National University of Singapore shared how he discovered the joy of making your own conductive ink and how it could be applied for educational purposes.

About the maker and the workshop

Wee Kiang graduated just 2 weeks ago from the National University of Singapore with a PhD in Chemoinformatics. He shared that while waiting to go overseas for his post-doctoral training in January next year, he began to explore and tinker with several different things beyond his own discipline.  He dabbled with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, Squishy Circuits, discovered commercial conductive inks and finally came up with his own recipe of conductive ink that could be made out of non-toxic food-based ingredients. This is something he believed is simple enough for anyone interested to use it for educational usage, hence he decided to conduct an inaugural workshop at this year’s Singapore Mini Maker Faire to show how electrical circuits can be not made up of messy wires, embedded into creative drawings, very colourful and very safe. Wee Kiang shared that he has no plans to commercialise the idea and encourages all to make use of the idea and improvise it to add fun and creativity in the learning of electronics. Kudos to Wee Kiang’s generous maker spirit!

Involvement with the Singapore Mini Maker Faire

Like Chinmay (initiator of the “Learn to breadboard electronics” workshop), Wee Kiang is one of the first few followers of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire. He recalled how he first heard about the Faire when William Hooi, part of our organising team, introduced it at Barcamp Singapore last year. He visited the Faire after that and found it to be very interesting. Wee Kiang expressed his views on how the maker culture here should not be limited only to a niche group of people. Indeed, we also hope to spread the maker spirit to as many as possible, and we hope that all the amazing makers at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire can inspire the uninitiated.

Do not miss this interesting workshop that is designed for children (6 years and above) as well as adults, happening on 28 July, 3.45pm – 5.15pm at Colony Room (Level 4), *SCAPE. There is a workshop fee of $6 which is payable at the SMMF counter at the Colony Room. Adults accompanying children can join in for free, while individual adults can join in at the same fee. Workshop places are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Connecting the 3D printing enthusiasts with suitable printing services

Benjamin Yeo is the founder of sourcemake.com, an online platform which aims to help those without 3D printers find one that fits their budget and time constraints. We interviewed the person behind this portal and uncover his motivation behind this initiative – Benjamin Yeo.

Benjamin felt that he is more of a consumer / prosumer that likes experimenting and hacking, rather than a maker per se. As a parent of 2 young boys and an advocate of the style of kinethestic learning, he loves exploring ideas to expose them to new ways of learning and play.

Benjamin shared that he got more serious in the area of 3D printing about a year ago, when prices of 3D printers began to dip quite a bit. He backed a 3D printer project on Kickstarter earlier this year, with the hope of designing custom made toys and working on other 3D projects with his older boy. He believes that through building and modelling structures, his son can be exposed to design concepts in his early years so that he can better appreciate the different math and sciences disciplines in his subsequent schooling years, rather than face them as mere examinable subjects. But unfortunately, the 3D printer project that he backed has delayed its delivery till now.

With no printer available, Benjamin turned to outsourcing the printing of his projects to commercial 3D printing service providers, only to discover it to be costly and time consuming for maker projects of his scale. In view of that, he decided that the best option would be to find a non-commercial 3D printer owner who can helped him in printing at the right time and requirements. With the help of peers in the maker community, he managed to find a 3D printing hobbyist who was helpful enough to collaborate with him. He also noted that 3D printer owners who helped in such projects would be able to get more proficient in their craft or even monetize their expertise through providing such printing services. Through these interactions, he discovered that there is a benefit in having a centralised platform where 3D printing enthusiasts worldwide can connect with other experts to get their printing jobs done. Just think “Zuji” for 3D printing services, where anyone with a 3D printer can be part of that platform and print for others at the right price, time and quality.

sourcemake.com is currently at its conceptual and development stage. If there is enough traction to keep the community going, he sees potential for it to grow into a platform where there would be more interactions and connections between 3D printing novices and experts worldwide, accelerating the democratisation of 3D printing activity and contributing to the global maker culture.

Benjamin will be sharing his story for sourcemake.com at the 3D printing forum on 28 Jul (10am – 2.30pm), where he will be part of a panel to discuss and share about trends and issues concerning 3D printing. If you have signed up for this forum, remember it will take place at Gallery Room, *SCAPE Level 5.

Watch out for those InVader_Urban Graffiti Bots!

The more I read about our makers this year, the more the excitement builds up. There are so many different types of makers, and it is fascinating to read about their work and the passion that drove them. When I browsed through the blog of “Tech Lab”, I left the site with “graffiti art” and “technology” in my mind. It is something new to me, and I am totally curious to see in person what this thing is all about.

The man behind “Tech Lab”

Rohaimi “Tech” Mohamed, an engineer by profession, is the man behind “Tech Lab”. ‘Tech’ is actually his alias/artist name that he is using in graffiti art practices. Apparently, he has been contributing and practising graffiti art for about 10 years in Singapore! He shared that he is representing STG (SprayTwoGeorge crew).

Rohaimi sees himself as a two-part entity – Passion and Interest.

Art is his passion since young. He loves to draw, doodle, sketch, paint etc. Subsequent to that, he was exposed to graffiti art and started to be part of the graffiti art scene in Singapore.

Engineering, especially electronics and robotics technology, is his interest since he was introduced to them during his ITE days.

He had taken on the artist name “Tech” because he found his passion and interest at about the same time in life.

The fusion

So how did the two things merge? Rohaimi shared that it was a couple of years ago when he started to change his approach to write, paint graffiti art with the help of robots. It led to a series of graffiti-bots building and an evolution of its own.

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His projects include interactivity for a friend’s art exhibition, “36Chambers exhibition at Helutrans” which was held recently, “Our Lab by Scape” and “All City Graffiti Art” exhibition. Technology became a tool that helped Rohaimi with his art delivery. The term “tech artist” came to my mind, because he has evolved graffiti art with the help of technology. It is also great to hear that Rohaimi is open to involving himself to other creative art technology and explore how his graffiti art element can be fused in.

The Maker Faire

When asked further, Rohaimi shared that he is a subscriber of the MAKE magazine and hence is familiar with the concept of the Maker Faire outside Singapore. By chance, he was introduced to the local version of the Faire and gamely took up a booth to showcase what he has been actively involved in. Another great showcase, and I certainly look forward to seeing the real thing.

How about you? Remember to drop by SCAPE Warehouse this weekend to check out this interesting evolution of graffiti art!

Learn to breadboard electronics – the blinky light edition

If you have been checking out interesting electronics projects on MAKE magazine, or on our Facebook Page, here is your opportunity for your own hands-on experience!

The Singapore Mini Maker Faire would like to introduce a workshop on how to make simple LED-based blinky light circuits using basic electronics components and breadboards, happening on 28 July, 11.15am – 12pm at SCAPE Colony Room (Level 4).

About the workshop

New Picture (5)The idea is to use a kit (which will be provided) to build a simple circuit which blinks faster or slower depending on brightness of the ambient lighting.

Breadboards, which are easy tools to quickly build electronics circuits, will be used, and participants can experience electronics in a simple and fun way.

At the end of the workshop, participants can also bring home the blinking LED circuit!

About the person behind the workshop

This workshop is the brainchild of Chinmay Pendharkar, an avid follower of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire since its beginnings.

Chinmay shared that the idea came about while he was reading the MAKE blog article and he felt that this simple and fun workshop could be run at our local Mini Maker Faire to get people interested in the maker culture and to start tinkering with electronics and circuits.

Chinmay said that when the Singapore Mini Maker Faire was first held last year, it was already a good start, featuring various projects that many people are making.

He is happy to see the Singapore Mini Maker Faire grow this year, with an exciting lineup and a good variety of makers and tinkerers that are involved, and he felt a sense of hope for the Singapore Maker Movement and potential for it to grow bigger and larger.

About the way forward

When asked about the way forward, Chinmay expressed hope for the Singapore Mini Maker Faire to become a regional convention that could attract participation from neighbouring countries and more types of makers in areas which are not seen in our local maker scene, and for inspiring “movers” and “shakers” in the global maker community to come to Singapore to share their passion with the local makers through workshops, forums and seminars.

What about you? What kind of future would you visualise for our Singapore Mini Maker Faire?

It is unfortunate that Chinmay is not able to join us in person this year, but the workshop will still be run by his fellow electronics enthusiast, Shanmugam.

No pre-registration is required, but places will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Simply make payment ($5 per pax) at our counter at the Colony Room to confirm your workshop place.

Want some take-away from “Science-Art Fusion”?

When I first heard of the title “Science-Art Fusion!”, I thought that was both telling and not telling. The title suggested some interesting showcase of both science and art, yet I remained clueless on what it is all about. Hence, I attempted to find out more from Jolyon Caplin, our returning maker who showcased the Jolyonophone at last year’s Singapore Mini Maker Faire!

According to Jolyon, “Science-Art Fusion!” is meant to be a slightly mind-boggling theme for his booth, but he also heartily acknowledged that it is the sort of things he does all the time!  He highlighted the general acknowledgement by the public on the increasing integration of the sciences and the arts, where the boundaries are becoming indistinct. He noted that art has used – if not embraced – engineering for many years, and that engineering (particularly in the commercial sector) has employed art more and more.  Hence, his interest lies at showing people how a simple home hobby can satisfy both the technical and artistic interests at the same time.

He hoped that many people will be attracted to the combined sound, light and movement that he is preparing for his booth.  Generally, you can expect to see unlikely things (like bulldozers and F1 cars) dance to music, with a light-show to compliment the whole thing.  There will be radio control and microprocessor examples – but everything will be easy to understand – and quite inexpensive to follow (No Arduinos, contrary to current trends!)

Hence, Jolyon visualised his showcase to appeal to both the young and old.  He aimed to make it exciting to watch and yet inspiring enough for people to want to make these simple things for themselves!

Jolyon acknowledged that he had practically no time to prepare for this year’s Faire but he is nonetheless still looking forward to it. This was especially since he had a great experience from last year, where he picked up 3D printing with home-made designs, where his 6 and 8 year-old girls became very good with Trimble Sketch Up and now want him to print everything in plastic. Isn’t it great that we all have some take-away from the Faire, even though you already have your fair share of hobby indulgence?

If you would like to take-away some inspiration from Jolyon, drop by his booth at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire at SCAPE Warehouse this weekend! Keen to check out what he showcased last year? Check it out here.

So, see you at SCAPE this weekend!

Concertina-spine bookbinding

The art of bookbinding caught my interest ever since I first heard of it. Imagine the amount of DIY stuffs you could do with it!

At this year’s Singapore Mini Maker Faire, we are fortunate to have with us Pooja Makhijani, who will be conducting a workshop “Bookbinding 101″. Read on to learn more about her.

About Pooja

Pooja moved from New York to Singapore nearly three years ago and is currently a “work at home parent”, balancing the parenting of her daughter and her freelance work. She conducts bookmaking classes, writes and edits, and serves as an early childhood education consultant to a host of non-profit and institutional clients.

Her background

Pooja first learnt basic bookbinding at the Centre for the Book Arts in Chelsea, New York City, and continued her studies as a creative writing graduate student at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Her avocation became a vocation in 2010 when her partner and her left their beloved New York City for an adventure in Singapore, leaving behind a strong book arts community in the States and eager to find or create one in her new home in Asia.

Her current endeavour

With that in mind, Pooja launched a series of classes via her blog in 2011 and was soon featured in the Straits Times as the person to look for on book arts. Currently, she is working with the National Arts Council to bring the book arts to as many as possible.

Pooja shared that in classes, she encourages her students, whether they are children, adults or senior citizens, to look at the book or book-like structure as an art object and not merely as a vessel for their content. She always highlights to her students that all the elements of an artist’s book – from the paper to the text and/or images – are deliberately interconnected and work in concert.

Besides teaching bookmaking, she is also currently editing a book, to be published by Math Paper Press, a small press publisher of poetry, new wave novellas, full-length novels, and essays by Singapore-based writers.

Her workshop

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At the Singapore Mini Maker Faire this weekend, Pooja will be teaching a unique concertina-spine structure that she had learnt from a master book artist, Barbara Mauriello, on her most recent visit to the States!

As Pooja is from New York, she shared that she has attended the Maker Faire there several times. She felt that it is important to encourage everyone to think and tinker, to explicitly critique consumer culture (which emphasizes that the solution to our needs is to purchase things) and instead encourage people to take art, craft and technologies into their own hands.

Pooja’s workshop on 27 Jul, 1 – 2.30pm, SCAPE Situation Room (Level 4) was fully signed up at an early stage of publicity, but if you are keen to speak with her, do drop by and hang around after her workshop is over!

Water purification

Ashwin Manoj is a member of the Singapore Academy of Young Engineers and Scientists (SAYES) and is currently a student with the United World College South East Asia.

Although young, Ashwin is not new to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, having participated and showcased a mood-sensing jacket last year. This year, Ashwin has been working on a water purification device and would like to share his project with you. Read more about his first-hand account here.

What is the project about?

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 11.50.49 PM“I have been developing a water purification device that uses an ultrasonic transducer to generate standing sounds waves within the tank, acting as the mechanism for purification. The standing wave results in the formation of node (minimal vibrations) and antinode (maximum vibrations) points. As node points are the points of minimal vibration, sedimentation and other impure substances move towards this point from the antinodes, as it would be the point of maximum stability. As the impure particles move towards the node points, they are held stationary and begin to aggregate together. They become denser as a result and settle at the bottom of the tank for purification.”

What would you like to achieve with it?

“As the aggregation occurs in a relatively fast time frame, a flow of running water as opposed to a stationary tank of water would be more feasible in the ultimate objective of large-scale purification projects. This would be the next objective in the development of this device.

Apart from these aspects, the ultimate goal of this project is to create a sustainable, revolutionary and fast manner of purifying large masses of water at once and hence implementing these devices in the water supply of less privileged countries.”

What motivated you to work on it?

“Personally, I am a member of a service group within my school that helps rural villages in India secure drinking water by building wells and other such charitable projects. However, the degree of water purity within these villages is still not adequate despite these efforts and I became aware of the severe hardships people without drinkable water are forced to endure. This provided me a chief motivation to carry forth my research and develop a device that is capable of being implemented in such locations. Drinkable water is a fundamental necessity for people of all walks of life and I personally believe that everyone is entitled to a steady and sustainable supply.”

What challenges have you faced?

“The full purification of water requires the removal of infinitesimal bacteria that are as dangerous as the larger impure particles. Initial research into this area has shown that the ultrasonic transducer does have the effect of removing the cell membranes of complex microbes thus facilitating chemical testing and higher rates of purity within the water. However, the challenge is to identify which microbes require treatment and to what degree the water needs to be pure.

In addition during the initial stages of my project, the impure particles did not aggregate to a desired degree and thus did not settle. This challenge was overcome however through the adjustment of the frequency  towards an optimal value and a change in the orientation of the transducer in the tank.”

Ashwin shared that his project is in its initial stages, and has been developed over the last month and a half. Do you have any suggestions for him? Do speak with him at the SAYES booth at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire this weekend!