Tag Archives: electronics

From traditional printing press to blinky circuits

Were you here with us at the Marquee, Science Centre Singapore for our first lead-up family workshop for the Singapore Mini Maker Faire last Saturday? It was an amazing array of activities and we hope you had managed to cover everything if you were here.

Check out some of the station activities that were arranged!
LED activities/ Using DIY remote buttons for Scratch software
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Learn about simple circuits by making a blingtastic circuit

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Sciencey games: Kendama
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Amaker3D: Open source 3D printing
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3D modelling and design with Henry Wong and Darren See
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Quilling and paper crafting with Priyanka Datta
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Solder your own wireframe models by Pan Yew
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Colour Me – by artist Richard Kearns
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Communicate your Science: a “Be a writer” talent hunt and children’s talk show, by Sindu Sreebhavan of Kids Parade Magazine
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If you had missed this workshop, no worries, there will be other opportunities. Do watch this space or follow us on our Singapore Mini Maker Faire Facebook Page! Remember to block your calendar for our actual Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014 which will happen on 26 & 27 July 2014 at Senja-Cashew 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.

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.

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!

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Visitors at the inaugural Singapore Mini Maker Faire would probably remember a booth with a digital ‘Like’ counter tied to poles as well as the adjacent booth with electronic kits for kids.

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Wai Him (left) and Adrian (right)

The digital counter was controlled by an Arduino, an open-source platform that allows people to build their own gadgets while the electronic kits are for younger children to start tinkering with electronics as they are less intimidating. The booths belong to friends Adrian and Wai Him, both makers and hobbyists.

Many visitors to their booths discovered that the electronic kits and Arduino are fantastic platforms for their children to pick-up electronics in an interesting way through experiential learning. Adrian and Wai Him shared with me something once said by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, that a person may forget if he was simply being told. Hence, this explains the title of this blogpost. Adrian and Wai Him are guided by the belief that a person may remember if being taught (such as using additional visual aids like powerpoint), but the real learning occurs when the person is involved through experimentation and play.

Adrian and Wai Him have joined forces this year in returning to the second Singapore Mini Maker Faire. On top of their maker booth, they will have a presentation to share on how families can have fun, learn together and build interactive projects for the home making use of the Arduino platform. Let’s hear from them more as returning makers. :)

What makes you return to the Mini Maker Faire?

A & WH : This event is a good opportunity for the general public to have a better understanding of the Maker Culture. By soaking in the atmosphere of Makers, Dreamers, Creators and Builders at the Maker Faire, people would be inspired to start making their own creations and hopefully in turn enrich their lives.

What was your experience like during the last Maker Faire? Did you notice any trend among the people interested in your booth and your gadgets? Were they people who are already into electronics or novices? What did it feel like sharing your experience with electronic gadgets?

A & WH : Some visitors had never heard about the ‘Arduino’ & the maker movement. After sharing, they seems motivated enough to go explore further. Some had heard a little about ‘Arduino’ but don’t know how to take the first step. We’re heartened to have interacted with many parents at our booths who wished their child can learn electronics and have fun along the way.

(Personally, I think it is encouraging when you get visitors who have no prior knowledge of your stuffs. It is a possible sign that people are keen to find out more about something beyond their comfort zone, and that is a good thing! At the point of the interview, Adrian and Wai Him were still contemplating how to better help those interested to find out more about Arduino. It is great to learn of their subsequent decision to share more via a presentation. )

Did you think the Maker Faire was useful to the maker movement here? Did you see any changes since then?

A & WH : Yes to both. There has been impact especially to those who are already aware and searching around for the community of makers locally. One of your Science Centre colleague William Hooi has been very active in the maker community and generating interest in the maker scene. More should be done to raise awareness in the maker movement. This is a good platform for science centre to reach-out to the public and schools and make learning science and technology fun by leveraging on the diversity of ideas of the maker community.

(Kudos to William and his relentless efforts!)

What are you intending to showcase this time?

A & WH : Like last year, our concept is still to bring across the message ‘Start your Maker journey one small step at a time.  In time to come, you’ll look back and find you’ve taken a giant leap’. We will extend our showcase based on last year. So we’ll still show the ‘Like’ counter. To show what it was last year and how it has evolved this year. We’re also planning an interactive light or sound display that is controlled by participants at the booth (eg using distance sensors).

In addition to introducing and selling electronics/hobbyist parts and kits, we’re planning to conduct experiential learning workshops in electronics, Arduino and Arduino robotics.

What are your expectations from the second Mini Maker Faire held in Singapore, and what would you like to achieve out of it?

A & WH : We hope that the second Mini Maker Faire brings more people together (compared to last year) and raise more people’s awareness on the maker movement.

Hope that Science Centre can do more on publicity so that the event can be made known to people who are NOT aware of the maker movement. Is there a better way (or more fund) to reach out to more schools such as with resources from MOE? How about asking last year’s participants (including makers, vendors, sponsors) to publicise on their website or during their events etc

(A & WH provided us very honest feedback about his expectations from the second Singapore Mini Maker Faire. Indeed, we are also looking at extending our reach beyond those who are already fans of the maker movement, so that more can benefit from the goodness of this movement. The importance of the call for more publicity is very real, and we will not be able to do it alone. Throughout the past year, since the last Faire, it is heartening that our following (at seen from our Facebook page) had nearly doubled, and more importantly, we have seen a growth in the variety of the makers that have got to know about the Faire. *beam* Hence, as suggested by A & WH, we hope to garner all your support to help us spread the words as much as possible, by linking to our blog, liking our Facebook page, following our Twitter account and sharing our posts. We knew that many of you have already done that. Our heartfelt gratitude for all your efforts! :D )

Would you have any advice or words of encouragement to give to newcomers at this year’s Maker Faire? How about advice to people who are new to electronic gadgets?

A & WH : For newcomers, do not worry that what you have to share is simple or easy. The simplicity could be the motivating factor for some people to start their Maker journey.

For people new to electronic gadgets, take a look at our website (3egadgets.com) and come over to our booth. Meanwhile, they can look up the internet to see gadgets that people can make themselves and go to the library to borrow some good books on basic electronics and Arduino.

Wai Him also penned his own entry for our blog last year. If you are interested, simply click on this link. To see Adrian’s entry in our blog, simply click on this link.

About National Instruments

At the inaugural Singapore Mini Maker Faire, National Instruments (NI) presents the NI LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit, also known as DaNI, an industrial-grade, out-of-the-box robotics platform designed for teaching robotics and mechantronics concepts or for prototyping a robotic system, and Angry Eagle.

Read on to find out more.

About the booth

Through our interview, NI shared with us that their booth will showcase the above two items.  The robotic demo showcases a Platform that allows you to quickly start prototyping your own autonomous application. It comes with an NI Single-Board RIO embedded controller that is mounted on top of a Pitsco TETRIX erector robot base, Ultrasonic sensor, encoders, motors and battery. This is an easy-to-use platform to start designing your first autonomous robot.

The second demo is the Angry Eagle game with actual slingshot. A big slingshot is built to fire the angry eagle. A force sensor and a variable resistor are used to measure the force and the angle that the player asserted. The data collected is transmitted to the computer through WiFi using NI WiFi Data Acquisition device(DAQ). Upon receiving the data from the WiFi DAQ, the computer program simulate the force and fires an eagle to break the bricks. With LabVIEW, the graphical programming platform, and simple NI DAQ devices, a lot of computer games can be brought to reality without much knowledge in computing. 

Do visit their booth to speak with their engineers to learn more!

About the workshop

Besides the booth showcases, NI will also conduct a presentation entitled “Hack the Kinect and Other Cool Sensors with LabVIEW” . In this session, NI will introduce to you how to hack the Microsoft Xbox Kinect, iRobot Create, Neato lidar, Google Android, Apple iPhone, Texas Instruments ez430-Chronos, Nintendo Wii remote and Nunchuck, and the Arduino Uno with NI LabVIEW.
The common factor of the presentation and the booth is the platform behind all the interesting projects. This platform is called LabVIEW. LabVIEW is a graphical programming platform, inheriting the idea of a flowchart.  

They had conducted one session of the workshop at the first day, but you are still in time to catch them for the 1pm session today. Don’t miss it!

Encouraging more makers

When asked how we should encourage Singaporeans to make things, NI replied that the first step would be to educate Singaporeans on all the tools that are out there which will enable one to pretty much do whatever one wants. The next and much bigger step would be to provide Singaporeans access to these tools without breaking the piggy bank. NI’s main advice would be to find as many like minded individuals and work on team based projects, so that cost is distributed and teammates can motivate one another to stretch their goals further. They also acknowledge that the lack of facilities would be a limiting factor. NI is open to talking to anyone who is interested in building these core facilities up for Singapore.

Today is the second and last day of our Mini Maker Faire. Check them out!

GEEB

GEEB. It is short for the Gyrating Electrical Enigmatic Blimp, an Arduino-based remote controlled vehicle.

Joel and the GEEB

What makes the GEEB cool is its ability to understand tweets sent by you.

The GEEB is trained to understand spoken commands as a human would, based on a trained AI system using Natural Language Processing methods. It runs on an Arduino and Python-based system, and has a live camera feed on-board.

About the Maker

Joel Tong is a member of the Singapore Academy of Young Engineers and Scientists (SAYES) and is also preparing to enter University in the United States. He has started prototyping the GEEB since February this year. Some pictures of his prototyping process could be found here. Joel will be at the SAYES booth on Saturday morning. Do catch him when he is around!

So what are you waiting for? Start tweeting! @TehZProject

RS Components: DesignSpark – Demonstrating the Raspberry Pi!

DesignSpark by RS Components is a progressive engineering community dedicated to providing an interactive outlet to the engineering world that will be featured at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire this year!

About DesignSpark

DesignSpark is an online engineering community sponsored by RS Components that provides a gateway to online resources and design support for engineers. Created two years ago, DesignSpark.com is an interactive environment for all types of engineers to express their ideas, share their knowledge, and learn from others. Upon free registration to this conducive community, one also has free access to the award winning PCB Design Tool, thousands of free 3D models, and the eTech (a digital and tablet edition electronics magazine), all of which will be featured at DesignSpark’s Mini Maker Faire booth and workshop, so be sure to check out these free DIY tools to amplify your engineering experience!

Raspberry Pi: A Demonstration

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized bare board that operates many of the functions of a PC, featured by RS Components DesignSpark. Add a keyboard, a mouse, and plug it into a TV, and then it functions just like a basic computer! These days, with society’s ever progressive technology it is almost impossible to see the computer at its bare working basics; however, the Raspberry Pi allows us to take bring technology back about 20 years to its bare essentials. Aspiring engineers everywhere are now able to learn about computer programming interactively—using the Raspberry Pi system, students are able to program their own codes and see how the computer responds to them. It’s all about discovering the world of computers in its most simplistic and beneficial form! DesignSpark will be demonstrating the Raspberry Pi at the Mini Maker Faire, so stop by at the faire to check out this new and innovative way to learn engineering!

DesignSpark is Amplifying Ideas

Upon speaking with the members of the DesignSpark community, I found the organization to be very dynamic—DesignSpark is dedicated in inspiring engineers to fuel their passion and in turning ideas into realities. In both their booth and workshop, they will demonstrate how their free design tools, such as the DesignSpark PCB and the 3D cad model can help makers turn their conceptual ideas into a concrete design. The tools DesignSpark is presenting will break the barriers in designing and spark new ideas for inspired makers everywhere! Currently, DesignSpark is working on the DesignSpark PCB verion 4, which will be the introduction of industry open source hardware platform to its community members. DesignSpark is certainly enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and creativity to help the maker community of Singapore thrive!