Tag Archives: LED

Introducing our Makers – Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014

Just earlier this month, we held a family workshop as a lead up to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014 that will take place at Senja-Cashew Community Club on 26 & 27 July. We would like to showcase some of the makers from that workshop who have contributed their time, effort and other resources to share their making knowledge with members of public, and who will be joining us at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014 itself.

The first maker that we would like to introduce is Mr Ng Pan Yew.

Activity booth at 5 April family workshop

DSC_0010If you were with us during the family workshop, you will likely remember Mr Ng Pan Yew’s busy activity booth where you can solder your own wireframe models. Mr Ng expressed his initial concern about the participants’ interest in his station activity, but his worry was soon allayed when the young participants and their parents slowly streamed to his station. In fact, he observed that some parents were even more excited than their children!

This was when Mr Ng realised that activities which allow participants to be involved will tend to draw the crowd. He commented that this would guide him for future workshops.

Yes, Mr Ng had intended to return for another round of workshop leading up to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014. Do look out for it!

Here is a showcase of the wireframe models.

DSC_0008

About Mr Ng Pan Yew

Mr Ng Pan Yew, a 52-year-old research assistant, is new to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, and had only heard about it at the beginning of this year through his ex-colleague. With background in communications and electronics, Mr Ng enjoys hands-on activities and experiments. He described himself as hardworking but not smart, and as someone who will persevere to complete a project. Mr Ng should probably also add on “humour” to his self-description, as he described how indulging in these electronic hobbies had made him feel like 25 years old instead.

The SMMF14 showcase

Mr Ng shared his fascination with the vibrancy and attractiveness of Marina Bay’s cityscape, and his view that the iconic buildings and landmarks had overtaken Sentosa as Singapore’s main place of interest. Hence, that inspired him to make a mini Marina Bay acrylic model (the Merlion, Singapore Flyer and Esplanade, etc) to be placed at home. To inject life to the acrylic model, he added LED lighting and programme them to operate in sync with your choice of music.

When asked about the project, Mr Ng shared that although he had tried to look for people to build the model together, he couldn’t find any. He opined that it was hard to find like-minded people who likes hands-on hobbies. Well, I am guessing Mr Ng might probably be surprised when he meet these like-minded people at the upcoming Singapore Mini Maker Faire! If you are one, do remember to look out for him!

The interview with Mr Ng reminded me that there might be many more makers and hobbyists who have not heard of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire and the opportunities that exist to showcase what they can do. We hope that the Singapore Mini Maker Faire can continue to be that platform and allow more like-minded hobbyists and makers to get to know each other, work together and come up with more marvellous projects.

Want to see a preview of Mr Ng’s mini-LED light display of Marina Bay area? Check out this video that he has done up, together with his daughter who aided in the sub-titles.

About Adrian Koh and “Art and Kits”

Adrian Koh

Our next Maker, Adrian Koh, is an engineer in the factory automation sector who recently discovered the joy of incorporating art into his electronic toys, despite his disdain for art during his school days.

At his Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 booth “Art and Kits”, Adrian will showcase interesting artistic projects made with electronic stuffs and off-the-shelf DIY kits.  

How his passion grew

Adrian shared that he has always been fascinated by visual display using lights.

Through our interview, Adrian revealed that the growth of his passion for electronics could be traced to an electronic kit making class that he attended at the Science Centre Singapore in 1986. He was only in Primary 6.

Adrian’s workspace

Since then, electronics became both his hobby and his study discipline. During his Polytechnic Final Year Project, he created a 96 by 96 LED matrix board to display graphics via a self developed PC software.

Three years ago, his hobby moved to the next level when his cousin in the advertising line invited him to use his electronics knowledge to create some visual displays for his client.

PIC micro-controller that can create light animation effects

The PIC micro-controller art piece shown in the picture above is Adrian’s pride. He shared that the PIC was used popularly by hobbyists before Arduino came along. The LED bars can be lighted up speedily column by column and the intensity can make it appear like a full screen displaying an animation. Adrian had plotted the animation graphics on an excel sheet which was subsequently converted to meaningful data for the PIC micro-controller, an activity which he strongly advocated for the training of both the left and right brain. To Adrian, there is a great sense of satisfaction doing this despite it being mind-boggling as well!

While he pursues this passion largely on his own, he has a friend who shared the same interest. That is the same friend who introduced Adrian to take part in the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, so that they can promote the learning of electronics via DIY kits.

Fun with Arduino

Besides the PIC micro-controller, Adrian also plays with the Arduino. His first project was a 1-minute count-down device to allow his niece and nephew to monitor the time when playing games! Isn’t that cool?

1-minute count-down device

It turns out that Adrian also try to cultivate the interest of his niece and nephew in electronics by getting their help with simple tasks such as placing of components and even simple soldering of some of the DIY kits he puts together. Adrian’s niece and nephew must be the envy of many. Not many Singaporean children have the chance to have customised toys, not to mention having the chance to make them!

 Adrian’s belief

 According to Adrian, relearning art gave him a new perspective to things. Contrary to his early belief, he now feels that it is equally important to develop the left and right brain, to allow creative thinking to dream and create ideas and to develop logical thinking to plan and execute those ideas. With this, Adrian began to put together hobby kits to help people develop themselves in these two aspects.

Check out Adrian’s booth if you would like to find out more about his projects and his hobby kits.

Make Your Own Electronic Gadgets

“Wouldn’t it be great if I could create and make my own electronic gadgets.”

If the above thought has ever crossed your mind, visit Wai Him’s booth and experience for yourself how you can translate that dream into reality. It is easy to get the Arduino hardware, download and setup the necessary software on a computer and start tinkering. You could be the next great inventor. Take that ‘One small step’ and make your way to his booth. It might just turn out to be a ‘Giant leap’. (for better or worse…)

 About Him

Wai Him is a hobbyist who has been interested in electronics since secondary school. In those days, he built his own electronic gadgets to give his class-mates harmless electric shocks or make simple blinking bulb circuits (flip-flop) out of curiosity.

His other hobbies include building and flying remote-control (RC) aircrafts as well as building and programming robots.

Wai Him’s workspace

These hobbies involves electrical, electronics and mechanical parts. His work space at home resembles a mini-workshop with tools and  parts and lots of drawers.

Coupled with an interest in these ‘technology hobbies’ and being the father of two sons, he looks for interesting way to share concepts of maths, science and technology with them so that they don’t merely see the topics as curriculum that are to be learned in school for passing examinations but as an integral part of daily lives.

He wishes to share, support and promote the Maker movement in the hope that more people will become interested in technology and in turn would be motivated to ‘Learn rather than to be Taught’.

His view on The Maker Movement

Advancement in electronics has lead to a reduction in the cost and size of electronic devices. The open source movement and the Maker movement coupled with the internet has resulted in ease, convenience and relative low-cost for the average person to create and make ‘stuff’ as a hobby.

Unfortunately information overload makes it difficult for the average person, especially those not familiar with electronics, to take the first step in building their own electronic gadget. Wai Him will be showing what is needed to start ‘playing’ with the Arduino platform from scratch and how to progress to make your own gadgets. He hopes that the presence of the physical items as well as someone to demonstrate and share right in front of your very own eyes would motivate you to start on your own journey of discovery.

A Glimpse of the Possibilities

Arduino Circuit boards

The Arduino circuit board comes in various shapes and sizes to perform different functions. Some of the Arduino boards are as shown.

The Arduino can be used as the ‘brain’ of a simple robot like the one shown.

Arduino Robot

This robot is capable of detecting the presence or absence of a (Black) line and would follow or ‘track’ the line as it moves forward.

The robot consists of 2 motors for propulsion. It has an LED for emitting light and a light sensor to detect the amount of reflected light.

You could probably think of more tasks for your robot to execute.

3 x 3 x 3 LED Cube

This picture shows a 3 x 3 x 3 LED cube. The stand-alone unit when powered up provides many hours of mesmerising non-stop blinking.

You can see the electronic components at the base of the transparent casing. A small battery secured beneath the (black) base powers the unit. 

Would this serve as an interesting birthday gift ?  

Wai Him is currently working on a 4-digit 7-segment LED display.

LED Display Counter

This display can be used to show numeric information. It could serve as a clock to show the time or as a calendar to show the date. According to Wai Him, he will be using this as a counter to show the number of ‘Likes’ his booth gets. But please do not confuse this with the internet version that you are familiar with. In this version, you will have to be physically at the event to activate the ‘Like’.

The possibilities are endless. But would you be starting on this journey?

[Note: This write-up was contributed in full by Wai Him himself. Thank you, Wai Him. :) ]