Friday, April 29, 2011


Wearables Events!

After several months of having no wearables activities, there were three in three days this week!

On Tuesday Kate put on Toronto Wearables Meetup #6 featuring Angella Mackey. She talked about the processing of turning her one-off Bicycle Jacket (with illumination) into something that could be manufactured, and all the various challenges she met along the way. It was a wonderful talk about the practicalities of making something more than once, and I really enjoyed it. I've got full notes, email me if you'd like a copy.

On Wednesday, Fashioned By Tech, a super interesting networking event for people interested in technology as it applies to fashion. They actually meant things like using the internet to market fashion, rather than my much more specific "wearables", but they really liked my Heart Spark and I had a very interesting time talking with people who are part of the fashion industry.

On Thursday, technosapiens was a project showcase for students who took a wearables course at OCAD University, a local arts school. There were a half a dozen really interesting wearable projects on display, and the students were on hand to present and talk about their work as well. I was especially blown away by the Earthquake Skirt, which not only looked like an earthquake, but was also hooked up to the internet, and literally shook every time an earthquake is recorded worldwide. The magnitude of the quake determines how hard the skirt shakes! Seriously disturbing in person, it really does give you the mood of being in a earthquake.

Finally, on Thursday I also received (at last) my big spool of solderable conductive thread from Karl Grimm. This stuff is super amazing, it solders so well, better even than a lot of wires! It's totally gonna solve the fraying problem that is such a killer for so many wearables projects. I have so much (1.2kg!), I spent a big chunk of today using an ancient Singer sewing machine (so awesome!) to respool some of it so that I can share it with various people who have expressed interest.

You can see photos of a lot of this stuff in my wearables flickr set.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Robot Hackathon

Yesterday at hacklab I organized a robot hackathon, essentially a day-long effort to build an awesome robot at, my local hackerspace. We had about 10 people working on it at various times over the day, and we totally kicked ass: by about 5pm, we had track up and the robot moving back and forth under the control of it's Arduino. I had such a blast working with an awesome group of my friends, and I'm proud of the robot that we created. It still needs a lot of programming to make it super cool, but the basic mechanics are solid and even some of the sensors are in place. Basically, it a track-based robot with a winch. It rolls and forth, and can raise and lower a payload via a winch. Our envisioned goal is for it to be able to transport empty pop cans from the main table back to the recycling bins. We have all kinds of crazy schemes for adding personality to the beast, including a pan/tilt laser for an eye and an ability to make sounds like R2D2 :-).

Finally, a big shout out to Anne, to whom I gave my camera; she took this EPIC set of photos: Flickr: Robot Hackathon: Train Overlord. Even after deleting half the set just to make it more manageable and remove totally-redundant images, there are still 215 photos featuring everyone who contributed - I think it's the best photo-documented thing I have ever done. Thanks Anne!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Nerd Nite

Last night I went to Nerd Nite IV: A New Venue, an event put on by the Toronto Nerd Nite group, organized by Virve Aljas. Nerd Nite: be there and be square. I had an awesome time, it actually reminded me a lot of Dorkbot back in San Francisco, a huge crowd of geeky people, drinking beer and cheering for science and technology. As is typical of these events, two of the three speakers were excellent - I totally enjoyed both the nano particles talk and the rocket science talk. The music talk I think would have been OK if it had been limited to 20 minutes, but instead he droned on for well over an hour... anyway, I still had a great time, and I also bought some of the great Nerd Nite buttons that they had for sale. Hurray for Refraction!

Also in recent events: One of a Kind Show, Canada Blooms, Quantified Self Toronto #4, SproutUp Toronto, hacklab Pie day party. And tomorrow: Hacklab Robot Hackathon! I'll be leading our efforts to create a new robot overlord :-). So excited!

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