Maker Faire

We expect to announce availability of this site at the faire. We'll have a presentation and a workshop as follows.

Presentation Outline

  1. Why amateurs can expect to invent biologically inspired circuits
  2. One dollar buys a computer these days so stop designing with transistors
  3. How to write a network protocol stack in 25 instructions or less
  4. Three great things that happen when you replace logic levels with probability
  5. Making and sharing parts that connect to the real world
  6. Case studies of small but interesting systems

Workshop Outline (See MakerProjectInstructions)

  1. Building a one-computer circuit that flashes code on an LED
  2. Adding a second computer that plays sound instead
  3. Adding a third computer that will adjust speed, tempo or both
  4. Adding a fourth computer that will display parameters on TV

(optional: bring tools: wire cutter, stripper & needle nose pliers)

I have submitted two proposals (following) this morning via the MakerFaire website. I have scaled down my original proposals to fit into one 20 presentation and one 90 minute hands on building workshop. These are some of the adjustments I've made:

  • presentation (20 min) preferably Saturday afternoon

    • less theory and philosophy
    • more demonstration of gadgets that i've built using the technique (will need projected video)
    • more info on how to get started

  • workshop (90 min) preferably Sunday

    • i will only provide chips.
      • these have lead times and require programming which I will deal with
      • this keeps the fee low, $10
    • attendees will bring other parts which they already have or can get at Radio Shack

If Chips talked like Cells

We show how small cheap microcontrollers can learn from cell biology to produce a new and more forgiving kind of logic that will be especially attractive to weekend experimenters.

(20 minute presentation)

I have developed a website of suplemental material and open source code that will be open to the public at the time of the faire.

I will demonstrate some electronic wiring. I would like to use a video camera to project this activity (5 minutes) on a large screen so more people can see the ease and casual nature of the wireing. My son will operate the camera. I will need you to provide a projector, screen, and av cables.

Biologically Inspired Multi-Processor

Build a circut that uses preprogrammed (and reprogrammable) microcontrollers to signal human cell style using concentrations, not logic. We provide the chips, you bring your own socket board, hookup wire and batteries. The application we build will connect sensors (knob or light) to control sound (morse code pitch and tempo) and includs an extra computer programmed as a "scope" to watch the others work.

I will provide four preprogrammed microcontrollers for which I am asking a 10 dollar registration fee.

Attendees will have to supply a solderless prototyping socket with battery power (3 volts, e.g. 2 AAA).

I will also set up stations where people can try using their completed circut in other interesting ways.

I will need AC power at several stations.

I will order enough microcontrollers for 15 registrations. It would be best if this 90 minute workshop were held on Sunday so that people could enroll on Saturday and return with the extra supplies. I have submitted a separate proposal for a 20 minute presentation, which would work best for possible workshop attendees (and me) if it were on Saturday afternoon.

The Faire has come and gone. We had a great time.

Our workshop sold out. The project was the right size for a ninty minute slot. I think everyone who started, finished with all parts working.

We probably should have provided the sockets and batteries even though this would have tripled the fee. We had a couple of participants who had to settle for watching and helping for lack of a socket to work on. We brought all of our spares but it wasn't enough.

Our presentation went well too. We were pleased to fill the room to 2/3 capacity, especially considering that the previous talk had an audience of four. We started pretty thin too, asked those present to fill the first few rows, and then proceeded to just show designs we had built and explain how tiny parts and Bynase made for a great exploratory environment. We finished early and asked everyone present to just come forward and play with the things we brought. That was the right move.

Sunday morning we sacrifised the one MorseCompanion computer we had left to make a ThrowieTalkie. We enjoyed showing it around the faire and left it with the GraffitiResearchLab folks as a tribute to their efforts traveling across the country to bring Throwie production to the kids of all ages.


Last edited July 30, 2006
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