chebe: (FlowerInHair)
Post Dublin Maker I haven't exactly had much of a chance to rest.

TOG had a stand at Dublin Comic Con (out near Swords), where we dazzled people with many, many LEDs. At least I think that's why people seemed confused that we weren't selling anything. I was impressed by the quality of the costumes; both the professional ones on display, and the ones worn by attendees. I attended a panel on Special FX, and was charmed by both Al Matthews and Virginia Hey at another. I may have acquired one or two (too many) books on art/design/costumes of various films.

Rob at our stand with all the blinky LEDs

Rob and the blinky LEDs
Photo by chebe



Two weeks later I attended Shamrokon (a literary con, and this years Eurocon), and was a talking head on three panels; 'Wearable Tech', 'Back to the Couture', and '3D Printers and Copyright Law'. (Name drop; two of which were with Charlie Stross, a delightfully contrary man.) I attended two long days of great panels, my favourite probably being 'Peaceful Science Fiction' and 'Genre Toys'. It was also good to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while (who were mostly busy running the con), and to meet a few people I know mostly online (*waves at [personal profile] vatine*).

Bill Thomasson, @chebegeek, @ickle_tayto, @cstross, sitting at table before panel begins

The only proof that I was there at all
Photo by Joe Mansfield, source



The next week Tog Duck (and some tog members) migrated East to Bletchley for EMF Camp. It was camping. With internet. I made it through two nights this time (yay, improvement!). But it was still camping. The trip also included many hours of driving (omg the M6, the horror, the horror!) and a couple of ferries. So it was fairly exhausting overall. But a good time was still had. There were interesting talks (including the inner workings of Quasar, and Bletchley Park), and Saturday night had people out displaying their finest light-up wearables. There were hats with chasing RGB patterns, animated dot matrix displays, a green EL wire outfit (waistcoat, tie, and hat), and a superb EL wire dinosaur wire mask (with operational jaw). I ran around the motion sensitive LED-poles Grid, and generally marvelled at peoples' projects. But I missed chances to catch up with people, so hopefully there will be another chance at the next run of events (April seems so far away...).

pics )

Also took the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Computing and marvel at the old(est) computers still running (both original and resconstructed). And Chester as well, because it was on the way and contained hotels.

I'm running real low on reserves, so I'm trying to take it easy over the next while. If that happens there should be more blogging happening here. Should.
chebe: (Default)
All the pieces were inspired by bits of Irish heritage or sayings. Some people seemed a little insulted that we were explaining the inspiration to them, while the majority of people had never heard of them at all. Were they just very regional activities/sayings, or are we largely discarding our past?

Which brings us to my own personal favourite piece. My favourite because of its relative simplicity, and because it's the closest to actual etextiles. During this piece I discovered just how wonderful real felt is to work with, and how perfect the thick soft fabric is for running channels of conductive thread, completely hidden.

And so I present, arguably, the piece most suitable for modern Ireland (perfect for the daily grind in an office); a waistcoat that lets you know someone is standing behind you, by sending a shiver down your spine.

Mannequin wearing felt and spotted silk waistcoat, front Mannequin wearing felt and spotted silk waistcoat, back

Waistcoat at Dublin Maker
Photo by chebe



Magnificent details )

And so our tale comes to an end. I learned a lot, had fun, stress, and sleep deprivation, along the way. But it's always worth it. I'll leave you with photos of the day from the official photographer. *falls down in an exhausted heap*
chebe: (Default)
In times gone by, when you caught a cold or got a cough, one of the things you could do to try and cure it was to tie a red flannel around your neck, under your clothes. Did the extra layer of warmth actually help, or was it just superstition? I'm not in a position to answer that, but it sparks some interesting questions.

For all its vibrant colours, traditional torque design, and dynamic nod-to-Newgrange kerbstone spirals, this piece strikes me as something futuristic, or interstellar. How Niki massaged the felt into these shapes I've no idea but, except for the torque clasp, this is one solid piece.

Mannequin wearing black tshirt, and a red felted torque piece

Red flannel neckpiece at Dublin Maker
Photo by chebe



Glorious details )

But for all the set-backs and frustrations, this piece turned out to be many peoples favourite. Everyone who tried it laughed, some almost split their sides. Niki has some good ideas on improvements for the next version, and at the very least there will be fewer microcontrollers involved! So keep an eye-out for the next revision.
chebe: (InADream)
A time not so long ago, in this very land you're standing, some people were known to hang seaweed out to dry. Whenever the moisture in the air reached a certain level the seaweed would rehydrate; warning those around of rain.

Ruling out wearing seaweed around your neck, how can we use this knowledge to help us avoid getting wet? Thusly was the kelp neckpiece born!

Mannequin wearing black tshirt with white Dublin Maker logo, and a green felted kelp piece

Kelp neckpiece at Dublin Maker
Photo by chebe



I have already talked about parts of this project; in getting many LEDs to light up, and then getting the humidity sensor working. But to recap/elaborate;

Wonderful details )

There you have it; a felt neckpiece that warns you it might be about the rain. I began trying to leverage the extra information (temperature and pressure) from the sensor, and fit it onto local historical weather data to more accurately predict rain, but was pulled away from such indulgent pursuits by the need to complete the other pieces.

Dublin Maker 2014

2014-Jul-28, Monday 09:06 pm
chebe: (Default)
If you follow me on twitter you may have noticed a rise in the number of barely sensical tweets lately. That is the effect a deadline has on me. Last Saturday, 26th July, was Dublin Maker 2014. It was the events first time as an independent entity (previously Dublin Mini-Maker Faire). And it was a fantastic day! I didn't get to see as much of the other makers as I had wanted to, but I loved what I did see, and from all the photos, videos, and write-ups coming in everyone had a great time.

This year along with the event getting bigger, the branding also got much better. Check out my beautiful ladies-fit tshirt, and badges.

Black tshirt with white Dublin Maker logo, white and blue laser-cut badge, and blue and white soldering kit badge

Swag
Photo by chebe



White rolled icing decorated cake with blue and yellow logo

Cake!
Photo by chebe



This year was also my first year not exhibiting with TOG. They still had a very large, very hectic stand, but this year I've been collaborating with Niki Collier on some felt wearable tech pieces. We went under the name Adore, Adorn, Play and ended up with three wonderful pieces to show;


I'll do up individual posts over the next few days about each piece (you are here for the minute techie details right?). For now I'll mention the unofficial fourth piece; my fascinator.

Purple petaled felt daffodil with green headband and leaf, with a white LED and fibre optics core

The best kind of daffodil
Photo by chebe



While I was debugging some problems at one of our sessions in the weeks before Dublin Maker Niki started working on felting me a headpiece to wear on the day. I love daffodils, and I love purple. So, with no small amount of magic, in short time, she turned a pile of fibre, soap, and water into this beautiful headpiece! The Friday night before DM, I actually managed to get home before midnight. But found myself wired, and in the wee small hours rigged my flower up with an LED (complete with hot glued fibre optics and rubber tubes) and a battery.

Purple petaled felt daffodil with green headband and leaf, with a white LED and fibre optics core

Daffodil power!
Photo by chebe



It's just done quickly by stabbing two holes for the LED legs through the middle of the flower, and connecting them to the battery terminals with conductive thread (and a hint of fabric paint to avoid shorts). I got many compliments on it during the day, and wore it all night! (At which point people actually began to notice that it lit up *harrumph*) It now has pride of place among my growing LED flower collection.

It was a great, if exhausting day. And I'm already looking forward to both next years DM, and to working with Niki on more projects.

New Gadget; CuBox

2014-Jun-30, Monday 08:35 pm
chebe: (AsciiC)
I've always wanted my own server. Although I haven't exactly had much need for one. Then I heard about these little beauties; the CuBox (or rather one with the older chipset). For some scale here it is next to a 250ml teapot and a one-Euro coin.

CuBox next to a 250ml glass teapot and one-Euro coin

Just too cute
Photo by chebe



It arrived with Ubuntu (10.04!) installed, which would just not do. So I copied all the cool kids and installed Arch linux on it. For that extra-low-level feel. I actually used the CuBox installer, which was very simple to use. But Arch is very stripped down, so I then had the fun of installing all the things I normally take for granted. Like vim, and sudo. Though to be fair, once I figured out that the package manager was called pacman, and an update is just pacman -Syu, things got much easier.

I've configured it up as a DNS server, and installed this dotey USB wifi dongle. So now it can sit happily next to the power socket (all the other cables unplugged), and I can ssh in to it. I'm still not sure what, if anything, I need it for, but at the very least I'm going to play around with mongodb and django for a bit.
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
It has been a busy few weeks! From dipping my feet in the fog cloaked Pacific Ocean, to walking along the bright three-hours-of-night Baltic Sea, and all within a month. From San Francisco to Stockholm, I somehow managed to not visit any hackerspaces. I just didn't have the time. Work sent me to the Bay Area for training, and I went to Stockholm to take a sewing course.

Stockholm is very easy to get around. The city centre not being that sprawled means you can easily walk around all day. But there's also public bikes, buses, trams, and trains. Everyone is friendly and has great English, which is just super convenient for the clueless tourist like myself.

However, the number of similarities between not only Swedish/English, but also Swedish/Irish is quite interesting. For example, button in Swedish; knapp, and button in Irish; cnaipe, pronounced almost identically. And then there's the Irish Viking place names, and Irish Norman family names... It's almost like they're related in some way ;)

But, back to the course! It was two days of exhaustive sewing. And I mean exhausting. I was falling asleep on the twenty minute train journey back to my hotel each day. Clearly I would never be able to do anything as strenuous as the Great British Sewing Bee!

Details and pictures )

Collaborations

2014-May-19, Monday 07:19 pm
chebe: (Default)
The theme for this year does very much seem to be collaborations. So many talented, hard-working, fascinating people with great ideas to work with! It hurts to not be able to do everything. But sometimes, even if I can't go somewhere my projects find their way regardless.

First [twitter.com profile] partfusion and [twitter.com profile] Jeffrey_Roe wandered off to MakerFaireUK with a couple. But then [twitter.com profile] partfusion absconded, with the glove I was working on at Artek, to MakerFaireBayArea(!). It's more traveled than I am at this point. Speaking of, [twitter.com profile] partfusion has started his own collaboration, resulting in some beautiful garments. I mean, just look at that RGB crinoline! I'm in serious want.

In the meantime I'm at home, working hard on other projects. I'm currently working with Niki Collier, an amazing fibre artist and maker. We're working on a series of interactive jewellery pieces, hopefully for Dublin Maker at the end of July. We're coming to the end of our first prototype of the first piece. (The idea of finished pieces is rather a strange one to me, who's lucky to finish a single prototype. It's an interesting experience!)

Niki has been posting updates on the facebook page (warning; awkward photos of me trying not to pose). The first piece is inspired by an old Irish practice I've never actually heard of before. Apparently, some people would leave kelp out to dry, and leave it there. As the air got more humid the kelp would rehydrate, giving a visual warning that it was going to rain. Of course, carrying around kelp isn't conducive to modern living, but wouldn't a heads-up that it was about to rain be very useful?

Cue a felted neck-piece to resemble kelp, a bunch of LEDs, and a humidity sensor.

Early prototype days; some felted leaves incorporating LEDs, and a whole mess of crocodile leads

Early prototype; viva la crocodile leads!
Photo by chebe




Prototype with LEDs mostly soldered into felt tube to be worn around the neck, and other components still connected with crocodile leads

More recent prototype; LEDs mostly connected up, other components still connected with crocodile leads
Photo by chebe



I was hoping to use the Gemma for this, and I have videographic proof that it did work during the early prototypes. But something has gone wrong in the meantime. Worst scenario we'll use the Flora, but I'm hoping to figure out what the problem is.

We're using a cheap-and-cheerful humidity sensor (with built in temperature sensor). Getting it working was extremely easy, once I figured out that I needed this library, and that the samples included show you how to do everything. Really great library!

So now I'm trying to figure out the problem with the Gemma, and starting to look into the next piece. This collaboration thing is turning out to be a lot of fun.

Artek Circle

2014-May-11, Sunday 03:41 pm
chebe: (BeautyQueen)
This weekend I've been at Artek Circle. This has been an incredibly fun, and inspiring, event bringing together artists, scientists, engineers, and even philosophers! For a day and a half we have worked together on projects. It's been surprising how much has been achieved.

I kind of floated around, helping out with some debugging, busying myself with finishing up an RGB gauntlet (more details to come), and being a subject for some eeg experiments. Mostly it involved watching cat videos. For Science!

Me, holding up right arm with RGB gauntlet lit up in blue

Me, playing with RGB gauntlet
Photo by CreativeDynamix



The eeg project was Sinead's idea. A bunch of eager people gathered round, and magic happened. My involvement mostly involved me wearing one of the eeg sensors (as seen here) while watching cat videos. We were using the TrueSense Exploration Kit which is available for the really reasonable price of US$48. The cat videos was inspired by The Sympsychograph.

Want to hear the first pass of what my brain sounds like on cats? Later in the evening we retired to the hackerspace, and the recording of my brain on cats got printed on the 3D printer. This is my very own Cartesian Portrait.

A 3D print of the recording of my brain watching cat videos

My brain on cats, 3D printed
Photo by chebe



Such antics can lead to unexpected side effects however. Like having to pose for many photos. I'll keep you updated as the project evolves.

*edit*
Sinead's take on the weekend.
And I just heard my cat brain mapped onto Love Cats!
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Ah, the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along. In one sense I'm behind. In another, I'm finished. See, I forgot for a moment that pattern company sizes are not regular sizes, and got the pattern in the wrong size. But, after measuring (myself, and the pattern) it became clear that the pattern included quite a bit of wearing ease. Which I would find unusual for a regular knit fabric, let alone the two-way-stretch knits we're actually using. So I chanced my arm and made up a toile in the largest size included.

I used some two-way-stretch knit I had laying around, which is just a bit heavier than the kit fabric. It doesn't really fray so I could skip most seam finishes. And I couldn't find any of my lace, so I made do with just some quarter-inch elastic.

Details and pictures )

The knit used is just about heavy enough to be a non-underwear fabric, and without the tell-tale lace details, well, my 90s self would like to wear this out dancing. She probably won't get her way, but I do adore this slip/lounge dress. It's so comfortable, and the different sized cups provided means I actually have something that fits properly with very little effort! I think with the actual fabric I'll narrow the side seams a bit, just to take the pressure off. But otherwise, I'm very happy. Talk about your wearable toiles!
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