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How to Affect Change by Just Being You!

Soldering

As some may know I recently moved out to Seattle. It was a big move as a born and raised Brooklyn, NY native. I recently started looking for community and ways to get to know this great town. Seattle has an amazing mix of history, nature, technology and a myriad of firsts, plus bests. I recently had the pleasure to come across an amazing organization called TCAT – The Taskar Center for Accessible Technology. They are an organization that is housed in the  Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science at The University of Washington. TCAT is utilizing and making open source technologies to help others with disabilities live a full and equal life.  They throw frequent events so always make sure to check their website or Eventbrite for more!

So where I am going with this? Well often people feel the only way they can give back is by having money to give. You may find this very surprising, but that isn’t the only possibility. Especially as you grow your skills. You will find that you can give back in many ways. Not just by providing a warm body in the room, but providing skills you bring to the world every day. We often may be looking to meet new people, find things to fill our time with or wish we could be doing something more than just at the scale of ourselves. Well I want to encourage you to look for non-profits in your local area. In the tech world there are even open source non-profit projects you can join from around the world; check this out!

The best part? You may actually learn a thing or two and have yours eye opened just a bit wider! The TCAT event centered around modifying toys so that those who normally cannot utilize them could. This involved soldering on mono style audio jacks that can easily be swapped with different forms of input. For example something that can be bitten, or mashed like a button or a pad trigger to go next to ones head. We were able to modify these toys so that everyone could have access to the joy they bring as they buzz, light up, and move! Something we often take for granted.

From what you can see above we were utilizing the soldering iron to modify different toy types. We often don’t realize with just a simple modification we could do so many things. For this one we would take each button on the wireless remote that triggers a triceratops to walk and make noise (awesome toy!) and modify with those mono plug jacks allowing us to use a myriad of triggers!

As you can see we were well supplied with tools and toys to modify. They fed us too. Incredibly generous! The next one we modified was a train that would light up and move!

You can see in the photo we were attaching wires to the switch terminals and then routing the mono plug through the back of the chassis in order to allow for easy adaptability.

Check out the completed build! It’s amazing what people can do when they think outside the box and give themselves to a greater good for others. Its often in life we look to ourselves and what we face, but actually participating in making others lives can be quite rewarding. I encourage people to find causes and events related to them that they enjoy. Whether it be for animal welfare, the environment, the elderly, the disabled, poverty, healthcare, or a myriad of other awesome causes. Just get started! You can find events on Meetup, Eventbrite, Timeout to name a few. Please feel free to leave your recent discoveries or what you are passionate about in the comments and get out there…

…you may just find yourself enriching your life and so many others!

 

 

littleBits #BitOlympics – Welcome One and All!

Come one, come all to the #BitOlympic games! As of July 10th the Bit Olympics has begun for the month of July. What is the Bit Olympics? It is a fantastic gathering of the bit driven minds to remix, make smarter, brighter, louder and more awesomer (a word? No? it should be!) anything that has to do with an Olympic Sport.
@SIMakerSpace we gathered to put our minds to work and design cool and new ways to either recreate or improve the sport. We dived in by grabbing a basic set of bits, seeing how they work and then applying them to the Olympic Games. We even got our whiteboard session on!
Jarred demoing to people just some of the awesome power that these bits full of potential can hold!
An enthusiastic Bitster helping to brainstorm and decorate the whiteboard for the games!
Our table filled with ‘Bit-spiration’! We had a whole table setup of acto-robotics gear, arts and crafts supplies, legos, knex, electronics for the proto-module, and even lincoln logs!
Designing a new version of the javelin!
 
Keep an eye out for more littleBits classes by following us on Twitter or Facebook!

Wearables with Rogue Making!

Not sure what to do with that old t-shirt or even that new one to give it that extra level of special, but have a love of making new things?! Then you should definitely dive headfirst into wearable electronics. I attended a sewable electronics workshop lead by the one and only Linino Woman, Tenaya Hurst from Rogue Making at Staten Island Makerspace. MakerSpace had some of their awesomely designed t-shirts on hand as well as some people using their favorites to learn how to light up their shirts with sewable LEDs.

(Quickly testing my positives in parallel.)

(Completed design!)

How are they sewable? They have holes provided for the contact to be made with conductive thread. We learned about forward voltage, series vs. parallel circuits, and why some LED colors play better with others. Starting off with connecting our ‘shorties’ or jumper wires to lay out our circuit we soon got to town with sewing our designs. Check out some of the photos below and make sure to follow @TenayaHurst, @circuitsyn, and @simakerspace for more to come!

Diving in with littlebits!

Hi All,

I have recently focused my efforts back into teaching classes through inspiration from all these great makers young and old! I will be working on a new website to bring you the best content, but in the mean time please see http://www.makerspace.nyc for all the great classes I and others will be teaching. A fantastic Start to the summer!

With that said I wanted to introduce you all to a fantastic product I have started to utilize for some of my classes called LittleBits. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Lego of electronics’ this product allows people to dive into STEM with little to no working knowledge of engineering and make something wonderful. Just check out what was made at our recent family class! We had families, making their own music, a family working on a wireless robotic car, and one member already linking up legos, before I had the chance to purchase these awesome brick adapters. More to come and event classes focused on Arduino with LittleBits!

Making music notes on the fly!

Starting the foundation of a wireless car via IR or wireless trigger.
One of our students testing every bit we could throw at him

Starting out with your basic kit before we introduce all the bits with a twist.

Come join the fun! We even started a Staten Island Chapter!

Pop Up MakerFaire at SIMakerSpace

What better way to meet your fellow makers than at a pop up makerfaire hosted by SIMakerSpace and NextTopMaker. There are makers all over Staten Island and even a fantastic 3D printer distributor right here on our home turf that goes by the name of MakeA3dFactory. Government officials and the press showed up to cover this hit of an event even on a rainy day! 
SIMakerSpace has only been open a short while and is a fantastic space that is full of all sorts of great makers, tools, events, and workshops. It is a 6000 sq ft location in the up an coming area Stapleton, Staten Island, NY. Two stops on the train from the Staten Island Ferry. Their doors are almost always open and their membership is a steal! Make sure to check them out and also follow them on Facebook. I love the momentum the maker movement is gathering and we need to make sure to support and embrace this gem that is Staten Island MakerSpace!

Tech Time with Jarred

(Reindeer Dove with shawl)
An awesome new location has opened up on Staten Island called the SI MakerSpace and they have incredible workshops and a fantastic growing staff. I was fortunate enough to teach a  workshop on building electronic Christmas ornaments. We started with something as simple as cutting out wood or felt and made those suckers glow!
We either used conductive thread or soldered our circuits. Teaching people to solder was extra fun! Do check out their future workshops! I will be looking to teach more in the future as well. Always looking for suggestions too!
(Kit goodies)

(An awesome project by a young maker)
(Learning to Solder)
(Another cool ornament inspired by Minecraft)