Monthly Archives: June 2015

last time, and next time

Last things first:  the next design and build session is Tuesday 14 July at 19:30, City of Edinburgh Methodist, 25 Nicolson Square.

Last Tuesday we did some prototyping for the suggested interactive display that Creative Carbon Scotland would like to use. It was all action, but guided by the design spec we’d discussed before – with the addition of a snap decision to build on top of a redundant bicycle wheel. The goal of the session wasn’t to choose materials for the final look-and-feel, but to make sure the concept worked and that we understood whether the materials would provide the robustness and electrical conductivity we need while still looking good.

Continue reading last time, and next time

Tuesday: Have sewing machine, will travel


We had a very interesting time last Tuesday talking to Fiona about Creative Carbon Scotland.  They work with arts venues on sustainability both for premises and in general, and what drew her was HeatHack’s idea of working on an interactive map for public displays.  We were thinking about something that showed our activities – in some way or another, we’ve touched more buildings than even our most stalwart volunteers recognize – but we can’t help wanting it to give people something to do that lets them affirm they share our values, for instance, by indicating buildings they care about.  Creative Carbon Scotland is growing a network in the same kind of way.  The main difference: they don’t know the word “Arduino”. Continue reading Tuesday: Have sewing machine, will travel

Tuesday night – bike wheel and wearable tech

We’re on Tuesday night (City of Edinburgh Methodist, basement, 25 Nicolson Square, 7:30) and it’s time to bring out the sewing machine and junk fabric.  The idea is to see whether we can sensibly stretch cloth over an old bicycle wheel and make a reasonable interactive stall display using it, stainless steel sewing thread, and some RGB LEDS.   We don’t have a finished design in mind yet, but I think we’ll have enough to be going on with if we try prototyping the input (a metal wand completing a circuit with a fabric popper) and the output (some flashing lights, or blinking lights, or anything, really, that shows there’s a circuit).

If it doesn’t work, then we need to find another use for an old Imperial bicycle wheel, and we’re back to more like a photo frame in construction.

And today, that’s all we have time for – but it should be fun –

I scream, you scream… (over the summer)

I fancy heading over to Peter’s Yard for ice cream at some point over the summer.  Lou points out that we’ve really been stinting you guys on the catering (what, no TEA??), so  I think we’ll do it this way:  anyone that I can bribe to talk to me about what we want out of HeatHack after the funding ends in February, I’m buying. 

In threes or fours or fives is most fun, but how we organize that is beyond me just at the moment.  So do shout all at once, and what I’m going to do is try to hit up a few people and then advertise when you can find us there.

Beyond that, we’re missing Tim and Lou for the next three scheduled Tuesdays, but we’re  on for 23 June, and I’m happy to have sessions on 14 and 28 July if there is interest.  I’ll blog shortly about what we do on the 23rd, but the current front-runner is prototyping a specific approach to fulfilling the design spec Fiona from Creative Carbon Scotland gave us last week.  We made no promises, but I see a bicycle wheel, wearable technologies with RGB LEDs, and a much better aesthetic than the overcrowded sketch I put on twitter.



soldering test suite

After a bit of a hiatus  – hey, we like people to do well on their exams – we’re back to soldering the sensor network locations so that we can start actually getting useful information from buildings.  I’m heartened by the fact that the Christ Church sensor stays up as long as it’s close enough to the base station, but we’re going to have to work on the radio range!

IMG_20150319_004528Testing a temperature or humidity sensor board is easy.  If you stick it on a Jeenode and it works, job done.  You can move on to the next one.


Ever since Martin assembled our first Jeenode and asked “How do we know if it’s working?” I’ve been struggling with that one.    Obviously we have to do some kind of testing, but what?

Continue reading soldering test suite

Tuesday – map second prototype, and some showing off

Our idea of an interactive map that will show our activities is shaping up as a fun little project.  We’ve been discussing the design behind the scenes.  One thing we know from when we work together in sessions is that the final result is nothing like what any of us were expecting!  On the other hand, it’s useful to have some idea what we think is happening, so here’s the plan. Continue reading Tuesday – map second prototype, and some showing off