June 17, 2013
Back when I was a teenager (late 90s) I promised myself that I'll always try to combine my passion and what I love with what pays the rent, the bills and Italian ice cream. I've worked very hard not to brake that promise from that time and I will do my best do do so in the future. This for me means that my love for hacking is 'paying off' as we speak and I hope it stays so in the near future.
In the beginning there was... curiosity and the feeling of being amazed at the possibilities of the personal computers. For me this happened early 00s. At the same time my exposure to the free software conferences, interactive personal projects with friends and the first visit to the Athenian hackerspace were let's say my first steps in the amazing world of creativity, interaction and tinkering. In 2010 I moved to Tirana (Albania) and after discussions with like minded folks in town we set-up our own hackerspace and started hacking, coworking and making things with amazing people.
At the moment there is this feeling that my involvement and participation in the maker scene has just started and that there a universe filled with projects, co-working spaces and hackerspaces is waiting for me to get my hands dirty.
betahaus is a coworking space (I know you are shocked) and if you want to get involved in the community and collaborate with creative people in a certain city (aka Berlin) places like betahaus and conferences usually are your first stop. My journey started at betahaus.de where I signed up for the weekly tour followed by the Maker Weekend and a coffe the days after. One thing led to another and now I ended up falling in love with the place and hosting my Arduino workshop here.
Rumours? No way. Everybody says that Berlin is the place to be for anyone considering to be a part of the creative industry in Europe and I certainly confirm it. It is also relatively cheap, it has great flight and train connections with the rest of Europe, lot's of maker events such as Codemotion, hackerspaces, a Fab Lab and some of the most creative tinkers I know. Do you need more proof?
Arduino is a single-board microcontroller designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. It was started not so long ago and it is the best tool if you want to see what happens when buttons, LEDs, sensors, small motors, resistors and an Arduino are combined. It's like Lego bricks which work only if you add a little of árduino magic´.
It helps you build interactive projects without being a scientist or a hard core programmer. Since the majority of the materials related with Arduino are published on open standards there is a huge community of makers, artists and tinkerers creating amazing projects with it and helping other people when they need help.
We're learning more by playing one day with Arduino than we ever learned in schools and that is amazing or sad, depending on the way that you see the glass. I always prefer to see it half full. Or create an Arduino hack that puts more watter in the glass.
Let's be clear, in order to change tho world you need the right tools. Arduino and similar other projects like Raspberry Pi, apc.io, 3D printing etc, have made it easy and affordable (this is important) for all of us to play around with programming, electronics and computers. This means that more and more people are playing and using all these 'gadgets' for any project that they might think of. Sky is the limit now and you have the tools to reach it and even change it along with the world.
There are so many projects out there, but my favourite are 3D printers (yes lots of 3D printers have an Arduino inside), Arduino robots, (small) matrix screens and many many more published online.
There are two different take-aways after the workshop, a materialistic and an educational one.
Materialistic because every participant will take away a WMKIT Arduino kit full of sensors, an Arduino and LEDs. Educational because you will learn all the basics around Arduino and an overdose of fun since there is work in groups and individual experiments involved. In addition some say that there might also be BBQ and beer at some point. Can't reveal more details about this though since it's classified top secret information.
There are different opinions about who can be considered a geek, but my own definition is: Geeks are curious people that take curiosity seriously and never stop working on 'fixing' this condition. Of course this is a never ending effort that creates a vicious creative circle!
Thank you very much! In geeks we trust!