Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Digital Design Weekend

September saw the return of a small Met Office team of volunteers to the V&A for Digital Design Weekend. This is a wonderful event that is growing each year, not just in size, but in confidence. This year there were new many collaborators, including clever folk from Uniform, who expertly, and very quickly, crafted a book to capture the maker spirit of the event.  You can read about the book on the Uniform blog.
What I find most rewarding about Digital Design Weekend through the very informal meetings and Skype chats where Irini (V&A curator) helps us develop a vision and thinking about what we might do is that it remains so open ended.  Yes the event happens, but of course each thing that happens causes other things to happen.  Which is why, in early April, I'm writing about something that happened in September; because in truth it really happened for me in September 2013, and will happen again this September.  So far, for me, Digital Design Weekend is very different each time, and each time new, amazing, things happen as a consequence.
Ian and Jasmine of BBC R&D wrote a blog post about Open Collaborative Making at the V&A.

It was also a pleasure to be joined by Genevieve Smith-Nunes and dancers who rehearsed and performed the digital ballet [arra]stre in a room shared with hackers and museum visitors.  There's an interesting blog about the data and visualisations by Peter Cook -  [arra]stre Data Animations.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

SensorTag and Raspberry Pi revisted

A year ago I posted some notes on my experiments with the Texas Instruments SensorTag and the Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi and TI CC2541 SensorTag.  From the comments received it's apparent that several others have done much the same.  So, thanks to their feedback this weekend I updated my ble-sensor-pi  github repository with a fix for more recent versions of the Bluez bluetooth library.  You'll also find in the README some notes on installing gatttool and enabling the bluetooth adaptor.
In the repository I've added a few extra files for anyone wanting to try sharing their data using Xively.  If you'd like to  try this out then you'll need to register - it's free - and create a new 'device'.  I've called mine 'Wearable Pi' which give a hint as to what I'm hoping to do with it.  Once you've created the device entry on Xively you'll need to create the following channels -
t006, accl_x, accl_y, accl_z, humd_t, humd_rh, baro_t, baro_p, magn_x, magn_y, magn_z, gyro_x, gyro_y, gyro_z
As the code is at present it will collect 10 measurement from each sensor at the default rate of one per second and then upload to Xively.  I did try uploading every second, but the Xively API only allowed this for burst of a few seconds.  There's obviously an opportunity here for some clever optimisation -  upload at a high rate when the data is changing rapidly (shake the SensorTag) and at a lower rate when readings are stable.  It will depend on your intended application.
As before I'm happy to take corrections and questions in the comments.  It would also be nice to know what others are doing with their SensorTag Raspberry Pi combo - so please share.
I'll be taking mine along to the 3rd International Space Apps Challenge on 12/13 April 2014 and maybe hacking some prototype space wearable tech.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The shed project

As some of my friends already know, for the last year Kathryn and I have been working with a local architect to design a new workshop at our home.  Planning consent has now been granted so if all goes to plan construction starts this summer.

This is what it should look like when complete.

 And here's what it looks like now.