Wow, time flies! Not even two weeks have passed since we opened knowable for the public - but a lot has happened in the meantime. I’m still wondering how all of that fitted into the last 12 days.
We’re so glad that you like what we’ve built so far – and we’re working hard on the things that you want to see improved. But we obviously don’t want to stop there! And that’s why I thought it would make sense to give you an outlook on things that are coming to knowable next and where we are headed!
Maker Tales” is an ongoing series on knowable, where we highlight outstanding Makers and their projects. This time we spoke with José Ernesto Rodríguez, the maker of the great „Hat Controller“ – knowable’s latest „Project of the Week“
1) Hi José! It’s great to have you here. Please, tell us a little bit about yourself!
My friends actually call me Tito. It’s the abbreviation for Ernesto. I am a 22 year old Berlin based designer with Nicaraguan roots. I grew up bilingual in Hamburg, Berlin and Mexico City. I’m currently studying Interface Design at the FHP (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam). My Twitter bio says quite well what I’m trying to do: Harmonizing physical & digital worlds.
2) Alright, Tito it is, then. How did you get started as a Maker/Designer?
These two photos sum it up pretty well:
Due to my artistic informed German family I developed an early interest in drawing, form-giving and other arts. Especially my grandparents – who are sculptors and painters – are an important source of inspiration. So I knew quite early that I wanted to be a designer. That’s why I decided to start my graphic design studies at the Lette-Verein in Berlin right away, instead of going for an Abitur (a german high-school degree) first. Best decision ever!
On this picture I’m the one in the middle with the turquoise shirt. I sit between all my aunts and cousins. Growing up I felt just like any other nicaraguan kid. I’m so grateful of being able to visit them almost every year. I guess this mix of cultures, LEGO’s and my father being an electrical engineer has encouraged me to become a Maker.
3) Can you tell us a bit more about how the Hat Controller came to life?
It was actually a homework assignment for the university course “Physical Interaction Design” supervised by Reto Wettach. After giving us a basic introduction into electronics everybody received a keyboard. We then took it apart and had to come up with a cool hack until the next week. The first few day’s were quite disappointing for all of us, because every idea we had already existed. Then I remembered playing "Achtung die Kurve" with friends during our breaks on my laptop (Just like in Snake you control your line by pressing left or right. But unlike Snake, the line you draw never disappears. The goal is not to bump into your own or any other line. You can actually play a remake here). I remember that everybody, even the hardcore gamers, were tilting their bodies when pressing the left/right button. So why not control your snake directly with your own body? The next day I went to the FabLab and only a few minutes later I had my first prototype: two tilt sensors and the breadboard taped to my headphones. But then, I spend the rest of the weekend soldering…
4) Where do you build your projects? Are you part of any “offline” hackerspace?
At home of course and at the FabLab Berlin. They are truly great people!
5) Are you working on other projects at the moment?
Inspired by a project of two italian friends, I also developed this prototype during my course with Reto. I was annoyed of missing my bus or using my smartphone to check the departure time. The Superclock always shows you to the next departure time of your subway, bus or train.
I just moved into my new apartment near U-Bahnhof Weinmeisterstraße. So in my case the dark disc represents the U-8 going south, heading to Boddinstraße. The bright disc stands for Wittenau, the U-8 going north. It’s also possible to physically interact with the clock. Let’s say you are having breakfast and don’t want to leave right now but in 25 minutes, simply rotate the disc by 150° and let go. The disc will then automatically rotate to the next departure time and set an alarm.
I’ll make sure keep you all posted on how this project develops!
6) Haha, that’s a great idea! Well, thanks a lot for these insights! One last question, though: Where can people find you online?
Thanks a lot for you time!
"Maker Tales" is an ongoing series on knowable, where we highlight outstanding and interesting Makers and their projects. This time we spoke with Coralie Gourguechon, one of the co-makers of the beautiful „Craft Camera“ – knowable’s current „Project of the Week“
Hello Coralie! Nice to have you here with us. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Coralie. I am a product designer form Toulouse, France. I recently finished my studies in the Institute of Fine Arts of Toulouse.
You have a very interesting project on knowable - a DIY camera! Can you tell us a bit more about how this idea came to life?
Well, my aim was to build my own digital camera. The ideas was actually born out of frustration four years ago: I was traveling when both my laptop and my camera broke. I tried to repair it - but it was nearly impossible! I was really frustrated since I didn’t wanted to throw basically brand new products away. Just take the camera for example: It turned out that it was simply a sand corn blocking the zoom. It was nothing, really - but no one was able or willing to repair it!
– Craft Camera
I thought that this is not correct - and I really believe that we should have the option to easily repair our electronic products. With that experience in mind, I decided to build my own digital camera.
Yes, it is really a shame that there seems to be no easy way to repair modern day electronics. So, did you get other people involved in the product and issue, too?
I actually started the Craft Camera as a university project and wanted to use it for my final examen. But just one month before I should have finished the design and product, I noticed how tricky the electronics of this project really were. Fortunately I was able to convince an engineer - Stéphane Delbruel (who was working for Snootlab, a company that is developing Open Hardware products) to help me with it. And shortly after that a friend of mine - Laura Messaglio - who is a graphic designer got involved, too. She wanted to make look a little bit nicer and I think she did a fantastic job!
– The case is made out of cardboard - it doesn’t get any simpler
Apart form that collaboration - do you also work in a FabLab or Makerspace?
Yes, sometimes I am going to TetaLab in Toulouse. That is actually the place where I discovered the whole Open Source movement and learned about Makers and Hackers. I honestly didn’t knew about the movement when I started the Craft Camera project. But it was really fascinating to see that there are so many people dealing with the same questions and topics as I am.
So after that, did you decide to open source your project?
Yes! We put all the schematics and templates online. Also the links to the shops where you can buy the parts. I actually think that we should also put together a video tutorial of how you can build the camera. This would make it easier for beginners to get started with their own camera. But even without that, you can basically go and build your Craft Camera right now with the schematics and instructions we have online.
– Assembly process
How do you see this project evolve in the future?
I am not sure - it’s a good question. I am wondering that myself, actually. The good thing is, now that the camera is open source the project can live on its own.
There are still some problems that I want to fix, though. Right now the whole camera is a bit expensive. So maybe we could make a custom Arduino shield to lower the price.
The other thing is, that I’d love to make it easier for beginners to construct the camera. As I said: A video tutorial would certainly help.
– Image taken with the CraftCamera
So are you working on other projects as well?
Yes, I am currently developing paper electronics! The idea is to screen print the circuits on a paper. You can think of it as a new kind of cartography: It’s basically a map that helps people build their own electronic products. This idea came to my mind after building the Craft Camera. Unfortunately the Craft Camera is still a “a box with electronic inside”. With this new project I’m hoping to make the whole process of building your own electronic products a bit more transparent.
Well, I am really curious how this will turn out! Thanks you for your time and the interview!
It finally happened! We took knowable out of private beta today!
This means that everybody can sign-up immediately without the need for an invitation. So if you don’t have an account yet, go ahead and create one! I’ll just wait here for you to come back.
Our biggest update yet
This is one of the biggest updates to knowable yet: we’re not only making it publicly available, but we also put a lot of work into upgrading and fine-tuning our core systems.
So today, we’re also rolling out a completely revamped platform and a new way to showcase your products, ideas and what you’re currently working on. We basically turned our project pages into a big, beautiful storytelling machine! You can now add videos from YouTube, Kickstarter or Vimeo, show important images in all their full size glory, create picture galleries and sprinkle little pieces of text between all of that in order to tell your product’s story even better.
If you want to see these new showcases in action, just take a look at some of these great projects:
This is just the beginning - we’re very excited to see what you come up with and what you will show the knowable community!
On our way to true hardware collaboration
While nice looking project pages are great, they mark only the beginning of our journey to a truly collaborative platform. They are none the less an integral part of our collaboration efforts:
We believe that great showcases and portfolios will help you tremendously later on when it comes to finding and choosing collaborators. And it will certainly help you to decide what project you want to get involved in next.
I invite you to take a look at our public roadmap to see where we’re headed and encourage you to give us feedback and suggestions.
Help us to reach out to Makers and Product Designers
Now that we’re finally public, we want to reach as many Makers and Product Designers as we can. You can help us by spearing the word on Twitter, Facebook or in your local Makerspaces. Every help is very much appreciated!
We have some more exciting post coming up this week, covering all sorts of changes, news and insights. So stay tuned!
Psst, there’s something big coming soon…