Oct 192013
 

Quiet time at the popular first day of Shanghai Maker Carnival 2013 had crowds of locals and hackers and makers from Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Shenzhen, Taipai, Indonesia, Singapore, Prague, America, ……

The number of companies large and small also exploded and many of the sponsors also had a major presence, including AutoDesk, Lego, DFRobots. More photos in next posts.

Overview - quiet time!

 

Sep 302013
 
Foxconn Shanghai

Foxconn Shanghai

Was going to post a shorter article about below – but it felt way too much like I was just bragging – so I did not publish. Now after seeing and having the view that “XinCheJian = amazing” expressed by others – well I had to publish!

Blogged recently and in past about how amazing XinCheJian is, since then even more amazing things via XinCheJian:

Two weeks ago on the way to XinCheJian’s hackerspace in a container – went past the beginnings of the new FoxConn Shanghai building.

OK that is a bit random – how about a week ago I opened XinCheJian door to let some people in – it was the new owner of HackaDay and the CTO.
I was at XinCheJian to meet with David Li, founder of XinCheJian and so were they, so I got to listened and participate in a really interesting flow of ideas.

Turns out hackaDay is really a side project and is just on of 70 sites they own, mostly in electronics! They have been exploring Shenzhen electronics markets and are looking into ideas for HackaDay!

And it also turns out while I was impressed with meeting them and what they are planning, they were also very impressed with XinCheJian – see their interesting post.

My take on the interesting discussions …… China IS different:

  •  local market is massive – eg world record 1 day sales, 10 million website visitors in first minute of sale
  •  very close – supply – manufacture – delivery (typically small – medium parcel is $1 for 1-2 day delivery if shop is close, else maybe 3 to 4 days) + reduced customer support and no international shipping = prices often 5-10 times cheaper than same item in “the west”
  • local market works/behaves in VERY different ways – the historical and ongoing impact of restricted borders impacts all aspects of online actiivity and shopping, for example local crowdfunding sites exist, but everything already on Taobao (or soon will be)
  • Local company presentation at XinCheJian described products which are sold worldwide, about 20 working Chinese engineers were present and were astounded that:
    • company could exist on such low volume production runs of 100s and 1,000s instead of their “usual” millions of units.
    • Engineers daily focus = massive production run of millions of units to get lowest prices
  • suppliers and manufacturers also sell most services on common shopping websites like Taobao!
  • for about $10,000 you can just start manufacturing your product – no need for massive fund raising – maybe just borrow a bit from a few friends.
  • example of door peephole camera
  • forget about http://phonebloks.com/ HIGHLY modular DIY design/make mobile phone!!!!!
    • …. you go Shenzhen, pick and choose your phone modules, then for about $10,000 just manufacture it!
    • yes this ignores the recycling take of phonebloks – but you got your phone based on modules your chose
  • large companies often have spare capacity – ie already paid for infrastructure and idle staff, so if you can convince the owner, manufacturing can and does occur cheaper without or only part of cost those overheads.
  • small production runs (less than millions)
    • = they won’t return your phone call
    • = leads to use of smaller companies, often less experienced and lower quality (eg Pebble watch issues)
  • BLE tiles like Tile and Lively – will be $1 next year – several Chinese companies ramping up production

Plus my personal observation is in addition to the growing of companies that “provide access to manufacturers who make your product”, for example:
SeeedStudio, Hackvana, DFRobot and ITeadStudio, Sparkfun, Fritzing, and Upverter and 3D printing services like: Ponoko and Shapeways and hardware accelerators like: haxlr8.

Then there is also a small, but growing shift in the low volume market where more and more companies are now targeting low volume production at “affordable” cost instead of really expensive prototyping/low volume and also providing direct global access to these services, not just local access, for example: DragonInnovation and HWTrek  and SnapEDA.

Finally – I hear that Massimo – yes from Arduino will be at XinCheJian in late October after BarCamp and Maker Carnival.

Sep 092013
 
pcDuino with LinkSprite shields, Raspberry Pi, pcDuino

pcDuino with LinkSprite shields, Raspberry Pi, pcDuino

Went to XinCheJian hackerspace the other day to run Helper Session and left with a LeapMotion, pcDuinio with LinkSprite shields and sensors and a Raspberry Pi – all on loan – but such nice devices – made a great weekend.

The LeapMotion has had plenty of press since it’s release, so no need to rehash that here, my big first impression after a quick setup and short time playing game, was of being totally lost once the game finished, then I realised oh – have to use the old keyboard and mouse again – it was a huge letdown after being so free using the LeapMotion!

The rPi is one of the prizes for the SwarmRobot team (got shipped – returned and shipped again). Was going to use it for the new TheSpaceProjects, but then was told about the donation of several pcDuino’s and the LinkSprite shields etc. So now upgrading to pcDuino and maybe also the rPi.

More posts coming on pcDuino – as first impressions are it is actually a LOT more capability than expected!

 

Jul 042013
 

Kicked off establishment of “Helper sessions” and making assistive devices in a talk at Xinchejian.

Seems like there is a fair bit of interest – so these sessions will hopefully be be ongoing and produce some fun and “usable devices” (haha).

The trimmed presentation (cut out the waffle about me) has been published here as pdf and odp because XCJ blog and wiki have file size and type restrictions.

Started Xinchejian wiki pages for “Helper sessions” and making assistive devices.

Dec 112012
 

The two winners of of the SwarmRobot competition group prizes are:

  • DooMMasteR on behalf of stratum0
  • Jon on behalf of his group.

Both entries scored well against most of the judging criteria and were evaluated as well deserved winners!

Emails have been sent to the prize winners. There were no winners in the individual category.

A big thanks to those who entered and also to all those who visited and especially the sites that provided links!

Nov 272012
 

Reminder: Only a few days until entries close November 30, 2012, 6AM GMT

Your entry only has to be idea – you do not have to make anything to enter! Don’t be tricked by lack of visible updates about the competition, the web site traffic show that is is reasonable interest in the competition :)

All you need to do is write a submission on what you would do with the SwarmRobot PCBs. The winners will be those displaying the best spirit of open sharing and learning in what they intend to do with the PCBs and how they intend to do this.

Prizes 15 PCB pairs (main controller and IR shield).

  • Individuals – 5 prizes of 1 PCB pair
  • Maker/Hacker spaces or other like minded groups – 2 prizes, each of 5 pairs of PCBs

Detailed information on the competition and how to enter can be found at:

Nov 112012
 

Below are all the necessary details for the competition. Please discuss via this forum.

Update: Please indicate which category you are entering in your submission – Individual or Group.

One final hint in addition to all the criteria below and the hints in the original post: this competition is about ideas for what you hope to do with the SwarmRobot PCBs when you win!

Judging criteria for entries:

  1. What you would do with the SwarmRobot PCBs.
    • What you intend to do with the PCBs
    • Swarm behaviour/capability of robots
    • Swarm of people creating…..
      • Swarm – of robots and people creating…..
      • Individuals – can work with others via the internet
      • Groups – can work as a group or with other groups
      • XinCheJian is one such group of individuals!
    • Imagination and creativity
    • Realism – can the ideas be implemented with AtTiny2313A SwarmRobot PCBS (including additional shields & code)!
    • Originality. A smart new design that extends and inspires
    • Technical prowess
  2. Displaying the best spirit of open sharing
    • Learning
    • How you intend to implement your ideas.
    • Documentation. Schematics, theory, pictures and/or video. It’s all about sharing, so that others can do or extend!
    • This sites/AFRON goals = open, sharing, accessibility, education, low cost

Rules

  • Any idea can be entered, but judges will favour ideas that can easily be implemented on the prize PCBs.
  • Original entries will score you the most points. Please don’t copy existing ideas from the internet.
  • Submit as many entries as you want, but please submit each separately.
  • Good documentation is a must. Use a video, pictures, schematics, etc to document the idea.
  • The submission files must be released under an open source license. Closed source software or hardware is allowed, but should be fully disclosed and redistributable.
  • We want to show off your ideas, and other websites will too. You agree to allow any part of your submission to be republished here and at other media outlets.
  • All rules, categories and decisions are subject to change at any time. We’ll do our best to let you know about any changes and why they were made.
  • Entries must be received by November 30, 2012, 6AM GMT. Winners will be announced on this webpage by December 10, 2012.
  • Preferred way to submit your entry is via this forum. Please note that forum accounts have to be manually approved – due to all the spam issues. So don’t leave your account creation until the competition deadline!
  • Alternate submission is via an email to this sites contact email.

Legal stuff
We want everyone to have fun, and nobody to get sued. Welcome to the legal section.

  • Void where prohibited. The competition is open to world wide participants, unless your local laws say otherwise. We aren’t lawyers, so you need to determine any restrictions on your own, before entering. If you win a prize and can’t collect it, you will need to work it out on your own.
  • Pay your own taxes. If you win a prize and taxes or import duties are due, you will need to work it out on your own.
  • Any cash prizes paid by PayPal or money order, super void where prohibited. If the winner is unable to receive it, or there’s a legal problem with a cash prize, we’ll donate the money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • No purchase necessary for entry. This isn’t a lottery.
  • Permission to use your entry. We need to post your entry on the blog. By entering the contest the entrant(s) consent to have all submitted material related to the contest used without notification. Likely uses are promoting the contest and open hardware, and advertising for competition sponsors.
  • Judging. Our judges’ decision is final.
  • Legal paranoia. Entries that violate local, Federal, or international law may be disqualified.
  • Rules may change. If the rules do change we will publish the changes as quickly as possible.

Rules and legal inspiration taken from the awesome 555 Contest (via WayBackMachine) and DangerousPrototypes 7400 competitions.

Nov 052012
 


Been thinking of running a competition to give away some free PCBs and now that I have your attention thanks to Slashdot, here goes:

Prizes 15 PCB pairs (main controller and IR shield).

  • Individuals – 5 prizes of 1 PCB pair
  • Maker/Hacker spaces or other like minded groups – 2 prizes, each of 5 pairs of PCBs

To enter: Write a submission on what you would do with the SwarmRobot PCBs. The winners will be those displaying the best spirit of open sharing and learning in what they intend to do with the PCBs and how they intend to do this.

Hints:

  • Look at this sites goals and those of the AFRON competition
  • Swarm – of robots and people creating…..
  • Individuals – can work with others via the internet
  • Groups – can work as a group or with other groups
  • XinCheJian is one such group of individuals!
  • XincCheJian wiki has a lot of SwarmRobot information and ideas
  • Be creative, but realistic – it would be great if you can follow through with your ideas and the PCBS!
  • Look at this sites goals and those of the AFRON competition

Entries will close – near the end of November. Full details with closing time and how to submit will be published shortly. If you can’t wait – then look to how dangerousprototypes run the 7400 competition – loose and flexible rules, with core goals of encouragement and having fun!

UPDATES: 

Stack of SwarmRobot PCBs

Stack of SwarmRobot PCBs