2nd Shanghai Maker Carnival 2013

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!

 

What am I?

At the Shanghai Maker carnival I asked “the” Massimo to sign my Arduino (first of many Arduinos). He did and I have to say he is a very nice guy. Was hoping to get some feedback on the serial number and without any prompting he said “this is a collectors item” and when asked said that is was actually number 62,638.

Arduino #(6)2638 signed by THE Massimo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to this at the pre-maker carnival party at XinCheJian, while exchanging background information with other party goers, I was about four seconds into my background “grew up with no TV, so had to entertain myself making…” when I was interrupted with “so you are a true geek” and to make this really official – this came from a cultural anthropologist who specialises in maker culture etc!

So if chasing Massimo for an authograph wasn’t enough proof, then there is an expert opinion to back it up – yep I’m a geek 🙂

XinCheJian = amazing

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.

Assistive devices and “Helper sessions” at Xinchejian

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.

Not so busy – relaxed busy

A friend in XinCheJian hackerspace Shanghai asked me today what I have been up to. I was thinking not too much, as I have watched quite a few movies (Sleep Dealer is pretty good, Avatar was way better than I expected) and re/read several books & magazines, but then I started to list some of the things I have been doing…….

  • PartTester – built 2nd board with 1% R – did not work, and now 1st one not working – same issue, eventually worked out LCD had partially died on trip home from China.
    • Looking into ways to do improved or auto-calibration
    • As part of above, part of X-bot work discovered that Gerbers used for PCB production have an electrical issue where 328 processor digital ground is not connected. This is only in the Gerbers – the schematic is correct!
    • Red circle in photo highlights difference between “good” gerber (blue) and my gerber with missing ground connection.
    Gerber issue ground not connected to Atmega328 ground!
    Gerber issue ground not connected to Atmega328 ground!
    • X-Bot – learning SMD soldering (old, unrefrigerated solder paste = :(, new = 🙂 )
      • Made a pogo pin ISP connector to easily test if processor was working
    • Playing with el-cheapo Taobao STK500 programmer (good in HV mode, but can’t get it working in ISP mode)
    • Fighting several nasty computer issues
      • XP system freezes for 1/2 to 3-5 minutes yet CPU is at 1% and no other symptoms or errors!
      • XP ongoing anti-virus software instability issues
      • battling security update issues on XP and Lububtu
      • Lubuntu intermittent keyboard & mouse issues – only some keys/buttons work!
      • Lubuntu SMB file copy issues
      • Lubuntu “system problems”
      • Lubuntu restoring backups – path too long
      • Unsuccessfully trying to install Windows 7 to SSD and user directories to different disk
      • Unsuccessfully trying fix injet printer ($$ cartridges, cleaned, factory resets, extra cleaning…..)
      • …..
    • Replacing swimming pool pump (now pool is leaking – think it is drain system)
    • Car window electric winder replacement
    • Fixed front door lock
    • Home Theatre – fixed bad solder joint that stopped right channel working
    • Toshiba SD-K310P DVD player won’t play disks – seems like region free hack has stopped working
    • Dish washer – bottom arm won’t spin .. ongoing effort to fix
    • Backyard jungle:-
      • Getting rid of dangerous European wasp nest
      • Digging ditch for irrigation system repair
      • Hacking away at six months growth (two trailer loads so far), have not even started on the 80+ meters of hedges yet!
      • Watching Cockatoos, King Parrots and Roselas
      • Saw a falling star
      • Cleaning up flood in garage last night due to major storm – we were lucky – could hear clean up with chainsaws nearby.
      Backyard Cockatoos
      Backyard Cockatoos

       

      Backyard King Parrot
      Backyard King Parrot

       

First Shanghai Maker Carnival

First day of the Shanghai Maker Carnival was today with exhibitors also attending from Beijing and Shenzhen.

It is part of the very large Creation Exhibition, an arts and crafts expo with about 200 exhibitors – #12, in Century Park Shanghai and runs from today Friday to Sunday 4 November 2012.

Today was a slow start as it was a work day and the weather windy and cool, especially by the lake, but I am sure tomorrow will bring lots more interesting items!

I prepared a small swarm of SwarmRobots running the new remote control code I just released. Some people surprised to see the SwarmRobots move, most were surprised to see group movement where each group does the same movements. A few people really “got” the demo mode.

Nearly everyone wanted to know why the remotes did not control just ONE SwarmRobot, or did not control ALL, but most struggled with the explanation of deliberate separation into different groups – until this was explained in Chinese! Maybe I should have stuck with my idea to use coloured flags and letters/numbers to indicate the groups, rather than just use the wheel colour! Main reasons I did not was it would transport harder and more effort to set up the flags at events.

Using standard TV/DVD remote to control robots – I thought people would instantly understand how to control the robots! Well as usual I was wrong, at least until you get people to think like controlling your DVD, then some get it, others takes some demonstration first!

The one lone SwarmRobot that was configured as an object follow SwarmRobot also raised questions – why not the same! It is good everyone understands that these are the same, but the idea that some behaved differently really raised some questions.

Several XinChejian members helped repairing battery connector wires and making more SwarmRobots. Some non-members also had fun finishing and making SwarmRobots – thanks guys!

Barcamp Shangahi Fall 2012

SwarmRobots
Three Xinchejian SwarmRobots

Had fun at Shanghai Barcamp Fall helping to show off Xinchejian’s SwarmRobots. It was great seeing how all the children (young and old) explored the robots ability and asked heaps of questions!

Also helped with a presentation about Xinchejian’s SwarmRobots and the AFRON $10 robot competition and I gave one presentation on one of my favourite topics “Instantly turn your project into a kit” available in Libre Office odt and as a power point. It has a LOT of pictures and includes three video picture shows, so it is around 10MB!