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.

Hackerspaces are great!

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!

 

Air-mouse update

Added header pins to the Xadow breakout board, plugged in the MMU 6050 sensor, uploaded the SAME code been testing on the Teensy++2 and success – the Xadow works as an air mouse!

I did comment out the button code as I have loaned my buttons to another Xinchejian Assistive devices team member. Also changed the movement sensitivity.

Will probably use the Teensy to continue the sensor – library debugging as it has heaps of IO to drive LEDs or a logic analyser. Will also move the draft code for the virtual button control to both boards and then should have a fully functional mouse. There are a lot more features planned, so this will be a highly capable and highly adaptable mouse!

A Xinchejian members first experience is in this second video – only instruction to him was hold like this and rotate! Seems like he was quite impressed!