Gadgeteer Workshop

On  Feb 20th 2013, a hands-on Gadgeteer Workshop took place in our FabLab. It was organized by the Institut für Visualisierung und Interaktive Systeme (VIS) der Universität Stuttgart as part of a tour in research labs and universities around Europe from Dec 2012 to March 2013.

Thomas Kubitza and Tilman Dingler, who conducted this workshop, showed us how to integrate several components in a .NET Gadgeteer development environment. It is a friendly system that allows anyone to develop their own gadgets without electronic skills and just a basic knowledge of programming.

Sensors, buttons, displays and other devices were easily plugged-in into an FEZ Spider Mainboard, which was connected via a USB module to a laptop. The devices were programmed with the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework 4.2 QFE2 SDK, which works with a version of Visual Studio 2010.

During the workshop, the participants had the chance to make gadgets based on their own ideas. Here is what we made:

– A hearing impairment simulator that enables to simulate different levels of impairment.

– A 3 minute-automatic tea bag sinker.

– A stuffed rabbit with a nose that changes color (LED) when movement is detected. The ears can be moved thanks to a server controlled by a potentiometer.

The components used in this workshop were from GHI. This manufacturer provides sensors for all sorts of things (humidity/temperature, light etc) and interaction devices such as joysticks, buttons, potentiometers, magnetic card lectors, radio, camera etc.

It was a great day! Quite impressive to discover how much we can do in such a short time thanks to this Gadgeteer system. A big thank you to Thomas and Tilman for showing it to us!