Dawson Station at the Makers Festival

Our local public library had their first ever Maker Festival. I signed on to demonstrate some Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects on the first of two days, and when a spot opened up on the second day I gladly volunteered Dawson Station, which is an excellent interactive exhibit to demonstrate many of the faucets of making!

The event was extremely well organized and well attended. I believe that the Maker Movement is still in its "Wild West" days, with plenty of exploration and growing to do, but I think community-backed places like the library are where Makers will blossom in the long run. Libraries, like Makers, are all about learning and sharing! We got a good write-up in the local paper including some quotes from me.
The interesting part of this event was that both the layout's Arduino controllers were re-purposed for the first days activities which included a blinking stoplight and an automatic bubble blower. That meant I had to come home and re-flash both controllers back to train duty for use the following day. What I hadn't expected was all the compatibility problems with the new Arduino 1.0 version would have with my ancient (as in Arduino 0016) code.  I had to bring in new libraries for both the Nunchuk and the Waveshield. In addition, the new version changed the way bytes are transmitted in the Serial class, causing complete confusion as the two boards tried to talk to each other.

At any rate, I got the code and the layout up to snuff before midnight. It performed great at the hands of a wide range of kids, and there were no major casualties inflicted by tiny fingers. Next up for Dawson Station is the Eugene Cascade Train Show in April, where we are planning our 4th appearance.

If you want to hear more about the event in general, or the Arduino / Raspberry Pi demo's, head on over to MakersBox.blogspot.com where I am delving deeper in to all things electronic!

(Thanks to my friend Mike for the photos. He brought his awesome missile-firing Arduino-powered tank the first day and then returned the second to get some photos. I was too busy to get many myself!)

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