AZ Residency Day 1 — We Have Arrived!

After many months of plan­ning and plot­ting and con­jur­ing evil dark forces with a few selec­tive friendly con­tacts of the Audiên­cia Zero col­lec­tive, the day finally arrived where we head out for 1 week res­i­dency with mem­bers form all of our three hack­labs: LCD from Porto, Alt­Lab form Lis­bon and our very own xDA from Coim­bra.

I man­aged to setup a ride with a cou­ple of the big bosses from LCD, mis­ter Ricardo Lobo and Pedro Angelo. I waited for them the entire morn­ing, still slightly recov­er­ing from Sat­ur­days photo exhibit open­ing at Gale­ria Icon (where xDA colab­o­rated with Sue doing some dj’ing and pro­jec­tion map­ping). Phonecall revealed they were already run­ning late and suf­fer­ing a major set­back, a for­got­ten wal­let, forc­ing them to go back to Porto.

Long story short: The north­ern comi­tive arrived a few hours later than sched­uled to our des­tiny: Con­vento da Saudação, Mon­te­mor-o-Novo.

convento

Peo­ple from the other labs were already mov­ing around work­ing on some of their own projects: Mónica greeted us out­side where she was test­ing the wifi access dis­tance for her tree project. And inside we unrav­eled the AZ room where Guil­herme was botch­ing lat­est robotic crea­ture and Cata­rina greeted us with a hand­shake using her lat­est speed­pro­ject, a glove with a led that lights when you shake hands. Fil­ipe was set­ting up his fish track­ing sys­tem in a cor­ner. Mauri­cio, Sér­gio and Tara were also around doing their own thing and oth­ers are sched­uled to show up through the rest of the week.

Quick tour of the loca­tion revealed it to be pretty cool. A reha­bil­i­tated con­vent inside a typ­i­cal Por­tuguese cas­tle with an overview of the entire city. Plans for sight­see­ing abit aren’t entirely out of the ques­tion but we are mostly all really eager to get down and dirty with the tech­nol­ogy.

convento

Sit­ting down we finally start to assim­i­late all the poten­tial: We have a Maker­bot table for 3d print­ing. A microwave oven, some starch, vine­gar and glyc­er­ine to do some secret bio stuff (not break­fast pan­cakes). Tool­boxes, com­po­nents and PCBs for elec­tron­ics fun and non profit. Plenty of project ideas involv­ing data visu­al­iza­tion, and fab­ric inter­faces. And a very evil plan for col­lab­o­ra­tive sound syn­the­sis that will hope­fully involve the PA, some con­tact mics, ran­dom MIDI/OSC val­ues from the run­ning projects and plenty of lap­tops.

We can already present the first project, the White LED Red Glove quick project by Cata­rina and Isabel. Which it’ll be eas­ier to describe by quot­ing her own descrip­tion.

glove

This mit­ten lights up when its wearer shakes hands with some­one. It has two exposed soft con­tacts around the thumb and across the palm which, when bridged by bare skin, turn on the LED embed­ded on the flower. The mit­ten itself was cre­ated by fash­ion designer Isabel Tomás, and we then sewed a touch switch cir­cuit onto it using con­duc­tive fab­ric and thread. Isabel and I designed this as a soft cir­cuits exer­cise for some upcom­ing mate­ri­als work­shops, and we’ll post some instruc­tions soon.