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.