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AZ Residency Day 4 – Routine Strike

Today we haven’t done anything at all. Nah, just kidding. We seem to have grown well adjusted to our new home, the days are almost routine and the nights grown more social, everyone seems to be so tired that work on projects after dinner doesn’t quite work out as imagined.

New ideas for projects still pop up every other second but we’re now slowly starting to focus more on specifics. Pedro seems to be nearly done with the OSCBus link to Pachube. And Francesco seems to be polishing up his ants project some more, atleast it was rumoured that we can already get some inputs from both the fish and the ants for our promised audio mischief sessions. We haven’t quite managed to have some of those yet, but we definitely will. We should also probably connect it to AssaultCube, just to reuse late night gaming pwnage from our gamer residents.

Sérgio managed to get the hall lights also synced up to OSC so it’s now clear that complete and total world domination is eminent.

Filipe has been busy with his secret new projects and also pet-sitting his fishies, who seem not to be doing so great, probably new water tank related, so they’re getting a new one tomorrow!

Jorge been busy all day building a frame for his VJ mixer, it’s looking good by now, just wish my brain could already be able to filter the dremel sound by now!

Catarina and Tiago tried to assemble a new breed of TV-B-Gone’s, but seem to have failed miserably so far. Hopefully tomorrow they’ll succeed in a little more than just finding all the possible ways that it won’t work and we’ll have something more to show and tell to the world.

The bioplastic sample tests have been somewhat neglected but we promise we’ll report something back about them. Guilherme has returned to the residency and seems to be working on some evil plans for world domination for his robots, we hope to have some follow up info on that in the next few days aswell.

Meanwhile Tara has been pushing forward her plastic bag fabric PCB ideas with a few speaker circuit tests.

All in all it seems that the daily project meetings have settled down to lunch hour. Which fluctuates. And excursions to the random local shops are now common atleast twice a day. This carefully devised and heavily pondered time management scheme is easily enabling us with the latest cutting edge technology, which allows us to put together something as exquisite, brilliant, innovative, revolutionary and so righteously dedicated.

AZ Residency Day 3 – Ideas Are Like Rabbits On Spring

The breakfast table side projects meeting seems to have jetlagged slightly to lunch hour. Cold water morning shower is truly revitalizing but i wouldn’t want an encore tomorow! Despite the early shock some folks clearly fueled with their sleep deprivation managed to come up with a few other project ideas to add to our pool. Among which we seem to have a top secret facebook junkies clothing line and a not that top secret Boris Vian piano cocktail idea revamp, for the drunkards in us all to rejoyce aplenty about (related electro valve experiment documentary picture below).

misc purchases

electro valve

So an excursion to the local city store was in order, visiting random local Chinese stores, hardware stores, textiles store, pet stores, electronic materials stores.
BTW, you should know that using a multimeter to pick a zipper at a textiles store might get you kicked out!

misc purchases

Also, musical christmas cards + cheap earplugs + silicone + skills = contact mics + hydro mics + led + cute paper leftovers for our collage club! Be afraid!

Meanwhile, in a land far far away, Tara has been very busy ironing a few random plastic bags to create a DIY PCB prototype and successfully unravelling many distinct ways on how it will defnitely not possibly work! Plus discovering an advanced paper printing technique. Follow up should come within the next few days. We hope.

misc purchases

Tiago Serra and Jorge Ribeiro from xDA have also arrived tonight, so our dinner plans also involved a little brainstorming on all of these ideas and more top secret ones TBA. Meanwhile here is another random silly photo:

silly ps

AZ Residency Day 2 – Nothing Like The Fresh Smell of Vinegar Early In The Morning

Day started with a small queue to access the showers and a breakfast table side projects meeting.

Today’s plan for world domination involved:
– Connecting OSCulattor with Pachube
– Tracking fish in the fish tank
– Cooking bioplastic sample experiments
– Twitter bot with processing and/or javascript
– Taking apart old keyboards
– Planning a realtime videowall for AZ Labs

Most of the goals were reached despite the usual setbacks.

Bioplastic is sick. It’s basically starch, water, glycerine and vinegar stired together and heated slowly to a pasty bubbly form that takes a day to strengthen up. Today we cooked a few variations of the standard recipe to make a few sample experiments with different ingredient ratio, cooking time and thickness, to compare the properties and possibly maybe probably figure out some interesting use for them in future projects. They take about a day to cure, so we have no conclusions just yet, but we’re all pretty sick of the smell of vinegar by now! Stay tuned for the follow up, coming to an hackerspace blog near you soon.

Fish are nice. We like fish. Filipe brought some with him and seems to be planning some cute tracking system installation. A crack in the main experiments tank hold him back a few hours while the silicone patch dried up, so it isn’t quite operational just yet, but we’re already working hard on the next evil step for world domination: devising a clever way to centralize and reuse his little fishies tracking values. And share them with the world while we’re at it. Who knows who might need a bowl fish tracking stream of values out there.

We took a little walk wandering about Montemor-o-Novo, quite a peaceful town as it turns out, we managed to find an open restaurant with some excellent traditional Portuguese food, which was nice. Meanwhile, back in the new tech world, our plans for tonight’s generic audio mischief jam got held back by the lack of a mix table, some lag with ninjam wireless and an allnighter live broadcast stream pumping out of Autechre‘s website.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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