openMaterials :: research project

My dear fri­end Kisty Boy­le and I recen­tly laun­ched open­Ma­te­ri­als — a col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve rese­ar­ch pro­ject dedi­ca­ted to open inves­ti­ga­ti­on and expe­ri­men­ta­ti­on with DIY pro­duc­ti­on methods and uses of mate­ri­als. In the spi­rit of the open sour­ce soft­ware and hard­ware move­ments, we hope to pro­mo­te mate­ri­als to be rese­ar­ched and deve­lo­ped in a public, col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve man­ner. We see mate­ri­als as an open resour­ce, and wish to esta­blish an open pro­cess for explo­ring and sha­ring kno­wled­ge, tech­ni­ques and appli­ca­ti­ons rela­ted to mate­ri­als science.

I’ll be con­duc­ting most of my hands-on rese­ar­ch right here at AltLab. We’d love for you to be invol­ved if you are wor­king in the­se are­as or inte­res­ted in lear­ning more about smart materials.

Paper and cardboard circuits

A cou­ple of years ago i found out on the “inter­nets” that you don’t really need a pro­to­bo­ard or a cir­cuit board to make your cir­cuits come to life, the idea was to fold a pie­ce of paper with the cir­cuit design in it (com­po­nent side and cir­cuit dia­gram side) and then inser­ting a pie­ce of card­bo­ard in the middle.

The main idea was the eco, recy­cled “thingy” sin­ce cir­cuit boards are not so eco fri­en­dly and take a bun­ch of time to get recy­cled by our mother earth, also the eco­no­mic side (paper and card­bo­ard are almost free), ins­te­ad cir­cuit boar­ding takes a long time and it’s hazar­dous for the environment.

So here’s what i do :

1- print the sche­ma­tic you want (be sure to inclu­de on the she­et of paper both sides of the sche­ma­tic (com­po­nent side and schematic)

2‑fold it (the idea is to fold whe­re the com­po­nent side meets the schematic)

3‑cut a pie­ce of card­bo­ard and insert it in the mid­dle of the she­et of paper

4‑glue both sides on to the card­bo­ard (now you must have a beau­ti­full cir­cuit board made of cardboard)

5‑with a nee­dle pier­ce (com­po­nent side) all dril­ling holes into sche­ma­tic side

6‑insert the com­po­nents (resis­tors, ic, capa­ci­ta­tor etc..)

7‑turn it back (sche­ma­tic side) and start to sol­der (be sure to folow the tra­ces on the paper), the best way to do this is to sim­ply bend the leads of the com­po­nents and sol­der them together, if you have a lar­ge area were the lead is not long enough just use a wire or something similar.

8‑have fun

First meeting

AltLab's first meeting
AltLab’s foun­ding mem­bers had their first offi­ci­al mee­ting yes­ter­day (see pho­tos). We appro­ved the col­lec­ti­ve’s gui­de­li­nes, com­pi­led a list of tools to pur­cha­se, set up a hard­ware recy­cling bin, and then had a lot of fun dis­cus­sing ide­as and sha­ring kno­wled­ge. Two ini­ti­al work groups were for­med to build an out­do­ors video pro­jec­tor and a remo­te-con­trol­led-mini-heli­cop­ter car­rying a video came­ra  — we’ll post more info on each of the­se on the com­mu­nity’s plat­form. We’ll also be wor­king on our indi­vi­du­al pro­jects whi­ch inclu­de robo­tics, music, com­pu­ter visi­on, smart mate­ri­als, and lots of other fun things. More mem­bers and col­la­bo­ra­tors will be joi­ning us from May 5th on and new work groups will be for­med. We’ll keep you posted.

Work sessions

We are cur­ren­tly loo­king for a per­ma­nent and full-time works­pa­ce (any and all suggestions/offers are wel­co­me). Until we get our own lab, our fri­ends @ Geral­di­ne have kin­dly agre­ed to host AltLab’s wee­kly work ses­si­ons. Star­ting on May 5th we’ll meet on Tues­days from 19:00 to 24:00 (direc­ti­ons here).

Everyo­ne is wel­co­me to join us for some hac­king, brains­tor­ming, coding, wha­te­ver it is you’re into that day. Ple­a­se fill out this form if you want addi­ti­o­nal info or just to let us know that you’­re coming to one of our ses­si­ons. You can also find our con­tact and mai­ling list info on the con­tact page.