Above, check out a picture of me testing a blue spokepov device in my kitchen. The blue ones are my favourite; they have special bright lights in them…
Time is just flying by, and myself and Brian are not dividing the work the way I thought would happen. Brian is doing all the hard organisational stuff, like filling in the health and safety form, and organising the photoshoot for tomorrow, and generally being really useful, while I stay locked in my room and solder our spokepov kits together! I’ve got it down to just over an hour and a half per kit now, which is a big improvement on the three hours it took me to do the first kit.
Like I mentioned above, tomorrow we’ll be getting some pictures taken of ourselves and the Spokepov kits. We’re so busy at the moment! But because we are busy, that means that little things like Christmas shopping keep getting put off… although if I don’t get something for my girlfriend soon, I might be in big trouble! That’s because she’s agreed to help design some of the spokepov patterns, which we’ll be showing here soon.
As Brian mentioned in his last post, we’ve got the kits! Extracting them from the bowels of Parcelforce was a mission, but on Tuesday night we were excitedly unpacking all the electric kits we needed to make this project work. And there’s a lot of kits.
Brian, being a man of science, doubted my ability with a soldering iron, so we arranged to meet up on Friday to take a look over the kits. We’ve been planning this project for ages now, so getting to hold a hot soldering iron was very exciting!
The spokePOV’s (which is what we are using to make the bikes glow) have two parts to them. The first part is the big glowing bit which you put in your bike, but we made the other part – the bit that you use to upload information to the big glowing bit – which is called the USBtinyISP. Follow the link to see what we made; sadly, it’s not very exciting-looking, but it is important.
Over the next few days, both myself and Brian have a lot on, so we each made one of the USBtiny things to take home. I was really amazed at how clear the instructions were, and I think we both found it really easy to work out at what stage we were at. That’s actually a really big accomplishment, because most of the tiny electronic doo-dads that make up the innards of gadgets all look the same.
As well as curing my fear of soldering complex electronics together, we also got a glimpse of how we were going to make the huge number of kits that we now have. We are both busy over the next few days, but we’ve now got hands-on experience of making this specific brand of kit – the next entry will be us making the things!
We made the mistake of ordering our supplies from America, just before Thanksgiving. To English people, Thanksgiving is that odd holiday with the turkey, but to Americans it is the equivilant of Christmas. At least, in terms of slacking off and taking a break, as the whole country shuts up shop for two weeks. While I appreciate that it’s a hectic life, and we all need a break, this was pretty worrying for the project, as we thought we were not going to get the kit’s to the UK in time to make them all.
Managing to squeeze our order in just before that, we got confirmation that our package was despatched from JFK airport last week… we now wait to find out what sort of import duty we face. Will it be the bog-standard (and wrong, in our case) 20%, or the very specific 2% for bicycle lights? We can’t predict the level of expertise our postie will have with European Import Duty levies.
Whilst waiting, we’ve put our time to good use by making this website, arranging bicycles with local charity Recyke-your-bike and studying the instructions for the SpokePOV… how much soldering? Yikes!
This website is going to be a record of myself (Pete Hindle) and my collaborator (Brian Degger) as we prepare our project for the Glowmobiles parade.
The Glow festival is all about things that glow, and this New Years Eve, a parade of specially modified vehicles will be travelling from Saltwell Park in Gateshead, to Newcastle’s Civic Centre. This is part of a season of Glow-related events, including work by Newcastle-based artists, that will be happening during December.
Brian and myself will be keeping track of how the projects going here, and using this site to get the opinions of people on our designs. We’ll also be explaining the more technical sides of the work (with pictures!) so that other people can learn from what we’ll be doing. That’s important, because we are using some Open Source technologies that mean we have to share what we are doing with other people – not that we mind!