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Building things for the office (Day 1)

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Tristan Ferne | 18:59 UK time, Monday, 15 September 2008

This week we are running a physical prototyping workshop for the team; the aim being that we build something with electronics and computers that has a physical presence, something that connects with our work, and something that will sit in the office. We've run them before and got interesting results and it's a good hands-on, team-building, out-of-your-comfort-zone, lateral-thinking experience. This is the first of three days and three blog posts - the prototype must be finished by Wednesday afternoon when we have a show & tell session scheduled for the rest of the team (and a final blog post).

Brainstorming ideas

The morning was spent brainstorming ideas around the theme of "Something for the Office" and then getting to grips with the Arduino prototyping boards. Two LEDs were soon flashing away...

Blinking LEDs

First thing after lunch we reconvened to compare notes and decide on the plan of action. Ideas converged on an installation that would show the general mood of the incoming SMS text messages to BBC Radio and, in fact, read some of them out with text-to-speech software whenever someone approached the device.

Planning a monster

Some time was then spent browsing the local Maplins for components before starting to ponder how to use motors to raise a monster out of a box. However, just before we were about to start protoptying this, the day was cut short by our offices being evacuated. Apparently due to a gas leak in Starbucks below.

More to come tomorrow in Day 2.

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