Science, Maths & Technology
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Maker Faire

Updated Monday 23rd March 2009

Although many of the electrical goods and gadgets we buy today come in pre-sealed boxes, which makes it hard to take them apart and look inside, it's still possible to tinker in a hands on way with a lot of today's technology. The Maker Faires are celebrations of this sort of hands-on activity: have a look at the following slideshow to see what sort of things were on show at the UK's first Maker Faire in Newcastle in March 2009.

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One of the hacks that particularly caught Digital Planet reporter Angela Saini's eye were some "LED Throwies" - a simple combination of an LED, a small battery and a small magnet that you can use to create a form of (removable) electrically powered light graffiti!

What are throwies?

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Soundtrack to footage - Song: Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez

 

One night to be confused

One night to speed up truth

We had a promise made

Four hands and then away

Both under influence

We had divine sense

To know what to say

Mind is a razor blade

To call for hands of above to lean on

Wouldn’t be good enough for me no

One night of magic rush

The start a simple touch

One night to push and scream

And then relief

Ten days of perfect tunes

The colours red and blue

We had a promise made

We were in love

To call for hands of above to lean on

Wouldn’t be good enough for me no

To call for hands of above to lean on

Wouldn’t be good enough

And you

You knew the hand of the devil

And you

Kept us awake with wolves' teeth

Sharing different heartbeats in one night

To call for hands of above to lean on

Wouldn't be good enough for me no

To call for hands of above to lean on

Wouldn't be good enough.

 

 

How can I make them?

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Josh Lewis

Hi.  My name’s Josh Lewis and today I’m going to show you the simple steps to making an LED Throwie.  So check it out and I’ll show it to you now.  Before I start though I should mention these aren’t my ideas, I’m just following some really brain-dead instructions on how this is done.  They’re actually the idea of Graffiti Research Lab, which you can find out more about at graffitiresearchlab.com.  So without further ado the instructions.

Okay, so let’s see what we’ve got here.  We’ve got our instructions.  You can see they’re pretty simple, Throwie pack of ten, which I purchased from graffitiresearchlab just today at the maker fair.  I think they made a couple hundred of these.  And so instruction one is grab a LED!  So I’m just going to grab one out of my pile here, it’s a red one.  Step two is tape to battery, and they’ve supplied all this stuff, so I’ve got one of the batteries they gave me here.  This is what they’re using.  It’s a Renown.  I’m not sure is this Chinese?  I don’t know, but anyway CR2032 is the type.  It’s a three volt battery, lithium, anyhow.

So we’ve got this battery and it says long pin to positive.  So I don’t know if you can see that, but one of these pins is longer than the other.  So I just want to make sure that that’s on the positive side of this battery, which is this side here.  So I just slide that, the battery right in between these two pins here, and bingo we have light.  Okay.  So now I’ve got to get a strip of tape, I’ve got one over here and I just tape that on like so.  Okay.  And now we’ve got a battery and an LED, all right.

So now the next step is tape a magnet to the battery positive.  And they’ve actually given us a little stack of extremely strong magnets.  These things are amazing.  So I’ve got to prime one of these off of here, oh just finding some metal somewhere, okay.  And that’s obviously going to stick to the positive side by itself.  I need to tape it on there, so I get another piece of tape just wrap that on there.  And there we go!  So now the magnet is stuck on there.  Okay.

Now the fourth step is throw!  Now we get to see why this is called a Throwie.  Okay.  So here’s my Throwie, the fourth step is throw, so I’m just going to chuck it and it sticks just like that.  So I’m just putting them on my fridge for now, but you can kind of put them wherever they might stick, anything that’s metal, anything that’ll take a magnet.

So that’s how to make a Throwie.  It’s pretty simple and that’s all for today.  Thanks for listening, bye. 

 

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