03 May 2023 at 7:27 pm
I’ve been really busy (as usual), but since December it’s been crazy hours every week. It’s also been a while since I wrote about what I’m working on these days, so here’s some of the projects that have kept me busy.
The last year I’ve done lots of tiny projects such as a deodorant-auto-sprayer for AXE/JCD, electronics for an old-style switchboard at a museeum, custom audio players/triggers for a science center, helped Bull.Miletic with the installations Ferriscope and Venetie, but most of my time have gone into some rather large projects:
Since they got in touch in 2017, Røst has been one of my largest customers. Initially, I did all their electronics & software. These days, they have 14 employees and hardly any of the software is written by me any more, but I still help them with electronics design. I’m working on their second product and now I can finally share a bit about the P3000. Roest also won a pretty cool award recently - the DN Gaselle 2023. A Gaselle is a firm that double their sales year over year for 4 years, while still beeing profitable. Great fun to work for them!
Lecturing @ Kristiania University
I’ve been speaking publicly on computing since Y2K. Back then, I helped Macromedia launch products and did product training. These days I work for Kristiania University and the main reason I’ve been so busy is that I’ve been making electronics for Roest while also creating a brand new elective for Kristiania. The school was closing down their Intelligent Systems course and thus also the Machine to Machine Communications course I wrote for them back in 2016. Now they wanted a new course and they wanted me to come up with it.
I pondered for a bit and the idea was to use some parts of the M2M course, but build something fresh. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to make a topic that let you experience the Full Stack for IoT. The students will use a microcontroller to produce sensor data, save it in a Node based backend and then show the data in a React App! I called the elective From Edge to App (PGR212). It’s a tall order to teach students Full Stack with hardware in just a semester. I cannot go really deep into anything, but I feel that it’s still a really good course that can give the students an idea if they want to work in hardware, backend or frontend. According to anonymous surveys done by the school, the students think it was a success!
I’m also consulting for the school on other exiting projects that I can’t talk about currently. Oh and here’s a pic of this years winner in the student robot competition along with the prizes (Candy & hardware).
The worlds coolest day!
Just after last summer, I was approached by Lyder Produksjoner & Foreningen Les! to help them with a fun project. They wanted to use these old, red telephone booths as a way to tell a story at the event called Verdens Kuleste Dag (The Worlds Coolest Day). Once a year, the non-profit benefactor called SparebankStiftelsen will offer money to their applicants so they can make one day really special. The plan was to make an interactive story that had the kids run around Akershus Fortress looking for the phone booths to get through the story. If they got all the way through, they’d get a price related to the story (a bag of candy).
I made custom electronics that could replace the old guts in the old apparatus. The board allowed me to use the phone handle, show instructions on the integrated display, to use the numeric keys for input, do sample playback & read a floor mounted Load Cell. As you entered the kiosk, the phone would ring. Once you lifted the handle, the story would start. Initial playback was only in the handle, but after 10-20 seconds the story transitioned to a wall mounted speaker so everyone in the kiosk could easily follow the story.
We had no idea if this would work or if the kids would even know how to use a telephone. The kids had no problems and they found the story extremely captivating! We used several elements to lock the sequence of the kiosks (rfid card handed out, code to be input via keyboard, live actor giving hints). At the final kiosk we also triggered a smoke machine and the kids screamed of joy! It was a huge success and we’re doing something similar for the 2023 event.
I’m still very active at Bitraf and I love what we’ve been able to build through 11 years! I attend pretty much all the Build Nights, I give tours of the space, help visitors and do workshops in addition to having my office there. I’m in the office 2-3 days a week and then work from home the rest of the week. The last few semesters, several of my students have also seen how useful Bitraf is and have used it extensively. Some of them even ended up in a very nice writeup from the major Norwegian Electronics monthly!
More on the private side, but also a large project is the Van that I built with my wife. It’s now looking better than ever and we even showed it off to others to explain that you don’t need to be an expert to DIY a van 😊