The Grand Opening party was a huge success! Thanks go out to so many who made the day special!!
It never gets old watching people be amazed while listening to Rick Francher share his lockpicking knowledge. More than a few times I saw jaws drop as people picked their first lock!! Thanks for sharing your time, Rick!!!
Thanks to Bill Saturno, the founder of CT Hackerspace in Watertown for attending. He runs the best makerspace in CT and we appreciate him sharing his knowledge!
And thanks to everyone who showed up: the Broecking family, Bryce Fortran and girlfirend, Anne Friedman, the incomparable Lyda Ruyter, Stamford City Rep (and Majority Leader) Elaine Mitchell and Albina.
Special thanks goes to Ron Morse and my wife Dani for pulling the party together!!!! Here are some pictures …
I would have to say that this was a personal best. During the last week, I was able to teach 27 students how to build and program an autonomous robot!
It all went down at Norwalk Community College College for Kids program in the last week of June. I had a morning class made of students ranging in age of 7 to 14. Then I taught an afternoon class of High School kids.
The sheer numbers of students was not the biggest challenge I faced. It was a late order of robot parts from Amazon that really tried my lesson plan. Just about half of my kits were not delivered on time – and I had to scramble to offer value-added info to my high school students. It actually all worked out anyway – I was able to give them a more detailed explanation of common programming constructs (loops, if-then statements, arrays, etc.) . They actually left with more skills to continue building out their bots in the future.
Here’s one of my afternoon students demonstrating his bot …
We will officially unveil our new space to the public on Sunday, July 16th at 4 pm during our official Grand Opening ceremony. Our address is 425 Fairfield Avenue (2nd floor).
We’ve been hard at work cleaning and painting and we think its finally time to open our doors to the public. We’ll have food and music and a lot of good folks.
Rumor has it that one of the members of the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of lockpicking will be giving a lesson on lockpicking as well. And he has some lockpicking kits for sale *$25-$30 a piece).
I took the electric skateboard out on a smooth road in Darien last night and I was really impressed at how fast it can go. The road had a 25 mph speed limit and I’m quite sure I was going at least as fast as that at some points. Here’s the video:
There are still openings in the upcoming class scheduled for July 10-14. But you better act fast, the deadline to sign up is June 30th.
We’ve been promising a big announcement – and here it is … Rippowam Labs has a new home!!
We started moving into our new space at 425 Fairfield Avenue (2nd Floor – Suite 4211) over the weekend and we’ve already started planning our calendar of activities.
The place is slightly smaller than the place we had on Summer Street – but the best part about this new place is that we don’t have to worry about getting anything dirty!
This building is one of the few remaining industrial buildings left in Stamford (all the others have been converted into high-priced condos). It has concrete floors, high ceilings and this cool old elevator you operate with a hand crank.
The building is actually full of activity! On the first floor, the Stamford Fencing Center is the area mecca for people who want to learn how to fight with swords. Longford’s Ice Cream is also there (they sell wholesale to the public M-F from 2 to 4 PM).
Then there is Tim Eaton”s Decorative Painting and Restoration. This guy is an expert in restoring old pieces of art and furniture.
We’ll be cleaning up the space over the coming weeks and making it as friendly as possible for the area Maker community. In a few weeks, we were hoping to have a Grand Opening party (but we are still hashing out the date [probably a Saturday]).
Here are some more pics …
Here is Ron making sure his Oscilloscope works in the new place.
Here are a couple of the many local businesses in our building.
In any case, we hope to see you in the new space soon!
PS The map to getting to the space is on our home page.
I had a great time taking part in the Bicultural Day School’s Maker Faire.
The fair organizers and volunteers did a great job of transforming the grounds of this Jewish day school into an event that rivaled some of the more-established maker events I’ve attended.
I was really impressed with a couple of high school students I met there, who created a smart refrigerator. With their project, Moms can actually check the contents of their refregerators on their cellphones from the supermarket (via WiFi camera). They also had this pressure sensor in it that shows if shoppers needed to buy more milk. The coolest part about it was that it has this turntable in it (which the users could operate remotely), ensuring that Moms could see everything in the fridge.
These guys want to make a modular system that can be implemented in any refregerator (very smart!!!). When they take this product to market, I will be their first customer!
Thanks to Adrianne for inviting me. And also thanks to Ruthie, Emma and the rest of the student council, who organized the mobs of kids who lined up to ride the electric skateboard!!!
Where has the time gone? Stamford STEMfest is this Saturday (May 20th) at Mill River Park.
This is the mecca of things science, geeky, DIY and just plain COOL in the area. Students, adults and groups from around the area show up to display their cool projects and the things they’ve been studying all year.
It’s always a great time! Rumor has it that the lockpickers from the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of Lockpickers will be giving lessons this year at our table. Also, besides our robots, we will have an electric skateboard for people to ride. But, be careful, this thing can go 22 mph!!!
Most of the kids had never done any programming or built a robot before, and it never gets old to see them smile when they upload code and see the wheels start turning. The kids were diligent and asked all the right questions.
There are some really bright kids out there in our local communities. If we develop this talent, our country will be strong!!
I want to thank Mike, Anaya and Mason for helping their fellow students, when they finished their labs early!!!!!
I had a great time at the Ferguson Library in Stamford on Saturday, leading a class in making solar cell phone chargers. These little beauties will fully charge your cell phone (whether it be Android, iPhone or otherwise) after being left out in the sun for 6 hours.
I’m seeing more and more of the kids these days getting into the maker scene. There were a couple of kids in my class that had done some soldering before and they ran a side business selling 3-D printed fidget spinners.
Thanks go to Steve Zampino, the Fersuson Library’s Teen Librarian for having the wisdom for holding these types of classes. He recognizes the need for this kind of hands-on tech learning and hunts down opportunities to make them happen!