All posts by JohnRob920

Rippowam Labs Has a New Home

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.

Stamford STEMfest 2017

Thanks to everyone who visited our table at Stamford STEMfest 2017! We met a lot of nice people and we hope to see you at our new location (Details TBA) very soon!

The electric skateboard was a big hit! As many as 100 kids got to ride it – and no injuries occurred.

Another big hit was the lockpicking lessons given by Tantric, from the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of Lockpickers.

 

Stay tuned for a major announcement!!!!!!

Bi-Cultural Day School Maker Faire 2017

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!!!

Stamford STEMfest this Saturday (May 20) at Mill River Park


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!!!

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!!!!!

 

Family and Children’s Agency Aspire Program (@NCC) Robot Class

I spent the last 8 Tuesdays teaching kids in the Family and Children’s Agency Aspire after-school program to build and program a robot.  This agency does phenomenal work with Middle and High School kids in the area and I was happy to volunteer!

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!!!!!

Making Solar Cell Phone Chargers at the Ferguson Library

 

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!

Electric Skateboard is ready for the public

This summer’s tech camps for teens are starting to shape up fast!

I put the finishing touches on the prototype electric skateboard and it came out great. I wasn’t prepared for how fast or quick these could be and I’ve already wiped out a couple of times. But I did manage a wipe-out-free trip to Lowes over the weekend … and it was a lot of fun!!

These boards can go up to 20 miles an hour  (I got faster than that going down this hill near my house) but can stop in just a few short feet with a built-in braking mechanism. You can literally program these features right into the board!

More information on our slate of Summer classes will be available soon. If you can’t wait to reserve a space, e-mail me here. But in the meantime, enjoy this video of me accelerating the wheels on my board!!!

 

Lily Pond Clean-UP Event

Come on out and join Rippowam Labs at the Lily Pond Greenway  Project Clean Up event on Sunday March 26th, to help beautify one of Stamford’s parks!!

It’s been quite some time since this park has gotten some TLC, so the Lily Pond Greenwich Project (led by Lyda Ruijter) will be spearheading this event. They encourage all volunteers to bring, rakes, shovels, work gloves, clippers and trash bags.  Donuts, cookies and drinks will be provided!!!!!!!!!

Bike Doctor Ron Morse, and his humble assistant, John, will be there offering free bike maintenance services and classes to anyone who shows up.

This is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors and celebrate the beginning of spring. Don’t miss out!!!

Meet us near the north side of the park, near Soundiew Ave.

 

 

NCC College for Kids

Rippowam Labs will be teaching a class for 4th – 8th graders at Norwalk Community College on Saturday mornings in March.

This is a great opportunity for the inquisitive youngster in your life to learn about:

  • Soldering
  • Microcontrollers
  • Computer programming
  • DC Motors
  • Distance sensors
  • Bluetooth technology

To learn more, visit the NCC website.

This class requires no previous skills in computers or robots. And everyone is guaranteed to leave with a working robot.

 

 

Northeast Community Cycles – A great organization!!

Ron and I had the great opportunity to volunteer at Northeast Community Cycles last night.

In case you’ve never heard of them, this group provides safe, refurbished bicycles free of charge to underprivileged children and adults in Fairfield County, CT.  Since they started operating, they’ve given out over 3,000 bikes!!!

They have a huge workshop in Glenbrook with “the most ultimate set of tools.” They get donations from all over Fairfield County and a talented bunch of volunteers fix them up and give them away.

I felt kind of weird walking in there, in the sense that I am certainly no expert bike mechanic like Ron. But I do know some things and, after getting advice from Ron and the crew there, I was able to get a bike all ready for donation.  I hope to up my game next week.

If I can help, so can you! If anyone wants to join us next Thursday night, contact me here.

It was really crazy. I didn’t know these guys existed until last Sunday. Ron and I were scouting out new places for the Makerspace and we saw their sign. We just had to give them a call.