Did we all spot a wine box there? Oh yes, it does hold something as pleasurable as wine. Electronics!
Earlier this month, we had our launch of the co-learning initiative by actually running the first learning "moudule" - learning about orientation thruster, hands on. It was not a high profile launch, unlike the main Space Town Hall (our mothership!) launch, but we felt it was important to let action speak for itself. And so it did: It happens to be the Lord Mayor Show in London and despite it said the show will start at Mansion House, it occurred to be rather close to FabLab London, our venue, at Bank! And so, we began our new learning initiative with test #1, unannounced - participants was challenged to cross the paths of marching horses and carriages in wind and rain, showing dedication, determination and intelligence (to work round traffic and reroute rearrangement) to reach the destination.
The tutor/lead of this module is Ray Bainbridge from Tranquility Aerospace. Ray provided an overview of the way Tranquility Aerospace works with communities and universities to develop projects, explained the basics of the orientation thruster and moved on to walk through the system diagram of the design:
After Ray explained the basics, we took the Arduino, sensor and electronics out from the box and split into 2 working groups. One of the sensor and one on controlling the actuator (solenoid valves). Afterall we have such strong focus on being hands on, it just natural that much of the day was tinkering with electronics and software (hang in there, non-technical types, we have something for you). It was kind of like a hack day but with minimal theory to supplementing the learning and unlimited scope to go down rabbit holes! The greatest thing is we co-learned (more about co-learning here) - we helped each other to learn about building stuff, right from the beginning of installing the Arduino IDE. Had we have more designer type, no doubt we would also have another working group for designing conceptual interfaces (hint hint, come to our next one, design types). This module will continue as long as the group wants to and we are ear-marking the next one in Jan 2015.
A few words must be said about our venue sponsor which we are very excited about! FabLab London is one of the 400+ Fab Labs around the world, everything you'd expect from a Fab Lab is there - lazer cutter, 3D printer... And we are so lucky, thanks to Jana for the tip, to be hosted at Fab Lab London shortly after it opened its doors to the public. Andy at Fab Lab London has been amazing at helping to make this happen - coffee, soldering iron, you name it, he has it. A big thank you! Not to forget to mention, everything has been run on volunteer's effort, yes, tutor included! Thank you, Ray. What can you do to help? How about start by joining us and co-learn space technology and exploration, come and help teach each other a skill/topic while picking up another.
Remember, don't worry about what you don't know or don't think is relevant, come and find a way to join the dots! Check out our "crew wanted" - We are hoping to run more modules in the future, but we rely on you to help. Tip us, do you know a space buff around you? Point them at us! The co-learning model is not about one authoritative all-knowing figure, it's about sharing what you already know and seeing it complimented by someone else in the "lesson" to help each other accelerate and solve problems/bounce ideas.