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23 June 2013 @ 02:58 pm
Lego Rovers at the V&A  
As a follow up to the NASA Global Space Apps Hackathon we were invited to take our outcomes for the weekend to the V&A for an exhibition somewhat mysteriously, I felt, named Digital Futures: Urban Open Space. Not one to pass up the opportunity to add "Exhibited at the V&A" to my CV, I agreed. At various points other members of the team hoped that they would also be able to make the exhibition but, at the end of the day, I was the only person who a) wouldn't have to take time off work and b) could claim travel and hotel costs on expenses.

I was a little nervous. In particular, although pretty robust, I wasn't sure if the robots would survive a day in the hands of the sort of visitor numbers the V&A gets. I was also a little worried, given that our front end only worked on a touch sensitive mobile device and didn't really scale small enough for an actual phone, that I would turn my back at some point and B's iPad (borrowed for the occasion) would (not terribly) mysteriously vanish. In the event we were tucked away in a side room with the lights down low (because the Royal Academy of Art were also taking part and their exhibits required low lighting). As a result we looked rather more like an office or workshop where the door had accidentally been left open, than we did an honest to goodness exhibit. Visitor numbers were, as a result, more than manageable. On the second day a more concerted effort was made to get members of the public through the exhibit including several school parties - which was good both for the lego robots and various exhibits brought down by the University of Dundee which were also very focused on children. It was perhaps less good for some of the other exhibits which hadn't been created with primary school kids in mind.

It turned out the exhibit was a mixture of outcomes from the Space Apps hackathon, an Urban Prototyping Hackathon and a Royal Academy end of course exhibition. I was sandwiched between two of the Urban prototyping outputs - a helmet for firemen that would vibrate if the temperature reached a certain level (I was impressed they didn't set fire to anyone's hair when demonstrating this), and WiFungi, a sound-scape device, based on android phones, aimed at bringing the sounds of London's inaccessible green rooves down into people's homes. I was opposite an exhibit from the royal academy that rotated and changed colour based on atmospheric conditions.

I definitely spent more time talking to the other exhibitors than I did to members of the public, though it was great to see [personal profile] sir_guinglain, Sir Kay and gabcd86 who all dropped by to say hello. gabcd86 and I also sloped off to look at pictures of abandoned Star Wars sets at the Tate* and then wandered aimlessly around the north bank looking for somewhere to eat (so much for gabcd86's act as a born and bred londoner). My mother also dropped by to admire the robot, have lunch with me, and let me fix her Access database.

While we were all there the global results came in from the hackathon. One of the London teams had won "Most Inspiring" and both the Exeter winners had honourable mentions in "Best Use of Hardware". The Met Office were very pleased.

*These were considerably smaller pictures than I expected, and it wasn't possible to buy them as prints or anything in the shop which was disappointing. Have been reduced to downloading them from the internet and using them as wallpaper on my computer.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/100129.html.
 
 
 
Gabbygabcd86 on June 23rd, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oi. Not my fault the City is soulless and crap. I maintain if we had been in a good bit of London I'd have found like five places.
louisedennislouisedennis on June 23rd, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
*g* I was wondering if you were watching and I apologise for casting doubts on your londoneriness.
Gabbygabcd86 on June 23rd, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
Bang out of order, guvna.
louisedennislouisedennis on June 23rd, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
Email me! Are we going to Curton mansion? or are we just going to hang around in Gibsonton for the rest of eternity?
Gabbygabcd86 on June 23rd, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry! I don't have Internet at the new flat, so am very sporadic, unlike normally where I'm all reliable and stuff. Let's go to Curton Mansion yes.
louisedennislouisedennis on June 23rd, 2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
I'm there, but apparently the whole place is a Revive Point and, alarmingly BadBrainz is dead nearby. I'm hiding in Hingley Cinema [69, 4].
Gabbygabcd86 on June 23rd, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Here! Think it might be a trap?
louisedennislouisedennis on June 23rd, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
I reckon there's a 50/50 chance. But if it is then the Duke has gone to a lot of trouble to trap us. Either way it's a win, surely!

Though, I suppose, you could slope off and hide somewhere, ready to save the day if necessary. I've told the Duke I'm in Hingley, but wasn't so clear about your whereabouts.
Gabbygabcd86 on June 23rd, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
While saving the day is my forte, I think it doesn't count if I throw you to the wolves beforehand. If I'm online, I'll come with you. And I've got work tomorrow, so I should be online.
louisedennislouisedennis on June 23rd, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
Oooh! You can get top hats and tails if you change clothes in the mansion! And monocles!