Brighton Mini Maker Faire – Emoti

Since developing Emoti at the Art Hackathon I couldn’t help but look around for events that I believe could help get our little project out in the public eye. What better event than a Maker Faire?! (Especially one that’s in one of my favourite seaside cities in the UK, Brighton)

ASSEMBLE EMOTI DREAM TEAM!

emoti team

Only a few of our original team could attend the Maker Faire; (from left to right) Bawar Jalal, Milton De Paula, myself and Katherine Hudson. Together we started brainstorming how we could get Emoti to be shown in all of it’s glory at Brighton Mini Maker Faire! Starting with a web page and a concept to use Emoti as a way to showcase Hackathons and the power of what can be created out of merging techies and designers, we signed up as Makers and awaited our confirmation.

The email came back a week or so later, EMOTI WAS IN! We were going to be Makers with our own table space to show off our project and do as we please; this was to be my very first showcase of Emoti, or anything as a matter of fact!

As the Maker Faire came closer we discussed how best to display our visual installation and all agreed that a dark environment was needed for the audience to experience Emoti’s message and colourful beauty fully. Because of the audio that we have incorporated with the installation it also works best with headphones and in an intimate, enclosed space where the viewer can’t be disturbed by their surroundings. We finally decided that the most feasible and effective solution would be to place Emoti in a large rectangle box, draped in black cloth for the audience to pear into, this would also cause some curiosity about what is inside the box which will hopefully attract people to come and check Emoti out even more. (we’re all suckers for the unknown!) Luckily, Katherine’s house mate, James Sargent, is a carpenter who was very kindly able to offer us help with this.

emoti boxbusiness cardsWeeks of perfecting the site, tweaking Emoti and creating personalised business cards went by until suddenly the Brighton Mini Maker Faire was only a couple of days away and I was on my way to London to get together with our dream team and start the set up for our installation.

The first day was spent collecting all of the equipment needed for the creation of the Emoti box: wood, black cloth, glue, nails, etc. We then had a hand at carpentry, under the watchful eye of a professional of course (James Sargent). Luckily we made the box with all fingers in tact and smiles still on our faces. Atop the box we fitted Katherine’s newly made Emoti logo which gave the whole structure a much more polished finish that we could all be proud of.

Enough rambling, how was the event?!

Being in Brighton was amazing, myself and another Emoti member, Milton, arrived on the day before the main event to set up the Raspberry Pi, placing it within the HDMIPi and putting it all together into our brand new Emoti box. This was also a great opportunity to have a sneak peak at what was in store for the main event! Looking around at all of the tech, twinkling lights and crafts I couldn’t help but feel excitement roaring inside of me, especially when free pizza and beer was announced!

Brighton hostel viewSleeping in a hostel that night lead us to meeting even more interesting people who had travelled from around the world and fallen in love with the small seaside city of Brighton. I can’t blame them, it really is a beautiful place to be! After a night of talking to them about their adventurous travels and explaining Maker Faire’s, technology and Raspberry Pi with them, we fell asleep, ready to face the fun-packed day of Brighton Mini Maker Faire!

However the next morning, DISASTER STRIKES! Bugs have appeared from seemingly nowhere, yet the doors are opening to the public! In a frantic frenzy we code like man men (and women), hoping to get Emoti up and ready for the event as soon as possible. But of course we don’t want to confuse the people, so what should we do? Reference Seven of course! With a “What’s in the box? – Come back at 11” sign on top of the box we started to spark some curiosity and (hopefully) distracted the public from the real problems that we were encountering behind the scenes.

It’s not long until Emoti is back up and running, ready for people to marvel at the wonderful visualisation of the emotional state of the twitter-verse! It was so exciting and exhilarating watching people become drawn to our black box out of curiosity and take a peak inside. COJnE3uWgAEe0iRThose who hadn’t read what it was about became confused very quickly by the blocks of colour dancing around the screen and different audio clips clashing together, understandably so, and I was more then happy to explain to them exactly what our sculpture was showing them; how it was using real-time tweets to represent the overall emotions of twitter through colour and audio. Watching them understand the concept and become excited about it themselves was the best part, each person who came out of the experience explained how overwhelming it could be to become immersed within the box, especially once they understood what was being shown to them.

Many people had ideas of their own for Emoti, such as using it in the news and only pulling the data from people who were tweeting about a certain topic to try and determine the emotion that the majority of the public were feeling about a certain topic or event. This Emoti webpage could replace the background of the newsman as a visual representation of the emotional state of the world around the most recent news stories. What a genius idea that is!

I now completely understand why people love to bark on about how amazing open source is! When you open your creations and ideas to the world it can spark other people’s creativity, having them expand upon the initial idea or project, leading to people working together to make something even more incredible than the original creator could have even imagined!

maker faire

Overall my experience of Brighton Mini Maker Faire was an overwhelmingly positive one. Not only to showcase Emoti for the first time, but also to check out so many diverse Maker projects and workshops, from technology to hand-made arts and crafts! Everyone I encountered there was full of enthusiasm to share their knowledge and excitement to learn from those around them as well. The Maker community is simply a bunch of friendly, creative and intelligent people; most of whom are essentially big kids who can’t help but tinker with things and make cool stuff, even if it has no purpose, and that’s what makes them all so much fun to be around.

Watch my video on Brighton Maker Faire for more information:

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