The robots are on the march - Makerspace is coming to Marlborough – robotics, home automation and much more
A 'Makerspace' is: “a place in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.” (Oxford English Dictionary).
And thanks to an initiative by the Marlborough Area Development Trust (MADT), Marlborough will have its own very soon.
The Marlborough Area Makerspace is being led by Geoff Brickell and Bob Holman of MADT. Its primary aim is to support the development of the digital economy within the Marlborough area.
Makerspaces are a recent development. The Swindon Makerspace, hosted by the Museum of Computing, has been in existence since 2012, and there are more than 2000 worldwide, a significant number being in the UK. A wide range of activities can take place in Makerspaces, from developing autonomous robots with the increasingly popular Raspberry Pi small computer, to time lapse photography or gathering data from weather stations.
Geoff Brickell told Marlborough.news: “We want to develop digital/computing skills for all age groups but particularly the under 18s. These skills will be crucial to the future. There is the economic argument that if you don’t have these skills in the future you won’t work.” Geoff also hopes that “through working together, sharing ideas there can be many community and social benefits. We hope it will be creative and fun.”
The next step in the development of the Marlborough Area Makerspace is to provide online support for members of the group, to create a virtual ‘space’ where they can start to collaborate. This is being established within the existing MADT infrastructure at www.makerspace.marlborougharea.org
A longer term goal is to establish a physical Makerspace, in a permanent location equipped with a range of tools and facilities to support ‘making’.
Meanwhile a mini ‘road show’ is planned in order to promote digital making and attract more members. It will demonstrate the various uses of the very small and very cheap Raspberry Pi (RPi3 and PiZero) computers. A PiZero is the latest version/option of a Raspberry Pi and costs only £4.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation (www.raspberrypi.org) first released their computers around 5 years ago and now more than 11 million are in use.
The Raspberry Pi can:
- support Scratch, a graphics/block coding system that even 5 year olds can handle;
- control robots with sensors to detect obstacles and a camera streaming video;
- be used in time lapse photography and home automation.
The mini ‘road show’ hopes to participate in the annual St John’s Science Fair in late Spring.
Marlborough Area Makerspace will hold its first meeting to discuss these next steps in The Green Dragon, High Street, Marlborough on February 23 at 7.30pm and welcomes anyone who would like to find out more.