This year, the IBM EX.I.T.E Camp initiative took place in Faro, at the University of Algarve through Instituto Superior de Engenharia. From July 4th to July 8th 2016, 33 young girls from schools all over the city, were welcomed to the Campus, where they learned about technologies and engineering. And we also played a small role, by opening up the hackerspace doors and presenting some of our projects to them, explaining a bit about what hackerspaces are, the open source movements and of course, other stuff like 3D printing and CNC machining, among other things.
After the huge success that was Lisbon Mini Maker Faire 2014 with over 9000 visitors, here we are again at Maker Faire 2015, which as you’d expect, surpassed all expectations from the previous one with around 14000 visitors.
This year there were about 120 projects from different areas, from 3D printing with printers developed by the makers themselves, to robotics, solar powered vehicles, CNC’s, customizable skate boards, a low cost Geodome, an optic intercommunicator, a vintage videogame museum, countless garage projects, etc. Here I’ll do a small summary mainly focused on the projects representing Algarve, which were able to get 1 best in class of science prize and 5 maker of merit awards … Congrats to you all!
This is a quick and simple project that is a bit old but still always a delight to see. Who doesn’t love staring at those high voltage sparks moving upwards again and again on the background of a mad scientist’s laboratory? Since we have a few high voltage transformers around here, I thought I could make a Jacob’s Ladder as a last minute project to add to the ones that would be presented on the Open Day.
Last Thursday, the University of the Algarve organized once more its annual open day, where it showcases their curricular offers to young students from all over the regional high schools. The Electrical Engineering Department asked us to be a part of the event and to prepare a small demonstration of our own projects to help motivate and inspire these young minds.
Nixie tubes are electronic devices for displaying numerals or other information, such symbols or letters. They work under the principle called Glow Discharge. Basically, they are tubes filled with a low-pressure mix of gasses and two (or more) metal electrodes. When a voltage is applied to two of this electrodes, and such voltage exceeds a certain value called the striking voltage, the gas in the tube ionizes, becoming a plasma, and begins conducting electricity, causing it to glow with a colored light (depending on the gas filling the tube, for tubes with neon this color is red-orange).