Wow, 7 days of events. What a full week in Baghdad! The hackerspace crew formed quickly and soon after our first meeting in Everyday Cafe where Ali Makhzoomi has his DIY public library we started getting a calendar of events together. This post is a description of some of the events we ran that week.
First I’d like to take a moment to thank YDI – the Youth Devlopment Initiative! When GEMSI first came to Baghdad in April we met up with the TEDxBaghdad team there and together with The Youth Development Initiative we hosted our first workshop. Now this week YDI has given us the possibility to meet up every day in a beautiful space right near the river which flows through the city. So thanks Dr. Essam and Dr. Muhannad for giving us a temporary home to put our materials and a place to call home base for a week. If it wasn’t for YDI I do not believe we would have had as successful of a week as we’ve had this trip!
Salih made us an awesome video sharing some photographs from this week:
Here’s a list of things we did at YDI this week:
1) 3D printing workshop. This was our second 3D printing workshop this year at YDI :D. We scanned people’s faces using a Kinect and designed an object that would be nearly impossible to print any other way. Using a 3D printer we printed an object that was pre-linked together. We also used 123D catch to take full color 3d scans of people.
2) Arduino and e-textiles workshop. The Arduino is a microcontroller that acts as a simple computer that can connect the digital world with the physical world. By using sensors to sense how much methane is in the air, or where on a screen your finger is, the arduino can respond to it by sending signals to turn on a motor, or if it’s connected to a computer it can send you an email. This opens up many possibilities to create amazing interactive objects. A team formed around an Arduino that is designed to be sewn into clothing. They are currently brainstorming what would be the coolest application of a computer you can wear on your body!
3) Differential Book Club. This is a book club designed for people of all backgrounds an interests. We got together to discuss the last book we read. Any book was valid and we had people sharing computer science text books and books about the neurobiology of creativity. We then tried to connect them together, to find what made them more similar than different. It was really wonderful to be able to connect fractals to music to the brain. We are all human, everything we do is going to be related to everything else.
4) Copper etching workshop. We had a day where we discussed physics and how by looking at things in a different light physics can be fun and creative! That’s why we didn’t build circuit boards with the copper etching, but made drawings! It was really cool to see something we drew with a marker turn into something we made out of copper!
5) Google street view of Zawraa park. This didn’t happen at YDI, because we took to the streets for this project! We wanted to create a simulated street view for places in Iraq so that people from outside can imagine themselves here. Iraq is a very isolated country so connecting people with a full moveable panorama of the country is awesome. And to do it for an entire park is incredible. We wish we could have done it in the streets, but it was impossible due to the high security zones every few hundred meters at a check point.
6) TEDxBaghdad. A contingency from the Baghdad hackerspaces team was able to get a ticket to go to this inspiration event. Going out together to Al-Rasheed Hotel was an adventure and listening to all those great Iraqi’s was a great way to highlight to ourselves that there are amazing people in this country doing great things. And that one day, that will be us.
7) Origami workshop. One of our members has an interest in origami and during one of our nights out he brought sheets and sheets of white printer paper and we all learned to make origami cranes. It was pretty amusing to see these technical people folding paper and finding it challenging. We all have something to learn, we all have something to teach.
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