A Hackerspace, according to Hackerspace.org ,”are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.” A place where people can go and take things apart, work cooperatively and learn from each other in order to complete various projects.
A meeting was held by people in Computer Science at the University of Regina to see what kind of interest there was in having a hackerspace in the city. Around 60 people came out, enough to support the creation of space and thus Crash Bang Labs was born.
Crash Bang Labs is located at The Exchange (2431 8th Avenue) in the former studio of the artist group *Turner Prize. They have been up and running for about a month now, with movie nights and arduino lessons among the public events.
The group is about half way to its membership target of 40, with memberships running $50 a month or $500 a year. Members get the opportunity to bring projects into the space and use the group’s equipment. At this early stage, much of the available materials are donations. There are a number of old computers, controllers and other small electronics available for ‘hacking’ or generally taking apart, repurposing, playing and tinkering with. The goal of all this group play? To learn how things are made, how they work and then make new things from the pieces.
The membership is diverse, and hopefully will continue to become more so in the future. The vision for the lab is to house makers, people who create things. They hope with a greater variety of maker members, the more unexpected collaborations may take place between different disciplines. The Crash Bang Labs website states ‘the point’ is, “To provide a community for sharing knowledge and experience; to break, make, and learn; to share techniques, tools and toys; and to dream, design, and build toward a reimagining of manufacturing, industry and consumerism.”
I went to the Lab for the first time Monday night. There I met Matt Haines, one of the Computer Science students who has been interested in hackerspace for some time, was working with my pal Hilarey on programing arduinos. What are arduinos? Well http://arduino.cc/en/ describes them as: “an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”
Matt was able to guide Hilarey in programing LED lights into a sequence and creating a musical instrument with a button and adjustable nob (as seen on the right). In just a few hours a person with little background was able to conceive, plan and then make a handful of projects.
What could you make at this maker’s lab?