Project MagneTag

magnetag_makerfaire

MagneTag is a project I started about four years ago, when I first joined Milwaukee Makerspace.  My goal was to create an electronic scoring system for physical tag games.  As a paintball enthusiast I really enjoy the action and tactical nature of the sport.  I was looking for a method that wasn’t messy or painful and 100% reliable .

In order to accomplish this goal, I employed the mystical power of magnets. It’s a scientific fact that magnets are awesome.  I knew that the invisible forces created by magnets could be used to create electrical signals, the technology has been around since Maxwell wrote down his famous equations of electromagnetism.  So I set  out to build a wearable system that could electronically detect magnets, be they in some projectile, or embedded in an a foam gladiator weapon, or whatever.

To an experienced engineer, this might not seem like a huge challenge, but when I embarked on this project I could barely operate an Arduino. I didn’t really understand what I was getting myself into.  Now, I have an above average understanding of the principles of electromagnetism because I have a two degrees in physics, but in trying to make my idea a reality, I now understand that theory does not get you very far on its own.   Making things is freakin’ hard, and you have fail many times before you begin to really understand how much you don’t know.  When it comes to making, there is no substitute for experience.  And I learned this the hard way, over and over again.  Persistence removes resistance.  In the end I succeeded and created something even better than I had imagined.

Milwaukee Makerspace is an awesome place. I’ve had so much help from some brilliant members, and the tools we have access to are invaluable.  I even met my business partner Jason at MMS.  Without this place, MagneTag would have just been a cool idea I had one time.  It never would have become a real thing.

This week marks a significant milestone in the history of our project: we are launching MagneTag on Kickstarter!  We are going to put our game out there into the world and see if people really like it.  Check out the launch video below, as well as a behind the scenes video, most of which takes place at Milwaukee Makerspace!

Also come check us out at Maker Faire Milwaukee! It’s gonna be a blast!

 

Gimbal Hack

Well, it would be awesome if I had a sweet drone to fly around so I can take some awesome videos.  Even if I had one I’d probably crash it.  I don’t have one, but I did get my hands on a sweet Tarot GoPro gimbal.  If you didn’t know, gimbals are devices that use active feedback to cancel unwanted pitch and yaw. I’m not a good cameraman, so I need this if I want to take some decent video for a Kickstarter project I’m working on.  The gimbal is supposed to take 7-16 volts, but I hooked it up to a power supply at the makerspace and found out that it can function at 5V, which is great since I have some spare USB power banks.

The high tech gimbal hardware was combined with my low-tech “block of wood and random rods I found in the makerspace” technology. This hack took about 20 minutes, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

 

 

Milwaukee MakerFest!

Holy Moly what an event!  We had almost 600 people come through and enjoy all the excitement of interactive activities, demonstrations and workshops!  I gotta say we all had a great time and we have officially made this an annual event.  So you can start getting excited for next year.  Take a look at some pictures from the event:

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Milwaukee MakerFest

It’s time we put on a show for the people of Milwaukee. The Makerspace hasn’t had an event like this for about two years now! Shame Shame!

Please click on the logo above to head over to our Kickstarter Campaign.  There you will find out all about this event and the crazy awesome things we have in store for you.  Backing us generously would make us all very very happy, and would greatly enhance our ability to put on a fantastic event for you!

Find out more at www.milwaukeemakerfest.com