Hardware-ish coffee morning goings on

17.30, Friday 11 Dec 2015

Pretty amazing hardware-ish coffee morning yesterday.

Plenty of people present packing products or physical prototypes:

Catlyn and Daniel from BuffaloGrid with their ruggedised battery for simultaneous charging of 20 smartphones. Carried out to communities that agents are visiting anyway (e.g. for banking or deliveries), each port activated individually and paid for by SMS. So there’s a business model and neat distribution. Currently running a trial in India.

Tempest from Science Practice and their super low-cost sensor (like, it costs pennies) for testing soil chemistry, and choosing simply what fertiliser to apply. Uses chips with microfluidics. This is actual cutting edge science. Amazing.

Matas of Vai Kai from Berlin with wooden dolls for kids. The dolls sense and react to one another, and connect over the internet. They’re made for open play. Currently accepting pre-orders. Matas came along with Kaye and Richard from Paved With Gold, who have helped several startups market their new products.

Amir from Flitch which is an Android phone case which is also a games controller… and it’s slightly magical: There is no battery, and no connector. It harvests energy from the NFC reader of the phone, and transmits the controller movements back over the same channel.

Pretty good for an event-which-isn’t-an-event! We did the usual – just colonised a few tables in the cafe, hung out, chatted.

Also we had: Avril and John who are behind the Ding Smart Doorbell which recently won the Design Council Spark innovation programme (and now they’re making the thing); Marc who organises London’s Mini Maker Faire; Tom from Autodesk who it is super great to see in the scene; Pierre, Jonathon, Lloyd, and Ezo.

That’s only 4 out of 16 who aren’t dudes. Not great. I’m going to use the new year to attempt a bit of a cultural reset, maybe change the location or the way I organise these things. HOWEVER – that’s my fault, not the fault of everyone who came. And so:

Thank you everyone who has come to a hardware-ish coffee morning over 2015, both here in London and our special event in San Francisco! Probably 100 or so folks? The reason it’s fun for everyone else is because you are there. It’s been brilliant eavesdropping on the connections being made and the conversations being had. Always surprises and serendipity.

So let’s kick off again in 2016 - join the mailing list if you want updates - and in the meantime, coffee morning gang, happy holidays.