We organized and hosted the LA Robotics Club this past Saturday Jan 19th for a Wearable Electronics Meetup. They’d been expressing interest in wearable electronics for quite awhile and it was a good excuse to open the space on beautiful Saturday afternoon.
We started will minimal expectations of an informal meet and greet, but around 70 people came. We had nearly 100 rsvps from different sources leading into the week of the event. free events are hard. arguably more work because you never know how many people will show up. The last thing I wanted to do was rent a room and not fill it… So, we went for it. we packed ’em in tighter and brighter!
KTTV a representatives were in the house watching the demos and talking with folks. Their film crews showed up after spending the morning down the road with our LAMakerspace . The film crew interviewed a few folks about their projects, communities present and hackerspaces in general. I cannot wait to see what comes through in the final cut.
Illuminode wow’d the crowd by showing their networked garments on some of the adorable children.
Given the amount of folks that were planning to attending and our limited space, I went for an unconference like format. It went quite well with minimal upfront work. My aim was to most quickly get everyone in BOF sessions where the space would be less of a constraint.
- We started with name tags and small talk until the room got full
- Then we briefly when around and everyone shared what they hoped to gain. I created a bit of a session board and noted who might be an expert in fashioningTech or robots.
- We then allowed anyone to share something with the complete group. This satisfied the need for those that came with a product of self promotion to get traction. This included projects, problems, techniques, questions, or ideas.
- I then gave the group a very brief intro to Arduino. It was a big topic that came up repeatedly during projects and the intros. This also servered as an example of how one might knock off an item from our session board.
- We then broke off into our BOF sessions. Epson took the main room while I took those that were interested in EL-Wire into Shop One.
- At this point everyone knew everyone’s interests and who had completed some mastery in each category. It left the group to self organize for the remaining two hours.
I would strongly suggest this model of allowing half the time for side discussion to anyone organizing meetups in the future.
I really appreciate everyones patience and participation in the process. It was amazing to see what everyone is working on and very exciting to see how far we’ve come. I was very happy that we got to take the interested folks aside for skills development.
What’s NEXT???? We may never know, but I would bet there are going to be a lot more wearable tech projects coming out of LA. We’ll likely have some side conversations and try to boot up another event in March;)
Thank you, @LARoboticsClub!