Aachen Maker Meetup: Meet the Makers
Who is the Aachen Maker Meetup? Here are a few people who show up frequently. Prof. Jan Borchers conducted the interviews during one of our meetups.
What's a cool project from your past? I built two large digital countdown clocks for our Bridge club tournaments. They can be started using a handheld remote, and is pretty fool-proof. :) I used an Arduino and WS2812 LEDs. The MDF cases were lasercut at the Fab Lab, and many other Dorkbot hackers helped me figure out the code. Then I really like my 120cm large "La Linea" figure that I created from several smaller parts cut on the Fab Lab lasercutter. It consists of two 5-mm layers of MDF sandwiched together. It's covered in acrylic paint and looks great outside my kitchen window. I also enjoyed creating decorative garden sculptures made from light-gathering acrylic—the glow on the edge of the acrylic looks great. Then there's a digital Looping Louie controller, a boardgame made from acrylic and 3D-printed figures,...
What dorkbot-y stuff are you working on right now? I'm building a changeable "diorama" frame that you can put different content into. It's made from 3D printed and lasercut parts and backlit with an LED candle. Also, the last storm destroyed part of a lasercut sculpture in my driveway that marks a point you shouldn't drive over — I'll need to re-cut that.
What's your professional / training background, or what do you do for a living? I studied Industrial Design in Dortmund and Aachen. These days I consider myself a database publishing consultant — I help people publish large amounts of data in print or PDF quickly, for example for catalogs.
Tell us a bit more about yourself - where are you from, maybe your age? I was born in 1953 along the river Ruhr, but have been living in Aachen since my student days.
Past project: I wrote a book "Licht und Spaß" with René Bohne, Mario Lukas, Christoph Emonds, Lina Wassong and Alex Wenger in 2015. I wrote the first three chapters with introductory maker projects for kids, like building lightup ladybugs. I also worked at Fab Lab Aachen for many years, running events like Girls' Days — you can still find them on Fab Lab Kids.
Current project: Right now I'm super busy building costumes for our upcoming Carnival Party at my company—the back of my car is full of plastic rainpipes for rockets... but no electronics!
Background: I studied French and History at RWTH Aachen University. In 2008, Jonathan Diehl hired me as a Hiwi here at the Media Computing Group, and then the Fab Lab happened here. Since 2015 I've been program manager at HoloBuilder, an RWTH spinoff that now has offices in Aachen and San Francisco. We have a web platform to easily document progress on construction sites using 360 imagery.
Personal: I was born in Aachen, and as a typical Aachen Research Child, I moved to Jülich with my parents because of the Forschungszentrum. I returned to Aachen for my studies and never left since. :)
Past project: We built a modular version of the "Keep talking and nobody explodes" puzzle game during the 2016 Multimodal Media Madness lab at the Media Computing Group here. There's an Instructable about it.
Current project: Currently I'm working on an air cooling system for my PlayStation—it gets way too hot during gaming where it's sitting right now.
Background: I'm currently studying Biology and Computer Science at RWTH. I'm also a student assistant ("Hiwi") at the Media Computing Group helping to run the Fab Lab and Dorkbot here, among other things. Here's my personal page.
Personal: I was born in Kamp-Lintfort which is about one or two hours north of here, but moved to Aachen for my studies.
Johannes Dürscheid (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: I built a seven-segment clock display from WS2812 LEDs last year. It adjusts its brightness to the environment via a light sensor, and you can change color during different times of day, or leading up to the full hour, for example. The clock already works, but it's not using radio control or a hardware real-time clock module yet. The MDF case and acrylic front came out of the Fab Lab lasercutter.
Current project: I want to create a word clock that displays the time in clear text, using the same kind of LEDs.
Background: I'm a trainee at a software house for application development.
Personal: I was born in Cologne and am still living there, but I studied in Aachen and still come here for events like Dorkbot!
Markus Ermert (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: Last year, I built a WiFi intercom system that fits inside a smoke detector housing. It was a demo project for my company's innovation day. It runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero and talks to a FritzBox access point.
Current project: I'm currently playing with ESP32 and Bluetooth iBeacon, and want to read out a hear-rate sensor, in order to warn me when I'm pushing myself too hard while jogging.
Background: I studied Electrical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. These days I do software system testing in the telecommunications industry.
Personal: I was born in Krefeld and have been living in Aachen since my university studies.
Udo Borkowski (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: I had a lot of fun building Johnny Lee's whiteboard pointer using the Nintendo Wii — that even made it into the "WDR Lokalzeit" tv report about Fab Lab Aachen in 2009.
Current project: I've started looking into a caller ID circuit for our old analog(!) landline phone. We love its old-fashioned ring tone but I'd like to know who's calling.
Background: I studied Computer Science at the University of Bonn. These days I work as a freelancer and have a small software development company, abego Software GmbH. I mostly develop in Java, HTML and modern web technologies.
Personal: I was born in 1961 in Cologne, but have been living in Aachen for 15 years now.