Consume less energy you must – Energy Saving Yoda and the joy of making stuff up as you go.

Energyhack – Yoda from Christian Jacob on Vimeo.

We’re last up, the tension has been building, last minute hacking and scrambling as the tension builds. The Yoda Head completed it’s 3d print (big thanks to FabLab Berlin) as the first presentation started, I drilled out it’s eyes with a “for the camera” psycho glare (I don’t normally drill like that I assure you)

 

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Then the C-base hackers got to work with the finishing touches, making the LED eyes change colour in accordance to the amount of energy consumed. They’d already worked out how to get the data feed from the smart meter, vary the bubble speed (which would cause Yoda to talk), and convert the data to information spoken by Yoda like Yoda (12000 Watts you consume, this is the path to the dark side).

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I get on stage to buy time for the hackers to complete the task.

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Why Yoda, why the bubbles?

In truth  spontaneity of process, that we started with a bubble motor and notions of visualising data. Yoda was the funniest of the 3D printed heads we found after we had the idea to make the bubbles make someone speak. This happened in flashes, stimulated by the tools, the processes the skills in the room, each one brought smiles and laughter. Of course the presentation started with a different tone. That Yoda was the ultimate teacher, the master that geeks would listen to, and he could guide us in our consumption habits, and all other kinds of BS I could make up on the spot. There was truth in it, as valid as all the other justifications, it’s just we retrofitted reason onto the completed outcome.

Justification comes easier with hindsight, that’s what I loved about the day and the process. There was no plan, no discussion, it started only with some intention, and some constraints – kindly provided by the C-Base crew – “We want to do something with this Bubble Pump, to visualise some energy data”

Compared to the other briefs, this for me was the most attractive, an open process with a clear starting point. Everything else was already defined, without option for creativity, just the need for bodies, or worse still free labour (what is it about hackathons that makes people think they can go in a request free labour of people on their projects). But these guy’s had no preconception, no agenda, only a fascination with the device, and the desire to build something with it.

So long story short. We won, and had by far the most fun. We didn’t plan, didn’t manage, just inspired one another, collaborated openly and built together. We let go and trusted each party to do their bit, and then we built some epic shit😉

Big thanks to C-Base Massive (@little_endian, Ansi, Grumph),  FabLab Berlin Crew, Fritzing (@aminfiberlin) for the toys and OKFN for an awesome time.

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