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Man is an Island

An Island in the Baltic Sea
Nikon D80 Shot

Hey Kids,
Almost two weeks ago now, FinnAir flight AY812 landed in Helsinki.
I was on that flight.

Four hours later, I sat naked in a very small room, surrounded by a few other men, who were also naked and a fair bit older then me.
If it had not been in Finland, and if that room had not contained a little wood stove burning in overdrive, I would have felt much less relaxed and at ease at that point.

Why was I there and how did I get in that situation you ask? Some time ago, Liesbeth tipped me of about a “HackLab by the Sea”. A HackLab is basically a place where tinkerers and/or makers get together to geek out and tinker with each other. As you might have noticed from earlier posts, these days, I’m always up for some hot soldering action.

When I checked out this particular HackLab a bit closer, I got even more excited.
It was organised by Tapio Makela of the M.A.R.I.N group. Instead of flocking together inside, the idea was that all of this hacking would go on on an island in the middle of the Baltic sea, with solar-power, fresh caught fish and wood-fueled saunas as the backdrop.

That didn’t sound bad at al. So I got ready to pack my bags and bought a new gas-powered soldering iron for good measure. I left with the vague plan of experimenting with solar-powered Arduino SensorBoxes. So that’s how I ended up in a small, smoking hot room, with several men. Two of those, Tapio Makela and Tuomo Tammenpää, I joined in picking up supplies for the move to the Island the next day.

On the Island I met up with two other great people. One of them was Dave Griffiths, who had been working at Sony Computer Entertainment but now moved his Artist/Programmer-skills over to FoAM in Brussels.

Marije Baalman also joined us. She brought a part of her SonoBotanics project. It provided us with lots of wierd late-night sounds.

So we worked on Tapio’s island for a week. Lots of interesting stuff, ranging from speaking pirate ships to webcam microscopes got built.
I tinkered with my Arduino SensorBox until it could live through the night (and a whole lot longer too) and recharge in the daylight.
Later we all moved on to hacking an RC boat into an autonomous vehicle. First tests ranged from catastrophic to quite promising.

Arduino Sensor Box Prototype
Nikon D80 Shot

All of these activities where highlighted by great Finish weather, superb food and nice late-night sauna talks ranging in topic from the case of vinyl versus iTunes and trying to make sense out of the Zelda narrative timeline. I had a blast geeking out, learned some neat stuff, and met some great people in the process. Sign me up for the next one.

More pictures and words on my Flick set.

Love,
Jim

2 Responses to “Man is an Island”

  1. nescivi.nl » Blog Archive » Hacklab MARIN Says:

    [...] Other reports from this hacklab: David Griffiths Jim Bollansée [...]

  2. Play&Game » Blog Archive » HackLab by the Sea 2010 Says:

    [...] Reposted this blogpost on the Play and Game blog. [...]

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