Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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SXSW Updates Meaning Of Do-It-Yourself

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When you hear DIY you likely think of projects around your home. But there are now some high tech do-it-yourself projects that some may consider both bizarre and fun at the same time. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

Do-it-yourself, or DIY projects, take on a bit of a different meaning when you bring that concept to a city that prides itself on being weird during the often times unpredictable SXSW conference. The so-called Create tent featured several perfect examples this year, like tables of people knitting technology using eTextile Lilypads from a company called Sparkfun Electronics.

"The battery pack is really small it's in the back and a tiny little LED and all you're doing is sewing that LED to the battery pack with a silver coated conductive thread and that lights it up, no wires, no soldering," says Dia Campbell of Sparkfun Electronics. "It's a really safe way to teach kids about electronics it's a super simple kit. You can use the Lilypad with light sensors, temperature sensors, you've got buzzers, vibration motors so you can get a silent alert that something's going on."

Texas Instruments also showed off its MCU Launchpads for creating everything from helicopters to video game machines to high tech coolers.

"There's coolers out there today that have speakers inside them but what's special about this is it has Bluetooth. Now you could put your phone in a waterproof case and throw it around to your buddies while you're tubing down the river, you know, they can change the music, pick different songs," says Trey German of Texas Instruments.

Finally, helping to prove these days you can make just about anything you want there's now the ability to create artwork out of bacteria.

"We're using a very, very simple model organism, a safe strain of e.coli that's been genetically engineered to glow either green or red in the presence of ultraviolet light and we're asking people to make small paintings with either green or red growing bacteria and we're going to put them together as pixels to make a big mosaic of a unicorn which is the symbol of hybridity. Everyone knows a unicorn is part one thing part another thing," explains Wythe Marschall of Observatory Gallery.

To check out the progress of what is probably the world's first ever giant unicorn-shaped piece of bacteria, head over to www.cutpastegrow.com.

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