Hello, Fritzing world. My name is Laura and I’m a creator / programmer and organizer living in Berlin. If I’m not planning a new project or talking with people about a whacky idea, then I’m probably thinking about one. I moved to Berlin about a year ago and got involved in open tech / rails girls / maker things when my friend and I started going to Everything together (yes, Everything). Workshops, meetups, tangentially related conferences, you name it. Johanna and I were there.
Johanna and I at Everything:
This Fall we’re testing the new Fritzing Creator Kit. We’ve worked with Arduinos before, but this is our first foray into the Fritzing world. We’re going to try each project, try our own projects and document the process through this blog.
i.e., make things, break things and drink (lots of) coffee.
Since we’ll blog regularly in the next months, I asked Johanna a few questions to help you get to know us better. Follow the entire series, stay tuned on the Fritzing blog and follow us on Twitter: Laura Wadden and Johanna Santos Bassetti.
You have a degree in art, you’re interested in agriculture, you’ve worked in product strategy at various startups, and you even picked strawberries while living on a Danish island. What got you involved in Fritzing?
Ever since I was a little girl I watched my dad solder things. And I knew that by soldering things he was making other things happen. At that point I didn’t really understand what computers were, but I liked the soldering process. And then when I understood what computers were, I got interested in how to make computers do stuff that serves you as a tool. I thought of them as potential translators of the physical world and imagined ways of using computers to measure how plants grow. But I didn’t know about sensors then.
So you thought about programming machines as a little girl? Awesome!
How did you get involved in Fritzing and Arduinos this time around?
I worked with Arduinos back in 2011 doing wearable Arduino work for a friend’s exhibition during Club Transmediale. He had a Lilypad, sensors and speakers that I sewed into a lab coat with metal string. I had to figure out a way to sew it so that none of the connections touched while the participants moved so it wouldn’t short-circuit.
How has the Berlin maker scene – Fritzing, Open Tech School, the workshops we’ve gone to, Hackidemia, the Kids Hackathon, etc. – influenced your involvement in Arduinos & Fritzing?
The project back in 2011 was really on the outskirts, but Arduinos stayed on my mind. Then all of a sudden it was much more accessible through these meetups. People were willing to share their knowledge and teach – that’s the first time I felt it was possible to work on my own projects.
What about those meetups inspired you?
The Open Tech School meetup was inspiring because there were tons of projects happening at the same time and so many different types of learning in self-organized groups. The diversity of approaches was titillating: There was a table of sound tinkerers! There was a wearables table! And a table of complete newbies!
I think seeing how collaborative, open and fluid the community was made me feel safe to try whatever I wanted and feel supported by other people.
And I inspired you too, right?!
Yes! When I started doing these projects with you – that’s when I noticed how well we work together. Our different learning complement each other. And I realized how much fun it is.
Do you have any goals with our Fritzing project this Fall? What are you trying to get out of it?
I want to test some ideas that I’ve kept locked in my brain vault for the last decade. With Fritzing, they are potentially doable now. I am excited to get to it!