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Blog posts tagged as 'electronics'

Friday Links: rolling, mapping, driving, products.

This week’s been buzzing and busy – everybody’s back in the studio after a week of holidays, festivals, and trips to India. That means the studio mailing list has been buzzing again, and so it’s time to take the cream of the links and get them onto the blog.

Matt J found Gearbox, a company making “smart toys” to pair with your smartphone. Their first toy is a ball that rolls the direction you tilt your phone in. They explain:

We are then leveraging the connectivity and computing power of the phone to create a fully interactive experience for the user. Our first app for the ball is Sumo. I throw my ball on a table, you throws yours on the table and then we can try and sumo each others ball off the table. However, while our physical balls are moving there is also an onscreen component with online stats, profiles, damage, powerups and other aspects of gameplay that aren’t possible with a regular remote control toy. For instance, when the balls collide they can sustain “damage” and roll slower or I could get a powerup to reverse your controls for a few seconds.

Aside from the games we produce we are also opening up the APIs for the ball so any app developer with no hardware knowledge can build their own games or applications and bring them to the real world.

Smashing; it’s the open-API that really sets these toys apart from something more constrained, like Sony’s Rolly. And this is only their first product!


Joey Roth’s ‘Charlatan / Martyr / Huslter‘ poster has been doing the rounds, recently, and with good reason – it’s lovely. But equally lovely is the attention to detail on the webpage selling it. Matt W sent it to our internal list, commenting on how the product page “communicates desire” – the closeups of the type and paper stock, the shot (reproduced above) of copies being stacked. It reinforces that it’s not just an EPS on a piece of paper; it’s a real product, and Roth’s website makes you want it.


Damon Zucconi’s Fata Morgana is, essentially, Google Maps without the Maps: roads, land, and water are all stripped away leaving just place names and street names. Even zoomed in, as above, the effect persists. Maps made just of names and streets aren’t a new thing – but there’s a strange juxtaposition in seeing them in slippy, interactive javascript form.

Here’s a short demonstration of an official version of The Settlers of Catan for Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a little underwhelming – very literal in some of its metaphors. That said, I loved the interaction between physical tokens and the board – in particular, the way the “visor” has an X-ray effect on cards underneath it. By making it a very realistic – and carefully masked – X-ray effect, the metaphor actually holds up better. It’s very much an understanding of the Surface as a Magic Table rather than a big window.


And finally – this is Racer. An old arcade cabinet; a remote control car on a small circuit; a remote camera, and timing circuitry. Put them together and you’ve got this charming and effective game. A tiny, remote-control version of C’était un Rendez-vous, if you like. This video of it in action is great – alas, I couldn’t embed it, so I hope the link suffices.

Putting those feelers out

Update (Monday 9 July): We’ve had some incredible people get in touch, thanks all! We’re now speaking with a couple of potential interns… more of that later. We’re also still nosing about for Windows developers. Get in touch if you fancy a project.

From the silence, you might have guessed we’re busy. So in the name of making more time to look after this here blog, we’re hunting for someone to work with us for the next two months on a couple of projects–one physical product prototype for the BBC, and one that’s our own R&D.

Doing what? We need another pair of hands on the electronics. That means breadboards, soldering and understanding vague datasheets. It also means experience coding PIC microcontrollers or Arduino boards. It may well include PCBs; we’ll see.

We’re a start-up so we can’t promise swanky office or a chair that sighs when you sit in it. But we’re also small, so there’s a lot of influence and broad experience to be had.

This is a suitable summer intership for an interaction design or electronics undergraduate based in London, over July and August, possibly a bit of September. We generally prefer to work with friends of friends, but y’know, we’re open.

If you’re interested and available, drop me a line at matt at schulze and webb dot com with what you’ve been up to and what you can do, and we’ll take it from there.

On that note:

More speculatively, we’re also after a Windows software programmer who knows their way round USB (not drivers, just chatting to peripherals), GUI, plug-in architecture and installers, for a small project. Mac too actually.

I’m willing to look at contracting companies for this project (which I estimate at two months) but – again – would prefer a friend of a friend out of university, looking for a project to start on. The project’s not complex but the code should be tight, if you know what I mean.

Drop me a line at the same address as above, and we can figure something out.

Pass it on!


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