Enginursday: Demos of Days Past

What happens to your favorite demos?

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Here at SparkFun, we make a lot of demos, from singing ponies to finishing our NERFCS 7d Drone Shipping before Amazon knew what (literally) hit them. Demos are our way of pretending we're working, and having a bit of fun while showing off some of the cool things you can build with our products.

What happens to these demos? Do we sell them on the black market, along with an autographed photo of Robert's beard? Not exactly, or at least nothing we'll openly admit to.

Below is some insight as to what happens to some of these demos after they leave the limelight.

Taken to Events

If there's an event going on and SparkFun's in your neighborhood, I highly recommend coming to check it out! Often, at a lot of the events, you'll get to see new demos that were never showcased on our site.

We also like to bring along community favorites. The infamous Giant Nintendo controller traveled to Maker Faire back in 2007. Rumor has it that it was so large we had to buy another plane ticket and sit it on the plane.

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From Phillip Torrone's Maker Faire 2007 Flickr

Rebuilt and Better Than Before

Luckily, there are quite a few demos that get revisited. Usually when making a project for the first time, there are things we wish we did differently. Having an enclosure, extra features, or a complete redesign to get it working, there are always a few changes that could be done to really make a demo better. Some demos are so special that it is worth going back and improving it. Creative Technologist Nick Poole's Glitch booth got a facelift and will be showcased at our new retail space.

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A new enclosure and extra features can really add life to older demos

Ends Up Like Your Favorite Game of Thrones Character

Remember desktop buddy?

Unfortunately, some demos get scrapped for parts and never rebuilt again. This tends to happen a lot.

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Don't judge me for this atrocity...I really needed a MicroView for another demo at the time.

Highlighted throughout SparkFun

During our weekly tours at SparkFun, we highlight quite a few demos throughout the building. This means you can play with demos like the interactive Bare Conductive Paint Wall that was featured in an ElectriCute video.
On top of the tour, we have a new retail space! If you are coming to AVC this Saturday, come check out the grand opening. Not only is the retail space a place to stop by and see our products before you buy anything, there will be demos throughout that you can play with and check out.

We'll be rotating out demos as new things are created, so whenever you come to visit or pick up a local order, odds are there'll be something new to see. Here are a just a few demos you can see starting Saturday!

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Polygon Dress - By Creative Technologist Nick Poole

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Some demos will have tutorials like the Sound page, so you can make your own.

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Learn about sensors with this interactive sensor demo

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Play with the SparkPunk!

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LED art installation - Engineer, Joel

Used to Destroy Your Bot

Can't give too much information away about this one. For this year's AVC, our Mechanical Engineer Evan has built the "Discombobulator." More details to come for those attending AVC!

Let's just say this has something to do with AVC this Saturday...

Posted by SparkFun Electronics, Inc. on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Who says beta testing isn't fun?

What happened to your favorite SparkFun Demo?

Curious about what happened to your favorite SparkFun demo or Stampy? Please comment below to find out!


Comments 6 comments

  • I'd love to know what happened to the SCORPION, and why it's not being used as an autonomous defensive bot somewhere on the AVC track!

    • SCORPION still lives! Partially disassembled under the desk of Nick Poole...however still around. Would make an interesting t-shirt swag cannon. You would only get a little bruised. haha

      I like the idea of an American Gladiator type of race for AVC. Where your robot has to fight off other robots, while racing to the end.

  • My favorite demo to this day still has to be the tweeting kegerator. Sadly, decommissioned because who is really going to maintain it?

    As an explanation, for any demo (software or hardware), it has to be maintained. This takes time/money, and a lot of times it isn't worth keeping it around when newer tech is coming out.

  • You mention "If there’s an event going on and SparkFun’s in your neighborhood, I highly recommend coming to check it out!". IMHO, it would really help if you were to have something obvious on the home page that would list upcoming events. I sometimes don't hear about all the events in my area, plus I could also check it when I'm going to be traveling to see if there's anything near where I'll be. (For example, I live in AZ, but last year it turned out to be convenient for me to go to a Mini Maker Faire in Cape Cod, MA.)

    BTW, I'm glad to hear about the retail space. I'm hoping to stop by this fall when I'm in CO. Sounds like fun!

  • How about the units from the actobotics completion?

    • Casey's design - Parts were taken by fellow engineer Mike Hord to make a LIDAR room scanner.

      Nick Poole's winning (/sigh) design - Is apparently acting like a trash bin holder at the moment until he does something else with it. He moved on to another actobotics challenges hosted by ServoCity.

      Mine - Still working and a fun toy for the dogs. I had a couple requests to do a tennis ball version. :)

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