Final East Coast Tour Recap

The final post about the SparkFun East Coast tour!

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This is part three of our East Coast trip recap! You can check out Part I here and Part II here! Here we go...

Next on our itinerary was Washington, DC, for the United States of America Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF). This year, we setup a soldering booth! The festival was huge, approaching 75,000 people. Check out some footage of the event -

Vimeo version found here.

We were crazy busy both days of the festival and we saw four-year-olds put together our WeevilEye kits and six-year-olds solder up the Simon kit. The next day, we set out to visit Adam Kemp.

Many of you may know Adam from his column and blog on the AdaFruit site, “Ask an Educator,” or because he runs one of the most incredible technical education programs in the country at The Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA. As you enter Adam's classroom/workshop you'll see kids working on the teardown and rebuild of a Jensen/Healy sportscar, a water filtration system for developing nations that powers itself using river current, underwater ROVs, and built-from-scratch CNC and 3D printing setups.

Adam and his students have been engaged in building a satellite for several years. It is fully functioning, with radio telemetry and data gathering equipment, as well as solar power and charging. The Thomas Jefferson satellite is run under the CubeSat program. It is very impressive!

From there, we headed for North Carolina. Last year we had the pleasure of meeting Carl Twarog, who came out to Boulder to take some classes with us. Carl teaches in the School of Art and Design at East Carolina University and is the “keeper” of a unique piece of art, The Sonic Plaza. The plaza is a central space on the ECU campus and it combines motion detectors that generate tonal interaction with the students as they walk through this part of campus. The plaza also houses a large percussive water feature that is programmable by students. In addition, there is a large robotic clock, The Media Glockenspiel, that tells time and integrates video into the plaza's theme by playing different images through the day from sunset to sunrise. Check out some video footage of Carl's work here:

Vimeo version found here.

We turned the SparkFun van south on I-95 and headed toward Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia is the home to IT-ology, a unique organization that aims to produce IT and tech talent by partnering university, K-12, business and industry.We ran a blazing Intro to Arduino workshop with Processing examples thrown in for good measure and had all kinds of fun with the eclectic crowd. That marked the end of the trip (except for the long drive home to Colorado!).

Thanks for reading! We'll be making an announcement of our next SparkFun tour in the coming week, so make sure to check back. Cheers!

Comments 9 comments

  • So cool that TJ was featured on your website, I'm a rising freshman at TJHSST and plan on working there in the microelectronics field. I'm absolutely ecstatic that I'll get such an opportunity.

    • Miskatonic / about 12 years ago / 3

      Tell Mr. Kemp we send our best. We are excited to see what you guys come up with in the coming years. Keep up the good work!

  • 172pilot / about 12 years ago / 1

    I dont get it.. The USASEF link points to the event site from April (which I ALSO missed because nobody seemed to post about it ahead of time!!), but apparently you were here THIS WEEK?

    • Miskatonic / about 12 years ago / 1

      Sorry, we are recapping our tour in April, this is in the blog posts preceding this one.

  • TECH GEEK / about 12 years ago / 1

    I'm concerned about the lack of new products on a Thursday... 0_o

  • wpmcnamara / about 12 years ago / 1

    Man, I would have killed to be able to attend a place like The Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology when I was in junior/high school.

    • No kidding. When we visited, I was amazed at what these kids are up to. What a fantastic opportunity - and they know it, too.

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