Chapter Spotlight: Staten Island Makerspace, with Jarred Sutton

littleBits Workshops in Staten Island, New York

July 22, 2015

Staten Island Makerspace

Jarred Sutton

 

Jarred

 

I am based in…

Staten Island, NY, the greenest borough making a new name for itself!

Tell us more about your organization/space.

Staten Island Makerspace is a 6,000 square foot facility just two train stops from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. It was started after Super Storm Hurricane Sandy washed out the co-founders architectural metal shop and art lab; then deciding to start their own non-profit Makerspace. It has everything from industrial welding (oxy-acetylene, mig, tig, plasma), a full woodworking shop, fabric/sewing lab, computer lab, conference room, presentation space, studios, 4’x8′ CNC mill, 3D printers and more!

I was inspired to start a Global Chapter because…

I wanted to get involved with littleBits and bring this amazing platform to my community for people of all ages. I saw creating a Chapter as a way to focus my efforts and really dive into the platform, as well as growing for myself. I am always looking for new ideas and new ways to learn. Starting a Chapter has been all I hoped and more!

How are you re-inventing your makerspace with littleBits? 

We are looking into bridging the gap between common electronics and breadboarding/prototyping with the littleBits platform. We want to show people that the platform scales and can easily be integrated into their ideas. This way there is one less hurdle the next time they want to hop into the space and just quickly prototype an idea or feature a design. I personally wanted to get my aquaponics pump setup and within seconds I had a working model ‘proof of concept’ thanks to littleBits and the proto module. Also we are looking to have an event/make-a-thon that can effect social or environmental issues through positive change. Technology is everywhere and growing in leaps and bounds, but I want it to help all walks of life and help it leave our world with a better tomorrow.

Tell us more about your last event.

Our last event was participating in the honorary #BitOlympics! It was a ton of fun. We had families and enthusiasts participate. We started out with an intro to littleBits and then laying out all the wonderful additional bits we had. Once we finished our demos we showed everyone our table of ‘#BitSpiration’ where we offered everything from Lego’s, arts and crafts, metal robotic extrusions, electronics and sensors for the proto module, and even Lincoln Logs! From there we started our whiteboard session breaking down different types of Olympic sports and ideas on how we can improve them. The beauty of littleBits is that once they are in peoples hands they start running with them. The excitement grows and they can’t wait to try and add new bits to their project. There was no stopping them once they picked up their basic kits to experiment with.

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What were some of the projects that came out of your event?

We experimented with building a javelin launcher, an instant soccer goal post trigger, do it yourself opening ceremonies extravaganza and even a gymnastic display!

Blueprint:

BluePrint

Brainstorming: 

-Brainstorming

Bitspiration: 

BitSpiration

Javelin: 

Javelin

Homemade Air Conditioner:

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Gymnasts:

gymnast

What did you learn from hosting this event?

I learned that young or old littleBits allows people to express themselves with no barriers. I saw a young child think out an elaborate idea and in minutes was able to start constructing it. He felt inspired and just kept going. With a little guidance and a new bit provided here or there his excitement grew and his parents already wanted to know how they could get their hands on them and when the next class was. It really blew me away. From a logistical stand point I think at my next event I would like to push more photography from people in the event with easy ways to upload to one location for all to view and see. When you are in the moment teaching many people its hard to snap photos. I may even mount a GoPro and have a whole class photographed in a sequence next time!

Who else in your community inspires you? 

I would have to say the founders of Staten Island Makerspace truly inspire me. They have given up their full time jobs for what they believe in. Raising their son all while operating the entire makerspace. It astonishes me everyday the sacrifices they make and the heart they bring to the table everyday for everyone of their members and their community alike. I hope when I grow up I get to be as awesome and influential as they have been for me and Makers like me.

What’s next for your chapter?

Believe it or not Staten Island Makerspace has just started building a maker truck AKA the STEAMWagon! littleBits is going to be going for the ride as the platform will be introduced to children and people all over NYC starting with Staten Island. Bringing making and electronics to children and people who don’t or wouldn’t normally have access to great materials like littleBits! 

What’s been your favorite thing about being a Chapter leader?

Being a Chapter leader gives you access to a deep educational base and knowledgeable littleBits online community. Not only do you get to find a community of like minded individuals with a mission for sharing it, but you get to meet people from your community you never met before and affect their lives. You get the power to show them how much fun electronics and technology can be. Even setting peoples lives off in new and exciting directions. To me that’s something powerful and something I am grateful for.