Your tweet should be worth a free soda.
Well, that’s the belief of one team at the Tucson Make-A-Thon, who felt like social media and twitter were forgetting about the most important people, the customers and followers.
On this basis, the team wanted to introduce a system that incentivizes social media presence, and presents interested followers with a tangible reward — a soda dispensed from a custom-fit machine.
“We want to take your voice and your message and your ability to communicate and reward you for that. This celebrates the idea that your voice has monetary value,” said Ian Tracey, one of the team’s members.
One of the main goals of the weekend was to provide a space where groups and individuals with varying skill sets could work on an idea in a team setting that enables them to combine their different areas of expertise. The teams had many tools at their disposal, including laser cutting, wood cutting, and 3-dimensional printing provided by both Xerocraft and Maker House.
The twitter soda exchange group is an example of the possibilities that can be achieved in this seemingly short amount of time. The only work that had been done before the weekend was the process of finding an old, unused soda machine, which was achieved through Craigslist.
At the start of the event on Saturday, the team began the project by stripping the old 1980’s 7-UP machine of the old rust, paint, dirt, and other undesirable objects that had built up inside and outside of it.
“We’re showing you can take something from the 80’s and retrofit if full of new technology, and find a new and improved use for it,” Tracey said.
The team was made up of University of Arizona students Tracey, Steven Eiselen, Beau Graham, Andrew Prosch and Ocean Tenborg, in addition to receiving some help from staff at the Maker House.
Another group had much loftier goals in mind, reading and interpreting light waves from space.
The team of David Lesser, Ben Reynwar, Thomas Beard and Mike Collins used their combined skills in computer coding and astronomy to build a device a miniature satellite that could accept readings from space, and convert them into date on their computer.
The satellite itself was made of a wooden frame and a dish made of chicken wire. Using amplifiers attached to the center of the satellite, the device is designed to receive waves from space.
“The hope is that we could use this to look at our galaxy as it drifts by and see the spiral arms of our galaxy,” Lesser said.
Another team was comprised of Tim Gallant, Josh Scott, Nathan Brown and Chasen Johnson, who had a vision for a modern alarm clock that wakes someone up based on their sleep pattern.
The idea behind the project stems from knowledge about sleeping habits, like the best time to get awoken from one’s sleep cycle. Instead of a loud, blaring alarm sound, the user would be lifted from their sleep in a less jarring way.
“There are some applications already that track a person,s sleep cycle, however, this goes a step further by allowing you to start your day with a sunrise that will slowly wake you up with the ambient light and different colors and shades of your choosing,” Scott said.
Although not all groups were able to completely finish their creations, the creative process doesn’t end with the weekend. Armed with a tangible creation to develop further, groups like the smart alarm clock hope to continue creating.
“We’re looking forward to developing the project further,” Scott said. “Especially now that we have a physical model to work off of.”