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This Is Not Rocket Science
Everything is easy, once you know how to do it
Everything is easy, once you know how to do it

This Is Not Rocket Science's posts

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Playing with stuff again!
This Is Not Rocket Science - Goldfishstick!

I went to Amsterdam, for one to have an awesome New Years Eve with my friends Priscilla, Adinda, Stijn and Lauri, among many lovely people, but for the longer part, I was staying at Pris' and Stijn's place.

While there, I kind of acted as test subject for Stijn, and I got to build myself a Goldfishstick from scratch!

For Stijn, this was a test run to check whether what seems completely logical to him is still logical or seem completely garbage to others...

And from what it looks like, everything is just fine! :D

So I now got myself a Goldfishstick to play around with!

And whenever Stijn has a new firmware to try out, i can flash it to the goldfish and play around with it... :D

Hello, Goldfish! YAY!

So, as +Fredo Meins pointed out to me:
What is the Goldfish and what does it do?

The Goldfish is a MonoSynthesizer that +Stijn Kuipers developed and the Goldfishstick is the result of a hardware implementation of that synthesizer. It runs in code form inside an MK20 chip, which can be firmware-upgraded whenever he add something to it.

Future firmware upgrades may implement a sampler that reads audio samples from the SD card reader... :)
This Is Not Rocket Science - Goldfishstick!
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On this day In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth's surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home -- forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is -- a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.

#Penny4NASA #NASA #Roscosmos #Space #Science #YuriGagarin #Vostok

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This Is Not Rocket Science Report!

Roman's perception of the day at Seeed Studios, underground bazaars and that sexy circuit board...
This Is Not Rocket Science Update!

Underground Markets
Yesterday we went looking for the Shanzhai markets over at Huaqiang Road, but instead we ended up finding an underground market of used parts and components... the "Huaqiang Photographic Equipment City".

Since the electronic revolution that came with the computer era, I suppose this has evolved into more than just a photographic equipment market. Down here we found some quite interesting outlets, everything from old tubes for amplifiers, photo film stuff, to modern handy and tablet components, chips and all kinds of micro components on reels that I do not even know what they are for. We noted the location and some shop designations of some of these outlets that sold stuff we thought looked interesting, just in case we want to return in the next few days... ;).

Electronic Bazaars
After exchanging business cards with some of the shop owners, we went on on our search for the Shanzhai.

While we still did not find our way to our target, we found different bazaars in different buildings, where again we found all kinds of electronic stuff to look at and be completely baffled at the things that can be bought with a few units of financial currency, we did not even know was possible to get for "normal people".

Stijn found a really dense looking circuit board, of which we have no idea what it was designed for. We later inspected it in detail back at the apartment with one of the electronic microscopes that Niko got himself at the SEG market some days ago. Niko wants to look at insects with it, but in the meantime it fulfils a function of electronic components inspection device, and this specific board was something very interesting to look at. Almost sexy... :3

And we still do not know what it was made for...

Seeed Studios
After about two hours of drooling around the bazaars, we went on the subway to our next destination. We had an appointment with Seeed Studios, which was pretty easy to find in the Jiuxiangling district (I think that is correct?) on the Tongsha Road.

The appointment was forgotten by our host Violet, or she had an emergency to attend to... I did not get what was wrong. But never the less, we were very friendly received by Momi and she showed us around the office, factory, development and testing facilities.

This was not quite what I expected, as I have seen quite a few factories already in the past, and really, they all look almost the same... so I was hoping to have a talk with some developers and relevant product managers, with more insight talks and all, instead of the default tour through the facilities... Do not get me wrong: Momi did an excellent job, it was just not what we expected.

BUT! After that tour, she brought us to Raymond, the person to talk to, when it comes the Open Parts Library, of which Stijn and Krzysztof were talking so much about. After a few questions and answers, we then met Nana, the Product Manager of Seeed. She gave us some insight on the processes on how to proceed if we had custom production wishes and many nice info generally on what processes to use for dealing with Seeed and other factories and suppliers. While Stijn, Krzysztof, Priscilla and Nana had their talk, I shortly conversed with Raymond about our Project, This Is Not Rocket Science, since it was no very clear to him, what we actually do. I explained him a bit of our different perspectives on what we do, why we do it, and what we want to achieve with it. He then dashed off to visit our site again to inspect it in more detail I suppose...

After the talk with Nana, we had another talk with Raymond, and the atmosphere was quite more relaxed by then, and we could exchange less formal and more casual talks and information and again do actual suggestions for some improvements we thought Seeed could use. Those suggestions were openly admitted by Raymond and Nana, and we might see some positive changes in their line up of products and services, which makes me again happy, that we visited them... Also, Stijn and Krzysztof obviously had to make some additional orders for missing parts in their respective laboratories, while I had some semi-philosophical talks with Raymond ranging about our project, Chinese high quality production and the future of mankind... :D

Circuit board: just look at that sexy thing!
So after a very busy morning in the Bazaars and a long afternoon at Seeed (we arrived at Seeed ca 1400 and left at 1830), we returned to our apartment, having a nice hot pot around the corner first. We inspected that circuit board Stijn bought at the bazaar in the morning, with plain eyes and under the microscope.

And we still do not know what it was used for exactly...
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Broken Layout on Website...

For some reason our blog site is broken. The Layout has totally broken up and we sent an email already to the host to restore from a backup.

From the looks of it, some autoupdate thingy just killed all the layout work Stijn made in the past few weeks...

We still need to find the time to fix the layout, but our schedule here in China has a higher priority right now, so it might take a few days more until we can rebuild that, or restore from a backup of the host...

We apologize for any inconveniences, and sorry for the eye-cancer site you might be looking at right now...

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More appointments today, more busy time, more adventure about to be had!

We'll be back with more to report and hopefully we will finish the video editing for yesterday's visit to Makeblock.
This Is Not Rocket Science... delayed Update!

Wednesday I temporarily separated from my beloved TINRS-friends and went to Zhuhai, where I met my other lovely friend John Wang. My brother knew him for a few years and we actually met him for the first time in our China Trip 2011, when we crisscrossed China on a different kind of business adventure trip in only 12 days. Which was very stupid. And very stressful. And totally overkill. And the best holiday I have ever had. Except that now this China trip may even surpass my last one.

John drove me to see his new LED factory, SepiCN. He has many new products, one of them seems to be based on an idea that we discussed back in 2011: a single 50x50cm, 40watts LED material, that illuminates not from a single point, but a wide area; it is not rim mounted LED’s which reflect upon a refractive glass, but the actual material illuminates, creating a diffuse light. AWESOMENESS!
We went on to discuss a few possibilities of what could be done with such lighting, and I am eager to see what happens after this discussion in the next few years. I need to show this light to artists and designers!

Yesterday TINRS had an appointment with the awesome people of Makeblock – WOOOHOOO! We visited their office and warehouse, where they showed us around and revealed the new parts they have in development. We even got to give them some input on a few specific things, some new parts that we thought could be very interesting to have. Things that hopefully benefit Makeblock and everyone else that builds things with their products! We spent almost the entire morning there and did a small on-site shopping tour, where Stijn and Krzysztof selected quite a few parts that they were missing in their arsenal of Makeblock materials. I'll get a kit later from home to try and develop an actually intelligent robocleaner, that knows where to clean and memorizes the room structure; contrary to that random pattern robots that people buy for hundreds of monnies... ;P

After giving some gifts from the Netherlands and Switzerland, we went on to do the first fitting at our tailor Jeri C in Luohu Shopping Mall. The suits fit perfectly and are very comfortable, and now after a long day on our broken feet, we hope to have a relatively relaxed evening and a good night.

Right now we are about to leave our base to have a very busy day, as we are going to visit the Seeed Studio people to see their awesome stuff live, stereo and in Technicolor!
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This Is Not Rocket Science... Update!

Today we are going to the Shanzhai, the "copycats" market, to see what imitations of things there are, and we will most likely get quite a few cheap tablets to use as displays all over The Lab. Maybe I will get some on my own, just to have more toys to play around with...

After that we go to SeeedStudios, have a chat with them and see live what they do and make and break...

Be back soon with more stuff to show!


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Arrived in Hong Kong at our appartment in Kowloon...

Next up:
Something to eat
and Sleep... (^_^)

And THEN we go look at stuff...
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This Is Not Rocket Science website launches officially NOW!

Tonight we will start Twittering like crazy to get the engines going.  The stars are out over Amsterdam, spring is in the air and it is a good day for a launch!

On This Is Not Rocket Science you can already find descriptions of several projects we have already started; the Goldfish synthesizer, a design for a prototyping board, how to make a PCB CNC mill with Makeblock and our first crack at an FPGA board.  We will be adding more as time goes by and we and The Lab progress. If you have any hints or questions, please sing to us on Twitter @rocket_not.

Our first mission will be a trip to Shenzhen, China – where all things are made.  Our bags are packed to fly out in two days. We are curious to see how hard or easy it is to go from inspiration to reality in this environment. We are planning to go to the Shenzhen Maker Faire, meet the guys from the Dangerous Prototypes Hackercamp, visit MakeBlock and talk to Seeed Studio among many other things.

We are undertaking this trip without the burden of funding and will be updating you often and at impromptu times.

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Launching: This Is Not Rocket Science
written by Priscilla Haring

Open tech platform – to investigate, invent, manifest and share

We intend to uncover the ‘seemingly difficult’ and find out just how easy everything is. The information is out there and all things are possible. So we will dig in, find out and share our results. Determined that we can make anything, our direction is guided by what we want to create – and whether or not we should.

“Everything is easy, once you know how to do it.”

We do everything we do as open as we can. This means sharing our designs, our code, places of manufacturing and our process. We hope that our experiences are useful to others. We believe in combining experts in open collaboration and watching the magic happen. If you believe that you can do better – we hope that you do and that you tell everyone.

The core of our TINRS team has spent a considerable amount of time in and around the artistic computer graphics and music scene. In the 80s and 90s groups and individuals showed off their technical skill in an artistic context at competitions and exhibitions. These gatherings resulted in a number of new technologies, including the first desktop 3D game engines.

Sadly, such gatherings and their expressions have remained mostly invisible to the public. Many people get turned off by the highly technical aspects of this artform. Yet, the amount of built up interdisciplinary skill is astounding. In this community there is no boundary between hardware, software, design and art. Tools and metatools are constructed when they are needed to allow the artist to create the desired expression.

Our team at the moment

Stijn Kuipers
Freelance inventor with own basement, CEO of Void, created Blok, hardware and software design

Kzrysztof Foltman
Quiet jazz pianist, head honcho at Calf plug-in, digital signal processing perfectionist

Roman Buehler
IT support, crazy hair, visualizer, omega-tester, generally interested

Priscilla Haring
Experimental research settings, gaming expert, haute catering, mediator

Lauri Koponen
Connecting and tracking you via satellite, synth builder, Finn to the beat

Roy Bekhuis
Communication and process management, line up master, questioneer

Niko Kuipers
Old school artist, fly collector, not the voice of reason
Our first mission is to go to Shenzhen (02.04.2014) where all things are made and to have a look around this electronics wonderland, meet some of the manufacturers and visit the Maker Faire.  We might have a hundred Goldfish made (synthesizer) or we might come up with something else. We will be constantly blogging about our experiences – technical and otherwise.
More info on our website and our Twitter account @rocket_not

If you have any questions or something interesting please contact me at

All the best,

Priscilla Haring
Ph(?) Onderzoek & Advies 
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