Ask a winner updates day 3: Answers

Not too long ago we asked our readers what they would like to hear about from the PUSH N900 winners and their hacks. We got some silly questions, and some serious, we asked both and now the PUSH teams have answered.

The days are getting closer and closer to the N900 PUSH Showcase, and as such the teams are getting more and more stressed. But the team from Sketch Your World was willing to take time of out of their busy day for our interview. As always, keep up to date on the team at their blog – they’ve started drawing on the Etch a Sketch(tm), and it even (okay, it doesn’t really, but it’s still progress) looks like a circle!

>Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for HackaDay. We love when a hacker is willing to share their work with us.

>How did you and your team get together? Any fun backstory you care to share?

I ([jeez], a.k.a. [Jesus Sanchez-Palencia]) met [Annie] (a.k.a. [Ana Cecília Martins]) and [Calega] (a.k.a. [Filipe Calegario]) during my Computer Engineering graduation.
Someday [Annie] became my girlfriend and we started to work on a few projects together on some crazy stuff that we like to do. [Calega] was also working with some cool projects by his own and one day, talking about ideas, projects, life, universe and everything else, we noticed that we (and some other friends) had this will to work with digital interaction, with hardware/software/human-behavior hacking. And so we decided to create the Wouwlabs group. (wouwlabs.com)

[Patifa] ([Patricia Montenegro]) is a very skilled Architect which works as a Designer. She is a co-worker of mine. One day I invited her to give a lecture on the University about the “Relationship between designers and developers” and the Wouwlabs people really liked her work. The PUSH N900 was a great opportunity to have her working with us and to join us in the Wouwlabs! =D

>Have you and your team worked on any other projects? Cellular related projects? N900 projects?

Well, me and [Patricia] work, mainly, with Mobile development. Yes, we have some other cellular projects and yes, we have some N900 projects. One nice to have is the Qt Mobile Demos (http://wouwlabs.com/blogs/jeez/?p=135). Also check Patifa’s blog (http://patifa.wordpress.com/) !

Me, [Annie] and [Calega] have worked on several projects before. It is nice to check our blogs (http://wouwlabs.com and just click on our names there!) in order to see them. We have even built a multitouch table! :)

Me and [Annie] have one cellular related project. We participated on the first Android Development Contests with a media manager called Jambo.

On this particular project (Sketch your World!) each one of us have a job: [Annie] is our image processing guru and is handling the drawing algorithm, patifa is our designer guru and is handling with the application’s GUI and the final version of the prototype, [calega] is working with the Arduino stuff, assembling everything, and I’m responsible for the Maemo side, developing the application in Qt and porting the needed stuff to Maemo 5.

>What was your main inspiration for your team’s project?

[Calega] should answer this, but AFAIR, he had this fixed idea about Etch-a-Sketch and how hard it is to draw on them. We couldn’t draw anything on it when we were children and we still can’t now that we are grown up! So he thought that it would be nice to finally have some draws on it, now that we can program an Arduino to that for us. :)

>How do you think people will react when you finish/release?

Hmmm, happy?! :P
I haven’t thought about this, since I’m really focusing on get it done in time! :P
But I really hope that everyone like it!

>Do you have any future plans with your team? Continued N900 development? Update your current projects?

We are really considering to do some more crazy stuff with Arduinos and N900s, and maybe do some nice applications to the N900.
We are all fully of ideas and will have to manage to have time for all of them (and to still earn some money with our regular jobs… ;)

I can say that I’m thinking of playing with Arduino+RFID+Bluetooth+N900 on the next months… let’s see… ;)

>What do you think of the other winners?

I really like all projects. Really!
I’m also willing to get to know the other teams! The video episodes are always so nice and the people seems to be very interesting.
HyperHappen did a wonderful job on this contest and they managed to get some very good projects and teams to work on it! :)

>Questions from our commentators.

>What are you thoughts on Arduino? Do you intend to use one in your project?

I’m a fan of the Arduino platform since the very first time I got in touch with it. As a Computer Engineer, I’ve worked with several other boards and micro-controllers before, but Arduino is easiest one. It is so quick to have something running on it! And you can use Wiring, which is a very simple programming language.
It’s amazing how there are some many different people using Arduino these days. From developers to artists!
Yes, we are using Arduino on our project!

>How is working with the N900 hardware and software?

Maemo 5 is a very nice platform! It is user-centered and developer-centered on the same time! It is fantastic how easy it is to develop an application (using Qt! :P) and get it running on your phone.
And now that we have the Qt Framework available, everything became so easy! We can do fancy applications and get them running smoothly on a phone. Yes, it is a PHONE! :)
And the N900 hardware… what can I say?! It’s best Phone ever! It’s best Tablet ever!
You have everything in it!

>What do you think about the movement of cell phones towards open source software, such as the Maemo? Do you plan to, or have you ever tried Android?

Yes, I have tried Android. IMHO, Android _looks_ nice. But my compliments stop here. I read a paper about its internals once, and everything seems to be so hackish…
I don’t like the UI itself, from none of the Phones I’ve seen so far that are running it.
I didn’t like to develop for it when me and [Annie] tried.

So yes, I guess that I can say that I don’t like Android. :)
But it’s just me, right?!

>(If you use a secondary power source, example – to run motors) What kind of battery life is expected for your project?

We use AC adapters (9v, 0.5 A).  So I expect “battery” life time about all the energy that the Earth can still provide. :)

>Can we get a list of what you’re using in your project? (example – bluetooth sets, motors, dedicated sensors, etc)

We use BlueSmirf Gold Bluetooth modems, Arduino duemilenove, Ladyada’s motorshield, and two types of stepper motors:
– the ones from SparkFun (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9238)
– the ones from conrad.de: 42MM SCHRITTMOTOR (0.8 BIS 1.5A)

We are also using Etch-a-Sketch (TM), of course, and Plexiglass for the prototype’s stand.

>And yes, we actually had a reader (Joe) ask the following (feel free to omit)
>How often do you change your underwear?

Underwear?! Do people still wear that?!
:)

Just kidding. Here in Brazil (a city called Recife) it’s so hot that we usually take 2 or 3 showers per day.
And I change my underwear every time I take a shower…

Here in Germany, as it’s quite cold this time of year, I usually change my underwear once each two days! =D

Thank you for this opportunity!
[jeez]

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