Lightbox Lab is a planned collaborative space for the Louth and
Meath area. The aim of the Lightbox lab project is to provide a
shared workspace where anybody with an interest in different
aspects of technology,be they creative or purely technical can bring their
ideas, projects and resources together in order to learn and share
knowledge withina relaxed environment.
We aim to join the growing irish community of maker and hackerspaces
along with a bigger movement worldwide which has been developing to
support the DIY creative culture, particularly in the technology and
electronic arts area.
Lightbox Lab Project– How did it start?
At the beginning of 2012 a small group of I.T professionals, all working or teaching in the Dublin area but living in Louth or Meath and who were aware of or had visited other hackerspaces in Ireland came together in Drogheda early February to discuss the feasibility of setting up a hackerspace in Louth/Meath area. A space that would allow people who are passionate about technology and more generally engineering to come together to share knowledge and ideas that they may not have the chance to explore within their current employment.
From there the group met locally every two weeks and began planning workshops and tutorials. The main aim of these tasks were to help in growing the community along with the overall objective of becoming an organisation that would have access to a workspace that could foster growth, ideas and knowledge that would benefit both commercial and non-commercial areas.
With the help of local support from Milmount and the RDC we have been able to hold a number of programming and open source workshops which have helped greatly in this regard. However it is now time to put structure to the group and to become more professional and accountable in how the project is run going forward.
During 2012 the following was achieved by the group
- Regular meetups in which we discuss or demonstrate projects group members are working on, provide feedback and help where it is required. (Typical projects would include smartphone applications, hardware enhancements, RFID tags, web development). Meetups generally consist of both I.T/electronics students and IT/electronics professionals who are working fulltime.
- Monthly workshops covering Python and Ruby Programming, Open Source HW, FPGA programming and Network administration tutorials
- Several projects were started or completed by the group including
- A website was setup ( http://www.lightboxlab.ie) which contains regular updates of the groups meetups, workshops and projects in progress. This site also contains the groups mission statement ( http://www.lightboxlab.ie/index.php/about.html )
- A mailing list was configured which allows for regular discussion online between group members
- A project which combine open source hardware with social media sites such as Twitter in order to provide status on geo location data such as weather, local temperature etc.
- A weather balloon project in which members of the group are combining knowledge of GPS, open source hardware configuration, python programming language and radio technologies to succesfully launch and track a weather balloon.
- A committee was elected who are now responsible for membership and infrastructural issues.
- At the second September meeting a constitution was accepted by the group which we aim to review frequently as the project evolves.
Tasks planned for 2012 - 2013
- To open a bank account for the group, this is currently planned for the 16th November. The account will be used to hold membership donations and contributions for primarily helping with infrastructure costs, rent and equipment purchase over 2013.
- formalise membership payment structure and membership rules based on the constitution
- to continue to grow membership and to contribute to the local tech community through ongoing workshops, classes and regular meetups.
- raise funds in order to purchase a 3D printer for the group which we believe will allow for excellent projects in the future and build further skills in this area.
- To obtain a permanent residence in Drogheda and/or Louth/Meath area in order to continue to support engineers and tech enthusiasts in the Louth/Meath area. Our preference is to work with Millmount RDC on this as thet continue to give us their support and feel this project fits well with their aims also.
- To support members interested in commercialising some of their projects through group support and feedback from the group.
- To continue working on non commercial projects in order to build technical and teamworking skills for its members.
- To encourage creativity within the Louth/Meath community with regards to IT/electronics through open-source software, hardware and a DIY ethic.