ArduweenieTwitter

This is the tell-all guide to #Arduweenie, a bewitching maker project brought to you by Tenaya Hurst of Rogue Making and dog hunter LLC.  My project is a wire frame in the shape of a dachshund dog wrapped with a 5 meter long RGB LED strip which I program.  That’s all he is, and yet, loved by so many children and Maker Faire attendees alike.  It all started one cold rainy day…

I was teaching and facilitating a class with Workshop Weekend at Tech Liminal in Oakland, CA.  We provide a weekend for makers to consult with electrical engineers, software engineers, and teachers like me, to better understand electronics.  One of our makers was leading a class in LED strips and I was immediately enthralled.  We had a big 5 meter strip going down the middle of our long table and we saw all the demonstrations of the way we could change the patterns using Arduino IDE – a programming environment.

I couldn’t wait to show my students at Galileo’s Tech Summer Camps at the Tech Museum of Innovation.  I teach 3 classes there – Circuits & Electronics, Wearable Tech, and Maker Studio.  The problem I faced was how to display the LED strip to effectively show off the patterns, but also make the display portable.  When I was a little kid, I played with Light Bright, so this would be a 3D programmable version!

Also since I was a kid, I’ve loved dachshunds or wiener dogs.  They’re simply the best.  Sure, I have been sad that I can’t bring my dog, Woodchuck, to my various workshops.  Obviously, I want to be focused on making and teaching, not my dog, but I still feel bad that he must be left at home.  So that influenced the solution to my problem.  I wanted something that would remind me of Woodchuck and some way to display my LED strip…the ideas were swirling!

At the same time, a friend of mine was designing his garden and started getting into topiary shapes.  Also I happen to just see the amazing documentary “A Man Named Pearl” about a very inspiring artist who happens to use trees and shrubs as his medium.  Finally, I happened upon Etsy and found the answer – exactly what I needed!  A topiary shape of a dachshund, custom made by Gina Moll of Hollywood, Florida.

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The RGB LED strip fits perfectly around the little dachshund allowing for fun rainbow patterns, color chasing functions, Cheshire cat swirls, and more.  I tooled around with Arduweenie for months and he made a few appearances in my classrooms.  It wasn’t until an Open Make event at the Tech Museum of Innovation in April 2014, that Arduweenie made the leap to true Twitter fame.  A photo taken by Rebekah and tweeted by Prinda got the attention of Atmel’s V.P. of Marketing, Sander Arts.  After all, every Arduino features an Atmel ATmega328 chip.  #Arduweenie features an Arduino Uno.

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Also in April, I hosted The Tech Challenge, a large scale engineering challenge.  Sander Arts was a special guest, but I didn’t get to meet him that day – as host I was on stage the entire event introducing the teams.  It later all came together at Maker Faire San Mateo 2014 when my Linino.org exhibition booth was adjacent to the Atmel-Arduino installation.  Sander was very kind and came to meet me in person with his team.  I was so graciously included in 3 photos on Atmel’s blog about the Maker Faire – and #Arduweenie made it in 2 photos as well!

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Since becoming famous, #Arduweenie has delighted students in my classrooms from San Jose to Oakland, Santa Rosa to San Francisco.  Now #Arduweenie makes a triumphant leap to the New York City Maker Faire 2014.  You can find us in the Electronics Tent EP40 on September 20th and 21st.