Name: Ernest Warzocha

Home: Poznań, Poland

Day Job: Currently I’m a freelancer. I do graphic designs and user interfaces. I’m a interaction designer.

Website

How did you get started making?

The reason is trivial, as most great stories often begin. At university I took a physical computing course and it was a love at first sign. After that, I started to experiment with the basics of Arduino and I realized I was really good at it. I quickly started to use these skills to express myself as an designer.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

I’m one of those guys with a head full of ideas, so while I’m finishing one of them I have three new ones to consider as my next project. I’m an open minded person so I’m not trying to stick to electronics at all costs – if a problem could be solved in another, better way…why not? It’s all about experiences, not the technical aspects.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

I think the graduation project from School of Form is still my favourite.

Musi is a one of its kind instrument. In my opinion, its spatial relations of melody and theoretical concepts makes something comprehensive. What’s most important – playing the melody of a space with Musi is really enjoyable. It was exhibited in many places and everyone likes it. Finishing it was a great challenge. After it was done, I spent a lot of time on improvements to make something more than a toy. It’s now a fully developed MIDI instrument.

However, on the web my most popular project is the Wooden Sequencer. It was my first attempt to do something serious and I feel that technically I could do much more with my current skills. It’s not hard to guess that my beginnings were in things related to sound.

Another thing to be proud of is Involt – a prototyping tool aimed for students and designers. I made it to help people overcome obstacles while working on both hardware and app prototypes that I know I had during certain design processes. It falls within a broader trend that future designers should learn to code. It was created from my side project that was made for learning purposes. I don’t regret spending a few months on Involt’s development because many people use it.

What’s something you’d like to make next?

There are many ideas and things to do in my life in front of me. Definitely one of my next projects will be another music instrument (or controller…or both) and another interactive installation. I will also try to improve Involt because I know it’s not perfect. Beside other Arduino related projects, I’m going to experiment with virtual reality, but even now I see how complicated it will be.

Next year, it’s highly possible that I will conduct workshops. I feel excited and I’m aware that teaching someone is a huge challenge. It will be my contribution to constantly growing the maker community which, right now, is not as large as the ones in other countries. At this point I would like to say, “Good luck” to every person who did a great job making more hackerspaces and maker-like events in Poland.

Any advice for people reading this?

Knowing your tools is fine, but trying something new is better. Working with Arduino is great because it gives an opportunity for non-engineers (like me) to easily make things that work. It makes you feel that hardware development is easy so you are less afraid of failure and encouraged to experiment more. So…just do it…and do it for fun.

I know that for a tinkerer it’s hard, but to make something meaningful means you sometimes need to give your hands a break. Take a step back and think about the purpose and experiences (or emotions?) your project provides. Personally, I like to conceptualize that any physical object is an empty box for experiences. Each interactive project should be done with this idea in mind.


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