Name: Weijiang Wang
Home: Shenzhen, China
Job: Product Manager at Makeblock
How did you get started making?
I’ve always been curious about how things around me work and started building all sorts of gadgets when I was about seven or eight years old. At first I made models using paper or foam — as an example, one of my early builds was a foam boat driven by the chemical reaction of detergent reacting with water. Whenever one of my family’s home appliances broke, I would take it apart and salvage the functioning parts to build something of my own design. I remember once making a vibration massager for my parents using the parts I’d collected. Ever since, I’ve been in love with solving problems by making new tools and the sense of achievement I get when finishing a new project.
What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
Detail-oriented. I’d like to look deeply at the workings of an existing object, exploring the underlying rules and then express my own ideas through my work. I prefer to make things that are exquisitely detailed in their design, so that the user feels a sense of awe when looking at it.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
The LP player is one of my most recent works and one of my favorites. The materials and the structure used are very simple. My friends and I designed and made it in a 24-hour Makeblock Marathon.
Based on the principle that vibrations generate sound, the sound information stored in grooves of an LP record is transformed into vibrations in the paper via a needle. The trumpet-shaped paper then enlarges the sound. In order to balance and enhance the sound quality, I used a weight to increase the pressure of the needle on the record. After that, the turntable was able to output deeper bass and richer midrange frequencies. Also, we tested it many times to enable the gramophone needle to switch automatically by using Makeblock’s graphical programming software, mBlock.
My background is actually in design, and my coding skills are still at the beginner level. Thankfully, mBlock makes it very easy to make electronics and hardware work together, like this breathing mask. I only spent 10 minutes on the code, but it’s still very eye-catching. The LEDs change their color according to the wearer’s breathing and speech.
What’s something you’d like to make next?
I want to make something relating to the human experience. For example, a device that is able to imitate the walking posture of different age groups, to illustrate the aging process and the relation between age and vitality.
Any advice for people reading this?
Technology and art should complement each other. We should not only focus on overcoming technical obstacles, but also think of how to integrate new technology with art to express our ideas.
Everybody is able to become a fantastic maker. Just stay curious — observe what’s happening in your surroundings and society at large, and express your thoughts on what you see by using appropriate and easy to use tools.
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