This Week in Making: ChickTech Meetup, Dark Souls Props, and Robotic Arms

Arduino Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Education
This Week in Making: ChickTech Meetup, Dark Souls Props, and Robotic Arms

Two Bit Circus (@TwoBitCircus) is a Los Angeles engineering entertainment company that brought people together with their wonderful creations like a Bartending Robot and the STAR Labs Mobile Research Unit seen on The CW’s The Flash. Two Bit Circus expanded their mission this past Tuesday and became a foundation. Partnering with (@T4Torg), a nonprofit that salvages manufactured goods to use for educational purposes, Two Bit Circus hopes this new foundation will help promote community engagement within the education system for the next generation of makers and creators.

In the partnership, will be rebranded as the face of the Two Bit Circus Foundation while Two Bit Circus supports the foundation with funding and resources. Together, the two hope to outfit schools with labs, train teachers in engineering and technology workshops, and provide schools with the resources to produce their own mini STEAM Carnivals (@STEAMCarnival).

According to the current CEO and co-founder of Two Bit Circus, Brent Bushnell, the idea for the Two Bit Circus Foundation was inspired by Two Bit Circus’ first STEAM Carnival back in 2013. “After the first STEAM Carnival, we were deluged with requests from schools, libraries, and community centers to produce their own carnivals,” Bushnell said. “The creation of the Two Bit Circus Foundation and merger with T4T is a great way to scale these programs and help catalyze students’ interests in STEAM learning.”

Two Bit Circus has been featured in Make: Magazine (@make) before. I love the inventions that they have put together and shared with the world. It is clear that they love making things just as much as encouraging others to have fun doing the same. I think the Two Bit Circus Foundation will help a lot of kids fall in love with engineering and science and inspire the next generation of makers.

The talented folks behind Two Bit Circus were not the only ones who have spent the past week launching programs to help kids fall in love with engineering. Ernst Bergen began a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money for creating a “stand alone, hands on, engineering curriculum to encourage and challenge children to pursue this amazing profession.”

Illustration from Ernst Bergen

Bergen started his campaign in response to the realization that there are not enough engineering programs geared specifically at younger audiences. After attending a home schooling conference, Bergen saw an opportunity to get kids thinking about engineering long before they entered high school level classes (the typical point that engineering concepts are added to normal curriculum).

Speaking of Kickstarters, Niryo (@NiryoRobotics) launched their own this week. The campaign raises money for the Niryo One, an open source 6-axis robotic arm. Although robotic arms have become increasingly commonplace, Niryo wanted to make one that would be both relatively cheap and easy to build and program. The arm can be powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or ROS and is advertised for homes, workplaces, and schools looking for their next engineering project.

Torch Torch is a Japanese creator that specializes in bringing items and concepts from movies, games, comics, and music to life. This past Wednesday, Torch Torch unveiled several products inspired from the video games in the Dark Souls franchise. Among them are two rings that Torch Torch handcrafted himself: Havel’s Ring and the Silvercat Ring. The rings are made from real silver. No idea if they will actually give their wearer super strength or the ability to survive a fall from any height, but they both look really cool. Torch Torch makes the rings in both male and female sizes and prices them at 18,900 yen ($171).

On Friday, ChickTech (@ChickTechOrg) had their first Bay Area conference meet-up. A non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, ChickTech is dedicated to ensuring women are not overshadowed in tech-related fields and encouraging girls to pursue careers and self-empowerment within the tech industry. The organization travels to different locales and hosts events where girls and women can get hands-on experience with technology and have fun while doing it.

ChickTech has been to the Bay Area once before to host a Tech Show for high school students back in 2014. However, the meet-up on Friday was the first time ChickTech has brought a full conference to the Bay Area that was open to girls and women of all ages. The conference featured speakers, hands-on workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and opportunities to network and career hunt.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jordan has spent much of his life writing about his many geeky pastimes. He's particularly passionate about indie game design and Japanese art, but loves interacting with creators from all walks of life.

View more articles by Jordan Ramée


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.