Ben Gray of Phenoptix.com has been a member of Nottingham Hackpsace since he saw a banner add on instructables.com in late 2010. As a peddler of all things flashing, glowing and beeping he’s made several very generous donations of LEDs and Electro-Luminescence to the Hackspace’s vast stash of technical goodies. He’s been providing the popular Arduino Workshops with boards for the last year and even has some of his kits for sale in the Hackspace vending machine.
Popping round to visit Phenoptix’ towers in Beeston just west of Nottingham is always a bit of treat, though it’s easy to leave with a much lighter wallet as Ben always seems to have something new and exciting for sale. Ben and I worked together on the European Hackspace Passport, a Jake Howe design that Ben stocks on his online shop. About this time last year I was on BBC Click and seen wearing another of Jake Howe’s designs, the Rule Zero DO NOT BE ON FIRE t-shirt. People found me and emailed me after that trying to get hold of one for themselves. I’ve also sold a few at the Mini Maker Faires. Ben and I decided it might be a nice idea to sell them on Phenoptix.com too. So I popped around to do a glamorous modelling shoot with Ben. In the last few months he’s embraced the grizzly-Adams look which I think makes the poses that much better.
Ben is always keeping an eye on blogs, forums, Kickstarters and You Tube and always seems to have the latest toys in to evaluate. When I went round he was messing about with a plotter clock he’d downloaded from thingiverse and knocked together with parts from his vast stock of hackables. He said it was a welcome diversion from the sub £30 arduino based, educational robot arm he’d been working on the last two days and was hoping to publish soon “probably open source” he said. We got onto the topic of Open Source and Kickstarter and reflected on the many projects that claimed they would be open source but bulked at the last minute “If you can’t find the file in 10 minutes, it’s not really open source is it.” was Ben’s claim and I can see his point.
There are lots of exciting products on phenoptix.com (not least my t-shirt and European Hackspace Passport) and from the look of the developments in progress on Ben’s desk some good stuff to come too. Check out their online shop. You can find out about other t-shirts I make by checking out my t-shirts page.