We are happy to see Hackspace Magazine feature some of our favorite people, Windell and Lenore from Evil Mad Scientist:
“We started Evil Mad Scientist accidentally. We did not mean to start a business. We went to the very first Maker Faire with our project and people said ‘Ooh, how d’you do that? I want to do that!’ So, we started making kits to make it feasible for other people to do projects like ours. Every time we would do a kit, we would bring money back into the next round of the kits. It grew very gradually, and now it’s our full-time job. It’s been a slow-going, organic, interesting journey.
“That first project was our interactive LED dining table. It had 400 LEDs and a connected series of nodes that had a light sensor on them. When something would change over that sensor, it would change which LEDs were on and how bright they were. For example, when you pass the salt, or move the napkin, or pick up a drink, a sensor would send a message to its neighbour node – I’ve changed, do you want to change? That would trigger a ripple of changes throughout the table.
FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY
“We sell components, we sell kits, and we sell plotters. The components tend to be purchased by educators. LEDs for classroom use, pager motors for making art bots.
“They get used, for instance, by model train enthusiasts who want to make their trains more realistic and who want to put LEDs into their trains, but who find it hard to shop for LEDs at a traditional electronics store because there isn’t information, or someone to contact about how to do that. Well, I have a really good article about what resistor you should use with your LED if you’re using an AA battery, for example (hsmag.cc/MFcmTe). We have niche cases like that where it’s a hobby that’s not necessarily electronics-related, but somebody wants to do something with LEDs or electronic components.
“This is one of the beautiful things about open-source hardware – when you document your hardware well, people can use it for other things. Scientists are always looking for solutions to problems that you and I don’t know exist. They’re looking at very narrow problems in fields that we would never think about our thing being used there.