Resonate 2016

The Prototyping Team go to Resonate 2016

When a colleague suggested last year that we, the prototyping team, should combine all of our training budgets to go to a festival in Serbia we never thought the idea would fly. Losing an entire team for a week? Madness!

But, almost a year later, Nerd Squad were boarding a plane…

Heathrow Airport, Belgrade-bound

Heathrow Airport, Belgrade-bound

Speaking from experience, it is impossible to tell people that you are going away to a festival for business without receiving bemused assumptions that you are disappearing for a week long party. But, little did they know, Resonate is a special kind of festival.

Resonate is a week long programme of workshops, lectures and live music that celebrate what is currently emerging and popular in the digital world. It exposes attendees to a wide range of technologies and provides the perfect informal environment for meeting like minded individuals.

‘Resonate believes that transferable knowledge is at the heart of the festival.’
http://resonate.io/2016/education/

So, whilst it is still resonating in people’s mind (…the pun was too hard to resist…) I will attempt to explain a bit about what we got up to whilst there.

 

Workshops

For our group Resonate kicked off with intensive workshops that lasted between two and three days each. Attendee numbers were kept quite small so that workshop leaders could be hands on and many of the workshops were open to beginners in the respective technologies. The workshops proved to be very encouraging environments for picking up new skills.
All in all, there were six intensive workshops running at Resonate this year and between us we managed to cover four of them…

Liam, Alex and I attended a workshop on C4 - a framework for iOS devices - with Travis Kirton. The aim was to master the basics of C4, build creative iPad interactions and wirelessly synchronise these interactions across multiple iPad screens; these could then run on the M-O installation. We got so into it that our three day workshop turned into five… and included one late-night coding session till 2am.

Travis was a great workshop leader and excitingly let us leave with access to C4 Studio, which Alex is having fun playing around with at the moment. C4 Studio is looking to help bridge the gap between visual, motion and development by interpolating components between two Sketch artboards.

‘Building Universes for M-O’ with Travis Kirton

‘Building Universes for M-O’ with Travis Kirton

Liam’s M-O Universe workshop success — on display at Resonate!

Liam’s M-O Universe workshop success — on display at Resonate!

Ben learnt about the past, present and future of wearable tech with Daniel Hirschmann. He brainstormed and prototyped a range of wearable tech ideas including: cycling gloves that use GPS to send feedback after wrong turns, a medical device that tracks blood glucose levels, and smart pockets that detect if items get removed. Ben left Resonate with newfound knowledge, improved sewing skills and a strange sense of style with his take on double denim… trouser on trouser.

‘Wear Your Tech’ with Daniel Hirschmann

‘Wear Your Tech’ with Daniel Hirschmann

Dave tried his hand at using electricity to create sound with Joshua Noble. He left with Resonate with some cool souvenirs in the form of a couple of synthesisers he built.

‘Volt, Amp, Synth, & Sound’ with Joshua Noble

‘Volt, Amp, Synth, & Sound’ with Joshua Noble

Dan tried out VL - a visual programming language - with Elias Holzer and Sebastian Gregor. He produced a game with his fellow workshop goers through coding collaboration. Dan left Resonate with a sore head… partly due to the amount of coding his brain consumed and partly due to the the closing festival party ;)

‘Next Generation Visual Programming with VL’ with Elias Holzer and Sebastian Gregor

‘Next Generation Visual Programming with VL’ with Elias Holzer and Sebastian Gregor

 

Music

I can’t say that I’m a very big music buff or down with the cool kids, so my eyes were opened to a whole new bunch of artists at Resonate. Some notable performances for me were:

 
Squarepusher

Squarepusher

Squarepusher, who has made me much more accepting of Drum and Bass Thursdays™ in the W12 office and has now trumped (dare I say it) the Lord of the Rings soundtrack with ‘Stor Eiglass’ as my new favourite heads-down coding song.

 
Omar Souleyman

Omar Souleyman

Omar Souleyman, who can only be described as a Syrian wedding singer turned legend with his catchy Arabic beats and room commanding hand movements.

Holly Herndon, whose real time graphics were at times hypnotising. She even managed to stay in the electro zone despite giant sized inflatable balls being sneakily broken free into the room by an unnamed source… Dan.
 

 

Lectures

Between us we went to a wide range of talks by, to name a few: Dan Hett, Refik Anadol, Pe Lang, Refik Anadol and Nicholas Felton. I personally loved Nicholas Felton’s look at photography through history; he opened my eyes to so many techniques that I wasn’t aware of and explained how these relate to our ever-changing society.

‘Roomba’ by Andreas Dantz, presented by Nicholas Felton. A 45 minute exposure shot of an LED on a vacuuming robot.

‘Roomba’ by Andreas Dantz, presented by Nicholas Felton. A 45 minute exposure shot of an LED on a vacuuming robot.

RFID explorations by Berg, presented by Nicholas Felton. An exposure shot of an RFID probe with a flashing LED.

RFID explorations by Berg, presented by Nicholas Felton. An exposure shot of an RFID probe with a flashing LED.

 

Key Takeaways

As is hopefully evident, there was plenty to take away from our week in Resonate… not including the huge boxes of meat that we took away from our ‘traditional Serbian dinner experience’ that kept on giving for days...

Our never ending traditional Serbian feast… meat, meat, cream cheese, salt and more meat

Our never ending traditional Serbian feast… meat, meat, cream cheese, salt and more meat

Some of my key takeaways from the week are:

  1. Picking up iOS coding is not as scary as I thought, especially when using a nice framework like C4.
  2. Never describe a concept as ‘simple’, especially if you’ve only been learning the framework you’re building it in for a day. Chances are you will immediately place a curse on it and you’ll end up still banging your head against a brick wall at 2am.
  3. Tinder trousers will be the next big wearable tech to take off, that is, after the devices that will help to save lives by solving medical issues.
  4. Mr Gibson has some amazing dance moves
  5. I take my hat off to those people learning VL, the workshop looked liked it lived up to the ‘Intensive Workshop’ description!
  6. There is so much going on at Resonate that you can’t see it all, but whatever you see will be interesting.
  7. Serbian currency is hard to get your head around - but what we do know is that 10 dinar is not an acceptable tip, it’s about £0.06. Travis learnt this the hard way, through our endless mocking.
  8. We should definitely propose another team trip to Resonate for 2017 :)