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Virtual Reality Headset

August 17, 2015 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

My colleague Alex 3D printed a Virtual Reality (VR) headset for the Toronto Reference Library Hub for anyone to come down and check out. It’s a great and easy do-it-yourself project as you can find all the files and instructions online.

headset

Headset with Samsung Phone attached

Assembled headset

Headset fully assembled

If you're making your own, at some point you’ll need to go to the local hardware store or dollar store to pick up a few things like the lenses, headband and nose guards to name a few. 

TPL staff trying headset

Tony trying out the VR headset

If you want to come down and try ours at the Hub, bring your phone in and be sure to download a few apps before you come in. Get chased by dinosaurs or a Godzilla size creature from another planet. Walk on a beach, in a garden, or better yet, take a crazy roller coaster ride during your visit to the library. 

Some great apps to download are listed below:

Glitcher VR
VR Cinema

VR apps and the headset are becoming increasingly popular in the past year as major gaming companies are in the process of developing their own to compete with Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is one of the most popular headsets on the market and the consumer models are expected to arrive in early 2016.

Even Google and YouTube have gotten into the game. By updating to the latest YouTube app, you can now watch some of the 360 degree videos that have been uploaded and experience watching music videos and movies in a whole new way.

Kaiju Fury Trailer


Jurassic Demo VR

Even popular musicians have also jumped onto the new technology and are using this medium as a way to create new and intriguing music videos on YouTube.

Another fast and easy solution with a small price tag is buying the popular Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard

Have fun!

Green Screen & Audio Recording Coming Soon

August 12, 2015 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

If you've been to the Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library within the past couple of months, you might have seen the white tarp and have noticed the noise at times. 

Well the tarp is down, and the secret is getting harder to keep quiet. Library customers soon can take advantage of the new Green Screen/Production Space this fall. We’re still ironing out the details and getting the equipment ready and tuned up.

Door to green screen

What's that behind the door?

If you've ever wanted a space to work to do any video production, video recording, or audio recording then this is the space for you.

Equipment will be on hand for you to use, including video cameras and microphones along with a few software applications to help record your project at the perfect settings. 

The technology that is being used to get rid of the background and replacing it with a different image is called chroma keying. This can be done with any other colour as long as it's distinct from the actor in front of it. You will want to ensure that you wear something different than the colour of the screen, or it won't work. Green and blue backgrounds are certainly the most popular because they differ most distinctly in hue from most human skin colours.

Hub staff

Hub staff Greg and Tony checking out the renovations early this summer.

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog as this is the first place we’ll post all the details about when and how you can book the room shortly. 

green screen

Finished space with curved wall to floor

Origami Society Returns to the Fold at Maker Festival

July 31, 2015 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Darkness Dragon
Darkness Dragon 2.0 designed by Tadashi Mori, folded with modifications by Bogdan Kruts

Toronto Public Library is thrilled to once again host the Maker Festival - formerly known as the Toronto Mini Maker Faire - on Saturday, August 1 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, August 2 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the Toronto Reference Library.

Over 100 makers, tinkerers, technology experts and hobbyists, inventors, artists and other innovators will exhibit some truly amazing creations - everything from 3D printers to laser cutters, robots, woodwork, and even "Monsters in the Lake."

Guests can also enjoy talks and lectures as well as register for workshops, including soldering, origami, and even cupcake decorating. A nominal fee may be charged for workshops to cover the cost of materials.

Returning this year is the popular Origami Society of Toronto, who will run workshops all weekend in front of the Browsery on the first floor. Be sure to also check out their amazing display near the Browsery, which will be up for the month of August.

In this Q+A, Society member Helen Lee gives us a preview of what to expect at the festival and what she's looking most forward to.

Please tell us what you will be doing at this year's Maker Festival.

We had loads of fun last year building a city from thousands of business cards with festival visitors. This year we'll be showing people how to transform paper into toys that can snap, jump and spin!

Other than your booth, what are you looking most forward to at this year's Maker Festival?

Definitely meeting other makers, seeing the wonderful creations on display and the innovative spirit of the Festival. We also love multidisciplinary projects that make unexpected and clever use of technology, product design and paper arts.

Please tell us about the Origami Society of Toronto and how people can take part in your activities?

We're a non-profit group dedicated to exploring and sharing the art of paper folding. Fun fact: we'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary next year! We have monthly meetups on the third Thursday at The Japan Foundation and welcome the public to drop by one of our meetings and see what we do.

People bring in their latest origami creations, teach a new model they learned, exchange ideas and generally have a great time. Membership is annual with individual, family and student memberships available.

Periodically we hold workshops at various Toronto Public Library branches, so look out for us at your local library as well as at other events throughout the year!

 
2913_galeria
OST members are folding a cosmosphere - which will be similar to the one above by Polish origamist Heinz Strobl.

What is your favourite and/or most complex origami project?

Most of us enjoy folding for a broad range of projects, though some subjects such as dragons and mythical creatures, dinosaurs, ornate boxes and abstract geometric forms are regular favourites.

Several of our members are currently working together on a version of Miyuki Kawamura's Cosmosphere. It's a kind of modular origami and consists of 1890 units that form a sphere-like structure. It's like LEGO bricks for paper, except we make the pieces as well as assemble them. When completed, the surface pattern will feature the Canadian flag.

This is the second year the festival is being hosted at the library. What's your thoughts on Maker Festival being hosted at a venue like the library?

Libraries have a long history of fostering learning and knowledge accessibility, and hosting the Maker Festival is a natural expression of that vision. The library is also a great community hub where people can connect, discover and nurture their creativity -- all qualities at the heart of maker culture.

Conveniently, the library offers resources that supplement the learning process, whether it's books, demonstrations or rooms for group activities. It's a fantastic and inspiring avenue for the Festival.

Skeleton Triceratops
Skeleton Triceratops designed by Issei Yoshino and folded by Osamu Miyabe.

STEAMLabs To Unleash Monsters in the Lake at Maker Festival

July 24, 2015 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Maker Faire 2014
The library hosted the festival - previously known as Toronto Mini Maker Faire - in Fall 2014.

Toronto Public Library is thrilled to once again host the Maker Festival - formerly known as the Toronto Mini Maker Faire - on Saturday, August 1 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, August 2 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the Toronto Reference Library.

Over 100 makers, tinkerers, technology experts and hobbyists, inventors, artists and other innovators will exhibit some truly amazing creations - everything from 3D printers to laser cutters, origami, robots, woodwork, and more.

Guests can also enjoy talks and lectures as well as register for workshops, including soldering, origami, and even cupcake decorating. A nominal fee may be charged for workshops to cover the cost of materials.

One exhibition that will be sure to delight kids and the young at heart is "Monsters in the Lake," which will animate the main fountain at the library entrance. We chat with Andy Forest from recently-opened makerspace STEAMLabs to get the full scoop on this super fun activity.

For more information about the festival, including a listing of satellite events, visit makerfestival.ca. We hope to see at you there!

Tell us what Monsters in the Lake is all about and what inspired the idea.

At the Monsters in the Lake activity, kids will be building their own sailboats out of wood, and racing them in the pond in the library! They'll be using real power tools to cut wood, install masts and sails and decorate their creations. The twist is that there are monstrous obstacles in the pond bent on capsizing their boats on the way. Bystanders will be able to control the monsters with their smartphones to choose the best (worst) time to trigger them.

What are you looking most forward to at this year's Maker Festival?

I'm looking forward to seeing all the amazing and inspiring makers! I love walking around talking to everyone and hearing about their creations. I'm also looking forward to talking to people about STEAMLabs and telling them about how we can help them.

Fountain
Last year's Maker Faire featured boat racing in the water fountain. This year's Monsters in the Lake will animate the fountain area in a similarly unique way.

Congrats, by the way, on the launch of STEAMLabs earlier this year. Please tell us what happens at STEAMLabs.

Thank you! STEAMLabs is a community makerspace, where people of all ages and abilities come together for access to high tech tools, to learn, and to create. We're located in the Centre for Social Innovation's new building at 192 Spadina Avenue.

STEAMLabs is an entry point for both kids and adults looking to get started in electronics, coding, 3D design and printing, digital fabrication, and all kinds of hands-on making. It’s also a space for seasoned makers, entrepreneurs and artists looking to work with serious tools needed to get things done. We offer full access memberships as well as stand-alone after school programs, weekend workshops and plenty of drop-ins.

You were also the brainchild behind Maker Kids. How does STEAMLabs differ from Maker Kids?

The goal for STEAMLabs is to enable as many people as possible to be makers - both adults and kids. We will be open for members use during regular hours. We will also have many entry level workshops and events to serve as an easy on-ramp to the world of making.

This is the second year that the library is hosting a large-scale maker festival. What's your opinion/take on the library hosting an event like Maker Festival?

Having such an explosion of innovation and creativity here in the heart of our city for all to attend is awesome and an inspiration for libraries and other community organizations around the world! Libraries have always been a community resource for learning and creativity.

By having such a large and free event, the library shows that they are dedicated to serving this same need as technology and society advances.

Steamlabs2Children's workshop at recently-opened STEAMLabs makerspace.

3D Innovator in Residence - New deadline July 24, 2015

July 17, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Public Library is hiring a 3D artist for a unique and fun job: our Fall 2015 Innovator in Residence.
 
The six-week residency will take place September-October at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library.
 
The recently-opened Hub is a learning and creation space that gives anyone with a library card access to a wide range of digital tech, including: 3D Printers, Autodesk 123D Design, OpenSCAD, Sculptris, NetFabb, Meshmixer, and ZBrush.

  Image courtesy of TPL Staff Alex D who designed a set of three images for this years TCAF Festival

The Innovator in Residence's job will include the following tasks:
 
* Meet with customers to critique and answer questions about their 3D Design and 3D Printing projects
 
* Create and offer  programs and workshops for the public related to 3D design and printing
 
* Post on the Innovation Hubs Blog (this blog)
 
See the job posting (PDF) for full details - including info on how to apply. Deadline to apply is Friday July 24, 2015.
 
The Innovator in Residence program takes place twice a year at the Digital Innovation Hub. Each residency focuses on a different aspect of the technology offered through the Hub.

Please help us spread the word to those you think would be interested and who would make a great candidate!

3d print1

Calling All 3D Artists - Fall Innovator In Residence

June 30, 2015 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Spring Innovator in Residence is soon coming to a close. Lindy Wilkins, our expert in Arduino has offered over 6 weeks of exciting classes, workshops and interesting lectures.

The next Innovator in residence program will start September 8th and the focus will be on 3D Design. 

TCAF 2015Image courtesy of TPL Staff Alex D who designed a set of three images for this years TCAF Festival.

Toronto Public Library (TPL) is inviting applicants with extensive experience in 3D Design to fill the role of TPL’s Fall 2015 Innovator in Residence (IIR). The IIR program supports the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library. This learning and making space supports users in the development of knowledge with digital technology. The Hub provides access to tools, including Macs, PCs, two Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printers and a Makerbot 3D Digitizer. 3D design software includes Autodesk 123D Design, OpenSCAD, Sculptris, NetFabb, Meshmixer, and ZBrush. 

ZBrush ArtistImage Courtesy of ZBrush Artist: Gregory Callahan

The closing date for the application is July 13, 2015. Please visit our website for more details.

For those readers who might not be applying but hoping to attend some of these great classes and programs be sure to check out the Digital Innovation Hub website for more details

Thanks,
Fiona and Greg

Soldering Can Be Fun

June 29, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

 
Workshop
On Sat. June 27, 2015 Toronto Reference Library hosted a Soldering Workshop in the Browsery. Happily the rain did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm for learning a new skill.

Snowbot and Rocketship

Blinky Happiness  Yes it blinks

Over two hours nearly 50 rocket ships and Snowbots were made by young and old alike.

Young and old alike  Young and old alike1

Don't worry if you missed the fun. Maker Festival is coming to the Toronto Reference Library in August and you will get another chance to learn how to solder and much, much more.

Maker Festival is a 2-day celebration of all things "maker." 

Maker Festival LogoCome out for two days of discovery, experimentation and innovation. Meet over 100 local makers, tinkerers, inventors and tech enthusiasts. There's fun for all ages and skill levels.

Curious about 3D printing, wearable technology, and electronics? Want to learn more about robotics, woodworking and soldering? Maker Festival Toronto has it all!


Day 1 - Sat Aug 01, 2015 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Day 2 - Sun Aug 02, 2015 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

 

See you all there!

 

Learn How to Solder at the Toronto Reference Library

June 19, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Soldering1

Soldering Workshop 

Learn how to solder at the library!

You will assemble a small rocket ship or snowbot using a hot soldering iron, and you'll leave with your creation! The Soldering Workshop runs from 10 am to 12 noon.

Register for one of the four sessions.
Choose your start time: 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

Sat Jun 27, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library,  Browsery, main floor

The cost for the workshop is $3. Payment will be collected the day of the event.

Open to all ages. 

 

Soldering2 Soldering3

Read about soldering:

Soldering Beyond the Basics  Quality Hand Soldering  Learn to Solder


Why Wearables: Examining Wearable Media in Contemporary Culture

June 16, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Join us for the second of two fascinating talks on technology, part of our new
 
 
Hillary PredkoWearable technology is an emerging discipline, with lots of buzz surrounding it in the news. How will this change our lives? Do we need wearable technologies? This talk will unpack the history of wearables, examine current trends, and speculate on the futures and challenges that arise from the adoption of body based technologies.
 
Speaker Hillary Predko is a wearable technologist and fellow at Studio [Y]. Some of her projects include The Prosthetic Technologies of Being project is a collaboration between the Social Body Lab at OCAD University and Intel Research and the wearable light: Vega Edge.
 
Friday, June 19, 2015 
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library 
Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd floor
 
 
The Innovator in Residence program offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library's Digital Innovation Hubs. Our current Innovator-in-Residence is Toronto maker and artist Lindy Wilkins. Lindy is hosting a series of lectures and conducting workshops and one-on-one appointments on coding with Arduino.
 
For more information and to register for workshops, visit tpl.ca/iir
 
Read more:
Make Wearable ElectronicsAlso available as an eBook
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Learn More:
Project Jacquard
KOBAKANT DIY Wearable Technology Documentation
TEDx Toronto: Steve Mann, PhD, “the father of the wearable computer"
Trafo Pop: a group of cyclists who are also professional artists.
We Are Wearables
Linktiz: Wearable toys that teach kids to code

Technology: Why "Easy" is a Myth

June 10, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Join us for the first of two fascinating talks on technology, part of our new
 
 
Nadine LessioEver have something that didn’t work out? Or a surprise challenge that you weren’t expecting from a project? Ever been standing in the middle of a pile of pipes with some instructions thinking: “I don’t get it, this was supposed to be easy.” Or that moment when things worked out and you want to high five the world? I’m sure you have. Come by, pull up  a seat and listen to some anecdotes about projects that worked, projects that didn’t, and why easy is a myth. 
 
Friday, June 12, 2015 
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library 
Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd floor
 
Speaker Nadine Lessio is a creative technologist based in Toronto Ontario. She has a background in graphic design, development, and DIY Fabrication. She currently spends her time experimenting with physical interfaces and constantly adjusting her bike’s front derailleur. 
 
 
 
The Innovator in Residence program offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library's Digital Innovation Hubs. Our current Innovator-in-Residence is Toronto maker and artist Lindy Wilkins. Lindy is hosting a series of lectures and conducting workshops and one-on-one appointments on coding with Arduino.
 
For more information and to register for workshops, visit tpl.ca/iir
 
And read more:
 
30 Arduino projects for the evil genius Arduino Robot Bonanza Sams teach yourself Arduino programming in 24 hours

Welcome to The Innovation Hubs blog. Highlighting the features, programs and customer innovation stories from our Digital Innovation Hubs.