Technoport 2015 was about much more than the speakers, the crowdfunding and the conversations. It was also about experimenting. We attempted to gamify the conference using a location-based app, but also partnered up with our friends at Norwegian Creations to get creative.
This year's Live Crowdfunding Experience featured a live investment visualiser (or ping-pong ball machine, if you prefer) to give the crowd real-time updates as the evening progressed.
"It actually worked really well!" says Ragnar Ranøyen Homb, co-founder of Norwegian Creations.
"The mechanics of the machine was not an easy task, but we got there. We can individually control all aspects of the machine remotely. The ball dispensing could be automatic based on a data feed, but we chose to control the dispensing manually so the balls would drop at the most appropriate time."
The machine came about because of Technoport's collaborative nature, something that is shared by Norwegian Creations.
"We discussed with Technoport several areas where we felt the conference could be improved, and proposed the idea of a data visualiser. The original idea was to dispense phsyical objects and we quickly found out that ping pong balls would work well. It took around 100 hours in total," says Homb.
Pictures speak louder than words, so here's a video about the making of the Ping Pong Ball Dispenser, complete with groovy 80s soundtrack no less:
The company has been around for a few years now but has only just found its defining purpose.
"We bridge the gap between idea and creation," says Homb.
"We work with several big companies that look for someone who can help them prototype, whether for their own products or to show themselves off, for example at trade shows. We've also done some product development work in exchange for equity. Other projects are financed by Innovation Norway or other partners and all this means the future looks bright."
Unsurprisingly, Homb is a big fan of the Maker Faire concept and his team are currently preparing several creations to show off at Trondheim Maker Faire this August.
"The joy of creating something is really important for people. In the olden days you had to build a cabin yourself, but today people don’t think it's even possible! Maker Faire is all about showing off that it's possible to make stuff yourself.
"A few years ago we had a laser engraver that was lasering out what people were drawing. We continued that theme last year with a big robot plotting machine that was drawing what kids were drawing. This year we have a new drawing machine plus some other surprises."
Currently Norwegian Creations employs just two people full-time, but has a collaborative mentality that draws on the skills of around 15 makers from across Trondheim.
"It's a great time to be in Norwegian Creations. It would be awesome to have a big collective workspace of our own when we grow out of the workspace at DIGS. It's our dream."
It's well worth subscribing to the Norwegian Creations blog for a behind-the-scenes look at their projects, such as this interactive art installation from Technoport 2015: