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Daniel Frank and his awarding project "Hedgehog"

by: Jan 09,2019 533 Views 0 Comments Posted in Activities

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Daniel Frank, whose entry, Hedgehog Educational Robotics Controller has won the first prize of THE BEST DESIGNS on PCBWay 2nd PCB Design Contest.

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PCBWay Team: “Could you please briefly introduce yourself? Many other PCBWayers in the community want to know more about you.”

Daniel Frank: “I am Daniel Frank, a 23 year old electronics enthusiast from Vienna, Austria. Currently I am studying electrical engineering at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien). Besides that I work as a research assistant at the Practical Robotics Institute Austria (PRIA) where I developed the hardware and firmware of Hedgehog.”

 

PCBWay Team: “When did you start making and how did you learn?”

Daniel Frank: “As a child I loved taking apart electrical devices to see how they work and trying to build something out of the parts. That interest never stopped, so I continued building things in my spare time and eventually went to a school for higher technical education (HTL) and now university. HTL and university was/is very useful but I think I learned most from the projects I did in my spare time and my job and all the research I did for them (mostly on the Internet).”

 

PCBWay Team: “Can you recall how or why you became a maker?”

Daniel Frank: “Not really, I was interested in technology and especially electronics for as long as I can remember.”

 

PCBWay Team: “How did you know about our 2nd PCB Design Contest? And what drove you to attend this competition?”

Daniel Frank: “I can’t remember exactly, but I think someone on Twitter mentioned the contest. At first I didn’t plan to attend but a week or so before the deadline I thought “why not” and submitted the project.”

 

PCBWay Team: “About your award-winning work, Hedgehog, please tell us more details about it? And why did you choose it as your entry?” 

Daniel Frank: “Hedgehog is an educational robotics controller, designed to allow beginners to learn programming robots in a simple way but at the same time also give advanced users many options. It started out a few years ago as a research project about how smartphones can be used to program and control robots in an educational context and since then has evolved into what it is now. I chose it as my entry because I think it is the most interesting project I am currently working on that is open source.”

 Hedgehog Educational Robotics Controller.png


PCBWay Team: “ What part of the project process excites you the most?”

Daniel Frank: “Hedgehog has already been used for many courses and workshops and it is very exciting to see students and children working with it and having fun learning to build and program robots in a very short time.”

 

PCBWay Team: “ In your opinion, what comes first - the existing technology or the design idea?”

Daniel Frank: “Both are possible, but in the maker/hobbyist area I think the technology comes first most of the time.”

 

PCBWay Team:  What makes you different/unique from other makers?”

Daniel Frank: “There are so many makers that, except for some, it is difficult to say what makes someone unique.”

 

PCBWay Team: “How did you feel when you found that you were one of the winners?”

Daniel Frank: “Considering the large number of submissions and the very high quality of some, I had low expectations when I entered, so I was very surprised and happy when I found out that my project won.”

 

PCBWay Team: “What do you think is the most important inner traits to be a good PCB designer?”

Daniel Frank: “Not really a trait but probably experience.”

 

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of Open Source Hardware? And how do you look at the future of open source community?”

Daniel Frank: “I think open source hardware is very important, as it allows many people to collaborate and create things that could not be created otherwise. I think the future of open source is very bright, the community will get bigger and companies will recognize the benefits of open source and contribute more and more.”

 

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of our website /span>the community page? PCBWay will contribute to the open source community more. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?”

Daniel Frank: “I really like the idea of sharing designs on your page, but to be honest, before entering the contest I didn’t even know the community page existed, despite ordering from PCBWay regularly. So maybe you could make it more obvious during the ordering process that there is a community page where people can share their designs.”

 

PCBWay Team: “What are ingredients of a good maker space? If you were to create and equip a new maker space for a school or library, how would your ideal solution look like?”

Daniel Frank: “I think the most important ingredient is providing tools and machines that would otherwise not be available to makers. But there also needs to be some way to learn from others and to collaborate, for example with an online community and with regular meet-ups and workshops.”

 

PCBWay Team: “ What do you know about Assistive Technology(AT)? It is useful for people with severe physical and cognitive challenges. How do you think the makers can be more conducive to AT community?

Daniel Frank: “Unfortunately I don’t know too much about it but I think the maker/open source community could contribute in this area by coming up with new ideas and approaches to different problems and bringing the price of this technology down”

 

PCBWay Team: “The 3rd PCB Design Contest has been in our New Year schedule, will you join in again? And would you like to suggest your friends to attend as well?”

Daniel Frank: “If at the time I have a project that I think is worthy and that I can share I will definitely participate again. And yes, if I see a cool project from a friend I will suggest entering the contest.”

 

PCBWay Team: “ What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2019?”

Daniel Frank: “Boring answer: I don’t have any.”

 

PCBWay Team: “ Any words to PCBWay or to all PCBWayers around the world?”

Daniel Frank: “PCBWay thanks for organizing this contest and for contributing to the open source community with your community page! PCBWayers please keep doing what you are doing, and create many more awesome projects like those entered into the contest.”

 

PCBWay Team: “ Thanks again for accepting my interview and wish you a happy new year.


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