This week saw us all visiting Brainboxes with the IoT Liverpool meetup group They are a Liverpool based company that develop and manufacture communication devices from their base in Speke. It was great to see an example of local tech industry, boards designed and manufactured in Liverpool, used throughout the world. The British Antarctic Survey have sensors connected to Brainbox analog input boards gathering data all year round. When decision makers are talking about new tech businesses in the city region, this is surely the kind of model we should be looking to have more of.

The MCQN team in blue lab coats on the factory floor of brainbox, where they manufacture their circuit boards.

I was particularly taken by their Pick and Place machines in action, and look forward to the days when we’re operating similar with MCQN to turn out My Baby’s Got LED boards in high volume. While I was asking many questions about the processes involved in placing components the rest of the group moved on to see a robot arm printing cases.

Away from our trip I spent the week continuing a project for a client that is still at the development stage. I’m also still trying to find a local CNC manufacturer who can create Ackers Bell bases at volume for us. A shortage of plywood is working against us. For Liverpool Makefest we installed a My Bike’s got LED board into the 3d printed ‘DoES Tower’. That led to some work sending instructions to WLED over MQTT using a public broker. A blog post is coming soon, if you’d like to try it yourself!

Nikki has been putting videos together, organising meetings to move the Ackers Bell forward and working through various ideas Arthur had been working on. She’s also looking at business canvases, which has required some delving into the DoES wiki to get printers working.

Adrian was busy with client work, that sadly he can’t talk about. He did, however, manage to track down and fix a particularly elusive bug, which had a small chance of occurring once every 49 days. Folk who know how many milliseconds you can fit into a 32-bit number may have an idea of where the problem lay…