Saturday, April 15, 2017


So I'm starting my new job on Tuesday next week. I'm super excited to move into a new career and see what it's like to be a full-time Web Developer. I need to figure out how to get to the center of Aberdeen from out in the sticks of Udny Station each day. It's either bus all the way or park and rides part of the way. I might have to get my old mountain bike running again and take up cycling part of the way too. Anyway, that's next week.

Jamie and I have been busy with Udny Designs over the past couple of weeks. We have been bombing around Aberdeenshire building robots with kid's holiday clubs. We had made simple to construct kits in the shed along with small wooden hammers and put all the parts in little zip lock bags. We made 50 in total and had a good production line going on in the house.

Tuesday and Wednesday last week we found ourselves in Banff and Peterhead in local schools. The classes had about 8 to 10 kids, and we would step by step take them through the construction of their individual robots. Starting with adding the googly eyes to the head, then with the hammer and lots of noise, banging adding the neck to the head, and then to the body. A pair of legs and feet had them standing up, then shoulders and arms had them waving or impersonating superman. We had printed off some stickers and each kit included a couple of body, arms, and head stickers. was included on the sticker for a little bit of free advertising.

Then this week we did another 3 classes in Inverurie, Stonehaven, and Fraserburgh. I have to say that every class was great fun and left me with a real sense of achievement. All the kids had additional needs so being able to let them build and take home a robot that they had made them selfs felt great. There were lots of questions from the kids about what else they could make when we come back. I look forward to doing some more classes later in the year. Possibly reindeer kits nearer Christmas.

In other news, I went to a meet-up of the Aberdeen Entrepreneur Club at The Hub in Bridge of Don. There were two presentations. The first being some dragon's den-like pitches from some of the current cohorts running through the Elevator program at the hub. There were 5 of the 15 currently taking part. It's a 12-week program and they are now in week 6. It was great to see interesting new businesses in the making. And for me, they all needed tech and software to help them get fully started.

The other presentation was on CivTech North. I attended a CivTech meet-up last year in Edinburgh so am familiar with the concept. Basically, the public sector has come up with problems that need creative input to resolve. 8 problems in total are selected and made public. People and businesses are invited to try to solve the problems by submitting a description of how they plan to solve the problem. If selected they are given £3000 and given 3 weeks to explore their idea and create a demo. If successful they get through to the next stage are given £17,000 and an additional 15 weeks to create something that meets its MVP (Minimal Viable Product). If all goes well and the solution is selected to go to the product stage, additional funding ( I wrote down £100K but am not sure on this) and time is provided to create a full product.

The only catch I can see is that the public sector gets to use the product royalty-free (covering material costs) but you are free to keep the product and sell it to the public.

The one I remember from the Edinburgh meet-up (I may have mentioned it before) was to help the tourism on the A9 after it is dual ed from Perth to Inverness.

The guys I met had come up with a tourist App that would suggest points of interest on the journey... restaurants, hotels, etc that people could visit on route. The last I heard of this project the guys were adapting their app to cover route 66 in the USA.

Anyway, I’ll be watching the CivTech North website with interest when it goes live at some point in May 2017 and ill be keen to see what the 8 challenges are.

Thanks for reading and fingers crossed for me next week. I’ll report back and let you know how I got on.