• TagIR: Laser Tag with Adafruit Trinkets

    tagIR lit up

    tagIR is one of our summer tech learning projects. We're hoping that you will join our adventure by building a tagIR badge, or a bunch of them. The project is a low cost way to create an infrared laser tag game.  Wear it when you venture out in the evening so other geeks can tag you, head for the park with friends to run around laughing, or make it with your family and play at home!  To tag each other you grab any ol' infrared remote control from your junk drawer and mash some buttons.  For shorter range indoor play try out an IR emitter soldered to a 3.5 mm stereo plug (I used udirc-ir app on my iPhone to run it; more on this after the break).

    The kit is based around the Adafruit Trinket which is programmable using the Arduino IDE.  We chose this board to base our kits around because it is versatile, Arduino based, and very affordable. This is a great, low cost way to experiment and learn with a microcontroller this summer.  Even if you are familiar with Arduino, this is a fun little kit to play around with and there are lots of possible expansions and transformations.  

    By uploading new sketches to your Trinket you can tweak game play, effectively modifying the rules of your game.  We have a few ideas on how you can do that, but we are also sure that our creative community will come up with changes we never considered -- so please share your experiment with us!!

    Read on for the details, and check out all the photos we snapped at the workbench.

    Note for those following the project: we did switch from the fast blinking RGB leds, which were very cool, to the sequins. We liked the small form factor and we also had a number of requests for badges that matched Ingres colors.

  • Exciting Upcoming Events

    Sandra and Beth have been busily popping-up and scheduling events for The Locals. Find out where they will be next.

  • Los Tibiriches

    This week Beth and I had the pleasure to go visit Los Tibiriches, a family farm located in Acklin Gap Conway. Martha Rojos, and her parents, work in 20 out of the 100 acre property they care for. Slowly but surely, they keep expanding their very own garden of Eden by planting more and more patches of flowers, vegetables, berries and fruit trees. The sheer amount of animals roaming through the place makes you feel like you are one with nature. Hundreds of chickens, peacocks, guineas, rabbits, parrots, a donkey, some sheep, dogs and cats make part of the big happy family. Martha and her mom can tell you the names and ages of almost every animal in the farm. They have nurtured most from the time they hatch and whenever they are wounded. 


    It is heart warming to see a family so dedicated to caring for the land and the animals that roam free and happy. Martha has been participating in farmers markets for years, most recently in the newly formed Downtown Conway farmers market. If you didn't guess it already, she sells lots of delicious and freshly picked eggs, as well as the fruits and vegetables of the season. On occasion, she also sells whole chickens, pork and lamb. This year, things have been a little slower at the farm. The weather has been too wet and not sunny enough for their plants to grow. But as Martha says, that is just how farming is. You never know exactly what to expect.


    Martha is  a great resource in the community of small farmers in Conway, having been around for so many years, she knows almost everyone who works the land and what they produce. She is always ready to get involved with community efforts and has been a great supporter of The Locals since its inception in 2013. Next time you stop by the Downtown farmers market, or at one of The Locals pop-up market events, ask for her. She is happy to tell you her story and share the knowledge of the miracles of nature she has gleaned over the years of hard and compassionate work in the farm.


    For more pictures visit our Facebook Page 

  • IR "Laser" Tag: Post Mini Maker Faire Update

    We had a ton of fun at the North Little Rock Mini Maker Faire today, May 2.  We kicked off the publicity and making for our summer series the Nomadic Geek.  There will be 5-7 events over the course of the summer that center around (free) tech learning.  Together we will use our Nomadic Geek kit to create a variety of Raspberry Pi and Adafruit Trinket based projects that are going to be a blast, and draw our community together. All the info about will be here on our site.

    For now, read about the IR Tag kit, and how they can be improved. The bright and creative minds of Arkansas gave us a ton of great feedback, that we will include in the next batch of kits.  We expect these to be available at our pop-ups around May 15 and at our workshop on May 30.

    If you didn't visit us at the Mini Maker Faire you probably want to check out our first post about IR Tag version 1.0.


  • How To: Infrared Tag, Version 1.0

    We are releasing a fun new experiment into the community on Saturday, May 2nd at the North Little Rock Mini Maker Faire.  This is version 1.0 and we hope that you enjoy it enough to help us revise and improve it over time.  At the moment we are calling it IR Tag, though we're open for suggestions of catchier names.

    The basic point of IR Tag is to give us a fun little gadget we can use to bring our intangible community to life with. The idea is simple: buy a little kit, make a cool badge and switch it on while you roam around in the world. When another geek spots you they get to 'blast' you to light you up. If we wear them while we are out and about our friends and fellow geeks will be able to traverse longer distances with their hello (screw you "waving", we're in the 21st century now!). These devices make the connections in our community tangible.  Plus it's fun to see your friend realize their hit, scramble to find their blaster and hit you back.

    Read on to see the kit basics and assemble your own.  We will have a few pre-assembled kits, and a few assemble it yourself kits for people to pickup during the NLR Mini Maker Faire.  If the response is good we will order up another round and offer them for sale prior to our upcoming workshop.

    Check out the details on the workshop, where we will talk about how to customize and program your kit and be around to play with them while we scheme about how to make the game even better.

  • Mini Maker Faire

    The pop-up season is here! To find out what The Locals have been up to and where to find them next click on the poster below.



  • What is all the pop about?


    The Locals is getting ready to launch its season of pop-up events. Featuring the products and talents of local farmers, artists, musicians and techies, these events are designed to create a buzz around the 'proud to be local movement'. Pop-up events are a way for us to reach a wide audience of people, spark their interest and curiosity, and eventually, get them to engage in the conversation of why it is important to support and participate locally.

    Our goal is to create unique and unusual experiences that jolt our community out of the monotony of a culture that is too often dominated by cars, chains and big box stores. We want to create a 'local scene', to get people excited about living and participating in a place that is unlike any other. To cultivate Conway pride and create a sense of identity around the people, projects and events that happen in our town.

    There is no cookie-cutter answer to what makes a place cool. Conway is a great place to live, all we need is to let our freak flags fly and highlight the things that make us special.  


  • Spring is Here!



    As the flowers start to pop up, so will The Locals. Find out more in our blog. 

  • Pizza Party

    Join Sandra and Beth at their upcoming events

  • Thank you


    Thank you, thank you and thank you. Our Arkansas Gives campaign was a total success, we were able to raise $2,157 for The Locals and the Urban Farm Project. It was so exciting to see the number of donors and dollars increase throughout the day. We are very grateful for all the shares, likes and retweets that went out on our behalf on April 2nd. Thank you so much for being our advocates and avid supporters!

    In just one day, Arkansans raised a total of $1,968,953 for nonprofits and charitable causes. This is not only amazing but something we should all feel very proud of. Everyone stepped up to the challenge and helped organizations like ours raise funds to further our mission. Thank you for believing in our cause, we cannot express how grateful we feel to be part of this community. 

    Your support makes a huge difference and your participation is always essential to achieve our goals. We will keep you updated about The Locals pop-up schedule and the Urban Farm Project's application for next year's Arkansas GardenCorps Service Member. 

    Thanks again from Sandra L, Beth N, Shawn G, Lacey S, Sean O, Crystal B, and the rest of The Locals and Urban Farm Project team

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