Hacking Time for Upcycling [Episode 2: Upcycling for a Better Life]


It has been a week since the first episode for the Upcycling Hacking Workshop (If you missed this episode, click here to read it.), hope you still remember the 5 amazing projects that I have shared. If you don’t, that is fine too as I am going to share another 4 projects created on the workshop.

As the four teams could make anything at their will in the afternoon, the 4 projects were super various in the theme. There were a Zebra Decor lamp, a Recycled-Bottle-for-Candy Exchange Machine, a Smart Mobile Vertical Plant Grower and a Modular Furniture. Let’s jump to their making journey.


The Recycled-Bottle-for-Candy Exchange Machine


It is universally acknowledged that every kid loves candies. This was the fundamentals of the Recycled-Bottle-for-Candy Exchange Machine. To help kids form the habit of garbage classification, the team made a sweet offer: encourage kids to recycle drink bottles to exchange for candies. When the machine gets a recycled plastic bottle, it will send out a specific amount of candies based on the weight of the bottle.

Inside the machine, there was a complex mechanism: an ultrasonic sensor was in charge of detecting if a recycled bottle was on board, a servo controlled the give-away of candies, and a Seeeduino controlled the whole system;



Kids will definitely be crazy about the machine, because I, a-28-year-old, just could not stop playing with it.


The Smart Mobile Vertical Plant Grower


The Smart Mobile Vertical Plant Grower is a smart plant-growing ecosystem, which has two lighting systems. The lightbulb will be lighted up when the sensor detects someone passing by. The other led strips are hidden at the back side of the vertical structure, which will be triggered to light up red (otherwise it’s green) when the moisture sensor sending out water shortage message to the Seeeduino. Apart from these, there is an OLED attached to the Grower, on which the real-time data including solid temperature, humidity, and illumination displays.


The half-cut PVC tube were mounted to a recycled wooden pallet as pots to grow plants. Using glue gun to attach the cobblestones aside the tube to shape a close pot was a really brilliant idea even though it took a lot of time to do it.


Another the cool part of the project was the 4 swivel wheels mounted to the base. It’s much easier for even a small kid to move the Grower anywhere she/he wants. Putting users’ experience into consideration even when you are tinkering a prototype is really sweet.



The Zebra Decor Lamp


The Team behind this project struggled a while in discussing what to make for their second unassigned theme workshop, while the other teams were already busy in tinkering. After a 2-hour brainstorming, they chose to make a second lamp, which led to the creation of the Zebra Decor Lamp!!


It was fun, quirky and cool, with PVC tubes milled into its body. The team even painted the black skin patterns on it. An ultrasonic sensor was mounted as the zebra’s nose, while the led strip, a Seeeduino were connected and hidden in the body. The head top and the tail top were designed into two pots for plant growing.

When the user comes as near as the ultrasonic detects, the led strip will be triggered on and show a shivering lighting pattern.



The Modular Furniture


Implementing modular functions into furniture was the uniqueness behind the Project The Modular Furniture. The team used a lot of recycled PVC tubes of various length and mounted them into 2 layers of huge cylinders. Each cylinder was a basic modular, and they could be put together as a side table while using a single one as a storage box also made sense.


As the tubes were painted black, and a circular shaft was painted blue, they looked cohesive together as an industrial styled side table.


Finally, I’ve put all these together (Yeah!!). Material waste has been a huge burden for our Earth, so I really hope the creative way how the workshop participants upcycle the common materials could inspire you in some way. Let’s keep making & upcycling.

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June 2018