MakeGood

The @makegood festival was an event which brought together various kinds of makers and innovators. Part foodie fest, part craft fair, and part tech event, it was a fairly eclectic hipster mixture. Held in a semi-derelict space above the Selfridges department store, it also featured a small lecture theatre, and personal appearances from dragon (and organiser) @DougRichards, among others.

There was a lot of craft stuff, which didn’t much interest me, but within the jumble there were plenty of nuggets to enjoy. Here’s a pretty random selection from the more memorable stands.

@victorsdrinks was a re-invention of the homebrew concept. I wasted my young years making various kinds of hooch. Some was great, some was awful. Their ‘brew it yourself’ is a product concept that takes the risk and hassle out. You don’t need hundreds of pounds of supplementary equipment, and you don’t need to follow a finicky process. It’s just a simple range of 20-pint kits, which are pre-mixed and prepared for fermentation. All you need to do is add water, and wait. I tasted the ciders and ale that resulted, and liked both the ciders. This is a legitimate tax-free way to enjoy quality drinks, at a price of around £1 per pint. Anyone who buys alcohol on anything other than impulse should check this firm out. Sadly, they’re not raising at present, otherwise I think it would be a good investment opportunity.

One concept that caught my attention was a GoPro housing which fits onto (among other things) a Picatinny rail, from @ActioncamArmor . Picatinny rails are the fitting which are used to put accessories (such as grenade launchers) onto assault rifles, etc. Whilst a GoPro isn’t any use for filming an enemy soldier at 1000m, it’s ideal for making sure that police think twice before gunning down an unarmed mixed-race man in Tottenham from 10m. The firm also makes fittings for other uses, such as motorbike racing, etc. – but stopping police executing members of the public in the street seems a pretty good use case to me. It would have been a very cheap way to prevent the London riots…

One of the foodie stalls, H&RH escargots, was selling massive fat snails. These were the size of child’s fist, ate lettuce and stank. I’m always amused by eating bizarre things, but they didn’t immediately strike me as potential lunch – except perhaps for hedgehogs.

@ArtInOffices provides an art rental service. This caught my eye, as it’s a model I’ve previously toyed with.

Michelle Mottram from @MishBishFish made a range of toy making kits, which children (or, more usually, adults) can make at home. The result is a rather scary looking felt toy, reminiscent of the Vauxhall “c’mon” promotional toys. They’re retailing at £25, and also offer a subscription service. My guess is that the subscription concept will work better if there’s a broader range of craft skills, and the toys are suitable for a wider range of ages, giving a more flexible product with more enduring appeal.

The scantily-clad founder of @RawPotentialApp had a form-checking mobile app for gym users. This is an augmented reality solution, showing a stick man to overlay on your own image. It’s a reasonable idea, but lacks any motion capture, and needs a spotting partner to use it correctly. It could help some user stay safe in the gym, however.

@bodopods made temporary flatpack buildings, which can be erected in seconds, and in sections – making it very easy to set up a military or disaster-relief camp with a design to suit the need of the moment. Far more robust than tents, their building system can also incorporate ‘off grid’ solar technology directly, making them a quicker and more complete solution than current systems. Adding rainwater capture, and enabling them to have a ‘green roof’ for cooling could really enhance the product. The lightweight panels may also benefit from being able to be backfilled with sand or soil, giving more protection from wind, heat, noise and (in the military case) from light frag and debris.

Sponsors included @Wired (who I didn’t see) and @PayPal, who I did. They were punting their card reader for mobiles – which is seemingly ideal for window cleaners, kebab vans and ‘mobile massage’ (ahem). It’s an excellent piece of kit, from what I can tell. UKTI also sponsored, which reminds me that they have lots of grants you might want to take advantage of.