Featured News Supergeeks - get ready to innovate!

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Wed, 11 May 2016

Supergeeks - get ready to innovate!


In a first for Townsville, an empty 20-foot shipping container is now a portable ‘maker space’, which will this weekend become a hotbed of creativity, innovation and ideas.

Pictured above: David Beitey, JCU Online Technologies Manager and Ally Lankester, Research Assistant for QUT’s Fostering Digital Participation Project at the Mixhaus portable maker space

The Mixhaus, a collaborative venture between James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology and others, is a mobile pop-up offering free workshops in electronics, computers (software, firmware), 3D printers, millers and woodwork tools to make and/or design bespoke or hybrid creations, for anything from tiny robots to clothes that you can program and light up.

Maker spaces are community-operated workspaces where anyone interested in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art and electronic art, can meet, create, socialise and collaborate.

People of all ages are welcome to come and experiment at the various Townsville locations where the Mixhaus will be situated during May.

“An active makerspace community is a really important element for any region that wants to be part of the new innovation economy. It is a place to share, create and learn new skills,” Professor Ian Atkinson, Director of the JCU eResearch Centre, said.

The idea for the Mixhaus came out of a Startup Weekend held at JCU in November, which brought passionate future and existing entrepreneurs together to create real-life startups over 54 hours.

The Mixhaus equipment includes soldering kits, toolboxes, sensors, Arduino micro-controllers (electronics prototyping kits), and other gear.

Mixhaus is also a storage space, with JCU recycling old filing cabinets as a home for much more high-tech gear than paperwork. It also has toolboxes, first aid kits, tables and chairs to seat people outside under special marquees.

The container has been electrically wired, and can simply plug in to any power source or battery bank, to operate the large screen TV, laptops, video and internet connectivity and all other equipment.

“We are not finished, so if people want to come and help, we’d love to hear them – anyone with engineering skills, DIY skills, or any other skills, please come and have a chat,” said David Beitey, JCU Online Technologies Manager.

The Mixhaus will be at Townsville Bulletin Square this Sunday, May 15 and again on Sunday May 22.

It will then move to Ecofiesta at Queens Park on Sunday May 29.

From there it is open to requests from community organisations and schools, and anyone interested in hosting the Mixhaus can contact the organisers or visit their website

The Mixhaus is supported by QUT’s Australian Research Council project: Fostering Digital Participation through Living Labs in Rural and Regional Australia. The project is working in partnership with the CityLibraries Townsville, La Luna Youth Arts and JCU.

Steven Vandervalk, Software Engineer with the eResearch Centre at JCU, said: “I would love a space like this where I could collaborate with researchers, artists and musicians from different fields. You name it and it will be possible with this much expertise from different areas.”

Townsville freelance video producer/marketing material designer Justin Reid said: “This is an opportunity for ‘culture jamming’: an exciting place to enhance digital literacy and opportunities for young people to collaborate, develop and share digital, technology and creative skills and ideas and use these ideas to solve problems and look at the world in new ways.”

Workshop 1 - Sunday 15 May 2016 / 9am to 12pm

Have fun learning how to code and make a mini solar car, brush-bot or LED Badge.

Where: Townsville Bulletin Square and Ogden St

Workshop 2 - Sunday 22 May 2016 / 9am to 12pm

Learn how to sew with conductive thread and add a glowing LED light to your favourite t-shirt.

Where: Townsville Bulletin Square and Ogden St

Workshop 3: Sunday 29 May 2016 / 9am to 3pm

Learn how to make a mini sensor for measuring environmental conditions.

Where: Ecofiesta, Queens Park

WHEN: The Mixhaus will be located at JCU’s Townsville campus until 8am, Friday May 13.

WHERE: Adjacent to Building 17 (JCU interactive map here: https://maps.jcu.edu.au/campus/townsville/)

Link to pics: http://bit.ly/1WZis9H



  • JCU - Prof Ian Atkinson, Director eResearch Centre
  • JCU - David Beitey, Online Technologies Manager
  • QUT  - Ally Lankester, Research Assistant Fostering Digital Participation Project

JCU Media Liaison: Caroline Kaurila, tel: (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175