News Labs Maker Session at the BBC Christmas Hack

This year, we started the festive period with our 2nd Maker Session.

Participants were asked to embed digital behaviour into wearable objects that can be used to capture a variety of data.


The event was produced and delivered by Melanie Moeller and technical architect and hobby maker, Tom Broughton, who taught participants the latest Arduino and GROVE tricks.

For the purposes of this session, Mel used a new creative framework that encouraged participants to come up with truely innovative solutions by brainstorming how to combine, modify and adapt existing products, ideas and concepts.

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This time, the theme was considerably open as we ran the workshop for BBC staff from departments other than News. The result was a variety of creative makes ranging from games for children and adults to an audience statistics monitoring tool for sport.

Results - Four Cutting Edge Makes!

‘Fill My Box’

Smart toy box that incentivises youngsters through gamification to tidy their toys away . This playful gadget is designed for two players and uses an RFID reader and tags to register which player is quickest at putting toys into ‘Fill My Box’.

‘Audience Reaction Tracker’

This make is a real time statistics monitor of ball possession designed to track the observer’s head movement when watching a football match. A screen attached to a glove, which the spectator wears changes colour according to what team’s goal has been the centre of attention. It also features a button which is being released when the sports lover stands up to cheer for a goal or when a goal is expected. This gadget enables to gather valuable real time audience data about perception, reactions and frequency of actions performed during a match.

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‘The Ding Dong Glove’

This muscial wearable plays your personalised theme tune when you come to the house, using an RFID reader and a range of tags with different melodies. Hence, if junior’s friend comes around, the family can recognise the young ‘door bell ringer’ instantly from the tune the youngster’s glove triggers.

Digital ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’

Allows you to play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ with yourself against a computer and uses radio-frequency identification. This prototype could be taken further by adding motion sensors for more accurate gesture tracking.

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Jump back to our first post about making to get some context about the Maker Movement and why we "make"at the Labs.

Coming up next

The next session will explore ‘Smarter News’. Participants will be invited to Embed digital behaviour into consumer objects to collect crowd sourced data that provide insight into everyday activities, consumption, trends and habits.

The aim of this maker session will be to prototype a uniquely identifiable smart device that sits within the infrastructure of the Internet of Things.

Looking further ahead we are also planning an Augmented Reality Maker Session in collaboration with BBC Blue Room looking at the furture of augmented experiences and immersive surroundings.

We would also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future maker sessions, so please email Mel at: