AF-Boston’s May Fellowship: A Do-It-Yourself Telephone Company!

May 26, 2010

What you’re seeing to your left is VillageTelco’s Mesh Potato, the prototype for a lightweight, low-cost, and low-power unit that is a building block for rolling your very own decentralized P2P phone network. We’re thrilled to announce that this month’s Awesome Fellowship from Boston goes to Paul Gardner-Stephen, post-doctoral fellow at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Paul’s perhaps most known worldwide for his creation of the much-touted innovation of the shoe phone, and for this project, he’s turning his formidable skills to a new project. Specifically, the plan is to get the mesh potato to work with mobile telephones so that so that mobile telecoms can be deployed rapidly, cheaply and robustly into disasters, developing and remote areas, and plain old remote places where the huge cost of mobile telephone towers makes it too expensive to provide coverage. A neat hack that Paul’s building into the plan is that these P2P phone networks will work with your regular old phone number, without requiring access to the internet (seriously). The entire thing will be prototyped over Android, and step-by-step instructions will be made available so you can start up a mobile telcom right in the comfort of your own home (some… read more →

“History of the Sky” Wins the First Bay Area Awesome Grant

May 21, 2010

Congrats Ken Murphy; your project is Awesome! The Board of the San Francisco Awesome Foundation is proud to announce our first grant goes to Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”. It’s local, it’s awesome, and Ken’s proposal was clear, enthusiastic, and specific about what an Awesome Foundation Grant would be used for (equipment for installations). “A History of the Sky” is a time-lapsed visualization of the San Francisco sky over the course of a year. Ken mounted camera equipment to the roof of the Exploratorium and it an image every 10 seconds for a year. As Ken wrote, “The results are assembled into a large mosaic of time-lapse movies, where each tile represents a single day, and all of the days are in sync.” Future goals include obtaining  equipment to display the project at different venues and eventually a permanent space for the exhibit. Ken’s work can also be supported through his Kickstarter campaign. (Great video of his proposal can be found on Kickstarter) “History of the Sky” in progress will be shown at the Maker Faire in San Mateo May 22-23. The SF Board of Awesome would like to acknowledge that there were many compelling submissions for our… read more →

AF-Boston’s April Fellowship: One Satellite Per Child

May 18, 2010

Slightly delayed news as we get all the various logistics together for the award event, but we’re very excited today to announce that the trustees over at AF-Boston have officially chosen the MIT Media Lab’s Jeffrey Yoo Warren as our April Awesome Fellow! Jeff will be using his fellowship to pursue his projects into Grassroots Mapping, a series of experiments that launch low-cost community satellites built from balloons, kites, and inexpensive digital cameras to create gorgeous aerial maps that have more than 100 times the resolution than those offered by Google. The idea is to broadly democratize the technology for mapping, and help communities understand the landscape around them. In other words, it completely rocks. You can learn more about Jeff’s work on Grassroots Mapping here and see the latest photos from the project. Their latest, an ambitious idea to track the spread of the Gulf oil spill by engaging local communities on the coastline, is seriously amazing. The data will be released into the public domain, where it will assist legal and environmental efforts in the years to come. Stay tuned for the award ceremony and presentation details in the next few weeks! [UPDATED 6/1/10 — Also, it’s been… read more →


May 6, 2010

The newly formed London Chapter of the Awesome Foundation is kicking off proceedings today with a call for entries from London’s most creative, enterprising, fired up (and raring to go) minds. An awesome foundation chapter is a group of 10 micro-trustees in a local area.  All 10 of us put £100 into a brown paper bag every month.  Then we hand it over to the most awesome idea submitted. Got an awesome idea that needs £1,000 to become a reality? Hurrah! You’re in the right place. Submit your application here and we’ll invite the top applicants to present at our first event in June, where we will pick a worthy winner. No idea is too small, and it can be just about anything just as long as it follows the following 2 rules: 1. It’s awesome 2. The money has a meaningful impact on its realisation Important dates: May 4th Call for entries commences May 31st Deadline for May submissions June 9th Awesome event: presentations and award-giving (venue TBC) Let the awesomeness commence! Oh and you can read about the origins of the Awesome Foundation here