An ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and good health has received a new incarnation through the creative technology of Zaragoza based makers at Makeroni Labs. Luis Antonio Martín Nuez introduces the ultra-modern “Eye of Horus” that they’re bringing to Sonar +D which touches down in Barcelona from the 16th-18th June.
Martín Nuez and his colleagues took on NASA’s challenge in 2015, and came up with an invention that allows astronauts to interact with equipment and devices simply by looking at them, by tracking the position of the pupil of the eye. Aside from its use in space, these glasses can be used by disabled people to move things without having to touch them.
How did you get involved in the Sónar +D program?
An event was organised in Madrid for new tech and creative developments, and we were invited to present our project. They liked it, and invited us to participate in the Barcelona festival.
Moving things without physical interaction sounds rather like psychokinesis… Are there any other paranormal powers you’d like to replicate with technology?
We’ve got several projects in mind; they’re a bit abstract and cosmic. I’m not sure if we’ll bring it to Sónar, but we’re developing a new way to move things without physical contact. A magnetic fluid is controlled by moving your hands in the air. Another one we’ve just finished is like an aquarium but with robot fish. They interact with each other and create shapes and letters in the water. You can communicate with them via internet and the instructions are relayed through loudspeakers.
What do you consider the key characteristics of the maker movement?
The most important thing for a maker is that they are passionate about what they do. They need to like doing it a lot – enough to not want to buy something, but make it themselves, personalise it and share it. A maker needs to know that they’re not the best, and that someone else can develop their project better than them, so they need to free it and understand that it’s good if other people develop it further. They mustn’t close themselves off and hide it so nobody sees.
It’s the open source approach, isn’t it?
Yes, exactly. One of my main references has been Lego, which is pure open source. You take some blocks and one day you build a boat, the next day you play with a friend and it becomes a plane or a castle… We all have this maker spirit as children, but then for whatever reasons we forget it, and we need to recover it.
What new technologies are you especially excited about at the moment?
One of most important developments for me right now is the Internet of Things. Massive advances are being made with ways to charge things, such as using the light of lamps or the waves emitted by our mobile phones. The other development from a more artistic point of view is Virtual Reality and the possibility of entering worlds which were previously just in the imagination. People put on a headset and can do what they want there.
We have so many distractions nowadays, with all the social media, information, ideas, events and possibilities… how do you manage to stay focused on your objectives?
I think the most important thing is to embrace change. We don’t keep the same job forever any more, and we change our focus constantly. I think it’s important not to have one project but thousands, and move them all forward as best we can. If one doesn’t work out, then we’ve learned something, and can move on with the rest. Diversify and put a bit of yourself in everything.
What do you consider to be the key to creativity?
I think the most important thing is to dream. It used to be badly considered, but now anything you dream of can become a reality. It’s harder to dream now because it’s already real. Take for example an exoskeleton; there are already people moving around inside them. I dreamed of a virtual world, and now it already exists. So the most important thing is to dream and learn to use your dreams for creating solutions. This has got to be accompanied by working hard and with other people, not staying in a room on your own. Understanding that you’re not the best at everything and you need people to help you. Surround yourself with people who are as good as you, or better than you, for your dream to become a reality.