The Community

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BuildBrighton's community is not just about the thing that we build, but about the people who build them. By forging links with others who share our passions and interests we can expand our own knowledge while helping others to expand theirs. Also, some people have some great ideas, are working on incredibly cool projects and have some seriously mad skillz.

Members: When you create an account on this wiki you get your very own page, there's a link to it at the top of every page if you're logged in. Click on your name. You can put anything you want there about yourself and your projects. We should keep the entries on this page short though, perhaps one or two sentences, a list of your Special Skills and maybe a photo. Link your name to your user page, see the other entries for examples of how. The idea being that this page is a nice at-a-glance list that people can browse and click for more information.

Below are some bios of community members.

Emily Toop

IMG 0068.JPG

Emily is a software developer who specializes in server side Java applications, although she's also developed in PHP, python, C#, C++ and C. She is currently working for a software house in Brighton supplying Intelligent Network applications to telecoms provider throughout the world, offering number translation services and VOIP teleconferencing.

Her passion, however, is robots. After studying CSAI at Sussex University, and after several years of being too scared to get started, she finally got up the courage last year to start getting involved in robotics. In the intervening months, Emily has built six robots, each steadily getting more complex as she learns. She is currently finishing off her first walking robot and is looking forward to starting her most challenging project yet - a hexapod!

When Emily first started building robots, she hunted around Brighton and the surrounding area for a robotics group to join, so that she could meet other hobbyists and learn from them. After months of searching it became apparent that nothing like it existed, so she started Brighton Robotics, an online group for roboticists, which also meets up to twice a month at The Skiff for hack nights, talks from experienced roboticists and tutorials.

Since starting the group she has discovered a further passion for educating others and inspiring people to get into robotics. She is now concentrating on growing the educational side of Brighton Robotics and working towards bringing tutorials and workshops to BuildBrighton.

Emily was one of the founding members of BuildBrighton and has happily brought many of her members from Brighton Robotics into the BuildBrighton fold. She blogs sporadically on her robot building efforts as robochick.

Tumbler.jpg Turbot Tumbler Sumovore.jpg Sumovore minisumo robot

Chris Holden

Chris is a software developer of over 20 years, starting with a ZX Spectrum in the mid-80s (actually a VIC-20 but do they really count?). He started out, professionally, writing automation and logic control for factory systems for companies such as JCB, Cadburys, Hewlett Packard and EuroDisney. He has spent the last two decades either coming up with ideas or implementing existing ideas that have made quite a few people very wealthy. Chris has decided to put his skills to use earning his own fortune but hasn't got very far yet! During the last few years, Chris has learned how to program PIC microchips using a variety of tools and is in the process of developing some commercial products, which he hopes will earn enough to buy a flat in his adoptive home of Brighton. His first commercial grade microchip device was a chicken counter, to control an automatic chicken coop door, for a farmer in rural France.

Chris loves writing games in Flash/Actionscript and has also produced isometric 3d games in C for the GameBoy Advance, as well as a range of games and apps for early adopters of J2ME on mobile phone handsets. He also quite likes Micro$oft technologies even if it's not cool to admit it.

When not cycling along the seafront or tearing past Hove Lawns on his (t)rusty bike, Chris can sometimes be found putting a new roof on his place in France or stuck in traffic on the M6, trying to get back to Cheshire to put in a few days work at Fords of Winsford.

Chris is a member of Brighton Robotics and BuildBrighton and sometimes writes up his development on his Nerd Club blog

Ian Ozsvald

Ian has been hacking with hardware on and off for 20 years, along with some lock-picking.

My background includes 10+yrs work applying artificial intelligence to industrial problems [1], blogging and running the £5 App event.

Jamie Matthews


Jamie works as a web developer and has spent much of his life tinkering with things to see how they work, breaking them, and putting them back together again (well, sometimes). He is very interested in the potential of artificial life and bio-inspired computing, and has an MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems from the University of Sussex.

Past projects include Cahors (a MIDI sequencer for the Arduino), a Physical Gmail Notifier, (a service for creating short urls for geographical locations), and an art project using the Google Maps Routing API. He also worked on a simulation of the evolution of camouflage (using a cellular automaton-based pattern generator and the Numenta intelligent computing platform, held together with glue, string and Python) for his Masters thesis, and would quite like to revisit that one of these days.

He can be found on Twitter, Flickr and, occasionally, over at

Barney Livingston

Barney is interested in home automation and getting numbers out of sensors and into computers in order to make pretty graphs.

James Grant

James wasn't introduced to a soldering iron until he was in his teens. Since the end of his GCSEs he hasn't really used one much either. But starting in 2008 he found an interest in it again and has since been dabbling in home automation and environmental sensing.

More information is on his user page.

Mike Pountney

Mike is a bit of a systems and networks geek, and has been working doing just that for near on 15 years. He's pretty new to all this electronics stuff, but has been enjoying playing with his newly acquired Arduino based robot. He's pretty familiar with VW camper van faults and tweaks, having had the pleasure of fixing (and breaking) one over the last three years.

His project du-jour is to soup-up his Rancilio Silvia coffee machine, in a similar way to this guys amazing effort.

Anna Dumitriu

Robot built as part of the Emergence of Conciousness project
Anna Dumitriu is visual artist whose work is involved with DIYbio and hardware hacking techniques. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, interactive media and textiles. Her work has a strong international exhibition profile and is held in several major public collections, including the Science Museum in London. She was a member of the e-MobiLArt project (the EU funded European Mobile Lab for Interactive Art) and Artist in Residence at The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics at Sussex University. She is known for her work as director of “The Institute of Unnecessary Research”, a group of artists and scientists whose work crosses disciplinary boundaries and critiques contemporary research practice. She is currently working on a Wellcome Trust funded art project entitled “Communicating Bacteria”, collaborating with the Adaptive Systems Research Group at The University of Hertfordshire (focussing on social robotics) and has recently commenced her role as Leverhulme Trust artist in residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology project at The University of Oxford.

Jason Hotchkiss

I'm a code monkey working in the travel industry. In my spare time I like making music/wierd noises. I've been messing with MIDI devices and controllers, analog synthesisers, noise boxes, tesla coils, random music (using lava lamps, web cams and suchlike), laser projectors and persistence-of-vision moving LED displays. More on my user page