What you can do on LiveWires
There are loads of different activities on LiveWires - some with music and video, some projects using computers (programming and computer graphics), and a wide range of electronics projects (soldering and testing a real electronic device).
You'll have time to do two or three activities on the holiday - we'll contact you before the holiday to ask for your choices. We try very hard to give you what you ask for, but because some of the group sizes are limited and some of the activities run at the same time during the week, it's occasionally not possible. For that reason we'll normally ask you for at least four activity choices, so we know what your back-up choices are. Pretty much any combination is ok, except that you can't do more than one of the activities labelled "long", because they each take more than half of the holiday.
With all our activities, you can keep the finished product to impress your friends afterwards - electronics projects you'll take home at the end of the holiday, and all the electronic media will be available to download once you get home.
We offer many electronics projects, from fairly simple ones which take a few sessions up to quite complex projects which take most of the holiday. All the projects require some soldering, and some also involve making circuit boards and cases from scratch - but don't worry, we have all the equipment, and we'll show you how to do everything. At the end of the holiday you can take your new project home.
Because the cost of the components for electronics projects varies, there is a small extra cost for these activities, depending which one you chose. We'll tell you the prices (most projects are about £10-£35) beforehand, and ask you to pay this at the start of the holiday. Please note that prices will fluctuate due to currency exchange rates, although we do our best to keep the project costs within that indicated. Each project has two difficulty ratings: one for the electrical work (soldering and wiring) and one for mechanical building (PCB, drilling, filing, nuts and bolts etc.) They're both scores out of 10 (where 1 is easiest).
Are you a budding guitarist and would like to build your own distortion pedal? With this project, you can! Approximately £15-£20 [electrical 5, mechanical 5]
Would a metronome help with your music playing? Would you like to build and program your own? This longer project combines both electronics and programming. You will first build your own circuit board and then learn some basic programming skills to generate a beat to keep you in time. Approximately £40 [electrical 5, mechanical 5]
Make your own clock to display the current time on the 7 segment LED displays. This project uses a ready made circuit board, is complete with the box and external mains power supply unit. Approximately £20-£25 [Electrical 3, mechanical 2]
Digital Echo Chamber
This circuit takes input from the built-in microphone, or from an external input, and allows you to add echo and feedback to your voice, or music. This circuit uses a ready make circuit board. Approximately £15-£20. [Electrical 4, mechanical 2]
3D LED Cube
Create a 3D light cube to display a changing set of patterns. Software is provided to program lighting sequences (requires Windows XP or greater). This circuit uses a ready made circuit board, but you will need to have experience and a steady hand to be able to solder the tricky cube joints. Approximately £20-£25 [Electrical 6, mechanical 9]
Computer Message Display
Create a second display for your computer to show drive space information, incoming emails, or display your Twitter feed. Drivers and software provided for Windows XP or greater, and a DLL is provided if you want to program it for other purposes. This uses a ready made circuit board, but you will need to have good soldering skills due to the complexity of some of the joints. Approximately £35-£40 [Electrical 7, mechanical 6]
With a press of a button, this dual dice will give you a roll! LEDs light to show your number. Approximately £10-£15 [electrical 6, mechanical 1]
Build a robot that will find its way out of a maze using sensors and its microprocessor. Approximately £25-£30 [Electrical 5, mechanical 7]
Build this little project and you can see what your musical instruments or recording are doing: with a graphic display you can see a real-time spectrum of your audio. Approximately £30-£35 [Electrical 7, mechanical 6]
This little creature repeats your words… but in it's own voice! Complete with microphone, loudspeaker and case. Approximately £10-£15 [electrical 6, mechanical 4]
Light Beam Alarm
Contained in a small and easily concealed box, when an intruder passes by it emits a piercing whistle letting you know they’re there. Approximately £10-£15 [electrical 5, mechanical 4]
LCD Scrolling Message Display
Display your own scrolling message! Using the on board buttons you can program this device to display scrolling text on its LCD screen. This project uses a readymade circuit board making it ideal if you're new to electronics. Approximately £15-£20 [electrical 3, no mechanical work]
Classic Arcade Game
Build your own arcade machine! Using the built in buttons you can play the classic Pong computer game on your TV. This project uses a readymade circuit board making it ideal if you're new to electronics. Approximately £15-£20 [electrical 3, no mechanical work]
Electronics Light Bug
This little critter is looking for the light! Driven by two miniature motors it can direct itself to where it detects the most light. This project uses a ready made circuit board making it ideal if you're new to electronics. Approximately £10-£15 [electrical 3, mechanical 1]
Bike alarm (long)
A very loud deterrent, with vibration and tilt sensors, a key switch, and optional tamper alarm. Approximately £20-£25 [electrical 6, mechanical 5]
The only instrument you can play without touching it! Create weird and wonderful music by waving your hands! Approximately £15-£20 [electrical 6, mechanical 4]
Guitar Headphones Amp (long)
Rock in the comfort of your own headphones with this battery powered box. It's a DI box too, so you can plug into a mixer if you want everyone to hear. Approximately £35-£40 [electrical 7, mechanical 7]
Have you ever wondered what is happening in an electronic circuit? Now is your chance to find out. Build this little PC powered oscilloscope and you can look at signals to your heart's content. This uses a ready made circuit board and has a reasonable number of components. All the software you need is provided as well. Approximately £30-£35. [electrical 7, mechanical 5]
Computer graphics and programming
Want to create amazing 3D scenes and animations? With professional software and tools, it's great fun to produce some fantastic looking landscapes and worlds.
Advanced computer graphics
Would you love to learn how to create the next Shrek? If that sounds cool, come and have a go at creating 3D CGI using the tools and techniques the professionals use! Take the next step along in our advanced Computer Animation tech. Using state of the art modelling and animation software, you can create, texture and animate your own 3D objects.
Whether you've never programmed a computer before, or you don't let a day go by without hacking some code - this is your chance to learn, and have fun refining your skills! We'll guide you through the first steps of programming, using the popular free programming language Python. For those with more experience of programming, the games worksheets will help you create a strategy game, an exciting shoot-’em-up, or something entirely different. You can do this activity as a complete beginner, but some of the more advanced worksheets will be best for those with some previous experience of Python.
Do you have a smartphone? Ever wondered how to code for a phone? Find out how, and you could even test it on your own Android phone.
If you want to learn how to create a great website, learn about what works on a website and what doesn't, and design your own website, then Web Design's the place. You'll find out the dos and don'ts of design, how to design a good-looking website, and all about the HTML and CSS behind websites.
Video, Music and Stop Motion
Advanced video production techniques (long)
Ever wanted to know how to create a great video? You'll take a video from script ideas to final edit, but you'll spend more time learning about how to storyboard, shoot and edit the perfect video. You'll get a chance to try out different roles, both in front and behind the camera. Some experience useful, but not essential.
Whether its the sound engineering that you enjoy, or you just like having a jam, music recording is for you! Play, record and edit a track with the group and you'll experience the world of audio production.
Stop motion animation
Ever wanted to make your own stop motion animation? Put your own short film together frame-by-frame using lego, plastacine and a computer-controlled camera. No experience or acting required, but you'll create the video from ideas and scripting through to finishing.