Drawing Robot AxiDraw: The perfect conference gadget

With our application, the AxiDraw pen plotter can draw customizable map sections that are based on two main designs. In addition to the AxiDraw, our Earth View postcards were really popular as well. The pen plotter is really flexible when it comes to the pens and paper you choose, so it’s really easy to achieve exactly the style you like.  The AxiDraw was the perfect conference gadget, resulting in a crowded Ubilabs booth at all times.

How can you draw the attention of conference attendees to your booth and break the ice when talking to them? Our approach was a JavaScript-powered robot that’s able to draw customized map designs, which proved to be a complete success.

How can we bring maps, development, and design together?

As soon as it was clear that we’d be attending JSConf EU 2018 with a group of 7 and that we’d be having our own booth there, we knew that we wanted a real show-stopper of a gimmick. But how can you combine our maps background with our dev and design skills to achieve that? Our solution was the AxiDraw pen plotter by Evil Mad Scientist.

A drawing robot had been on the wish list of our designers for quite some time. When the device arrived, a team of designers and developers quickly formed to work on the project together. The result was an application developed with JavaScript that allows the robot to draw map sections based on two basic designs. The drawings can be customized by choosing a location and by adding a short message.

In our AxiDraw GitHub repository, you’ll find the source code, some example drawing, and a description of how to generate your own drawings using the JavaScript API.

Pen plotter: more than just beautiful images

The tool was not only a really fun toy, it also fulfilled a few more requirements we had: It drew quite a lot of attention among the conference attendees, resulting in a crowded Ubilabs booth. It was also the perfect icebreaker: getting in contact with other conference attendees had never been easier. We didn’t only get to know them in light of their developer background, but also on a personal level. The chosen coordinates for the drawings not only revolved around current places of residence or birthplaces, but also revealed favorite places in the world or dream holiday destinations. A really nice way to loosen up the typical conference routine.