21. October 5pm – Tech Cluster @ WBHS

Today we had over 30 active participants starting from 5 years old to their mid sixties.

Verena Pschorn, a community educator & facilitator, reported on the start of the cool Whangarei game development meet-up and events.

She also briefed us on the Innovation Weekend from 13.-15. Nov

Next up was the amazingly talented Questionable Research Lab crew, reporting on their award winning KiwiJam entry, gov hack and Science Fair projects. Those included automated updates of school documents connected with a Raspberry Pi to a cool bell. The bell rings each time a student updates an exam question. The other project was a secure mass txt app eg for notifying patients in a hospital.

Martin gave a brief overview on Artificial Intelligence/ Deep Neural Networks for Computer Vision. Check out Andrew Ng on how to read AI papers. This triggered an excellent discussion in the elders of the group. Ranging from will humans made redundant, is AI making our lives much easier by automating the most boring tasks, is AI development in Northland an opportunity to participate in global tech economy. Hopefully we will have more robust debate on both sides of the argument.

By far the highlight was the brilliantly presented and performed VR game demo. The QRL crew using HTC’s Vive Game Console, Unity software and sound & haptic sensors to create an awesomely realistic and freightning spider experience…you got to try it…

Announcements: QRL meets most Thursdays from 5pm at Whangarei Club. Please check out Fringe Lab at 130 Cameron Street next to Russell’s Electrical until Saturday 25. Oct. Maggie & her team are demonstrating cool tech & hands on experiences. Don’t miss out on the fantastic Whangarei Fringe Festival activities. Get out there and support local awesomeness.

Our 2. Oct cluster invitation …

Have you ever thought about Black Holes in earnest?

Black Hole from 2009-2017 (Nature 2020)

Have you considered changing your habits to save the planet?

Have you got a passion to save the oceans?

Have you done something amazing and no one knows about it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please come to our next Tech Cluster session on 21. October 2020 starting 5pm sharp at the Library of Whangarei Boys High.


  1. Verena on Game Developer Meetups and ideation for Nov Innovation Weekend
  2. WBHS Student on “Innovative Thinking – tackling problems of today” 
  3. Questionable Research Lab on cool current projects and gov hack 2020 Whangarei entries
  4. Martin on Artificial Intelligence/ Deep Neural Networks for Computer Vision
  5. VR Game demo
  6. Networking

If you are interested to actively getting involved to make a difference to your community here in Northland, at the last Tech Cluster meeting we hatched the idea for an ideas-solutions hack-a-thon/ innovation weekend from 13.-15. Nov at the Developers Institute called 


It would be great to get local talent like students, teachers, parents, grandparents with great ideas involved to tackle our local challenges with amazing local talent. We are also looking for volunteer mentors for this innovation weekend and then on a monthly basis to follow through with the teams to get their ideas fully implemented in Tai Tokerau.

Check out our one page flyer and please spread the word in your community if you think participating is a good idea.

Many many thanks for helping us to tackle our local challenges, with our amazing local talent,

Martin & Verena

Before you leave, have you thought about how our schools may look like in longer pandemic, physical distancing times?

Here is CBInsights version of this …

Schools in times of pandemics (CBI 10/2020)

Allbirds, the Kiwi founded sustainable shoe business, is now the second Unicorn (valued at over 1 billion US Dollars) from NZ shores after RocketLab. Congratulations !!! Not bad for a retail business…

Take note that amazing innovation often comes from the edges, not the centre.

Let’s keep innovating…