News Listings

MadLab in Space!

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Last year we set ourselves a challenge for MadLab in 2014 – to boldly go where no other city has been before and launch our very own civic space programme. Now, thanks to a micro-grant from the UK Space Agency our childhood dream of space exploration is being fully realised.

Space dog

Going into space might sound overly ambitious for an organisation like ours, and certainly until a few years ago that was very much the case. However, in 2014 thanks to the dreamers and plucky underdogs quietly toiling away in sheds and garages worldwide (and of which we at MadLab wholly approve) those ambitions have been brought within our reach.

Next month sees the UK launch its first cubesat into orbit, carrying school projects and more into space for the first time. Meanwhile, dedicated amateurs have figured out how to take incredible photos showing the curvature of the earth – attaching a camera and a GPS device to a weather balloon and chasing it across the country until it bursts. These are just two examples but there are plenty of others, from hobbyists doing near-space rocketry to DIY satellites and lots more besides.

Our civic space programme then is somewhat unlike its national counterpart. There are the obvious differences of course – number of zeros in the budget (ours: fewer), number of trained astronauts (none) – but the most important difference of all is that MadLab’s space programme is open for anyone of any age to get involved. Starting on the 27th of February (more info coming soon), we’ll be holding regular events at the MadLab with talks and discussion as well as the chance to get our hands dirty building a balloon-powered satellite. For anyone with an interest in space we’d love to hear from you, either through the website or social media (@madlabuk on both Facebook and Twitter). Alternatively, just keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming launch party.

UPDATE: 27th February is the date! 7pm until 9pm, more info here.

Welcome your new robot overlords!

Friday, December 6th, 2013

by MadLab’s Jo Slack

image (4)

TODAY, MadLab opens the doors to Inventory, a shop filled to the brim with Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, MaKey MaKeys and all things digital/electronic. It’s the first of its kind and a haven to all the geeks, coders and hackers out there, or just for those looking for something a little bit different this Christmas. The shop, situated on the corner of Edge Street and Oak Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, aims to be a unique retail space that encourages the public to experiment with electronic kits, learn new skills and have fun!

Funded by the High Street Innovation Fund, Inventory will be run entirely by MadLab volunteers with all the profits feeding back in to the organisation. Our aim is to expand MadLab’s world and get the people of Manchester experimenting with electronic goods. This isn’t just a shop for MadLab’s trusted geek population, it’s for everyone that’s looking for an alternative to the big brand gadget shops out there. At MadLab we’re all about getting your hands dirty, bringing people together and exploring all the digital world can offer.

Inventory will stock a range of goods from hard-trusted Arduino Starter kits to build-your-own Glowing House sets. As we’re committed to giving back to the local community, much of our stock is designed and created by local residents or designed by members of our community groups. We want Inventory to be a unique space in Manchester that has community interests at its core, inspiring people to get involved and look towards the future of technology.

Banana piano made with a MaKey MaKey kit, available from the shop

Banana piano made with a MaKey MaKey kit, available for purchase at Inventory

Trip glasses which can bought from the shop. Glasses that project an LED pattern on to your eyelids to induce a meditative state

Trip Glasses which are available for purchase at Inventory. Glasses that project an LED pattern on to your eyelids to induce a meditative state

Inventory opens its doors on Friday 6th December at 10am and will be open Monday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday-Sunday 11am-7pm.

Inventory is at 7 Oak Street M4 5JD

Ever thought of getting a Robot to mow your lawn? Or calling your pals on a self-made mobile phone?

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Ahead of the Arduino and Physical Computing Course, MadLab’s Jo Slack muses on the latest developments in the Arduino world and what it means for us at home.

[Image source:]

[Image source:]

MadLab Christmas Party

Thursday, November 14th, 2013


Yes! It’s that time of year again, when MadLab invites you to celebrate another fine year of geekery via the medium of fancy dress, mince pies and interpretative dancing.

It’s only the ruddy MadLab Christmas Party 2013!

It’s all happening on Friday 13th December, and the theme this year is Creepy Christmas. Think scary – like spooky snowmen, like Jason sporting a festive jumper, like the Lilly-Allen-does-Keane John Lewis advert (wait, ok, not that scary).

There will be competitions:

A super-duper raffle, with prizes including Trip Glasses from Noisebridge’s Mitch Altman (full list to be announced soon!)

There will be blood:

Do you have fancy moves? Do you know all the words to R-Kelly’s Remix to Ignition? Dare you join the Girl Geek / Pirate Party grudge-match dance-off?

Following a complaint from Manchester City Council last year, we will have even more kegs of locally-produced beer and some lovely mulled cider (courtesy of Moss Cider).

It all kicks off at 6.30pm and goes rapidly west from there.

Omniversity site down for maintenance

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Omniversity website is currently undergoing some very important maintenance. You can still find details of our upcoming courses below. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so via Eventbrite, or by dropping us an email at

Here are the courses we’ve got lined up for the rest of 2013 and beyond:

Advanced WordPress with WP co-founder Mike Little
Thursday 21 – Friday 22 Nov (£300)
If WordPress is your business, either as a developer, power-user or marketing pro, you’ll learn advanced techniques over this weekend that will give you a competitive edge. After completing the course, you’ll be at the cutting edge of WordPress best practice.

Introducing Arduino & Physical Computing with MadLab co-founder Asa Calow
Saturday 23 Nov (£120)
Arduino is the easiest way to make smart electronic devices which interact with the physical world. Your robot army begins here. For functionality, for art, or just for making life more interesting.

Advanced VVVV with Elliot Woods
Thursday 20 – Friday 21 March 2014 (£300)
Once you’ve made a start with VVVV, you won’t want your creativity limited by practical obstacles, so come and take a look at the methods and common patterns of the language. This course will extend your practical knowledge of VVVV, introducing solutions to common scenarios.