Tiree: Life on the Edge

Tiree, the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides, is an island of the edge of Scotland and Europe. The island has limited broadband coverage which is most certainly in the slow lane. Fibre-optic is on the horizon, and hopefully is not a mirage. Mobile phone coverage is poor and limited to two networks, there is no such thing here as 3G or 4G vital for smartphones. Yet in another sense it is at the very forefront of technology thanks to Tiree Tech Wave. This is a hands on ‘making and meeting event exploring the edges of technology on the wild edge of Scotland’ and is held twice a year on the island.

Tiree Tech Wave’s website aptly says, ‘Make, talk and play at the wind-ripping edge of digital technology. It offers a time to step out, albeit momentarily, from a target-driven world, to experiment and play with hardware and software, to discuss the issues of our new digital maker culture, what we know and what we seek to understand, and above all to make things together. This weekend visitors from universities in the UK and overseas and islanders (the community is warmly welcomed) have come together to explore digital scanners and printers in a hand’s on experience.

The island’s Rural Centre makes a most interesting venue with presentations been made in the Auction Hall (used for cattle and sheep sales) and as a cinema. Here Steve and his son are giving an interesting presentation about 3D scanning, explaining that the hardware and software are becoming increasingly affordable, and in fact will soon be incorporated into smartphones.