Wake Robotics Forging the Forge Downtown

Forging The Forge Downtown

Cary, NC – Here is a great opportunity to bring a maker community to the Triangle.

Wake Robotics is undertaking a Kickstarter campaign to bring the Forge Downtown. Wake Robotics is looking to:

Create a collaborative space to excite and engage families in our community in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

$75,000 Raised, Need $40,000

Wake Robotics has already raised $75,000 towards The Forge Downtown. The $40,000 target of this Kickstarter will close the deal. It will get Wake Robotics into the building for The Forge Downtown. Anything raised beyond the target, will be used towards movable whiteboards, maker supplies and additional tools.

Wake Robotics May 24, 2012

Forging The Forge Downtown Details

Wake Robotics May 24, 2012

Echos of the TTF

in 2012, The Technology Task Force (TTF) advised Cary on how the Town should use Technology to engage with citizens. The TTF final report was rather long, but “Forging The Forge Downtown” would help fulfill 2 of the major TTF recommendations:

  • Make Cary a Community Driven Technology Hub
  • Encourage Partners to Adopt Parking Lot Items: Technology Education

Lets help ‘Forging The Forge Downtown’ to get funded. The ‘Sorrell building’ could get a nice makeover and downtown Cary will get a lot of families coming downtown if this happens. The Val Fox mural might even need to have a robot added…

Pictures and graphics courtesy of Wake Robotics.

Code for America Logo

Code for America in NC

Research Triangle, NC –

What is Code for America?

Code for America is a 501(c)3 non-profit that envisions a government by the people, for the people, that works in the 21st century.

Our programs change how we participate in government by:

  • connecting citizens and governments to design better services,
  • encouraging low-risk settings for innovation; and,
  • supporting a competitive civic tech marketplace.

Code for America in NC

In 2014, NC will have a large percentage of the Code for America activities in the US.

NC Cities with a Code for America Fellowship Program

NC Cities with Code for America Brigades 

What is a Code for America Fellowship?

The Fellowship is Code for America’s best known program and consists of a one year residency placing developers, designers and researchers within local governments. Over the course of the program, fellows and government partners build apps, inspire new thinking amongst public servants and tackle some of our country’s toughest problems.

What is a Code for America Brigade?

The Brigade network is an ongoing effort to deploy, maintain and sustain civic technology and open data infrastructures. Each Brigade is comprised of local volunteers and government employees who connect for regular hack nights, discussions and app development.

Brigade Projects in the Triangle

  • The Raleigh Brigade was one of 15 inaugural Code for America Brigades in 2012. The Raleigh Brigade participated in the Code for America ‘Race for Reuse’ campaign and developed and deployed the Adopt-a-Shelter app for Raleigh. The Raleigh Brigade sponsors Triangle Wiki and CityCamp NC
  • The Cary Brigade formed in 2013 and is currently working on an app to visualize development data in Cary. The Cary Brigade sponsors Triangle Open Data Day
  • The Durham Brigade formed in 2013 and is currently working on a Durham Restaurant app. The Durham Brigade is working with the City of Durham and Durham County to adopt a joint Open Data Policy
  • In December 2013 the Triangle Brigades cooperated in an event to assist Raleigh with their Open Data Portal

Code for America - Joint meeting to assist Open Raleigh

How Do I Get Involved?

Code for America is an open group and all can join. We need a diverse voice to be effective. Please join your local Meetup Group:

If you don’t live in any of these areas, please contact Ian Henshaw, Brigade Captain for Code for Cary and Managing Partner of Tech Tank, and he will get you connected!

Previous Tech Tank Articles on Code for America

Picture by Reid Serozi

2014 Top Ten Image

Tech Tank Top 10 for 2013

Cary, NC – 2013 was a good year for Technology activity in NC and the Triangle. The pages and regular features from Technology Tank that you found most helpful were our Tech Calendar, the listing of Tech Meetup Groups and the monthly lists of Upcoming Tech Events.

The articles of greatest interest were about activities of local ‘civic hacking’ groups, like CityCamp, Code for America, and NC Datapalooza.

Tech Tank Top 10 Articles

Here are the Top 10 Tech Tank articles based on your views:

  1. Pulse Point for the Triangle – PulsePoint is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and brings the promise of higher survival rates from heart emergencies. The Triangle EMS dispatches only need to be hooked in and we will begin to be able to take advantage of this great service. A look at team activity from the 2013 CityCamp NC.
  2. Google Designates Cary as North Carolina’s 2013 eCity – The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state.
  3. Triangle Ranks High in Tech Start-up Density – A Kauffman study has both Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill in the top 25 Metros for High-Technology Business Formation and Job Creation in the United States.
  4. DevFestNC 2013 – Nov 2nd – The inaugural event of the Google Developer Group in Research Triangle.
  5. RGreenway Expands to Include Cary – RGreenway was the winning application developed by a group of civic hackers at the 2012 CityCamp Raleigh. The team has continued to expand the coverage of the RGreenway app by incorporating greenway data from municipalities adjacent to Raleigh.
  6. Code for America Helps Raleigh – An article about the cooperation of all Triangle Code for America Brigades to assist Raleigh with their Open Data Portal update.
  7. A Look Inside: Code for America Cary – Review of the happenings in a typical Code for America Brigade meeting.
  8. Imagine Cary Preview – Cary started their multi-year forward planning effort and we look at some interesting demographic changes over the years.
  9. NC DataJam Coming April 22 – NC DataJam and NC Datapalooza were the first regional Open Data competition to be held outside the White House.
  10. Talking Open Data – In preparation for Cary Open Data Day, we have a discussion with Jason Hare, the Raleigh Open Data Manager.

Picture from iabusa under Creative Commons

Oakhaven Co-Working Logo

Coworking Model for Suburban Areas

Cary, NC – At Technology Tank, we are always looking at Technology trends in order to develop good Technology policy and implementation strategies for our clients. Coworking is a rapidly developing social trend occurring with Technology adoption but most of this activity is in urban walkable areas. In the Triangle, you may have heard of the American Underground and Bull City Coworking in Durham or HQ Raleigh, all of which have very successful coworking facilities located in walkable urban areas.

A few of us in Cary have been looking at a coworking model that will work in residential suburban areas but we have not been successful in finding partners for such a venture. So this time we have dipped our toe into the implementation waters and we are opening Oakhaven Co-Working to develop and prove this model of coworking.

What is coworking?

The Coworking Wiki defines coworking as follows:

The idea is simple: independent professionals and those with workplace flexibility work better together than they do alone. Coworking spaces are about community-building and sustainability. Participants agree to uphold the values set forth by the movement’s founders, as well as interact and share with one another. We are about creating better places to work and as a result, a better way to work.

Oakhaven Co-Working Defined

We have initially developed space at Oakhaven Research. The space is located within a large residential area offering 24/7 access with electronic keys and the space is protected by security cameras. We have installed 2 very large white boards to enhance the collaboration of the members. Technology Tank looks forward to helping to build a strong community of entrepreneurs in suburban Cary. In fact, the Code for America – Cary Brigade, or Code for Cary, has started meeting in our Oakhaven Co-Working space.

When is space available?

The space is ready to go and entrepreneurs and potential coworkers who have questions can contact Ian Henshaw directly. There is an opening social on Friday, December 13th and we ask that those who are interested please register so we can assure sufficient refreshments. We look forward to your feedback.

Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in the Triangle area

Global Entrepreneurship Week Recap

Research Triangle, NC – Global Entrepreneurship Week was full of entrepreneurial activity in the Triangle area. On November 15-17, there was a Startup Weekend in Chapel Hill. On Wednesday, November 20, Technology Tank held the Global Entrepreneurship Week – Triangle Luncheon and then on November 22-24 another Startup Weekend was held at Elon University!

Triangle Startup Weekend

On November 15-17, there was a Startup Weekend in Chapel Hill. 86 participants formed 11 teams in this 54 hour event. The winning teams were:

  1. Let’s Chip In
    – A crowd funding platform for life’s big events. A favorite of the judges since they actually had revenue during the weekend.
  2. Get Back
    – “Lines suck. Crowd-source your atmosphere, interactions and rewards at the places you frequent.”
  3. Moneyball++
    – A predictive analysis program for Cricket.

More information about this event can be found in the Exit Event article “Chapel Hill’s Triangle Startup Weekend Has More Than Good Looks” by Ann Johnson.

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Triangle Luncheon

On Wednesday, November 20 Technology Tank held the Global Entrepreneurship Week – Triangle Luncheon. Over 75 people attended to hear about the 4 Things every Triangle entrepreneur needs to know.

To start the conversation over lunch we had short talks by Jeff Henriod, the Founder of Lets Chip In (the winning team from the preceding weekend’s Triangle Startup Weekend) and Linda Whipker, the President of Wake Robotics.

The program was a Q&A with Mital Patel, a key cog in the Triangle entrepreneurial ecosystem. A lawyer and technologist, Mital has been part of the some of the Triangle’s most interesting projects. The Q&A was conducted by Hal Goodtree, a Tech Tank fellow and the publisher of CaryCitizen.

The luncheon was a success based on our observation of the networking going on, let alone the quality of the speakers – the attendees reluctantly were seated for lunch and then stayed well after the program, deep in conversation and building new connections!

Triad Startup Weekend

On November 22-24, there was a Startup Weekend a 54 hour event held at Elon University. The winning teams were:

  1. iTellaShare
    – An online client based teaching service.
  2. Hope
    – “Helping Other People Eat”. A new social company focusing on fighting hunger sustainably.
  3. Well Dressed
    – A digital closet idea.

More information about this event can be found in the News & Record article “Startup competition provides prizes, feedback

Global Startup Battle

Global Startup Battle is a featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

200 Cities. Thousands of entrepreneurs. One battle.

The winning teams from the 200 Startup Weekends held over the last 2 weekends are able to compete for fame and fortune. Each team has to submit a 60 second video to be considered for the competition. We will have to wait and see if any of our winning teams makes the cut.

Recent Articles

So these were not the only entrepreneurial events going on this past week.  What did I miss?

Global Entrepreneurship Week Triangle Entrepreneurs Luncheon

Discount for Tech Tank Readers

Cary, NC – Technology Tank is offering a discount promotional code to our followers for our luncheon on this Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Use the promotion code “TechTank” for a nice discount off the normal price of this luncheon.

What is the Luncheon?

The luncheon is to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. We’ve lined up Mital Patel for some Q&A during lunchtime. Mital is a key cog in the Triangle entrepreneurial ecosystem. A lawyer and technologist, Mital has been part of the some of the Triangle’s most interesting projects and we will find out the 4 Things every Triangle entrepreneur needs to know. You don’t want to miss this important entrepreneurship event in the Triangle. Tickets are limited so register now.

Luncheon Details

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Triangle Luncheon
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM (EST)
Cary, NC | Embassy Suites, Cary:
Discount Code “TechTank”

There are more details on the registration site.

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Code for America Logo

Triangle Adds Brigades to Code for America

Research Triangle, NC – Code for America has released a list of 15 cities that will be added to the Brigade Program in 2013 which is great news for the Triangle. Both Cary and Durham have been added and will join Raleigh with Code for America Brigades in the coming year. Cities like Austin, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle and Washington DC have Code for America Brigades.

With this announcement, the Triangle will have 3 of the 31 Brigades in Code for America (NC has 4 Brigades including Asheville). This is a strong indicator of the developing Technology ecosystem here in the Triangle.

What is Code for America?

Code for America aims to improve the relationships between citizens and government. We help governments restructure to create low-risk settings for innovation, engage citizens to create better services, and support ongoing competition in the govtech marketplace.


What is a Code for America Brigade?

The Code for America Brigade Program started with 15 cities in 2012 including Raleigh.

The purpose of Brigade is to create and sustain local instances of shared goals and strategic outcomes.

  • Governments leveraging technology more effectively
  • Citizens and community groups solving civic issues
  • Cities collaborating to work better
  • Civic apps built on linked, open data

The targeted outcome is to establish or reinforce a local citizen group for civic tech that interacts with municipal government on a regular basis.

Code for America Raleigh Brigade

Code for Raleigh formed in 2012, and has Captains Chad Foley, Jason Hibbets, Jason Horne and Reid Serozi. The Raleigh Brigade runs the very successful CityCamp program for several years with the latest CityCamp NC held in May.  The Raleigh Brigade also supports the adoption of the Triangle Wiki project.  In the Brigade meetings, the group is working on an Adopt-a-Shelter app for bus shelters in Raleigh.

Our Brigade is participating in the Code for America Race for Reuse campaign, however the City of Raleigh didn’t ask us to do this. As citizens, we saw an opportunity to improve our city and implement a technology front-end to an existing program offered by the city. It wasn’t just about deploying a project, it was about making our city and the citizen experience a little bit better. By forming and organizing our Brigade, we’re helping to advance the open government movement. – Jason Hibbets, Brigade Captain.

Code for America Cary Brigade

Code for Cary formed in early 2013, and has Captains Robert Campbell and Ian Henshaw. The Cary Brigade ran the successful Cary Open Data Day in February and is planning Triangle Open Data Day for February, 2014.  In the Brigade meetings, the group is working on a visualization of development data in the Town of Cary.

Code for America is a great way to engage our citizens who have a technical background. By using their techie skills, they can get involved in some interesting web projects or apps and in doing so will learn more about the Town and may find other ways to also get involved with other civic projects. I am very happy that Code for Cary has been accepted as an official Brigade since this will bring added visibility and credibility to our efforts to help the Town of Cary – Ian Henshaw, Brigade Captain.

Code for America Durham Brigade

Code for Durham is newly formed in 2013, and has Captains Colin Copeland and Andrew Krzmarzick.

For several months, we have been meeting with key stakeholders from Durham City and County, the nonprofit sector as well as entrepreneurs and software developers interested in leveraging open data for the benefit of our community. This acknowledgement by Code for America as part of the regional Triangle Brigade is another important milestone that is sure to vault Durham and the Triangle to the forefront of the global open government movement – Andrew Krzmarzick, Brigade Captain.

Code for America Triangle Brigade

Due to the nature of the Technology ecosystem in the Triangle Area, the Raleigh, Cary and Durham Brigades are working together to develop a Triangle-wide Brigade (or Division?). Each City will have their own Brigade working closely with their municipal governments on projects important to the Town or City, but there is also a need to assist with Regional issues that are important to all of the Towns, Cities and Counties in the Triangle Area.

The Brigades in the Triangle want to support additional brigades in Triangle municipalities, so if you are from Apex, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wake Forest, etc. and you want to form your own brigade, please contact any of the Brigade Captains listed above.  Anyone outside the Triangle that wants to start a Brigade, feel free to contact us as well (Hey you in the Triad, Charlotte, Wilmington, Greenville, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, etc. – contact us).

There is a Triangle Code for America Meetup Group that lists all of the meetings of the Raleigh, Cary and Durham Brigades as well as the newly forming Triangle Division.  Please come to a meeting and find out how you can become involved.


CORRECTION: We originally reported the introduction of  the numbers of Brigades (should be 16 in 2012) using the numbers for the introduction of Fellowship cities (3 cities in 2011 and an additional 8 cities in 2012).


Google eCity Award - Cary 2013

Google Designates Cary as North Carolina’s 2013 eCity

Cary, NC – Press Release Published on August 20, 2013

August 20, 2013

CONTACT: Samantha Smith

Google Designates Cary as North Carolina’s 2013 eCity

Mountain View, CA: Innovative tech giant Google has named Cary as the 2013 eCity for the State of North Carolina. The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state – the new digital capitals of America. The businesses in these communities are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies. Cary joins the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.

“Cary’s growth and innovation in e-commerce is an example that other cities across the state can strive to replicate,” said Scott Levitan, Director of Small Business Engagement at Google. “Google is proud to recognize this growing entrepreneurial spirit and the role it plays in creating jobs and sustaining local economies.”

“Cary has a long history of embracing technology as a way to provide opportunities and solutions that are cost-effective, innovative and sensible, and we appreciate Google’s recognition of our accomplishments,” said Town of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Jr. “With nearly 100 percent of Cary citizens having access to the Internet, our community gets the importance of using online tools to increase participation and drive the local economy.”

Google and independent research firm, Ipsos, analyzed the online strength of local small businesses across all fifty states. They weighed a variety of factors to determine the leading cities and towns across the US, including the likelihood of small businesses to have a website, use a blog, promote themselves on a social network, sell goods directly from their webpages and whether they had a mobile-friendly website. The winning cities exhibited strong engagement and potential for growth within the digital economy. For more information visit

Samantha Smith, (202) 346-1375

Chris Maloney, (703) 535-3390

Imagine Cary project image

Cary Adopts Powerful Citizen Engagement Tool

Cary, NC – As part of the $909,000, 3-year Imagine Cary process, the Town of Cary has adopted Mind Mixer to collect citizen input from citizens who could not attend the ‘Summit on the Future’ or any of the 5 ‘Area Conversations’ (Press Release).

While will debut with the Imagine Cary project, the Town of Cary plans to use the tool to garner feedback on other larger-scale initiatives. The Town will pay $6,000 annually to maintain the site.

The first recommendation in the Citizen Engagement section of the final report of the Technology Task Force (TTF) was: ‘Evaluating community engagement tools such as MindMixer’ (ref p. 36 of 239).  The TTF and Technology Tank supports the Town of Cary in adopting Mind Mixer.

What do you think about municipalities using tools like Mind Mixer?

What do you think about the ‘bang for the buck’ of $6,000 annually to maintain this new citizen engagement site?

Code for America Cary Logo

A Look Inside: Code for America Cary

Cary, NC – What is civic hacking for social good? Who or what is Code for America?

Lets take a look at what is going on with the Code for America Cary Brigade and maybe you will find out. (Full disclosure, I am an organizer and member of the Cary Brigade)

The Cary Brigade formed in May 2013 as a development of the Cary Technology Task Force, the subsequently formed Technology Tank, the first Cary Open Data Day and the support of the vibrant Raleigh Brigade of Code for America. The Cary Brigade has decided to start with visualizing commercial permit data in the town of Cary.

Code for America aims to improve the relationships between citizens and government. We help governments restructure to create low-risk settings for innovation, engage citizens to create better services, and support ongoing competition in the govtech marketplace.

Tuesday, July 23 was the third meeting of the brigade (we meet monthly). On May 24, 2013 we received commercial permit data files from Cary in response to a public records request from member Robert Campbell. We received 9 data files most likely from a relational database.

At our June meeting, the Google AppEngine was discussed as a way to develop the ‘back-end’ of the application. The first issue we encountered was that the file with the property locations had all of the geo-locations zeroed out, so an effort was made to geolocate all of the 79,000+ records (with a method that still has not been disclosed…) Since then, there were 2 different efforts to house and use this geocoded information:


With the help of Reid Serozi, just hired by Socrata, The Cary Brigade was offered a Socrata Community Data Platform.  Here is what we were able to do in an hour with the Socrata platform:

Property Data set on Socrata

Property Data set on Socrata

Socrata Visualization - Heat Map of Cary Property Data

Socrata Visualization – Heat Map of Cary Property Data

Socrata Visualization - Point Map of Cary Property Data

Socrata Visualization – Point Map of Cary Property Data

During the meeting, Reid showed us how the point map could be accessed and displayed on his smart phone.

Brandon Smith took another route and used Parse as his data repository and with some awesome code was able to provide a simulated app from the data (we did not ask how long this took…):

Parse data file

Parse data file

Brandon Smith simulated app - Properties nearest to my Location

Brandon Smith simulated app – Properties nearest to my Location

Brandon Smith simulated app - Properties in my Neighborhood

Brandon Smith simulated app – Properties in my Neighborhood

Where do we go from here?

There is more investigation into the data, as we are not sure that we have the information that would allow the app to answer a compelling question. More data scrubbing, another public data request(?) and more investigation into the front-end display of the information.

If you are interested, please join us. You can contact Ian Henshaw for more information.