RadioShack, leading US-based personal electronics and technology products retailer, today expanded its presence in Malaysia with a new store in Sunway Pyramid. With the latest store, RadioShack goes back to its heritage of do-it-yourself (DIY), catering specifically to a niche group of hardcore hobbyists and hardware hackers.
“DIY has always been a mainstay of the brand’s heritage and while our parts drawers and other DIY tools and materials are available at most of our stores, the Sunway Pyramid store is just the right location as most of these makers, also referred to as hobbyists or hackers, comprise primarily of students from colleges in the surrounding area,” said Berjaya RadioShack General Manager, KT Tan, at the store’s opening earlier today.
The 1,068sq ft store has new signature orange and white fittings with several main sections – audio, toys and DIY. RadioShack carries a wide range of audio-related products consisting of premium brands and its own private labels including Auvio. The audio section comprises a Speaker Wall to display a selection of speakers, and Headphone Station, where customers can test each headphones on display.
The Toy Showcase caters to toy lovers young and young at heart, carrying a selection of quirky toys.
What’s unique to the Sunway Pyramid store is the dedicated DIY corner, fully stocked with parts drawers – from diodes, transistors, capacitors, switches to tools and materials like soldering irons, test and meter equipment – guaranteed to satisfy even the most hardcore of enthusiasts.
RadioShack also stocks a wide range of ready-configured circuit boards and hobby kits by leading brands Arduino and Make:.
Nurturing maker culture
In its initial efforts to promote, nurture and grow the ‘maker culture’, RadioShack recently sponsored AngelHack Kuala Lumpur Spring 2014 for the DIY category. AngelHack is a global Hackathon series that runs across 30 cities with participation from over 6,000 developers.
AngelHack’s primary objective is to build a stronger developer ecosystem around the world.
At the hackathon series, participants get access to developer bootcamps, receive incentives, participate in breakout sessions, enjoy food and most importantly have fun creating things that could potentially change people’s lives.
In the Malaysian edition, AngelHack saw over 200 entrants, with the final selection of 5 teams required to design and build hardware/software prototypes over 24 hours. Each team was given a budget of RM2,000 each to shop at RadioShack for DIY components.
The eventual winner was highly-impressive – Guard Post SMS, a solution to automatically identify vehicles entering a gated community or car park, and matching them against residents and authorised personnel, to ensure better security.
A considerably sophisticated hardware/software solution that included several Arduino boards, a video camera, Linux-based backend and database, Guard Post SMS can potentially be deployed not only at residential entry points as a vehicle and resident management system, but also commercial car parks as well.
Leading member of the four-man winning team, Adrian Wong, a former graduate of Multimedia University Malaysia (MMU), said that there has already been parties interested to see a commercial deployment of the solution.
One of two other winning finalists was the Smart Router project – a hardware-software mashup that utilises Raspberry Pi as a base, supported by a Linux-based server and mobile app. Smart Router is a user and application management system, that can be integrated into a smart home solution.
The last of the finalists was the Eco-Circuit project, which utilises Electric Paint by Bare Conductive – an innovative conductive paint that carries electrical current. Project leader Wayne Lo explained that the project uses an Arduino board as a base, with the flexibility of electric paint to ‘move’ the circuit around merely by painting the circuit. The solution also integrates with a smart home system.
With the opening of the Sunway Pyramid Store, RadioShack Malaysia now has a total of 13 outlets since its launch in September 2012 across the Klang Valley and Penang.