Wrecklab / Makelab is project which is an effort to create more awareness about how the products we use every day work, to inspire creativity, and to have fun taking stuff apart! During Wrecklab we take things apart with any tool available and investigate the core of the gadgets of yesteryear. Makelab is the opposite, during this session participants are encouraged is to put the destroyed objects back together again in a novel way. The idea is to empower people with the knowledge of everyday objects they may mistake for magic. Cell phone: magic. Refrigerators… magic. Printers: sorcery!! Having the knowledge of the inner workings of their thingsgives people more ownership over the stuff they buy. If your watch breaks, you’re not out all the parts, you can use that stuff! Also there’s the potential for fixing it yourself.
I hope that more happens, that through this destructive and constructive play people find themselves inspired to experiment, to realize that science is done by people solving their own problems. That a playful experimenting mind is a fun thing to cultivate, and who knows what fun hacks we’ll develop along the way!
All Hands Active is the Hackerspace in Ann Arbor MI. AHA started as a series of brainstorming sessions in fall 2009. Initially floating from chocolate house to coffee shop we soon teamed up with DigitalOps and a beautiful flower bloomed. A flower filled with all the stuff you’d find in the corner of your garage. The concept was based on the examples of Hacker Spaces from around the country I found during The Two Hands Project. With membership growing AHA is coming to it’s own as a collaborative community space for tinkerers, makers and beautiful people in Ann Arbor.
Working in conjunction with Right Brain Fabrication we built an animatronic robot face to interact with Kosmo’s customers. Two Peggy‘s act as Kosmobot’s eyes while four servo’s manipulate his aluminum eyebrows. This gives him some serious flexibility and a good range of expressions. We also had a script running so the operator could type in the words Kosmo would say and it would use the TTS from the Mac Kosmo lives in to speak. Right Brain Fabrication built the mechanics and I did the electronics interfacing and programming.
This video by Bob Stack from Right Brain Fabrication shows some of the available expressions Kosmo has:
If you’re ever in Ann arbor and you want to order food from a robot get yourself to Kosmo and order some Bi Bim Bop!
After hearing about the Iowa Gambling Task experiment in which subjects are given decks of cards and are asked to pick between them. Each choice either wins them money or loses them a certain amount depending on the value of the card. A healthy individual will begin picking the deck that offers him the highest running values after picking approximately 50 choices. But amazingly after 10 choices the individual’s galvanic skin response jumps. Here’s a Google Books link to the paper by Dr. Damásio: Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex.
It seemed likely that by getting closer insight into our emotional states we could make better decisions. So I made these glasses that tinted your peripheral vision depending on your galvanic skin response. Using a simple voltage divider circuit, an arduino, RGB LED’s, safety glasses and diffusers I was able to make glasses that related information from my subconcious and displayed it to a sense that I was very aware of… vision. Here’s a video me and a friend Anand Atreya going through some GSR tests and the goggles in action:
While working with tactile displays I continued to consider what types of senses I could send to my body. Thinking about birds and my own lack of city sense I picked compass heading. I believe the less processing you need to do to understand consciously the sensations you feel, the more rapidly it will become background knowledge so the most direct analog to compass sense would be to vibrate my head north. Since my head has a full 360 degrees. I used the HMC6343, an arduino, 14 pager motors and a decoder/driver circuit I devised to run it.
Here are some pictures of the construction and the final headband:
Here’s the code used to communicate between the decoder and the compass: compassaccess.pde
With Punch is a festival which focuses on celebrating life in is its wonderful beauty and promoting real, genuine connections between strangers over free pie and punch. We hold With Punch annually for free in public spaces in Ann Arbor. Watching people walk right by each other I thought that if I could find something common between two they may form a connection. So I started out by bringing art supplies, musical instruments, juggling toys, punch, hot chocolate and pie I leave all these out and encourage strangers to interact with each other in anyway they wish. Starting in 2005 with a few supplies and a desire to create an environment I wanted to be a part of, WithPunch has grown into a music festival with cook-offs and crayon art competitions. An article at the Michigan Journal describes it as:
“Improvisation was everywhere throughout the event. However, things fell together one by one as Ghalib achieved his goal for the third time: eclectic entertainment and living life with vigor – sans alcohol or other drugs. … One thing is certain: Variety show was an understatement as a description for With Punch”
We’ve had 7 with punches so far. I can’t wait to hold the 8th. Here are some photographs from previous WithPunch events!
Modati is a company that started operating early March 2006. The initial spark behind Modati was to take all the skill I knew my friends and I had and turn that into something that we could use to gain new skills, interact with people and make money doing things we cared about. Upset that most of my friends expected to work jobs that didn’t develop them in any way I also wanted an avenue to take the design company (Still Pondering Studios) I started in 12 grade and turn it into a design and print studio.
Starting with that idyllic perspective we grew very rapidly moving from one venue to another 3 times in 3 years. Here’s a short list of things we’ve done:
We created a partnership with 10 bands doing an image trading gig where we’d appear at their shows selling merchandise, while they wore our line on stage.
Working with local artists we put out dozens of designs and attended festivals all over the east coast.
We rented out a storefront on Main St in Ann Arbor with our printing operations in the basement.
Taught summer workshops and classes with the Ann Arbor Art Fair
Through a partnership with the local teen center The Neutral Zone we teach silk screening every Friday during the school year.
We run MATES (Make Awesome Tee Shirts and Enjoy Summer) a summer camp with the Neutral Zone for local kids interested in screen printing.
Ran a Reform an event designed to raise awareness of the possibility of reuse in every day life. First in our studio, and in 2009 in The Gallery Project.
More recently we’ve become interested in developing interactive shirts and objects such as the twittering shirt:
And thermochormatic potholders that tell you when they’re hot:
Modati’s popular live screen printing events are a new means of both revenue and public interaction:
Four years after starting this company it’s still changing and growing. Watching it evolve I realize how important it’s been to my growth and development. Through this company I have been able to affect hundreds of peoples lives. I’ve been able to throw concerts, sponsor events, and be a part of a thriving artistic community. We’re currently directing the company to incorporate more of my sensory and engineering interests and I’m interested to see how far we can push the science of screen printing.
By using a a QR code as an encoder and decoder we can have a secret message card that can be translated using digital decoders and analog ones as well!
Having a good business card can help you maintain contacts, promote yourself and your business, and make friends. By creating a personal business card that involves the recipient actively folding, manipulating and translating your card will make them more likely to remember you and share your card.
Thinking back to the old school decoder rings and my fascination with secret messages I thought I could make an interesting business card that could not only tell a story, but give useful information on how to contact me. I did this first using just a block out grid stencil, and secondly with a QR code acting as the grid. I posted the project on instructables, you can check it out there, view the embedded version, or download the PDF below.
A decoder business card project I just posted to instructables.