Laser Cutter and Plotter Program

So while developing my $50 laser cutter I needed a program that would help me turn vector designs into a series of steps that could run the motors. These steps are human readable, here’s an example text file: Flutter File. If you were to take 0 as north, and 1 as north east, 2 as east and so on and walked this document out you would have drawn this charming man:

Pope John Paul II.

The program can be found here and is pretty neat, just upload a EPS file and it will turn it into a text file of steps to take like this:3result

The C program I wrote to run a set of stepper motors using this type of text file can be found here.

For a full description on how I made a laser cutter and how to make one for yourself can be found at my instructable.

There have been a few people who have made the laser cutter, but none as beautifully as Samuel Ward’s:



Actively Articulating Awesome in Ann Arbor

My Biometric Data
My Biometric Data

There is a lot going on. Let me show you it. These are a few of the projects I’m working on RIGHT NOW!

WreckLab / MakeLab is a class I’m proposing around town in which people take apart the things that mystify them, learn how the component parts work, then put them back together in novel ways. The idea is to empower people with the knowledge of everyday objects they mistake for magic. Cell phone: magic. Refrigerators… majick. 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.

There is the 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!

Radioactive Boardgame Free will and chance, these are things I’ve been thinking about ever since I was introduced to the concept of reductionism. I’d really like to see more large scale things controlled by quantum and subatomic weirdness. It is disappointing to know that something mysterious exists that has the potential to give life true randomness and in my opinion adds a fair serving of intrigue then realize that as it aggregates all the fun random effects blend out to your last choice at Wendy’s (you got something from the dollar menu). So I’ve built a scintillator using Zinc Sulfide and Americium and in absolute darkness I can see subatomic particles exploding off and shooting out individual photons. It looks like static (coooooool). What I would like to do with this is develop a way to amplify it singularly to make decisions for a board game. No idea what the game will be, maybe I’ll make it a SMS based application where you ask it a question and it replies with an answer selected by ATOMS.

Biometric data link with my online and audio inputs. I’d like to see if there’s a correlation between my blood pressure and the websites I visit regularly.

It’s now late and I have a letter to write. So I’ll just name a few others: UV graffiti, RGB UV plastic based inks, refillable spray paint cans (found some), laser projector, The Two Hands Project, and starting a hackerspace in Ann Arbor called All Hands Active.

Also, I’m working at a preschool.
-Bilal Ghalib

How to Get a Short SMS Digit

US Short Code Association is the way Twitter is able to have such a short number for their texting service. It’s not free, it costs approximately $1,000 dollars a month, but if you have a good project that needs a quick texting service with a short number, register now. For me the word MODATI still is available… Hmmm

I’m still considering my options concerning interactivity and activism in relationship to business and exciting people. I want to make a interactive online/offline game that includes peoples environments including the things they’re wearing. I think I might try to set up a SMTP server to respond to text messages or picture messages… If anyone can give me some pointers on how to automate the translation of a picture text message, that’d be so sweet. Thank you all, and to all a good night!

Tactile Display, seeing through your skin

Haptic Display V 2.2

Ahoi! I’ve been working on this project for some while now and I thought it was about time for an update. The tactile sensory substitution display has changed greatly since the last iteration, mostly in terms of electronics, currently it’s running at 10×10 pixels with a much faster refresh rate than the previous iteration. Previously I had it running a face detection program to isolate faces and present them to the wearer on their back, giving people additional information about their environments, here’s a video of me using the old haptic display:

The new electronics uses shift registers to load up chars which describe the video information, this makes it easier to send the data in streams and allows for a faster refresh.