Goodbye 2008

Goodbye 2008, I'll miss you.
Goodbye 2008

What? So soon? We’re nearing the double digits for the 21st century. I’m nearing my own quarter of a century, I feel like I squandered it. I missed dozens of opportunities to attain mastery at different topics. But is mastery all that great? I’d like to know what you think is important? Because I can’t isolate it, every time I think I have the earth quakes beneith my feet and I wind up in another country of thought. So the closest thing to science in this regard is to take a poll, pshh psychology… Anyhow, what do you think is important?

-reading Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.

Bilal Ghalib

Controlling video games with your hands

howflyLast semester for my 3D game programming class I was thinking about what I could do to continue my investigation on alternative forms of game play and I was thinking that it would be really neat to interact with a flying game naturally. To this day I stick my hands out the windows and feel the power of the wind rushing by. I remember pretending my hand was an airplane as my dad would drive down the highway.

Using that intuitive motion for control my partner Vamsi and I designed a video game that uses a 3 axis accelerometer and a serial interface to communicate to the Torque engine and made a game you controlled by moving your hand. All the code is found here. The Design Document describing the game play is found here.

Face Controlled Game – Escape From Tibet


Escape From Tibet (EFROT) was a 2d game designed with XNA that utilized an interesting method for control. The assignment was to create a 2D game, and I thought back to some of my early memories of fun games that I used to play in two dimensions. One that I remembered was Ski Free! Man, what a great game! While trying to reformulate this old classic for our new machines I was considering that human computer interaction has been the same for decades, I thought we would try to manipulate our game differently. I thought of a way we could use the webcams that are on all of our computers to make this game more accessible to all, so you move your player by simply moving your head to one side or another, and by doing some face detection and determining which quadrant of the screen you were in we could then move the skier as he travels down the slope. My partner Aaron Curly made a wrapper for openCV so we could use it in C# and helped me write this fun game. All the code we wrote is available here.

Laser Projector Construction

Construction is moving along. Here are a few updated pictures:

From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector
From Laser Projector

So now I’m in the process of making the electronics for this project, the laser strength adjustment so the white light is white, and lastly the alignment. Hopefully not too much longer now. If only I wasn’t in school…

CLAI – Clay Animated Video Game – Cancerous Lump Aretaics Investigated


This is a new game I developed for my game class winter 2008. I decided to shoot my own stop motion animation to make the game more appealing. The idea is that you are Mr. Moore a lump of flesh inside a human body who doesn’t know he’s a melanoma… A cancer… Suddenly a knife comes crashing down through the roof of his house and he narrowly escapes. You can’t trust anyone because even your closest allies turn against you. Throughout the game you realize that you are the problem, and that you have to kill yourself to win. Here’s a video of the animation:

The source code and images for the game can be found here: Clai Source Code

From Austin to Phoenix to Home


Karate Chop!
Karate Chop!
That trip to the Austin Maker Faire was a tiny bit over my threshold for crazy. Still it was awesome to meet the people at and well…aparently I’ll be going to Boston in 2 weeks Nov 1st.
There’s a possibility I wont be getting 3 degrees, but that’s fine. I have stuff to do that excites me more. And everyone wins when I get excited about something.
There’s a passion of Bilal kinda flowing right now and no cup to hold it. Not sure where to put this overflow.

iPod/TV Video Laser Projector – Proof of Concept

Dichroic Laser Beam Combining
Dichroic Laser Beam Combining

The idea came to me when I saw that microvision was coming out with some pico laser projectors that had some neat properties. First it was tiny and portable, second there were no lenses needed since it was a laser display and laser light doesn’t diffuse out as much as… well… diffuse light. Lastly and most importantly the aspect ratio could be changed indefinitely with the wall to be projected on. This means you could place the projector basically at 90o to the wall you want to project on! COOL! So I decieded I’d have to make one, the simplest way I could think of was to use RGB combined lasers and shine them through an LCD screen. Here are my first attempts:

That video shows the dismantling of the LCD screen and the first test of unfocused laser light as a transmitting light source. It seems to work.

I’m also using some Dichroic Mirrors / Beamsplitters from Thor labs to mix my red, green, and blue lasers to make white laser light. This will enable me to output full color laser video. The way the dichroic filter works is by selective reflection, this will allow laser mixing in the following manner:

Dichroic Laser Beam Combining
Dichroic Laser Beam Combining

I bought multiple mirrors, each one selectively reflects a narrow band of light. So when I want to combine red and blue I would use a cyan subtractive filter aim the red through it, but have the blue bounce off at the same angle the red went through. This will have the effect of spectral laser combining and the resulting laser light will not be coherent. For more methods of laser combination and an explanation check out The Encyclopedia of Laser Physics.

Here’s the album of photos that i have of this project… So far:

Burnout Ink – Eating T-shirts

During the silk screening class I teach last week I brought in my experimental burnout ink.

Burnout ink worked!
Burnout ink worked!

We attempted to burn out several different fabric and fiber types. Here are a few tips we picked up:

  1. Make sure to saturate the fabric when you print so the ink goes through the shirt.
  2. Burn it out to a light golden brown, not any darker or you’ll stain the fabric.
  3. Wash immediately with cold water.
  4. Print on a towel with plastic on top (A soft platen helps with ink penetration)
  5. Screen print the design a few times with a high angle and lots of pressure.
  6. 50/50 polyester cotton blend fabric shirts didn’t work very well.
  7. 25 rayon 25 cotton 50 polyester worked the best

For many more pictures and some photo’s of the process check my picasa album.

-instructable soon

Sodium Metasulfite and Guar Gum – How to make burn out ink

I eat shirts.

A gift came in the mail today, I’m the proud parent of two new bags of cocaine looking powders: Guar Gum and Sodium Metabisulfate. These two chemical compounds carry some heavy weight and should be extremely handy for my next project. Burnout Ink Flamethower Tee Shirt! The shirt may or may not throw flames, but the idea takes the combined properties of the two chemicals I bought to selectively eat a shirt to create sheer transparent layering effects.

The Sodium Metabisulfate, which I’ll call the shirt eater, is a chemical commonly used in tree stump removal. You pour some on and it eats the organic fibers that compose the tree and you now have a boring lawn. But what this also means is that the cotton parts of a shirt might be eaten leaving the non-organic parts (the polyester).

Awesome, now we need a carrier. Let’s bring in contestant #2! Gaur Gum!

Guar Gum will transport our chemicals to the shirt
Guar Gum will transport our chemicals to the shirt. (note: also not cocaine)

So now we have the active ingredient in our burnout ink we need something to transport it. Guar Gum is pretty neat stuff, it’s edible… actually it’s used as a binder in some medicines and it’s pretty non-reactive. This derivative of a bean is a perfect thickener, it’s a part of toothpaste and shampoo conditioner. It does not gel on it’s own, so wikipedia suggests borax, I’d like to see what kind of gel it turns into (perhaps this has a use in some casting applications as well?)

Soon we’ll give this a shot and a new design will be up at modati’s hack line of shirts. Home burnt shirts homeboys.



Ruin the Internet – Create Webshite

Ruin the web!
Ruin the web*

Help me ruin the internet by creating the worst webpage in the history of the web. I’m calling it Webshite. I’ve been coming up with a list of ways we’ve taken a great idea like the internet and corrupted it along the way: disabling right clicking, and animated mouse cursors come to mind… I’d like your help! Go to and add your demented rubbish to the list!

Try to be creative because I will take your suggestions and turn into Webshite, the worlds most foul webpage.

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