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.
March 2010 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!
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.
Once I learn something I try as soon as possible to teach it to others. I’ve been teaching a screen printing class at Ann Arbors Teen Center The Neutral Zone for 2 years including teaching a summer class. Together with Modati Clothing we do live screen printing and weekend workshops. Here are some pictures from the Neutral Zone and MIT SAA screen printing classes:
The Two Hands Project
A documentary tour of as many Hackerspaces we could possibly see in one month. I felt that Hackerspaces were at a tipping point last spring/summer and I wanted to capture the movement in the beginning stages to spread the concept and fan the flames of making. Currently in post production. We could use any help anyone can offer!
Here was our amazing flight plan:
The THP is also a hack in and of itself, it definitely brews from the same thrifty resourcefulness with an angle on how to make the most awesome project with limited resources. THP will be produced with two hands, like everything else ever made.
The Alibi was a privately owned space for music performances, film screenings, and art gallery showings. We started it as a way to try to gather creative people together in a creative space with the methods for production, performance and sales all located in the same building. The concept was to help sponsor creative people by creating a small local economy centered around making, sharing and selling. The space was allowed free room to grow and evolve and overtime we had people curating events of all sorts including a group which began a community garden in our backyard.
Alan Patrick Schuerman
Cut to Scene
Fatter Than Albert
The Fire Flies
Jae Stevens Live
Legendz of the Fall
Looking For Mammoths
Lord of the Yum Yum
Mick Bassett and the Marthas
Old Big Bear
The Ruined Frame
Tipton Lea & The Victorian Army
We Are The Union
This is some invisible UV glowing paint I made recently. It’s a clear paint that glows brightly under UV lights. There are many reasons I can think of to can be used to add invisible messages without obscuring preexisting signs or creating visual clutter. Also some fun uses could be to create city wide treasure hunts or secrete messages. The ink comes in two versions a plastic based version that you can screen print and a polyurethane version that you can spray. Here’s what the wall looks like during the day:
At night here’s a picture of it glowing with a UV LED flashlight:
The applications are endless, what would you do with this type of ink?
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:
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, here’s a short clip showing the shift registers and the new electronics:
Using your natural movements to control a robotic arm helped us rapidly gain skill in manipulating it. An arduino picks up the tilt, roll and compass direction and sends the appropriate signals to the SCORbot to move the arm. This demo application shows me and my two Team Mates diffusing a fake bomb during our final presentation in CIS 381 – Industrial Robots.
We built the arduino interface to connect directly with the robots control box. The code is outputted as an individual line depending on if that axis is activated. Locks were provided to ensure we can prevent any more motion on an axis if we don’t want to:
Last 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.
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.
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: