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Steampunk Dorks November 19, 2009

Posted by sashahc in Uncategorized.
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There is a great exhibit at SFO (yes, the airport) of turn of the century slot machines. They are all brass and wood and levers and awesomeness. I imagine dorks 100 years ago getting together and presenting their clockwork projects. Here are some bad photos I managed to capture before finding out I wasn’t supposed to take photos.

Slot Machines at SFO

Slot Machines at SFO

More Slot Machines at SFO

More Slot Machines at SFO

Yet More Slot Machines at SFO

Yet More Slot Machines at SFO

Yet More Slot Machines at SFO

Yet More Slot Machines at SFO

Fully articulated robot hand simulation for open source CAD November 17, 2009

Posted by michaelshiloh in Uncategorized.
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The fine folks at Shadow Robot Company have made available a 3D CAD model of their dextrous robotic hand for Blender, a completely free open source 3D CAD and animation program, available for all three operating systems.

Shadow Robots seem to be people like us. They participated in the Kinetica Art Fair which had a very large crossover with the Dorkbot London community.

Jameco managers take a pay cut to avoid staff reductions October 19, 2009

Posted by michaelshiloh in how-to, Tech Review, Uncategorized.
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The latest Jameco catalog has a picture of a breadline during the Great Depression on the cover. Curious, I opened the front cover and read:

“…We at Jameco understand these times of economic uncertainty. When you struggle, we struggle. At a time of high unemployment, the Jameco management team has taken salary cuts to ensure the continued full employment of the trained professionals you have come to depend on for the past 35 years”…

If, like me, you are impressed by this, you might consider giving them as much business as possible.

pointless machine July 8, 2009

Posted by rrmutt in Uncategorized.
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Can’t find any more info on this, but it’s splendidly pointless:

Mock Up on Mu film at Red Vic July 6, 2009

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OK campers, this looks like one pretty trippy movie:

Mock Up On Mu: A radical hybrid of sci-fi, spy, Western, and even horror genres, Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up On Mu cobbles together a feature-length “collage-narrative” based on (mostly) true stories of California’s post-War sub-cultures of rocket pioneers, alternative religions, and Beat lifestyles.

Note this features Dorkbot regular Kal Spelletich, who not only stars in the movie, but will be demonstrating machine art at  the opening this Wednesday at the Red Vic.  Says Kal,

Before the 7PM and 9:20 screenings on Wednesday, in front of the theater, I will be conducting experiments with Harley Alchemy and jet propulsion!

Joe-Bob says check it out!

How was school today? June 9, 2009

Posted by sashahc in Uncategorized.
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This is very complex use of assistive technologies that has the potential to go many places. Basically, it records data about what is going on around a kid and allows them to create a story about it. It is designed for kids with serious disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy that make communication hugely laborious.

This is a great synthesis of sensor data gathering and visualization, storytelling design, natural language studies, assistive technologies, and interface design for kids.

From their grant summary:

Our goal is to develop a computer tool which helps children who cannot speak create a story about their day at school. Story telling is an essential aspect of social interaction, and story-telling skills are developed through practice. It is difficult for non-speaking children to get such practice, our tool will help them.

More specifically, we want to use various kinds of sensors to acquire information about where the child went, what she did, and who she interacted with; write a computer program which automatically creates a draft story based on this data; and create a story editing and narration interface which lets children edit the draft story and then tell it when they are happy with it. Possible sensors include GPS for tracking where children go, RFID tags for tracking what objects children interact with and hence their activities; and barcode scanners for recording who children interact with. The story-generation software will be based on technology for generating English summaries of data which has been developed in other EPSRC-funded projects such as SumTime, RoadSafe, and BabyTalk. The story editing interface will probably be based on a visual timeline metaphor.

Courtesy of ACM courtesy of BBC News, here’s a bit from a recent article:

Dr Ehud Reiter, from the University of Aberdeen’s school of natural and computing sciences, said: “How was school today? uses sensors, swipe cards, and a recording device to gather information on what the child using the system has experienced at school that day.

“This can then be turned into a story by the computer – using what is called natural language generation – which the pupils can then share when they get home.

Conductive Textiles June 5, 2009

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Thanks to Mike Kuniavsky for this link. BASF is previewing some electroconductive textiles in a couple of weeks.

From the press release:

“Once again, BASF is presenting ideas for innovative technical textiles at Techtextil 2009 (Hall 3.0, Stand B79) in Frankfurt/Main, Germany on June 16 – 18. In addition to a variety of textile coating solutions, the focus this year is on electroconductive textiles.”

The Singularity is Near! May 26, 2009

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Okay, not really. But Kurzweil is up to his old tricks again. Check out this NYTimes Article by John Markoff.

Kurzweil’s in a documentary called Transcendent Man (“Prepare to Evolve”) and, with the help of Google, is opening Singularity University in June.

My favorite quote:
“Kurzweil will probably die, along with the rest of us not too long before the ‘great dawn,’ ” said Gary Bradski, a Silicon Valley roboticist. “Life’s not fair.”

Am I being snarky? Neah.

Printing with light May 21, 2009

Posted by rrmutt in Uncategorized.
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In the shameless self-promotion department, I made something cool:

More details on my blog.

Disk drive organ May 19, 2009

Posted by rrmutt in Uncategorized.
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No, not that kind of organ. A musical one made from disk drives. If you know me you know my fondness for old disk drive components, so I was chuffed to find a link to this in my flickr pool: