Category Archives: Art

A Retrospective of Lo-Res Digital Art from Maker Faire NY

Quin's B&W Selfie Camera

I came across some slips of paper from Maker Faire New York this year which can best be desribed as ephemeral low resolution digital art. Above is a B&W selfie from the Qduino Mini Thermal Printer.

Hive76's ASCII Camera

The ASCII Art Camera from Hive76 used a small inkjet printer and a webcam.

Plinko Poetry

Plinko Poetry created poetry by detecting the path of a disc falling between pegs across scrolling headlines.

The most extreme example of this art form I came across was the ITP project by Ross Goodwin which algorithmically generates a sort of novelette from a source picture. uses convolutional neural networks (via Clarifai) to extract concept words from images. It expands those initial words (mostly nouns) into sentences and paragraphs using a lexical relationship database (ConceptNet) and a flexible template system.

The source picture for mine can be viewed on the site along with the full text. You can generate new ones by uploading a picture, but that is not nearly as satisfying as interacting with it in person. The physical project was housed in a vintage camera body with a small thermal printer, so that the camera itself was generating the art.

Accidental Glitch Art

The confluence of inexpensive electronics and relative ease of working with embedded systems that made all this art possible can also generate unexpected results. This last piece of accidental glitch art is from Quin’s project: while trying to print a picture, it encountered an error and gave me a printout of unintelligible characters interspersed with bits of picture.

Related: CNC halftones with ASCII art


From the archives: Sweet or Savory Specimen Jars

thinginajar - 44


From the archives comes one of our favorite food projects: Halloween Cuisine: Sweet or Savory Specimen Jars.

 What good is a specimen jar if you can’t serve it at dinner? The contents of the jars should be genuinely edible, made out of real food. Plastic snakes and spiders are right out.

More Halloween edibles can be found  in the food category of our Halloween Project Archive.

Halloween Project Archives

Array of Halloween Projects

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and our collection of Halloween projects continues to grow. Every fall we update it to include our latest projects for the season. In the list … we’ve organized dozens of our Halloween projects into categories: costumespumpkinsdecor and food.

Head over to the Halloween Project Archives for the full list of projects.

The collectivity project

Dreamy Lego architecture

While in NY last month, we stumbled on The collectivity project while walking along the beautiful High Line park.

Building with Lego in NY

This exhibit by artist Olafur Eliasson invites the public “to build their vision of a future city” with three tons of white Lego bricks. It was fun to see people building bridges between tables of buildings, rebuilding architectural features, adding words and symbols.

Building with Lego in NY

Today (October 12) is the last day of the project on the High Line.

Clocks at Maker Faire NY

Clocks at Maker Faire

The first day of Maker Faire New York was great fun. We’ve found a several great clock projects so far, including this one, featuring image processing running on a Raspberry Pi.


Our friends at NYC Resistor brought a wonderful papercraft seven segment display clock.

Tom, Massimo and Ahmed

At the end of the day, while talking with Tom and Massimo from Arduino, we ran into another maker with a clock project. Welcome to the maker community, Ahmed!

Evil Mad Engineers

Every month or two since 2009, someone has sent me a copy of a particular comic from the webcomic Cowbirds in Love.  Here is today’s example, from @benk_at_work on twitter:

@benk_at_work tweets...

evil mad engineers @ cowbirds in love



There is, of course, only one appropriate way to respond in a situation like this: with another comic.

Back in 2011, I wrote an era-appropriate semi-autobiographical rage comic, that I could use as a standard response when people sent me that comic.


Joking aside, we really do spend a lot of our time engineering— and many of our friends and colleagues are bona fide engineers. On the other hand, I love to cook, but that doesn’t make me a chef either.