Category Archives: Art

Evil Mad Scientist Valentines: 2016 Edition

2016 valentines

Today we are releasing our newest set of “Download and Print” cards for Valentine’s day. This is our fourth year, and fourth set of cards: The 2013 set had six equation-heavy cards, the 2014 set was a set of six symbol-heavy cards, and the 2015 set included love, hearts, and arrows.

This year’s set of six new cards features a note about warming Pluto’s cold heart, at least one embarrassingly bad pun, and the perfect card for your robotic expression of love.

Solve for x
“I was supposed to solve for x. So glad I found u instead.”

Pluto heart

And, from the distant reaches of our solar system:
“Just knowing you’re out there warms my heart.”


“ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
THIS VALENTINE AUTOMATICALLY
GENERATED FOR YOU”

2016 valentines

You can download the full set here, which includes all 24 designs from all four years (a 1 MB PDF document).

As usual, print them out on (or otherwise affix to) card stock, personalize, and [some steps omitted] enjoy the resulting lifelong romance.

International RobotArt Competition

RobotArt logo with subtitle

We recently found out about the 2016 International RobotArt Competition for students to create art with paintbrush wielding robots and win prizes of up to $30,000 for their school.

For 2016, we focus on the technical side of creating art – the physical transition from raw color to applied color on a canvas. We challenge the participants to create artwork to showcase their robot’s abilities.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Entry

The team registration deadline is March 1st, and the competition is open to high school and college student teams. Artwork must be uploaded by April 15. (This sounds like a perfect challenge for schools that have a WaterColorBot.)

Public participation in the first round of judging is encouraged, and then the works will be judged by professional art critics on originality, aesthetics, painting capability, and technical contribution (e.g. sharing source code.)

We love art robots, so we’ll look forward to seeing the results of this competition.

EggBots in Library Makerspaces

The New Sarepta Library in Alberta, Canada posted this video on twitter saying:

Our new EggBot is up and running! Come check it out!

We’re super happy to see libraries including our tools in their makerspaces.

From the mailbag: Bristlebots and Scribblebots

Kate K.'s Bristlebot bug (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Jessica K. wrote in:

A few years ago I used your bristlebot design for one of my kid’s classes as a project and it was such a success I’ve done it for each kid (I have 4).

Kate K's Bristlebot Ladybug bottom (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

We also made made “pontoon” versions of your bristlebots with 2 toothbrush ends underneath a cardboard oval so it looked like a beetle and gave the kids more decorating space.

Scribblebot parts (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Well, now I needed a new project and I came up with the easiest, cheapest Scribblebot I’ve come across, using mostly your bristlebot construction.

Kate K.'s Dixie Scribblebot (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

The big discovery is that a Dixie cup plus mini markers keeps the whole thing so lightweight. Then put your foam taped pager motor and battery combo on top. It was also way cuter with some antennae and googley eyes. Thank you again for your great bristlebot – it’s made me the most popular mom in each of my kids’ classes.

The bots shown were made by her daughter Kate who also demonstrates them in the video clips. Thank you Kate & Jessica!

Epic Cylon costume with Larson Scanner

By Warren Goodwin

Warren wrote in on Facebook:

I just received your Larson scanner for my Foam Cylon helmet today … I have since this video diffused the light inside the clear conduit pipe the LEDS are held inside of to make the LED effect a bit more smoother.

He has been posting updates of the costume on facebook.

Cylon costume with Larson Scanner eye
By Warren Goodwin

Stippled Utah Teapot

Untitled

A Utah Teapot is an ideal design for a geeky ornament. For this one, I generated a vector stipple drawing from a photograph of the source object for this digital design icon. There are certainly many other ways to create a Utah Teapot ornament, including, of course, 3D printing.

utah contrasty

In this case, I took our photo of our teapot, adjusted it to give it slightly higher contrast, and loaded it into StippleGen 2.

utahstipple

I removed any background stipples and plotted it on an ornament. The ornament is 2.6 inches in diameter and I used a 0.2 tip Copic Multiliner SP. I have posted the design on thingiverse.

Star Wars Holiday Ornaments

Imperial crest & Rebel Alliance Ornaments

We’re getting into the spirit with a couple of seasonally appropriate decorations. The Rebel Alliance Ornament and the Imperial Crest Ornament for EggBot are both available on thingiverse. Our guide to printing ornaments with the EggBot may be helpful, too.

Both designs are derived from a set of silhouettes from vecteezy.com.

EggBotting with Metallic Pens

Our friend Fran has been making holiday ornaments with the EggBot and writes:

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have finally gotten to be able to use the Pilot Gold/Silver Markers.

She suggests dividing the drawing into layers so that after each layer you can take the pen out to shake it to keep the ink flowing. We’ve added her tips to the wiki page about choosing pens for the EggBot.

If you have other tips for which pens you like to use or for working with ornaments, we’d love to hear about them!

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.

word.camera

The most extreme example of this art form I came across was the word.camera ITP project by Ross Goodwin which algorithmically generates a sort of novelette from a source picture.

word.camera 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 word.camera 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