Category Archives: Art

Robotic Art Contest 2017

The second annual Robot Art contest Is in its final lap:

The Robot Art 2017 competition will be running between now and May 15th when more than $100,000 in awards will be given to the top painting robots. Winners will be determined based on a combination of public voting, professional judges consisting of working artists, critics, and technologists, and by how well the team met the spirit of the competition – that is to create something beautiful using a physical brush and robotics.

You can help by voting on the artwork now!

Robert Dering: Batik Egg Artist

Daniel Clifton wrote up a nice article at 101highlandlakes.com about Robert Dering, a retiree who makes batik dyed eggs he gifts to people in his community. The article talks about the process of making them, including using an EggBot.

He started batik egg coloring about 15 years ago after Martha Stewart demonstrated it on her TV show. (Dering said it’s a bit embarrassing to admit he watched the show, but he pointed out he was retired and you never know from where you can learn something new.) The first few were terrible, but he continued, improving with each one.

“I’m still improving,” he said.

For most of those years, he used a small, hand-turned lathe designed for batik egg coloring to pen on a design. It was a bit tedious. But recently, he came across a mechanical device called the EggBot, which does that step for him using a computer program. The program frees up Dering’s creativity. He simply scans a photo or a design into the computer program, which adapts it for the EggBot, which, in turn, draws it on an egg.

There ends the time-saving. Now it’s back to the dying, waxing, and washing.

Holiday Cards with AxiDraw

Pitch Interactive, a data visualization studio, sent out “Happy Holidata” cards made using the AxiDraw.

This year’s card features a snowflake that uses two data points in its generation: how long we’ve known the recipient and the air quality where we’re sending the card. It is unique to the person we sent it to, and no two snowflakes are alike.

After getting some inspiration from dozens of photos of snowflakes, we brainstormed about the different types of symmetry and shapes that would make our design. We then generated the snowflake with a script that draws a certain number of radial spikes based on how long we’ve known the person we were sending them to. Other parameters for the generation rely on random numbers, ensuring that each generated snowflake was completely unique.

They’ve published the code on github, as well as a set of svg files.

AYAB: A new interface for vintage knitting machines

Machine knitted versions of the AYAB and the Evil Mad Scientist logos

AYAB — All Yarns Are Beautiful — is an open source hardware and software project that provides an alternative way to control the widely-loved Brother KH-9xx range of knitting machines using a computer. There are other hacks (such as Img2Track, Knitic and electro-knit) which work with certain machines in certain conditions. The AYAB interface works with all Brother KH-9xx machines except the KH-970.

AYAB control board

We’ve just launched a new interface board for the AYAB project. They’ve written about it on their site, and you can read the product details on our store page for it.

Historically, these machines were programmed with semi-transparent picture cards which were scanned by the machine line by line. For later machines, you could enter a pattern via lots of tedious button-pressing. Some models had an add-on gadget that connected to your vintage TV.

Knitted image of Live Long and Prosper hand gesture

With the AYAB interface, you can provide an image of up to a 200 pixel (or needle) size from your computer. The control is done by an Arduino-compatible microcontroller board, which replaces the vintage control board. We are excited to be helping to bring new capabilities to these beloved machines.

A new Interactive LED Table

We love the goal of the Anew Nature furniture makers out of St. Louis.

Anew Nature is a modern furniture producer that offers training, employment, and hope to marginalized men, with criminal backgrounds to help integrate into the work force.

We also think it’s pretty cool that they’re using our Interactive LED Panels in their RISE Sleigh LED Coffee Table (shown in the video above). Check out their campaign to launch their RISE furniture line.

Hilbert Curve Cat

Shy wrote in to tell us about a tool he created to generate Hilbert curves from images for plotting called Image2Hilbert. (Main GitHub project link, here: )

Shy says:

I added a calculation in the interface and this line is approximately 35.881 meters long and it took about 45 minutes to draw.

Thank you, Shy, for sharing this tool! We look forward to seeing what people make with it.

Lady Ada Lovelace Day 2016

MFNY 2016

This year for Lady Ada Lovelace Day, I want to celebrate the many women who shared their projects at Maker Faire New York.

I was thrilled to see the Touch Creature sculpture above by Talya Stein, especially after having seen an earlier version. She and I talked about the approachability of organic materials like wood. It was wonderful to see kids interacting with it.

I had a great conversation with Blythe Serrano, who I had met at a previous Maker Faire, about the material properties she has learned this year from experimenting with silicone casting. She makes light up pet collars, and generously shares her learning processes.

MFNY 2016

I loved this spatial magnetic field visualization by Inhye Lee. The three tubes in the center contain individually controllable electromagnets. The  compasses spin in their spheres in response to the changing magnetic fields.

There are so many more I had the pleasure of connecting with and catching up with, including Becky Stern, Sophi Kravitz, Star Simpson, and Sally Byers. I love Maker Faire for the opportunity to bask in the glow (LED glow in some cases) of so many incredible women.