Category Archives: Everything Else

Evil Mad Scientist Linkdump: March 2014

Back from the dead: The Evil Mad Scientist Linkdump. Last seen circa 2010, the Linkdump is our occasional collection of interesting links. You can find our archived linkdumps here.

Designs for Eggbot by RoboGenius

We’ve been watching the work of RoboGenius for quite some time. He has created some of the neatest non-geometric work anybody has done on the Egg-Bot. Recently, he uploaded a number of his designs to thingiverse, which means you can try them out, too. He has also been posting great pictures of them to flickr. When asked in the Egg-Bot user list how he created them, he posted:

The short answer is that it’s all done line by line in Inkscape.

The slightly more tedious answer is that it starts with an image (generally something off the web, or that has some significance to me), then I import that image onto my 3200px X 850px template in Inkscape and position it where I want it on the egg/ball. I then take a look at the image and decide how many color layers I’ll be needing for the plot and add those to the project, naming them sequentially followed by the color I use for the layer (for example: 1 – Yellow, or 5 – Black). I always begin with the lightest colors first, and generally end in black. Then it’s simply a matter of tracing over the picture on the correct layer using the bezier line tool (Shift + F6), and bending those lines with the path editing tool (F2). Once I get the basic lines created, I’ll create and fill any solid shapes using the EggBot Contributed Hatch fill extension (spacing should be set to 6 for eggs). To add shading, you simply go over the same places a couple of times with the same color, which can be achieved with Copy and Paste, and occasionally the shading can be enhanced by altering the angle of the line to match the angle of the shape or intended shadow (the Master Chief design is a good example of this technique).

That’s pretty much it. To finish off the project, I like to color all of the lines in a layer to match the marker used in that layer, then delete the layer with the picture in it.

Thank you for generously sharing both your designs and your techniques, RoboGenius!

Senko [Flash]

Tatsu Iida, a member of oxoxo [zero by zero] wrote in to tell us about the interactive LED installation entitled Senko [Flash] which they showed at the Tokushima LED Art Festival in April.


They used a Peggy 2 to drive a field full of LED illuminated spheres, along with IR sensors to detect visitors entering the array. Each new person would trigger a new sphere to light up and move through the field.

閃光 [Senko] - Tokushima LED Art Festival

This is the largest installation we’ve ever seen based on the Peggy 2.

閃光 [Senko] - Tokushima LED Art Festival

Thanks for sharing your incredible project with us!

Links to many more Peggy 2 projects are on the wiki.

Super Awesome White House Hangout

Our pal Super Awesome Sylvia will be joining a White House Hangout on the Maker Movement tomorrow with White House innovation advisor Tom Kalil and others including our friends Dale Dougherty of MAKE and Saul Griffith of Otherlab. You can watch at or tune in to the White House’s Google+ page or YouTube channel on Thursday, March 28th at 3:00 pm ET.

(Photo of President Obama with FIRST Robotics Team 341 at the 2010 White House Science Fair by Pete Souza)

Dazzle Camouflage in Fashion

We’re no strangers to seeing an occasional hard-to-look-at article of clothing. However, we recently came across the above pictured dress (the Signature Shift Dress by Julie Brown), and noticed a peculiar quality about it.  The pattern of angled, high-contrast shapes makes it remarkably difficult to see the actual shape of the dress underneath that print.

Now, where have we seen this kind of thing before?

Ah yes: Dazzle Camouflage!  Dazzle camouflage was used in WWI to make ships more difficult to identify and target, by disguising their size, configuration, range and orientation. This is different from traditional camouflage, which tries only to minimize visibility, but can be surprisingly effective.  In the photo above, of the USS Mahomet in port (circa November 1918), it’s hard to make out even the out the shape of the ship.

Additional good examples of ships with dazzle camouflage can be seen herehere, and here (in an article that discusses the design process for the patterns).

Curiously, dazzle camouflage seems to have made a recent comeback in fashion.

This Print Wrap dress at Uupto distorts the model’s curves in strange ways.  Thanks to the “mountain range” in the middle, one might initially perceive this to be a maternity dress.

The Print and Proper dress at Modcloth is another new example.

And the Poleci Women’s Cross Front Striped Longsleeve Top from FavBuy creates the illusion of a strangely misshapen abdomen.

The Elbow Sleeve Tiered Dress at Venus.  The interrupted, striped, spiraling pattern creates the illusion (perhaps assisted by photoshop) that the diameter of the dress is somewhat smaller than it is in reality.

You can dazzle all the way to your toes, with these matching Black and White Platform Heels at Venus.


Some designs stray from simple black and white geometric patterns, but still effectlively confuse the eye, such as this Jersey Maxi Dress by Julie Brown.  Worth noting is that many of the original dazzle patterns on ships were brightly colored, too.


Of course, this is not the first time dazzle camouflage has appeared in fashion. At the time that dazzle camouflage was first introduced, the public was fascinated by it.

The Dazzle Camouflage Pinboard by user Saruzza has some wonderful historical fashion examples, including a reference to a 1919 Dazzle Ball at the Chelsea Club.

From a contemporary article (via camoupedia), comes this account:

Four British naval officers, distinguished for their success at camouflage, had charge of designing the dresses, and the ballroom looked like the Grant Fleet with all its warpaint on, ready for action. The jazz bands produced sounds that have the same effect upon the ear as this “disruptive coloration” has upon the eye.

A themed masquerade ball is one thing, but the patterns did also make their way into the mainstream culture of the time:

This picture of dazzle camouflage bathing suits from the 1919 New York Tribune was provided as a visual supplement to an excellent audio post by 99% Invisible on disruptive camouflage.

And as for the future? No discussion of dazzle would be complete with out mentioning CV Dazzle, which covers methods of using makeup and hairstyles to thwart face recognition software. Perhaps soon e-ink fabrics will also provide changeable displays that disrupt QR and barcode readers, as well as other visual tracking systems.

Pi Blanket


Happy Pi Day, everyone!

To celebrate, our friend Samantha brought in her knitted Pi blanket to share. After the first hexagon with the letter π embroidered on it, the first 127 digits of Pi are shown using the resistor color code to represent the value of the digit. Samantha is donating this quilt to the Project Linus, an organization that gives blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.

For those in the San Francisco area, the Exploratorium is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Pi Day from 1 pm to 3 pm in front of their soon-to-open new location at Pier 15.

Comet Pan-STARRS

The Exploratorium writes:

The comet Pan-STARRS is currently in view! Did you glimpse it last night?

This beautiful photo was taken by Exploratorium Staff member Adam Esposito last night (March 12) from the Berkeley Hills with a telephoto lens. Uranus is actually right near the comet as well. Mars in the clouds below.

TO VIEW TONIGHT: most of USA and northern hemisphere should look west, about 30 minutes after sunset. You may be able to see it below the crescent moon. It’s close to the sun so only after sunset is it briefly visible in the darkening sky.

We were able to see it last night with a Galileoscope, in spite of haze and an aggressive tree-line, by locating the moon and panning left. has a helpful sky map, too.

3D printed cookie rollers

George Hart sent us a link to his incredible Escher cookie roller project. The project “provides a customizable method of producing cookies that are imprinted with an individual’s favorite frieze patterns and tessellations.”

He and co-consipirator Robert Hanson have provided software for generating STL files to produce 3D printed tessellated cookie or clay rollers, and they’ve even posted a few of their sample STL files.

The process of using an imprinted roller to create patterns on clay dates back to ancient times. Using modern tools including image processing software and 3D printers allows recreation of the ancient patterns, as well as the creation of completely new ones.

Doomsday Atomic Alpha Clock Five Project

From the complete overkill department, evilandy posted in the forums about his project which hooks up an Alpha Clock Five to a GPS module, a WiFi module, a WWVB Atomic radio receiver, two TXCO RTC modules and two microcontrollers because, well, we’ll let him tell you:

I wanted a clock that would display precision time and date in “all” worst case scenarios. If this clock does not show the precise time then it’s time to gather up food, water, ammunition, and the family and head for the underground bunker!

The keyswitch, fire button, and covered toggle are nice touches. Thanks for sharing your project, evilandy!