Interactive art at Helix

Romy Randev of Looma is installing his latest piece, Penumbra at the Helix museum in Los Altos.

Penumbra is an interactive installation that responds to movement in its environment. Without any human interaction, Penumbra is disguised as a decorative glass wall. However, each colored glass tile illuminates individually as sensors that respond to movements control LEDs behind the glass.

Penumbra makes use of our Octolively modules, and we’ll be at Helix with Romy on Saturday March 29th, starting at 2:00 PM to talk about the art and tech behind Penumbra. Event information is available from Helix.

Robots in the Central Valley

Rows of busy pits

Friday was a busy day in the pits at the Central Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. The teams got their robots unpacked, inspected, and ran practice rounds prior to matches this weekend. We’re here with Fremont Robotics, and we’ll be taking pictures throughout the weekend and posting them (tagged by team number where identifiable) in this flickr set.

On the field

The challenge this year is fun to watch: the robots score goals with large exercise balls and earn extra points for passing to team members and throwing the ball over a beam. The event is free to attend and open to the public, so if you’re near Madera, California this weekend, we’d love to see you here!

Robots of BarBot 2013

Here are a few of the robots in attendance at BarBot 2013:

Schroedinger's Martini

Schrödinger’s Martini, in which the amount of vermouth is indeterminate until box is opened and the drink observed.

Thinbot

Thinbot, pouring impeccably mixed drinks with style.

Tiki Bot and Manhattan Shake

Manhattan Project and Mai Tai Project.

Outta Time

Outta Time, with a new LED lit control panel.

Tipsy Bot

Tipsy Bot, using Legos to tip ingredients into your glass.

Drink Making Unit 2.1

Our very own Drink Making Unit 2.1.

Barbot 2013

SW500 500SW (5:00 Somewhere) became affectionately known as Drink Drink Revolution or Dance Dance Intoxication. It judged your dancing skills and served you a drink thematically appropriate to your style.

Barbot 2013

Santa Barbot mixes drinks with super soaker components.

barbot 2013

Not all the robots were serving drinks, and this lampshade-wearing robot seemed like it may have had a few too many.

R2D2

No party is complete without R2D2, who wasn’t being used as a roving drink tray, since there were plenty of other robots to serve the humans.

Updated Nov. 9 to correct 500SW’s name.

BarBot 2013 Pictures

Barbot 2013

The first night of Barbot is over, but there’s still one more night to go! Drink Making Unit 2.1 made a successful first public debut. Its “Vodka” switch was a hit, and it was perhaps the only bot that was able to pour non-alcoholic beverages. We managed to get a few pictures from the event before it got too crowded and have published them in a flickr set. Shown above is the control panel for Outta Time, illuminated with some of our very own LEDs.

Tickets for tonight’s event (ages 21+) are still available.

CalGames 2013

in the pit

This weekend, Oct. 4-5, is CalGames 2013, an off-season FRC competition. It’s being hosted by the team we mentor, Firebird Robotics, at Fremont High School here in Sunnyvale, California. The event is open to the public and free of charge for spectators. Matches are scheduled for 6:15-7:15 Friday night, start again at 8:15 on Saturday morning and everything wraps up with awards at 5:15 on Saturday afternoon.

670 and 4135

If you’re in the area, come watch the robots shoot frisbees and climb the pyramids!

Maker Faire NY 2013, Day One, in Pictures

Day one of the 2013 Maker Faire New York was incredible. We’ve nearly lost our voices after speaking with folks about our projects, all day long in the Atmel area of the Make:Electronics tent.  However, we tag-teamed a bit and managed to take photos of many of the sights to see– costumes, robots, oodles of 3D printers, handmade furniture, mars rovers, UAVs, underwater ROVs, electronics, and so many other incredible projects. You can see the full photo set here.

We’ll be back for more; Maker Faire continues tomorrow (Sunday) at the New York Hall of Science.

OHS 2013 Highlights: NeoLucida

NeoLucida was the subject of one of the best presentations and demos at the 2013 Open Hardware Summit.

The NeoLucida is a drawing aid that allows you to trace what you see.  It’s the first portable, authentic camera lucida to be manufactured in nearly a century. We love camera lucidas, and we think they can help people understand art history in provocative new ways.

The NeoLucida is was launched in a wildly successful kickstarter campaign to make a modern version of a camera lucida available to a new generation of artists. It’s not a complicated device, but it is an extremely specialized one, and niche products like it are a place where open source hardware and crowdfunding can come together incredibly successfully. They were able to bring the cost of owning a camera lucida into the realm of possibility for artists who can’t afford antiques. By publishing how the device works and how they make it, they have increased understanding both of the device itself and of historical works of art made using it.

It was exciting to try out a NeoLucida during the demo session at the summit, especially after hearing about its history.