Maker Faire 2011

I went to the Maker Faire and met up with Jennifer, Shaan, Jason, and Rachel. Overall it was a fun experience and I saw some fascinating projects. The three projects that stood out most to me were the 3D printer, the water swing, and the METRO robot. I learned that the 3D printer prints line by line of plastic to make up the object. The 3D object is rendered on software like Maya (see the video I took on Vimeo for explanation). The printer costs about $1200-1300 and when a part breaks the machine can manufacture itself out of plastic. The METRO card robot and guy were an unexpected surprise in the Arduino tent. It was funny to see little kids interact with a robot their own size. (see video)

The water swing doesn’t get the kids wet when they swing directly under it.  However the water flows when the user is in the air away from the center of the swing. The tricky part is getting off with out getting soaked.

WATCH video of robot in action

The objects above were were made of plastic on the onsite 3D printer by MakerBot Industries.

Here is short video on my vimeo page I took while there. WATCH the 3D printer video 

Maker Faire 2011 – Alex S

I have been involved in the maker movement for about four years now but never had the opportunity to attend the faire. It was great to see all the youngsters, engaging in soldering and electronics. Overheard much talk about ‘Arduino in the classroom’. I feel kids who take a liking to this at such a young age will have no fear of technical hurdles. The faire needs more oversized and outrageous projects: cars, monsters, robots, etc. With such confined living in NYC I guess it may be difficult. I hope during my time in NYC I will enter one or two projects into the faire. Have to start thinking wildly….

Below is my video of ArcAttack – a music generating tesla!

ArcAttack – Dr Who


Readings Week 2 – Alex S

A new breed of web apps, integrating data-sets from multiple sources. No doubt, this style of development has become significant. Over the next few years, as more data is passed down to the public domain, and as younger generations readily share personal information online, the mashup formula will continue to grow.

Websites who generate revenue solely on advertisements are unfortunately forced to secure their content from mashups. These are mainly media sites: YouTube, Flickr, etc. This makes for an interesting battle between the mashers, and the providers.

Google has one of the best mashups: Google Trends. Amazing amount of information about the world based on Google seach content. If you think about how many queries are hammered into the engine every day (91 million) that is a plethora of data to work with.

Calm Technologies
Data from hardware passed to and from the internet? I feel this has been around since the dawn of the internet. As far as making the internet more ‘tangible’, I am not sure this is a well thought out approach, more-so, a step backwards. Technology is making the world less tangible, yes. Is this having massive social impact, yes. Are irritable blinking LEDs going to help, not really.

Amazing article! I cannot wait to have a camera in my living room that can somehow intelligently take pictures during my house parties. I suspect the first step towards the technology of intelligent things will be with RFID integration, or something similar. Objects will then have more identity, as barcodes are more-or-less meaningless to us at the moment. With RFID households will have itineraries of our items, which can then be linked to online networks. Many possibilities follow, such as tracking, sharing, and even more intelligent marketing.

Grey Album
Electronic producers love remixing and mashups (homonym). Many of them are very talented and enjoy the challenge of working with a limited set of samples – exactly as Brian Burton stated. I can relate to this article as I have spent many hours banging my head against Ableton (an infinite production suite) and generating a mess of sounds that were never consolidated as a full track. Conversely, when I make use of my synthesizer, the limited sound bank is more engaging.
In web context, mashups are used to integrate data while this style of mashup is about limiting the amount of data.

Marisa’s Mashup-PlanMyDate NYC and 360 Safety

Marisa’s Mashup Presentation Download

For this project I was asked to create two mashups. The file above is a PDF download of my two ideas including PlanMyDate NYC and  360 Safety. The second mashup pairs up to hardware. The PDF is a mock up, step by step vision, and explains who is using my mashups. Take a look at my project to see my mashup results.

Reading Response- Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops
By Thomas Goetz
Goetz mentioned the example of radar sensors being set up across towns. The sensors attach to a big digital readout announcing “Your Speed.” As a result drivers slowed an average of 14 percent. I know this happened in the town I grew up in and the results were similar. He addresses the term “feedback loop” and explains that data, presented to people about their driving actions makes it have an emotionally factor that sticks with people. They immediately see consequence and as a result change their action. Goetz mentions Albert Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy. Bandura believed that the more we believe we can meet a goal, the more likely we will do so. Sensors can help solve problems and capture behavioral data. Ultimately Goetz explains that sensors allow people to “set and achieve better-defined, more ambitious goals and curb destructive behaviors, replacing them with positive actions.” This is an optimistic view and I support the idea because people need to recognize their shortcomings and by sensors pointing them out they can change their behavior.

Shwetak Patel invented technology that provides remote care for the elderly. He used a stack of algorithms that could differentiate household appliances used for cooking, washing, etc.  By measuring resource consumption in the home society is encouraged to change their excessive usage of energy. We all can work on conserving water, gas and electricity. The example of the GlowCap really grabbed my full attention. I saw first hand how it was hard for my grandparents to remember their medications daily and keep track of what they took. This invention is remarkable. The GlowCap goes on top of the pill bottle and is a continuous feedback loop encouraging patients to take their medications. The information is delivered unobtrusively but noticeably and family can even be texted if the blinking light is not enough, or small beeping sounds. This is a great tool that I’m sure would be very useful in nursing homes and for all elderly patients.

Reading Response Mashups

Mashups: The new breed of Web app
An introduction to mashups
I was not familiar with the term “mashup” so this was a great article for getting an overview of the technical aspects. I had a vague idea that is dealt with music, but really never realized the full extent of Web 2.0 and how much I used it all the time. I learned that a mashup is formed with external data sources to create new services. For example, draws data from the outside. It composites crime and maps the data visually. There are also video, photo,  news and shopping mashups that I use often. Kathryn showed us and during class which is a good tool for creating mood boards. From this reading I became familiar with the term “screen scraping”. It is a tool that extract’s the user data. There are some deficiencies with screen scrapping because of updates and dependence on outside data. People are needed to fix and clean up the data because the automation isn’t accurate. Mashups include data input from the public but it has to be monitored for incorrect data. There are security concerns and people who disable Javascript can’t contribute data. Then the article addresses the topic intellectual property, rights managed material and overall consumer privacy versus public domain. In our generation I believe the public domain space will become more and more popular.


Calm Technologies 2.0: 
Visualizing Social Data as an Experience in Physical Space
This article addressed connectivity of an object to a website. It mentioned geotagged images (include the geographical latitude and longitude) where the image was takenon a map. Vlastaras writes, “[…] every time somebody visits my website, an led light blinks once in my room, and I get a warm feeling of a visitor.” This shows how people can have a physical experience from the virtual site.  The bell and fan examples discussed  I found extremely fascinating because they connect the site visitor to physical office space.

Why Things Matter
Julian Bleecker, Ph.
“Blogject”  are essentially objects, that blog. Julian claims that they participate in the exchange of ideas. Further she explains that Blogjects don’t just publish, they circulate conversations. She used an interesting example of how a Pigeon that Blogs a mash-up through GPS, GSM communications technology.  A  sensor tracks pollution and tracks it on Google Maps. Julian explains that Pigeons can tell us about the quality of the air we breath. Who would have thought that birds have the ability to effect change. She points out in the article that behaviors change especially when we are threatened. She concludes that a Blogject is “to make, disseminate and enhance meaning, to draw attention and to be assertive.” She claims it is a design imperative and I agree it can be a beneficial thing in our generation. She questions how the Internet of Things can become like a framework for us (society) to develop and design habitable things and improve our world.

Grey Album Producer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It
Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up took two weeks of nearly nonstop work.
By Corey Moss
This article addressed my initial idea as to what a mashup is. I listen to music by and they have fantastic examples of mashups. They do it to videos and songs. It’s quite remarkable and I highly recommend listening to them. Don’t Stop Believin is my favorite! Corey article addresses an artist who mixed albums.  When the mashup-er heard Jay-Z’s cappella version of The Black Album, he decided to blend it with the Beatles’ well-known The White Album and compose The Grey Album. The mashup-er measured the amount of beats per minute for each track and layered the separate tracks.