It's 2016!

Well, 2015 was a great year for me, but I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be even better.

This is just a quick post to share a STL I designed this morning for handing out to kids at OMSI

You can download the image file from Thingiverse. Happy new year!

Wand Light Painting

Last weekend, some friends and I went stargazing in a park outside the city. I brought my LED levitation wand from Astral along, as it's especially fun to spin in wide open areas. Luckily, my friend and museum coworker Mike (aka Coma Niddy - science rapper extraordinaire) brought his fancy camera. We took some 10 second exposure shots, and here are the best ones:

Hackaday Superconference

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to assist my friend and mentor Paul Stoffregen of PJRC in presenting an Advanced Microcontroller-Based Audio workshop at the 1st annual Hackaday Superconference in San Francisco.

Our workshop was completely sold out, and was standing room only on the day of with every extra chair filled with folks we allowed to audit. It went off without a hitch, and all weekend we received compliments and testimonials to how much participants enjoyed it.

I'm in the background, talking to the man in the red shirt.

I'm in the background, talking to the man in the red shirt.

In a cool turn of events, one of our workshop attendees took the award for "Most Over the Top" in the badge hacking competition by using the hardware and audio system GUI we were demoing to create an incredible spectrum analysis visualization on a TFT. Skip ahead to 17:36 in the video below to check it out. This gives you a good  idea of the exciting capabilities of the audio library & GUI that Paul has created.

Before heading down to SF, Paul and I demoed the workshop at Ctrl^H, a local Hackerspace. It went well, and people were really excited by the material. At this point, the workshop had already been announced for the Superconference, and almost immediately there was an influx of requests for us to film it for those unable to attend. Due to the self-directed design of the actual workshop, we knew that a video of it would not be suitable for disseminating the information well - so we decided to film a step-by-step video tutorial. Two days of filming and 20 hours of editing later, we came up with the following:  

If you are at all interested in creating audio systems with microcontrollers, you need to check it out. 

At the conference, I ended up attending three workshops (in addition to ours). My favorite in intro the ESP8266 Thing. It was pretty basic, but by the end I was able to blink an LED using my cell phone, so that was really neat! This could definitely have some applications in my wearables work. 

A not-so-great photo from the workshop.

A not-so-great photo from the workshop.

One last cool thing that happened - I made a new friend at the conference, who also happens to be an educator - and he invited me on a tour of Autodesk's Pier 9 facility on Sunday morning! This was a mind-blowing experience. Pier 9 houses Autodesk's offices and several state-of-the art studio and shop spaces, where they host cutting edge artists on a rotating basis. This video gives an idea, but I think doesn't do it justice (I'm not sure how you *could* do such an amazing place justice):

It basically rendered me speechless, and I did a pretty lousy job with taking photos. I did, however, snag these two of projects by Morehshin Allahyari.

Simply put, she is using 3D printing to recreate antique sculptures destroyed by ISIS at the Mosul Museum, for a new series named "Material Speculation: ISIS." This Daily Dot article goes into more detail. I had already been following her work, so seeing it where it was made (and the state-of-the-art machines used to print it) was a profound experience. 

All in all it was an exceptional weekend, and I returned to Portland reinvigorated and inspired - and looking forward to my next trip to the Bay Area.