Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, engineering

Robot Thespian

As discussed on Underwire: RoboThespian shows more acting range than some Hollywood stars.

The third version of the robotic actor is a “life-size humanoid robot, an automated interactive actor. RoboThespian was created to educate, communicate, interact and entertain,” according to its maker, Engineered Arts.

See lots more videos of the robotic emoter.

*Edit*: watching all the videos and seeing how all of the technology and software are more or less open source and available to anyone, it dawned on me how this might actually be a fun educational project for undergraduates, or really hi-tech high school students.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, engineering, Illumination

Glow-in-the-dark Steak

Becky Stern (CC)
Becky Stern (CC)

Cool, huh?

It’s an entry into an Arduino Contest

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. “with one simple controller, you can make almost anything!” 

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and the Arduino Team have teamed up to put on an Arduino contest. More explained on Wired and Instructables:

Use those nifty microcontrollers to build an cool project and maybe win a prize! The rules are simple: to enter you must make a new Instructable that involves the Arduino IDE. You can use any hardware that you like, or none at all. Be sure to provide the code you used so that others can follow in your footsteps. Make something amazing and win a sweet Meggy Jr RGB from Evil Mad Science or an Arduino Mega from the Arduino Team to power your next project!

Deadline is November 15th!

Contest Starts: Oct 1, 2009
Entry Deadline: Nov 15, 2009
Voting Starts: Nov 16, 2009
Voting Ends: Nov 22, 2009
Judging Starts: Nov 23, 2009
Judging Ends: Nov 30, 2009

Posted in communication and networking, music

Live music using 1s and 0s

Live coders jamming together
Live coders "jamming" together

I kid you not: writing coding to make music, in front of a live audience. Truly New Wave.

It might just be the most conceptually complex way of making music that modern man has yet devised. But that is the challenge of live coding – the process of writing computer code, in real time, to compose and play music or design animations.

“It’s not just a passive process, not just someone creating sounds, which is the problem with electronic music – because people don’t really see what it is that the musicians are doing,” says Dave Griffiths.

Dave is a live coder and a performer in a night of live coding held in a south London pub, organised by the collective Toplap.

“Live coding brings the audience closer; they can see that you’re making something in front of them,” he says.

The furious coding is also projected onto a screen for the audience, making the programming as much – or more – of the performance as the music it codes for.

If anything it should go wrong – and anyone who has ever done any programming will know how frequent this is – they get nothing out.

A crash. Epic fail.

Because the software that live coders use is designed for a compile-free, real-time use, the performers face this prospect much less often.

But it does happen, Dave tells me. “That’s what keeps it exciting,” he says.

Read more on BBC

Posted in communication and networking

Wordle rocks!

All of my loves – science, art, and words – combined into one! How did I not know of this thing sooner? Okay, in this case the science is actually a technology, computer programing, but it’s close enough to make me very pleased. I give you…Wordle! 

Wordle is a “toy,” as described on its website, created by IBM senior software engineer Jonathan Feinberg. It allows anyone to enter in a sample of text, and the program will analyze how often certain words were used in the text and will create an artistic interpretation of the word usage. It’s a lot cooler than I’m describing it; here’s a page from the Wordle gallery. My computer seems to be lacking something (apparently my Java isn’t up to date enough) so I cannot currently make one to show you my deepest thoughts, or a more artistic interpretation of my science articles, but as soon as I make one I’ll post it here. *edit* Hopefully this will work.

Try it out and post your results here! I’m interested to see what people come up with.