Sign Plus Plus at the Atlanta Maker Faire

IMG_1795-fxAt the Atlanta Maker Faire on October fourth, I was happy to meet Payam Ghobadpour and Madeleyne Vaca who were showing off a prototype sign language translation glove called the Sign plus plus. They, along with Kelley Sheffield abd Andrew Thieck came up with this device at a HackGT hackathon event.

The glove is powered by an Intel Edison general purpose computing platform. Interestingly, the Edison can be programmed in C++, which would seem to have something to do with the name of the device!


View All

I didn’t see it in action, translating signs into speech or text, but the basic idea is that there is a sensor attached to each finger and thumb, which would allow the processor to translate these finger motions into letters or words. As their website points out, although those that can’t speak can communicate with a teletype device, they lack the ability to express some of the nuances that signing allows for. It’s exciting to think what something like this could be capable of once developed further.

Interestingly, this type of glove, also listed at the “SignFlx,” is envisioned to possibly have more uses than signing to generate speech or text. Air guitar is mentioned as an application, as well as video games. Perhaps the latter use isn’t entirely new, but in their defense, typical college students are, I suppose, too young to remember the Power Glove!

How To: The Ultimate Gaming PC

With $1500 and a plan, Imgur user ZacksJerryRig built a water-cooled gaming PC that is wall-mounted, and complete with LED lights. After using a laptop for video editing that took two hours to render a ten minute video, he decided it was time for an upgrade. This custom built PC renders a ten minute in 5 minutes. (Here’s the specs.)

View All

The top is made with ¼ hardboard, and the frame is 1 inch thick. Plexiglass is cut and applied where the components would sit, and 1 inch standoffs were applied where the motherboard sits to allow for airflow. Carbon fiber sticker is placed over the hardboard and the components where attached. He states that the power supply was the heaviest piece, so to insure it’s sturdiness, he used 3 inch bolts to secure it and industrial Velcro underneath. To keep the water-cooling reservoir at 39 degrees celsius, he used longer bolts to increase the distance off the plexiglass to 2 inches. Then the hard drive was mounted and the LED lights run throughout. The PC runs two monitors as well as a 50 inch 4k TV.

A Microsoft Paint Figure Drawing Class


Artist, prankster, and F.A.T. Lab member Aram Bartholl will hold a very unique figure drawing class this Saturday at the new Eyebeam location in Brooklyn. Rather than using paper and charcoal, attendees to this unorthodox drawing class will attempt to depict a nude model using only a classic version of Microsoft Paint and a mouse.

No antialiasing! No layers! Limited undos! Come and show off your mouse drawing skills in good old desktop drawing style.

Aside from being an all-around good time, this class may also be a clever critique of the value of learning antiquated art techniques. After all, if photographic processes replaced the necessity of having drawing skills in order to depict an image, then we must still be teaching drawing techniques simply for the merits of learning to think visually in terms of lines and mark making. Now that iPhones and photoshop have replaced the necessity of traditional photographic processes in order to produce an accurate image, why not teach a Microsoft Paint drawing class simply for the merits of learning to think visually in terms of pixels and digital file formats?

Update: Bartholl posted a set of SFW pictures of the very first MS paint figure drawing class on flickr, if you’d like to see the results for yourself!

Interactive Sculpture Dispenses Paint According to the Mood of Local Social Media




Be careful what you tweet, because your feelings could be immortalized in a piece of public art. At least that’s what happened in Oslo when Syver Lauritzsen and Eirik Haugen Murvold publicly displayed a sculpture called MONOLITT.

MONOLITT is an interactive installation that quite literally paints the mood of the city, using social media feeds as an input. The installation takes electronic signals and lets them manifest themselves in the physical world. Using sentiment analytics, the installation links tweets to corresponding colored paints in realtime, feeding them out through the top of the sculpture, letting them flow into a procedurally generated three-dimensional painting.


I don’t know how they decided to assign color values to different emotions, and different emotions to words, but I’d love to see this project done over a longer period of time. I think it would be fascinating to have a visual representation of the mood of a place and see how it changes over time!

[via Prothetic Knowledge]

Wyliodrin Cloud Programming Supports Pi and Galileo

Wyliodrin is an online service that allows you to visually create applications for Linux development boards and control them from your browser. You can use their service to program a Raspberry Pi and they’ve recently partnered with Intel to allow you to program second generation Galileo boards. Users can start with Visual Programming, a language that’s similar to Scratch. Visual Programming translates into Python or JavaScript, so users can see the code that’s generated.

“The special feature of Wyliodrin is debugging,” said Alexandru Radovici, CEO. “Instead of using consoles or watches windows, Wyliodrin allows users to plot their variables in graphs. This allows a better understanding of what is going on in the program. Instead of listing a lot of numbers, people see graphs.”

As part of their partnership with Intel, if you own a Galileo can get a one year subscription that allows you to use 3 boards and create 15 applications. After that, a free account allows you to use one board and create 3 applications. There are paid tiers beyond that if you need more capacity.

“Wyliodrin does for electronics what LEGO did for mechanics,” said Alexandru. “By using Wyliodrin, anyone can start tinkering with devices, not matter what background they have.”

Unboxing Intel Edison

Intel Developer Forum is underway right now at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. At yesterday’s kickoff, it was clear that Intel sees a lot of potential in Edison, its brand new Linux-based system-on-module, which was originally announced at CES earlier this year. The board itself is small, a little larger than a postage stamp and has some nice specs: dual core, dual threaded 500 MHz Atom processor and a 32-bit Quark processor running at 100 MHz. It has 1 gigabyte of RAM, 4 gigabytes of on-board flash memory (eMMC), wifi, bluetooth, and 40 GPIO.

Accessing those teeny tiny GPIO pins would be a challenge without the help breakout boards. Intel is providing one that has Arduino pin compatibility and another that’s much smaller for more advanced hardware developers. Our friends at Sparkfun Electronics also introduced a line of breakouts, one of which has pin compatibility with the Raspberry Pi:

2014-09-09 12.14.56

We were lucky enough to get our hands on a few of the boards, and until we can do a thorough review of them, check out the unboxing video above. You can see the Edison, its Arduino breakout, and compare it in size to Raspberry Pi’s equivalent product, the Compute Module.

If you would like to give one a try yourself, you can get them in the Makershed!

Google Cardboard and Go Pro mix it up at Maker Faire Trondheim

Maker Faire Trondheim This post is coming to you live from Maker Faire Trondheim being held in the town square here in Trondheim, Norway, all weekend.

The "Google Cardboard"-type viewer in action

Jon Haavie and the “Google Cardboard”-style viewer in action

What happens when you mix a “Google Cardboard” style viewer—called LINS, Swedish for lens—along with a Go Pro spherical camera mount? Well something like this, I talked to Erik Thorstensson—from Creatables in Göteborg—who was here showing off a prototype viewer created by student Alexander Osika.

 Erik Thorstensson talking and the story behind the “Google Cardboard”-style viewer

Afterwards I followed up with Alexander about the project,

How did you get started?

My brother Anton Osika and I started this project earlier this summer by first 3D-printing some of the cool Open Source designs for a virtual reality headset from OpenDive. After seeing the potential the technology had, we started making prototypes out of cardboard, and we felt that we were on the right track when Google announced their project Cardboard, which was very similar to what we had in mind. But we also saw how a lot of people saw the Cardboard more like a joke than a real product, and realized that for this to become commercial, we probably would have to make it in plastic.

What was the driver behind the project?

We also wanted to take advantage of the fact that you always have your smartphone with you, and that a virtual reality headset should not be so bulky and fragile that you just can’t take it with you. We had just started prototyping in polypropylene plastic sheets, with die cutting as the expected way of manufacturing, when we came in contact with Creatables and got a lot of great support and advice.

How far have you got with the prototype?

The prototypes we have now is looking very promising; the design is foldable and takes almost no space at all, takes only seconds to set up for usage with your smartphone, is very durable and will have a manufacturing price almost as low as a Cardboard-version.

Where are you heading with the project?

We really hope that this product will help virtual reality technology being both cheaper and more accessible, as we strongly believe in both virtual and augmented reality having a big role in the future of technology. This is also why there has been no question that this will be an Open Source design, and we hope that the first distributors will be science centers having “build your own”-workshops.

The Trondheim Maker Faire is a two day faire being held in the Trondheim town square. It opened yesterday, and is open again today between 10am and 4pm. It is free to attend.

Art and Technology Pioneer Eleanor Kent Dies

eleanor-kent-fractal-3Crux, knitted wool mounted on board, 1994

Eleanor Kent, an artist who innovated methods of making art from new technologies, died recently at the age of 83. The San Francisco native started drawing and painting seriously in the 1950s and continued to branch out into other media over the years, such as color xerox, computer graphics, and even EL wire, as these technologies emerged.

From the artist’s website:

Working with Bay Area Figurative masters helped Kent form a solid art foundation, which she used to explore other mediums and forms of expression in the following decades. In the 1970s, she painted on fabric and t-shirts and used color copiers to create prints. Throughout the 1980s, Kent explored developing computer technology and graphic systems as art tools and helped found Ylem, a tech art group. During the ‘90s, Kent started knitting the fractals and other mathematical images she saw on computers, and today crochets body jewelry using electro-luminescent wire, which surrounds the wearer with light. She paints and continues to work for the creative use of technology and a sharing of information as a way of peacefully exploring our existence.

Not only did she make many extraordinary works, she also helped develop the concept of exploring new technologies as a means of artistic expression, which has come to define so much contemporary art production.

eleanor-kent-colorcopyTahoe Water, color xerox, 1981

eleanor-kent-computerNew Suns, cibachrome print from Apple lle, 1983

eleanor-kent-Fractal-1Spiral Fractal, knitted wool mounted on board, 1988

eleanor-kent-fractal-2Magic Carpet, knitted wool, 1993

eleanor-kent-el-wireRose Coral, hyperbolic crochet e-l wire, 2007

A public celebration of her life will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 7 at SOMArts in San Francisco.

[via Prothetic Knowledge]

The Riveting Results of a GoPro Video Apparatus Workshop

Looking for creative ways to capture some action with your GoPro camera? Take a gander at what these industrial design students came up with during a workshop run by dutch designer Roel Wouter of Moniker at The ECAL University of Art and Design in Switzerland in this riveting video. The brief for the workshop was simply to “build an apparatus that produces videos the world has never seen before.”

Seeing this video really reminds me of how important good documentation is when making a project to share on the internet. Sometimes just thinking about how to document your project can be more important than the results of the project itself.

[via Man Battlett]

Liquid Cool your PC!


If you or your family and/or roomates are annoyed with a constantly humming GPU fan, why not consider liquid cooling your computer? Sure, simple air cooling is (was?) good enough to cool some small cars, but if you want something truly unique to add to your dual-GPU rig, few things will set it apart like a custom cooling system.

If you don’t know where to start, Carlos wrote in with his excellent set of instructions, linked above. Although there is definitely some ingenuity involved in this type of setup, it may not be quite as hard as you think. Most of the cooling components used are available off-the-shelf, so you won’t need “exotic” tools like a 3D printer or CNC router.

View All

One of the more delicate parts of the operation is stripping the GPUs of their cooling fans and heat syncs. You’ll need to carefully strip the thermal paste off the GPU in order to properly apply the water blocks, which transfer cooling water in and out, taking the excess thermal energy with them.

According to the home page of this project, it took 12 hours to complete, as well as a couple months of research. Reportedly, the temperature dropped dramatically, and the constantly-running fans are nearly silent.