Monthly Archives: December 2009

hello world

So I have been quiet for ages and ages… I have been busy though. where to begin…

So I have a new job… its robot related, and space too! its very r&d based so I spend most of my time learning how to do things I have not done before. Which is good for me, I never object to knowing new things. I have been busy in more than my work though…

Back in august I flew to Vienna to contribute to the Plumbercon.org mini conference. I was asked by my friend Astera, to present something robot like, with the ability to get people involved. Considering the lack of funding and baggage space a hack event was out of the question so I took this as an opportunity to spread the fun of evolutionary computing applied to robotics. I half had a presentation I had put together for an interview the year before, so with some tweaking I prepared a talk on the benefits of genetic algorithms as an alternative to design then progressed to examples of robotic applications. A rather daunting experience traveling to a country that speaks a language Ive never learnt to present at my first conference, but still a great learning opportunity.

What was next… well in the last year Bristol Dorkbot have become twice as active as before, with regular hack evenings and contribution to local tech and art events. In August I organised a circuit bending activity held in Bath as part of Staging Sound. This was part of the DorkBot contribution, where also we had an autonomous glockenspiel, Pisanomaticâ„¢ bikes, and more circuit bent toys.

DSC00001 -> bath staging sound

So what else should I tell you about. I think it was in October than I went to Manchester to help http://madlab.org.uk/ with their first hackspace event. Madlab is a new hackspace in manchester. Their opening co-insides with the walking with robots festival at the manchester science festival. So alot of robots in one place! I was invited up to help out at a days worth of robot hacking, and testing their new facilities. The hackspace building has some great potential, and I hope to see some awesome projects coming from up north, especially now they know how to use h-bridge drivers and IR sensors ;). On the second day I helped out at the robotics festival, explaining a PID demo boat, developed at aberystwyth university.

The finally blurt of info I will share I am quite excited about. As part of the Bristol Arnolfinis uncraftivism event myself and Richard Jarkman have been working on a fun little robot art project, the eyes the eyes!

DSC00001 -> the eyes the eyes

For more pics and videos go to flickr voidnoise. The Eyes project is a Bristol Dorkbot effort at collaborating electronics software and animatronics into an interactive art installation. Through using simple electronics, code, mechanics and slight artistic license we have created a functioning motion tracking eye ball housed in a steam punk themed box. The eye rotates on 2 axis along with a moving eye lid. Using simple behavioural mechanisms such as boredom and sleepyness, the eye portrays life like characteristics. The completed first design can be seen below where it has been on display at Bristol Arnolfini’s Uncraftivism event Dec 09. More info can bere found here http://code.google.com/p/theeyestheeyes/DSC00001

The project has had a great reaction with everyone who has seen it, and we have some interesting plans of how we will develop it over the next few months. We will keep these quiet for now though ;)

actually that wasnt the last bit of info, this is. I recently purchased a sieg x1 micro mill, to satisfy all my robot making needs. I have the intention of converting this to a cnc machine, by making some motor mounts and interfacing them to a pc with a motor controller. I will hopefully keep this project on my blog as progress is made.

-> sieg x1