Project Update

There’s been a lot of activity at the space lately and here are just a few of the awesome projects happening here:

Plans are underway for us to hold a light-your-bike workshop on a Saturday afternoon in May. We are thinking of having 2 projects people can choose from, one pretty easy for novices in need of an intro, and the other ultimate fun for those already somewhat technically inclined. Details will follow soon. We are also planning a party which will probably be held in late June.

John E and Edwin are working hard on their Musical Universe of Faux Fur Flowers (they did receive some grant money – yay!) and to a lesser extent their costumes for Burning Man / Apogaea.

Spring has brought renewed interest in Autoponics (a fully automated aeroponic system). Dan Z and Lindsay are also practicing worm husbandry plus growing hundreds of seedlings at their apartment. They are looking for foster farmers who can offer spare land and watering when their crop is ready to transplant.

The Solar Steam Engine project has lost a little steam lately but is always a hit with visitors. Some solar panels and a voltmeter told us the solar power concentration is about 30% greater through the Fresnel lens than with normal sunlight.

Joel is working on several projects, including a lunch-box light show that consists of lasers and mirrors all self-contained in – you guessed it – a lunch box. His Ardouija will be a hands-off Ouija Board powered by an Arduino. He has one dimension going and was working on refinement plus adding and integrating the second dimension. He also just brought in various rocket parts and related paraphernalia for people to hack away on.

Ardouiji

Ardouiji

John M bought some Sifteo cubes which we were playing around with a couple weeks ago and will be thinking about possibilities for.

Sifteo

Sifteo

Ross has been hard at work building a heat-forming machine which will take a sheet of plastic which with a mold, heat and a vacuum will allow creation of various things. One application could be for Halloween masks or related props. Employing a CNC machine to make molds will broaden the possibilities considerably.

Dan D-B found a YouTube video a couple weeks ago of someone using spray paint to create a painting in about 40 seconds and wanted to try it out himself. Scrounging up various cans in various colors that were recently donated, he created a bunch of paintings one Saturday afternoon out in the parking lot. Liz tried one too and we now have more paint and props so expect more of this.

Spray paint art

Spray paint art

Liz is still working on improvements to her LED coat but dropped that temporarily to work on some flower power – adding simple yet elegant white LEDs to a floral print dress. She has plans for a few more projects like this but also is thinking about Apogaea / Burning Man plus ahead into fall and ideas for us hosting a Haunted Hacker House.

At this past Tuesday’s meeting, Juan from SparkFun attended and intended to photograph general goings-on at our space, but also got roped in to doing some light painting with Liz and her LED coat on rainbow mode.

Light painting

Light painting

We are expanding in to more of the building! Which is fortunate as our stuff has accumulated and we’ve attracted more people. In addition to all our fun projects we will be spending some time reorganizing and moving things around to better accommodate our needs.

I know there are some things I’ve missed so these are just a few of the projects going on at Solid State Depot. Come check us out on a Tuesday evening or see if we’re around on a Saturday afternoon! (But maybe not this Saturday 4/23 – instead go see our friends at SparkFun for their Autonomous Vehicle Competition!)

Wearable LEDs Update

Just a quick note on a couple of our wearable technology (WT) projects: Liz’s raincoat and John’s top hat.

Raincoat: This was Liz’s first real WT project taken to completion, and there was definitely some “pound to fit, paint to match” involved in order to meet her goal of having it ready in time to wear to Ignite Boulder 14. She attached diffused RGB LEDs (and some beads for additional diffusing) to each button on her coat, wired them up to a power source and an Arduino onto which she sketched 2 programs: a slowly-changing color mode and flashing rainbow. In the next few weeks she plans to improve both hardware and software so that it will be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.

Top Hat: John English added an individually programmable LED strip to a top hat. This is one component of his wardrobe for Burning Man and Apogaea this year, but he also wanted to heat up Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days with it. He is currently serving up two patterns of light, also using an Arduino: a rotating rainbow pattern and another using an accelerometer, which makes the LED strip change color based on his head / hat position.

John is no stranger to making costumes and other props for Burning Man and Apogaea, so expect more like this to come.

See additional photos and video of both projects in our Wearable Technology Flickr group.

Super Bowl Halftime LED Show

Reposted from Hackerspace member Liz’s blog

At halftime during this year’s Super Bowl, Daniel chatted me to ask if I was watching it because there was quite an LED show going on.

If you haven’t seen it:

Here is a summary of what I could dig up on the technology and some of my personal opinions about the visual aspects of the show.

How they did it

  • almost 400 of the backup dancers wore LED-equipped costumes
  • the costumes were made of durable silver tricot foil by a dance/costume company called Just for Kix in Baxter, MN
  • each dancer’s costume was outfitted with 300 LED RGB strip lights supplied by Creative Lighting Solutions, LLC in Cleveland, OH… so, over 100,000 LEDs just in the dancers’ costumes
  • velcro was used to affix the LED strips
  • the LEDs on the dancers were set up to produce 3 colors only: red, green or white
  • power was from a 12 volt battery pack with belt controller
  • the dancers manually controlled their lights
  • the cube-heads and the Black Eyed Peas costumes’ electronics were made by Engineering Solutions, Inc in Lehi, UT, under some direction by Creative Lighting Solutions

My opinions

  • Likes:
    • how the combination of the LED strips and the type of fabric in the costumes made the dancers’ entire bodies glow
    • the surrealistic feel when the dancers formed moving arrows
    • the cube-head dancers looked really funky – I think the combination of costumes, dancing and music were more than the sum of the parts there
  • I suppose one could argue that the lights shouldn’t eclipse the singers, but in general I thought the Black Eyed Peas’ costumes could have had some more imagination as far as the LED enhancement goes – color, patterns, patterns in motion, etc. I think there is great opportunity to use all 4 dimensions and color with this fashion / lights / technology mixture.
  • Choreography of the dancers forming hearts and arrows: why not combine these and have the red hearts only at first, then have one-person wide white arrows pierce the hearts… or, make the hearts appear to beat in time to the music (maybe they were supposed to look like they were beating but it looked more like swaying to me).

All in all I thought it was great to see so much wearable tech in the Super Bowl.

More info