Looking to take a break from tinkering on your latest project this weekend? Here are some fine maker events to check out, from The Maker Events Calendar. Wish your event was on the list? Add it to the calendar!
This year, we decided, besides covering the birthdays of icons of technology and science who are no longer with us, we’d celebrate some of the living icons who’ve directly influenced our lives as makers.
When I started brainstorming my list, Kevin Kelly was one of the first people on it. Kevin was an editor of Whole Earth Review and the Whole Earth Catalog, publications that had a profound impact on me and helped set the course of my DIY life. He was also a founding editor of Wired and was instrumental in setting the tone of that hugely influential publication.
Kevin’s books include Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. This book was a big influence on my own Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots and my continued interest in biologically-inspired technology (e.g. behavior-based robotics). Kevin’s recent projects include the indispensable Cool Tools mailing list, Street Use (a site of folk technology and clever street hacks), and the Quantified Self (self-knowledge through self-data tracking).
Happy Birthday, Kevin. And thanks for decades of inspiration, thought-provocation, and “access to tools.”
[he]… withdrew cash from his Swiss account and taped it to the inside pages of multiple brochures, careful to include just under $10,000 per brochure (staying under the federal reporting requirements). Packaging the cash-laden brochures in envelopes, he mailed each one at different times from different Swiss post offices to his Virginia residence.
It’s the “ICE team” that looks for things like this, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
ICE agents have discovered that cash – lots of it – can crop up in unexpected places before its illegal journey is intercepted. ICE has found the following and more in recent years:
$176,320 packed inside the pant legs of an air traveler headed for Turkey
$3 million hidden in a compartment of a bus headed for Mexico
$515,000 in a false-bottom suitcase about to embark to Columbia
$2.1 million concealed in a boat in Puerto Rico
$147,921 strapped underneath the shirt of a woman headed to Mexico
$186,000 rolled and concealed in cigarette packs destined for Turkey
“At ICE, we follow the money trail to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most complicated financial schemes and seize criminal assets,”…
Product designer Marel Karhof coupled an antique sock-knitting machine to a windmill. She collects the knitted material at regular intervals, and its length thus reflects the “windiness” of the period over which it was produced. The N+1 step, it seems to me, is to somehow make the amount of wind affect the scarf’s color over time. Perhaps by adding one of these CMYK thread color-matching machines to the mix? [via CRAFT]
Maker Faire Bay Area, the world’s largest DIY festival, is right around the corner, taking place at the San Mateo Fairgrounds on May 22nd and 23rd. One of the biggest new projects coming to the Faire this year is the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, pictured above and hand-crafted by a large and dedicated crew. We sent seven questions to the crew’s three lead artists, Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, and David Shulman. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Tell us about the project you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
The Raygun Gothic Rocketship is built upon a future-rustic vision of yesterday’s tomorrow. Aesthetically based on 1930s – early 1950s science fiction, the rocketship is a 41-foot-tall immersive environment, designed to carry explorers into the realm of rayguns, strange planets, and aliens, friendly or otherwise.
With 3 habitable decks, visitors can view and interact with a variety of ships systems and alien specimens. Visitors can enter the ship via the Engine Room & Life-Sciences Bio Lab. Once inside the engine room, look down into the engine compartment to see The Uira Plasma-drive engine. Cases and cages on the walls contain various creatures we’ve collected in our travels. Check on the ships status with the Systems Monitor, or speak to the Pilot via the tele-com.
Moving up a deck, you’ll find Crew Quarters, Navigation, Communications & Remote Sensing. Check our approach trajectories using the Neutronium Scanner, confirm our location using one of several navigational devices, or deploy a remote probe via the Hollis 9000 Remote Science System. Finally, you can climb up to the flight deck and pilots chair. Take command of the ship and prepare for launch!
2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?
As a group, we have been fans of or involved with the Maker movement and Maker Faire for many years. Many of our crew have shown other works, both large and small, at past MAKE events in association with such groups as The Crucible, Applied Kinetic Arts, Kinetic Steam Works, and SRL.
3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?
The three of us all have different stories.
David Shulman: I began making things with my father as a kid — mostly simple furniture. He inspired me in that he was an attorney, yet was not afraid to get his hands dirty, or try new things, and I have followed a similar path.
Sean Orlando: I’ve been tinkering and inventing for as long as I can remember. Creating three-dimensional artworks resonated with me more than any of the other art practice that I experimented with. My father was an aerospace engineer and exposed me to airplane and rocket engineering at an early age. The engineering challenges, collaborative creative process, and immersive potential of large-scale installations allowed me to explore a whole new level of art making… with friends.
Nathaniel Taylor: Nathaniel was born with a tool in his hands. He is the Chief Operating Officer and creative mind behind Radio Robot.
4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?
Our project is both. Through the RGR and past projects (such as the Steampunk Tree House), we are exploring the concept of cooperative art as both a focus for creative community, and an opportunity to generate income for our member artists. The Five Ton Crane Arts Group was formed as a direct result of these successful collaborations.
5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
We are constantly inspired and motivated by artistic invention, clever engineering solutions, and creative collaboration. We strive to create immersive environments that combine sculpture, kinetics, performance, interactivity, and creative collaboration. It’s exciting to see the latest inventions coming out of Europe by such groups as Royal de Luxe and La Machine.
6. What is your motto?
“Art is better with friends.”
“We aim to be rather than to seem.”
“Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”
7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?
Just do it. Don’t hesitate for fear of challenge or failure. Don’t get caught up in what “seems” to be impossible. Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The benefits of your realized ideas are not only experienced in the end result of your experiments. There is so much fun to also be had through the process of invention, creative problem solving, overcoming challenges, and working together as a team.
Thanks, gentlemen, words of widsom for sure! We’re excited to see the Rocketship in its full glory at Maker Faire. You can still get discounted tickets until May 12. For all the information you need, head over to the Maker Faire website.
Maker Faire North Carolina happened this last Sunday, and from the looks of it, it was an awesome event! There were plenty of excellent attractions, such as a giant chaos machine, Shopbotted creations, 3-d printing, spinning, and weaving. Check out the Flickr pool for images of the show, and a writeup in the Durham Herald-Sun. Here are some of my favorites from the pool:
Aakash Ganga (AG) is one of the signature innovations that Dr. BP Agrawal developed under Sustainable Innovations (SI), a non-profit organization. SI harvests innovations in systems, technologies and entrepreneurship to build holistically sustainable social enterprises. AG is a rainwater harvesting system utilized to collect safe drinking water in the arid region of Rajasthan, India. The system channels rooftop rainwater from every house in a community through gutters and pipes to a network of multi-tier underground reservoirs with large enough capacity to store a year of drinking water.
Part of the harvested rooftop rainwater is stored in the House Tank, or Griha Tanka, a reservoir attached to a house for the exclusive use of the home owner. Typically, the Griha Tanka stores enough water to meet the drinking water needs of the family for a year.
The rest of the rainwater flows to the Community Tank, or Gram Tanka, a shared community reservoir. People who live under thatched roofs or who cannot afford to have their own reservoirs take water from the shared reservoir.
By this point, there is absolutely no question that the method of cooking foods at precise low-temperatures in vacuum-sealed pouches (commonly referred to as “sous-vide”) has revolutionized fine-dining kitchens around the world. There is not a Michelin-starred chef who would part easily with their Polyscience circulators. But the question of when this technique will trickle down to home usersâ€”and it certainly is a question of when, and not ifâ€”remains to be answered.
The Sous-Vide Supreme, introduced last winter, and of which I am a big fan, is certainly a big step in the right direction. But at $450, for most people, it still remains prohibitively costly. In an effort to help those who’d like to experiment with sous-vide cookery without having to put in the capital, a couple weeks ago I devised a novel solution to the problem: Cook your food in a beer cooler.
It’s springtime, which means it’s time to get back on your bike! Here are ten of my favorite bike accessories for utility, safety, and style. Got some bike projects to share? Post ‘em up in the comments!
Fabric Horse utility belts
These city biker hip huggers are designed by Philadelphia crafters Fabric Horse. The “Halfbelt” holds a phone, (lady-sized) wallet, keys, and a multitool easily. Also available with more storage or as a U-lock holster only. They’re also going to be part of the Bazaar Bizarre at Maker Faire Bay Area this year, yay!
Bright Bike reflective tape kits
The fiercely reflective tape in the kits by Bright Bike will help you vanquish your foes, or at least help prevent them from running you over. Available in many colors. What’s that circuit board in Michael’s front wheel? Glad you asked…
Ever wanted your bike wheel to light up with bright, psychedelic-colored patterns as you ride? Me too. MonkeyLectric makes a persistance-of-vision (POV) device that does just that. I get compliments on mine all the time!
Adafruit also makes a (programmable, open source) POV bike wheel accessory, called SpokePOV. It’s only a single color, but uses a hall effect sensor to keep the design (which you create) upright while you ride.
You need your fingers for using your brakes, but it’s still a bit chilly to ride! Try knitting up your own fingerless mitts with this free CRAFT pattern. Not a knitter? These are fast to make; I’m sure a crafty friend would love to make them for you! Oh, and that sweet bass (pictured) was made by Joe Kruse.
Let those behind you know just how fast you’re going! It’s a project in MAKE Volume 19.
MAKE Volume 11
Check out the DIY Wheels section in MAKE Volume 11 for bike projects like Mr. Jalopy’s mobile drive-in theater, a pedal-powered iPod charger, and more! Subscribers can read it now in the Digital Edition.
This interesting video — really a commercial for iFixit — has some fascinating things to say that would resonate with makers. Do you see yourself slaving over some 386 trying to get it to work? If iFixit creates a Wikipedia-like repair guide, will you contribute? Leave a comment with your thoughts. [Via bunnie's blog]