Over the past week, I’ve been beta testing a daily vlog for my YouTube channel. Please check it out and I’d love to hear any feedback you have about it. My latest post, embedded above, is about the current state of gestural input technology.
I spent last week at CES in Las Vegas covering the show for MAKE. I had a great time there and I’m really happy with how the coverage turned out, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to cover every story that I wanted to. The show is incredibly large and it takes quite a bit of legwork to find the best stories, especially from a maker’s point of view. Once I got the hang of it, my time was crammed with seeing makers and companies and getting demos on video. Check out all the coverage over on MAKE. Hopefully I’ll be back in 2014.
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi, which I co-authored with Shawn Wallace, is now widely available for purchase from bookstores! Look for it in the electronics or engineering section. The photo above was snapped at a Barnes and Noble in New York City. The book is also now shipping as part of Maker Shed’s Raspberry Pi Starter Kit, which includes most of what you need to experiment with the $35 mini computer.
While on vacation in Portland, OR, I got word from some friends and family members that they received their preordered copies of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi. Somehow, on very short notice and despite the holidays, I managed to get a copy shipped to our hotel. Yesterday, my partner Andrew captured this video of me seeing my first book for the first time. What a great way to close out 2012. Happy New Year!
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi has been sent to the printer and I hear that it’s going to start shipping by the end of December! If you’re eager to check it out, O’Reilly has the ebook for sale now on their site. If you prefer, you can pre-order it from Amazon. And if you don’t already have a Raspberry Pi, you can also purchase the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit from the Maker Shed. It includes a PDF of the book, a Raspberry Pi, and lots of accessories like a power supply, case, and SD card.
It was fantastic to talk with Mark Frauenfelder for his Make: Talk podcast a few weeks ago. He just posted the episode today.
On Saturday, October 27th, I’ll be presenting the Descriptive Camera in The Museum of the Moving Image Tech Lab. A little about the program:
Kids, teens, and families get an inside look at cutting-edge new technologies at the Tech Lab. Each month, the Museum will invite inventors, programmers, hackers, and researchers who have developed state-of-the-art new tools that are not yet available to the public. Our guests will demonstrate their inventions and talk about how they work. For Moving Image Studio visitors, it is a chance to play, explore, and learn—and to see tomorrow’s technology today!
Next Thursday, October 18th, I’ll be presenting the Descriptive Camera to “the edgiest little media festival in the world,” Prospectives’12 at University of Nevada, Reno. The festival highlights the word of graduate and PhD candidates “working across all disciplines utilizing experimental digital media in their creative endeavors.” I’m looking forward to being inspired by others in this field!
I’m especially excited about this month’s release of MAKE Volume 32. For this issue, I wrote two major articles, The Awesome Button and Get Started with BeagleBone. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll see it any day now (and the digital edition should already be in your inbox). Otherwise, V32 hits newsstands on October 23rd.
My second year of ITP has just started and after one week of class, I already have a project to show! For Pop-up Window Displays, we were assigned to elicit a double take in public and capture it on video. Ben Light and I teamed up to execute this idea, which brings a playground past-time onto the streets of New York City. Not only did we elicit quite a few double takes, but we also had many people eager to interact with our installation.
Shawn Wallace and I will be releasing Getting Started with Raspberry Pi this November. It’s a beginner’s guide to Raspberry Pi that walks you through hooking it up, using it as a computer, and then using it in electronics projects. It’s currently available for pre-order from Amazon! I’m looking forward to sharing more information about the book closer to November, but in the mean time, I wanted to share the good news!
Last week I had the opportunity to visit The Smithsonian Institution’s Web and New Media department, thanks to their director, Michael Edson. While I was there, I gave a talk to some of the staff about my work and particularly the Descriptive Camera. Click through to Bambuser to see a video archive of the talk.
While experimenting with Raspberry Pi, I cobbled together examples for the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO module for Python and the Tkinter modules for creating graphical user interfaces with Python. I got them working together pretty easily.
The example here might be a bit underwhelming, but I’m really excited about the potential for something like this. Having access to a board that can drive a monitor-based interface in addition to GPIO means simpler designs for projects that need both. Best of all, it can all be done in one file of code.
Rise and shine campers! I’m looking forward to being involved in today’s launch of Maker Camp, a collaboration between MAKE magazine and Google+. We’re kicking off 30 days of projects aimed at kids. So if you have any children, siblings, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or you’re a bit of a kid yourself, come check it out! We’ll be joining a big Google+ Hangout On Air this afternoon at 3pm ET/12pm PT on +MAKE.
It was a thrill to appear on The Engadget Show again, this time, in my capacity as an ITP student. Danne Woo came on stage with me and showed off his Circuit Board and I gave a live demo of the Descriptive Camera. It was fun to geek out with Tim Stevens and Brian Heater and we got to see some cool tech up close. That Parrot AR Drone is amazing, and I was especially impressed with the built-in camera and iPad control system. Last time I was on the show with Becky Stern and we were talking about MAKE and Maker Faire.
The Descriptive Camera has been accepted into the Santorini Biennale‘s Industrial Design exhibition, which will run from July through September. The theme for this exhibition is The Past—history, time, memory, and nostalgia:
How do you define your relationship with The Past? How do people you have met in the past, all of your experiences, your memories affect you in the present? Might they subconsciously or even explicitly influence your future? We as individuals each carry forward our own past as ‘vessels’. If everything about the present moment is determined by the past, then, when collectively imagining our future, we ignore the lessons of the past at our peril.
I believe that a fear of failure can stifle success, but being able to afford failure is a whole different issue. Here’s Linus Torvalds in an excellent BBC News interview talking about Raspberry Pi, the $35 Linux computer:
So I personally come from a “tinkering with computers” background, and yes, as a result I find things like Raspberry Pi to be an important thing: trying to make it possible for a wider group of people to tinker with computers and just playing around.
And making the computers cheap enough that you really can not only afford the hardware at a big scale, but perhaps more important, also “afford failure”.
Venue — a pop-up interview studio and multimedia rig traveling around North America through September 30, 2013 — is a project of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art, Future Plural, and Studio-X NYC, with funding provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), Nevada Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
When I saw Mark Arnon Rosen and Wendy Marvel’s mechanical flip books at Maker Faire, I stopped dead in my tracks. After all, it was only a few days ago that I was saying how I love this aesthetic. They were delightful to talk to and they loved the reaction they got to their work at Maker Faire.
I’m in San Francisco for Maker Faire right now and among all the craziness (good craziness), I get an alert that Jason Gessner mentioned me on Google+. He was saying that the Descriptive Camera got a mention on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. My jaw dropped. I absolutely love that show, though I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve listened. At the first opportunity I had (much later due to that craziness I was just talking about), I pulled it up online. The camera was mentioned in the beginning of the Listener Limerick segment:
Taking snapshots is old, so what’s next?
Modern camera tech isn’t vexed.
It gives one thousand words
For an image that’s blurred.
My new camera prints out a text.
As you can imagine, I’m absolutely delighted by this. You can listen to the clip here.
A thoughtful gentleman in a pink and baby blue plaid shirt stands next to a lovely woman who appears to be impersonating an orangutan.
A woman in a black top looks terrified by the gentleman in a grey shirt who seems to be telling a story about an enormous fish he once caught.
A woman in a black tank top stands in the foreground. Behind her, it appears as though there is a beard convention taking place.
Two men are fighting over the honor of this lady with bangs who is standing the background. She actually looks really excited about this fight. DRAAAAAAMA!
The show continues tonight from 4pm to 8pm.
One of my classmates, Elena Parker, is working on an eye-aware kinetoscope but was having trouble giving users cues for the proper eye position. Goggles didn’t work but an “accidental mustache” did. The lesson?
Play to what people know. Give them recognizable cues—even if they are silly. It sounds really simple… but I wasn’t doing it.
Yesterday I spent hours working on the Descriptive Camera to make it more reliable in preparation for the upcoming ITP Spring Show. It’s working much better now and I’ve started snapping descriptions for the mini-gallery that I’ll have on display at the show. Reading the descriptions that come from Mechanical Turk is incredibly fun, especially when you give them something fun to work with:
A white man in a cute hat is smiling awkwardly at the camera. He has a blue ribbon around his neck, so he probably won a small competition.
In case you were curious how a normal camera would have captured that, here it is.
Artistic thinking and practice—grounded in humanity and dirty hands—gives technology the nuance, depth, and texture it lacks today. What is needed to balance our current obsession with “the cloud” is an appreciation for our real, imperfect world – or what I call ‘the dirt.’ Great ideas today add Art to turn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into STEAM to create innovations that taste delicious.