DIY Nightlife @calacademy

I'll be presenting a behind-the-scenes view of the Academy of Sciences exhibits and robotics @CASNightlife on May 15th, for DIY Nightlife.We'll be joined by the Green Art Workshop, the SF Maker Faire, The Crucible, and California College of the Arts, with music by DJ Omar.

Come drink, dance, and make something -- RSVP on Facebook or get tickets at

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Robot Block Party with SV Robotics

I'll be at the Robot Block Party 2014 to celebrate National Robotics Week with Silicon Valley Robotics at WilmerHale in Palo Alto.

Tweet #robotblockparty @svrobo to get involved.

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Interactive Human Migration Map Online

The interactive map can be found here:

This is a web port of the interactive map on the floor at the Academy of Sciences (hence the caption, "You Are Here" pointing to San Francisco when clicking on Today at the bottom right.)

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Robot Block Party 2013

I'll be showing off some robots at the Robot Block Party
at Stanford VAIL again this year, showing off data visualization of a mock Mars-rover made for the Academy of Sciences, and probably a few other "just for fun" bot friends. If you're in the Bay Area next week, check us out, as well as others' research, industrial and consumer robotics, robot clubs and STEM organizations.

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The Human Odyssey - going live at the Academy of Sciences

The Human Odyssey gallery is going live on February 6th, including a series of interactive exhibits and upgraded content better conveying the narrative of human evolution and our migration out of Africa. The biggest exhibit is the Human Odyssey Migration map: a pair of 32" touch screens running an interactive app I've developed in pure HTML5 / CSS3 (with canvas and svg drawing the game in realtime) that allows the user to trace our species's historic and prehistoric milestones, climate events, and interaction with neanderthals through time, and an 85" plasma display playing a prerendered walk through our journey out of the trees 200,000 years ago and through the next 20 years of future influence over our environment.

Additionally, some friends have made other, interesting interactives employing electroluminescent panels, holographic "Pepper's Ghost" effects, proximity sensors, sonar, articulated bones, and more.

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Miniature Earthquakes and Confusing Robots

With any luck and some very messy hacks, on October 18th Tosh and I will be showing off a mini shake-table, some competitive robotics, and giving you a chance to injure your closest friends at Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences.

Have a drink, fight a robot, and check out the mixed-media performance by multimedia artist J-Walt Adamczyk.

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EARTHQUAKE - New exhibit live at the California Academy of Sciences, powered by my electronics / code

From the Academy: "Our new Earthquake exhibit and planetarium show open this Saturday! Here's a sneak peek from (edit: you can see my calculator in the last picture.) What are you most excited to see? The return of an earthquake simulator? Live baby ostriches? The planetarium show?"

I'll upload pictures and code to the usual place if/when/where it's allowed. Obj-c, Perl, Python, Assembly, Max/MSP, rear projections, old-school Happ arcade-controls, and more.

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Meet my robots at Stanford VAIL during National Robotics Week

I'll be presenting some of my robot friends at the amazing Robot Block Party hosted at the Volkswagon Automotive Innovation Lab at Stanford.


There’ll be wonderful robots on display ranging from Mars Rovers from The Tech Museum, to middle school robot projects. Cutting edge robotics companies represented at the Block Party include industry leaders like Adept, Bosch, Willow Garage and researchers from SRI International and the Center for Automotive Research. Smaller startups are also on display, like MLB drones, the Robot App Store and Beatbots, who created the lovable dancing robot toy ‘Keepon’.

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"Animal Attraction" iPad interactives are live at the Steinhart Aquarium

The Animal Attractions Exhibit is live and on the wall at the Steinhart Aquarium, featuring the iPad app I was part of developing. This exhibit provides interactive signage, video and stories of the few dozen specimens in 18 tanks.

The exhibits focuses on the unusual courtship, relationship and mating habits of different animals, from scorpions and a coconut octopus to the and common garden snail with their rapey "love darts."

The Steinhart Aquarium had this to say: "Enter and discover the surprising secrets of meeting, mating and repopulating. The colorful and diverse beauty of the natural world would not exist without the mixing and passing of genes."

(image credit to Tosh Chiang)

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GROWBOT, aka Robotany, is awake and farming

I publicly debuted the Growbot, a symbiotic aquarium and hydroponic garden that's managed by a rudimentary AI robot, at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife last week. Growbot is based on the Propeller chipset by Parallax and OSX (with a Playstation Eye camera), and can monitor Ph, lighting, temperature, watering, humidity, plant health and disease, feeding, draining, and more.

I'll be putting the source code and schematics online here, so check back and Build It Yourself.

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ROBOTS! I'm going to make some friends on February 23 (No, literally.)

Tosh and I will be standing next to some robots we've made, who will in turn present their skills to the world, at Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences on February 23. Expect some underwater research vessels, and autonomous battle-bot-protester with realtime crowd-analysis and targetting, and something that'll react to precisely how drunk you don't know you are.

Come have a drink and enjoy lively debate with some new robot friends.

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Educator's Extravaganza, and Electronics for Educators

This week, November 5th, I'll be working with Tosh Chiang to lead two workshops at the California Academy of Sciences' Educator's Extravaganza, highlighting interesting ways educators can employ electronics, engineering and applied science to engage students in their classrooms and lecture halls. This full-day event is free to teachers, and has received a tremendous response already. Please RSVP, and expect to be sent home with some interesting toys!

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Vibrating at the Bay Area Science Festival

As part of the Bay Area Science Festival, Bart Bernhardt of Nerd Nite fame will be hosting Nerd Speed Dating on November 4th, during the science pub crawl. I'll be giving a very short talk on the electronics and mechanical history of vibrators, from steam and wind-up to high-voltage, and doing my best to make it not-creepy while you people meet cute nerds of varying genders.

Potential door prize: A MacGuyver-hackish vibrator made out of "stuff" broken up and salvaged live!

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Human-Computer Interactivity and Engineering the Cyberpunk Future

On November 3rd, I'll be taking part in a series of IGNITE talks, presenting, "Human-Computer Interactivity and Engineering the Cyberpunk Future. The synopsis: Poking keyboards and wiggling mice was fine for its time, but the future of Human-Computer Interaction will enhance lives invisibly and tangibly. Highlighting a variety of sensors already in Academy exhibits, and previews of some that will control next year’s, Jon Britton will examine the weird and frequently unnatural relationships between people and data. "

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Microsoft Research Nightlife - Kinect WWT

NL I'll be presenting my Microsoft Kinect powered interface to World Wide Telescope at Nightlife on September 29th at the California Academy of Sciences. The theme of the night is Microsoft Research and uses of its products at the Academy. There will be live tours of the Earth, satellite and rover data, DJ's, booze, and you can fly through the known Universe using Minority Report style gestures, throw a planet, and possibly control an animatronic mimic-bot.

Warning: commanding the Universe after a few cocktails can induce being awesome. And vomitting. Win a date with me if you can find the easter-egg in our solar system.

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