We’re always trying to foresee the future a bit here at TPB. One of the things that we really know is that we as a society will always share. Digital communication has made that a lot easier and will continue to do so. And after the internets evolutionized data to go from analog to digital, it’s time for the next step.
Today most data is born digitally. It’s not about the transition from analog to digital anymore. We don’t talk about how to rip anything without losing quality since we make perfect 1 to 1 digital copies of things. Music, movies, books, all come from the digital sphere. But we’re physical people and we need objects to touch sometimes as well!
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
The benefit to society is huge. No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We’ll be able to print food for hungry people. We’ll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal. We’ll be able to actually copy that floppy, if we needed one.
We believe that the future of sharing is about physible data. We’re thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay – but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we’ll download one.<
As you likely know, Make: Live is our bi-weekly streaming video show. We had an amazing first season and were thrilled to see that a live show about MAKE and making could be so well-received and so much fun to create. A million thanks to Becky Stern and Matt Richardson for doing such a great job of helming the show, MakerBot for graciously hosting us, Micheal Colombo for crewing, Collin Cunningham for the show music, Digi-Key, our sponsor, and all of the other folks at MAKE and beyond who made the first season such a success. And to all of our viewers and chat room contributors — you all are what made the show the most fun. I loved the fact that, during nearly every episode, at least one person in the comments would bust out with: “I love this show!”, “This is SO awesome,” or similar.
We look forward to bringing more of the awesome to future Make: Live programming. But for the moment, we’re talking a break, doing some regrouping, and figuring out what form we want a future Make: Live to take. Look for a likely reboot in the spring.
In the meantime, we’d love to get your feedback on the show. What did you like? What didn’t work for you? What would you like to see us do differently? What would be an optimum time to stream the show for you? How long should the show be? Please share your thoughts via the form below. Thanks! And look for our “On Air” light again soon!
If you missed any of the first season episodes, you can view them all on the Make: Live page. Here’s a best-of reel for 2011:
I’ve been looking forward to Art Hack Day for many months now, and it’s finally here this weekend in Brooklyn! For the 50+ artist/hacker participants it’s actually a 3-day long “happening” of collective creativity and DIY expression that will culminate at 7pm on Saturday, January 28th, with a public exhibition of all of their fabrications. Attempting to make transparent the process of creating art, “with special reverence toward open-source technologies,” visitors are invited to interact with the participants during the event online. I hope to swing by before the opening to catch a sneak peek of what they’re building, so stay tuned for some photos if you’re out of town, or I hope to see you there this Saturday!
Art Hack Day
319 Scholes Street, Brooklyn
Exhibition: Saturday, January 28, 7 – 10 PM
Joel Miller of Massachusetts (known for his excellent MakerBot Transformer) is working on converting a milling machine into a CNC. He’s even creating his own enclosure with touch screen, complete with PCBs he etched himself. Joel’s blog posts have tons of information on how he accomplished each step of the project — check ‘em out!
Yesterday I mentioned MIT’s soon-to-be-released open-courseware materials detailing a DIY phrased radar array radar system built from pegboard and wi-fi antennae. The project, from MIT engineers Drs. Bradley Perry, Jonathan Paul Kitchens, Patrick Bell, Jeffrey Herd, and Greg Charvat produces ‘radar video’ at about three frames per second. Greg just e-mailed me a link to this first video showing what the imagery actually looks like. [Thanks, Greg!]
I love it when people use humble PVC as a project enclosure. In this case, Alex Avtanski of San Jose, CA, built this DIY Magnetometer to detect and measure magnetic storms.
The activity of the Sun varies on a cycle with a period of approximately 11 years. Periods of low solar activity are followed by a few years of sharply increased number of solar spots, flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), disrupting Earth’s magnetic field and causing magnetic storms. With the next Solar cycle maximum approaching I wanted to get on the fun too, so I set to build my own device for detecting and recording those magnetic storms, a.k.a. a magnetometer.
My magnetometer is of a torsion design. Torsion magnetometers work as follows: A magnet, attached to a mirror, is suspended from a thread. A laser beam is reflected from the mirror and falls on a detector. Changes in the Earth’s magnetic field turn the magnet and the attached mirror, twisting the torsion thread. The reflected beam changes its position on the sensor, the changes are recorded and plotted on a chart.
MAKE pal Dino Segovis brings us this handy tutorial on running a stepper motor in “reverse,” i.e. turning the shaft mechanically in order to generate electrical power, instead of the normal usage. He writes:
Any electric motor will also output a voltage when it’s freely spinning. Stepper motors are much better at this because they have many times more poles to pass next to each other thus generating electrical pulses.
The AC current can be used as-is, he reports, to run LEDs, or easily rectified to give DC. [Thanks, Dino!]
In a basic Arduino sketch, if you want to take action based on the status of a digital input pin, you’d check the state of the pin repeatedly until a particular condition is met. However, as your sketches become increasingly complex, you’ll find that it’s not always the best way to do this. EngBlaze posted a pairof guides to using interrupts so that you can execute code asynchronously in Arduino sketch. Here’s the analogy they use to illustrate the difference:
Imagine you’re sitting on your couch, enjoying a frosty brew and watching a movie after a long day. Life is good. There’s only one problem: you’re waiting for an incredibly important package to arrive, and you need it as soon as possible. If you were a normal AVR program or Arduino sketch, you’d have to repeatedly stop your movie, get up, and go check the mailbox every 5 minutes to make sure you knew when the package was there.
Instead, imagine if the package was sent Fedex or UPS with delivery confirmation. Now, the delivery man will go to your front door and ring the doorbell as soon as he arrives. That’s your interrupt trigger. Once you get the trigger, you can pause your movie and go deal with the package. That’s your interrupt service routine. As soon as you’re done, you can pick up the film where you left off, with no extra time wasted. That’s the power of interrupts.
If you produce music using a computer and off the shelf gear isn’t cutting it for you, check out FuzzyWobble‘s Framework For Making Affordable & Stylish Modular Controllers instructable and build yourself the controller you’ve always wanted. Under the hood he’s using a Teensyduino to act as native MIDI/USB/HID device, while the exterior is laser cut at Ponoko. This is a great project if you’re looking to save yourself the effort of testing components and want to get right to building.
Here is the first dispatch from Bilal Ghalib and Alex Hornstein as they head out on their epic adventures to spread the gospel of desktop manufacturing/3D printing, design and make some cool stuff, and hopefully, make a few bucks selling what comes out of their “Pocket Factory.” – Gareth
It’s five in the morning and I’m in a freezing Seattle basement designing 3D printable molds for a customer. In the next room, a trio of 3D printers are whirring away in the warmth of house’s heater, printing products we sold earlier that day. Bilal, Sarms, and Ilan are sprawled out next to me on the floor, and everything I own in the world is packed away in duffels on the roof of my car. It’s dark in this basement, and I can’t help but grin.
Two months ago and half a world away, my good friend Bilal and I were standing on the roof of my house, grilling portobellos, and marveling at Rancho, my MakerBot Thing-o-Matic, cranking away next to us. Bilal had just finished a project and I’d just quit my job. We spent our days playing with the MakerBot and our nights worrying about what we’d do next. In-between mouthfuls of mushrooms, we started talking about how there are lots of low-cost 3D printers in the world, but very few people selling the things they printed. Come to think of it, we could think about people printing kits for more printers, but we hadn’t heard of anyone designing products specifically to print on these cheap printers. “Holy crap!,” shouted Bilal, spewing spores and portobello gills. “Why don’t we just do this?” I took a gander at Rancho, who’d just spat out another part for a robot I was building. “I bet we could fit this in the trunk of my car and run it off an inverter while we drive,” I said. “Why not take the show on the road?”
In the heyday of analog computing, Vladimir Lukyanov designed an advanced computer that used water as the storage media. Various tubes, tanks, valves, pumps and sluices churned out solutions for the user based on variables such as changing tax rates or increasing money supply. From the Russian magazine Science and Life:
Built in 1936, this machine was “the world’s first computer for solving [partial] differential equations,” which “for half a century has been the only means of calculations of a wide range of problems in mathematical physics.” Absolutely its most amazing aspect is that solving such complex mathematical equations meant playing around with a series of interconnected, water-filled glass tubes. You “calculated” with plumbing.