Dec 23, 2010

Cakes N Cookies Froster (CNC

Froster tip
Originally uploaded by geekphysical
The Cakes N Cookies Froster (CNC) is an extension to an existing CNC machine. We bought cake decorating supplies and modified our CNC software to squirt cake frosting at the right time to make a happy Christmas decoration. The 'froster' is made from a decorating bottle for cake frosting, this is inside of a salad dressing shaker, which encases a stepper motor. The stepper motor drives a push plate to force out frosting. To prevent drip, the stepper motor is programmed to retract slightly between strokes (drawing). During strokes the push plate is continuously advanced at a slow speed set by a potentiometer.


Overall what happens is the CNC software reads a file that we've designed, in this case the word "xmas" (we apologize for the non-use of Christmas but the cookie is simply too small!) with a circle around it. This pattern is translated to movements (strokes) by the CNC software. Stepper motors on the CNC machine executes these movements, so the machine moves into position for each part of the pattern. At the same time, an additional stepper motor in the cake froster section pushes out frosting at appropriate intervals to make the pattern. The froster head is lifted between each stroke because we found that this makes a nicer pattern.

We encountered some frosting problems with this: it is not great for small cookies, since the frosting is so runny, either a stiffer frosting or a larger cookie might be better for a more precise design. Another, and more serious problem is what to do with the many cookies that were prototypes, and are now rather ugly, sugar covered rejects that we must somehow find a way to 'dispose' of. :)

Hope you have a happy Christmas! Next up...laser etched cookies... mmm toasty!

Nov 26, 2010

Razzle Dazzle - LED Suit

We've been sitting on this video for a couple weeks now, we had to wait until the suit was used before showing it off...but here it is! I call it Razzle Dazzle thinking of the song from Chicago,
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle them
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
and the reaction will be passionate...

This one definitely has lots of flash in it! We received the suit as a rush job, with rgb led rope already sewn in, our job was 'simply' to hook up all the endless ropes and make them ... dazzle! The legs, torso and head are controlled individually, and a controller at the arm allows the wearer to change between 7 different settings of colours and flashing levels.

To break it down there were: 4 groups of RGB LED strands each have 3 primary colours.

We used a small box to house an Arduino board which runs a program that cycles the colours and determines how it should light up. Twelve light levels are fed to the LEDs through six different programs including:

- Strobe with rate control
- Static colour and brightness
- Brightness cycle, looks like a wave going up and down the suit so you can control the speed.
- Random flicker

Enjoy the video!

Razzle Dazzle from Vanessa Carpenter on Vimeo.

Nov 2, 2010

Giant Death Laser!

A five year dream between friends: find, and run a giant laser. The first one died a horrible death, being over powered and sadly, no longer laser-ing. Today, arriving in 10 layers of bubble wrap and foam, was the new, shiny-er version, a giant laser bought off ebay, powered, and bringing delight to the boys and girls of GeekPhysical. See the movie here: Giant Death Laser

Oct 21, 2010

GeekPhysical Goes Nuclear

This past weekend we had a blast! Luckily, not nuclear. To explain the lapse in updates, we've been in Australia! For all of September and a bit of October. So here we are, back and in business, fresh off a weekend of whirlwind tours.

Copenhagen came alive for Culture night 2010, opening all its museums and galleries and shops to the public for exploration; we visited the beautiful Geological museum and the Post and Tele museum, both with fantastic exhibits. The Post and Tele museum had a brand new installation, much of which was interactive and yet nostalgic, great design and we had a great time. Next morning was a quick trip to Stockholm to visit Kirstine Roepstorff's installation, Silent Theatre (Stille Teater) at the Bonniers Art Gallery. It's a fabulous installation telling a story through a giant moving set of picture frames, each illuminated to tell a different part of the story. You can catch some of the movie here on youtube: We've got the Swedish version up on Flickr.

We were also able to visit a very special event thanks to our friend, Anders Mellbratt - (great portfolio, be sure to check it out!) which was a visit to the underground parts of stockholm. Our highlights were visiting the Bahnof server center (a truly James Bond inspired office/server house) and the nuclear weapons plant of Stockholm - also impressive, and a bit scary! We were lucky enough to have time to dash into the great Vasa museum, home to one of the greatest Swedish warships ever built, which sadly sank a few minutes after its launch. Three hundred years later, they pulled up the ship, piece by piece and put it back together in the museum. The Vasa museum is one of the very best museums I've ever visited, with many installations both digital and not, that were spectacular at communicating and paying true homage to the great story of the Vasa. Check out some of the great photos on Flickr.

Oct 6, 2010

Sparkfun Visits Denmark!

Unfortunately, it was while GeekPhysical was off in Australia BUT - nonetheless, several members of the fantastic crew of Sparkfun electronics did get a chance to visit with illutron, Copenhagen Suborbitals, Labitat and 1Scale1 this past month!

Sparkfun discusses their trip here where they say "Our goal for the trip to Copenhagen was to capture Kristian and Peter from Copenhagen Suborbitals for a photo shoot plus a video. Little did we know the trip would turn into so much more!"

Sparkfun onboard illutronSparkfun onboard illutron, image from Sparkfun photographers

We're so glad you had a good trip Sparkfun - and thanks for coming to visit! Sparkfun got to tour the illutron barge and participate in a hacking/geeking/creating night onboard the barge and meet some of Denmark's fantastic nerds. Next up was a visit to Labitat, Copenhagen's hackerspace! They also made it across the pond to Sweden and met with David Cuartielles and the crew of 1Scale1. Finally, they met Peter and Kristian from Copenhagen Suborbitals and got to do their photoshoot!

It's wonderful being part of all these organizations and even better when our passion for geeking is a shared by people from around the world.

Thanks so much for making the trip - can't wait to meet up with you guys again!

See Sparkfun's Flickr stream here:

May 19, 2010

Nuclear Devices

Dzl and Peter of illutron were working today on creating some nice Nuclear Devices! They aren't actually Nuclear, but rather large fire cannons for a rock festival called Copenhell. We're quite excited. In the video below you can see the ignitor system. The red canister in the photo is the gas canister, and a tube will go on top of that to funnel the fuel upwards until it reaches the ignitor and explodes. Good times!

May 15, 2010

Biometric Social Interaction @ Thoughtmade

GeekPhysical attended Thoughtmade, a gathering of creative innovators at a culture nightclub (Inkonst) in Malmo, Sweden. We presented ourselves, and our thoughts on pushing the amazing stuff going on in the Oresund region (Copenhagen & Malmo) out into the world and encouraged people to start exploring, tinkering, and making things! We had a fabulous time and are very happy to be part of such an important movement.

May 3, 2010

Me & Mrs. Jones, interactive clothing project

Touch interface
Originally uploaded by geekphysical
A project exploring touch and clothing. We're creating (with friends) a series of clothing that creates a sense of connection between people.

The first outfit is a skirt and blouse. When someone holds the wearer around the waist, she lights up, skirt embedded with fiber optics and blouse with LEDs.

The second outfit is a man's shirt with a target on the breast pocket. If someone touches the target, the opening of the shirt glows red.

These two together are what constitute Me & Mrs. Jones, inspired by the jazz song of two people coming together for a secret rendezvous.

The third outfit is created by Mads Høbye as he uses an adapated version of Dzl's Arduino Synth and lights up with the music and touch, a moving rock concert.

Apr 28, 2010

Visiting Labitat, preparing for ThoughtMade

We have had an exciting couple of weeks! Labitat, the new hackerspace in Denmark opened its doors for its first open house, check out their site here: They have a fantastic space in the basement of an apartment building in a nice part of Copenhagen, and they have really thought about how to use it well! We learned a lot and will hopefully be able to apply it to the illutron barge. All their stuff is labelled, if there's an icon of a man, it means it belongs to someone, if it says "DNH" that means, Do Not Hack, and while this might be old news to some of you, it was news to us, we were amazed at the organization (places for wires?!? Who knew?) and the fun toys they have already acquired. They are an eager and enthusiastic bunch and sure to make a great impact on Copenhagen. Nice work guys!

Following up on that, we are preparing for ThoughtMade (here: ThoughtMade, in case you don't get a chance to visit the site, is "a meeting place for innovators". We look forward to the day's events including TEDx (TED talks, but not at TED), followed by ThoughtMade talks and installations. GeekPhysical will be presenting Biometric Social Interaction both as a concept and the installation itself. There will be many other installations throughout the venue and the night will be spectacular, with the club, inkonst, being turned into a spaceship (sounds like C-base? I think some inspiration might be involved here, props to C-base!) We are very much looking forward to the event and at this very second, are working on making sure the hardware is operational and ready to go, adjusting code, and putting the final touches on the system.

Finally, some photos for you! illutron got in a new fleet of robots, a kind donation from an education facility here in Copenhagen. They are fantastic, beautiful robots and we're eager to start playing with them!

geekphysical's Robots photosetgeekphysical's Robots photoset

Mar 29, 2010

Eggbot is one in a million...literally

The morning after... is always a bit painful right? So we goggled for "Egg decorating machine", but somehow NOT for "eggbot". (Obviously it had to be named eggbot, egg+bot, creative right? Not so much apparently). Hence, I present you with its brothers and sisters of the internet! On the plus side, it was an entirely original idea, at least on our end, we thought it was new and thought we were being clever - though we stand by the fact that we are. :) Check out some of the fantastic "Eggbots" below, great work everyone! - a Kit you can buy, wow! Go get one, they're very cool. :) or Eggbot By Bruce Shapiro

The Egg Router (

Eggbot With diagrams


For Easter, GeekPhysical wanted to celebrate by decorating eggs. We tried Martha Stewart's site (seriously) but it was a bit too far from our style. Hence, the Eggbot was born, and Geekster replaced Easter. Happy Geekster, from us to you.
Flickr YouTube

Eggbot is a CNC plotter for Easter Eggs on a small scale, built to fit your average egg and accommodate for the curvature of the egg's surface. We've drawn all sorts of wacky patterns and are having fun blowing out the eggs (we had to edit out egg blowing noises from the video, it was hideous) and decorating them with the Eggbot.

Three servos run Eggbot. It's technically an XY plotter but instead of moving the pen in an XY direction, we rotate the egg for X duration and move the pen in a radial motion o make the Y movement. Essentially it is a CNC machine, plotting and drawing based on XY coordinates.

To build it, three servo motors were placed on a block of wood. One with a rubber washer to hold one end of the egg; the other end of the egg is held by a bottle cap embellished with a washer, held up by some brace band and screwed in with a screw. The second large servo controls the pen holder moving it in a radial motion, following the Y coordinates. The third servo is a tiny one which is attached to a wire, and further attached to the pen holder, acting as the up and down motion a plotter might have.

The software originally created for a giant plotting device which could print on to a wall of 5 X 5 meters. The software takes HPGL plotter files (ancient plotter language) and converts them into coordinates which in turn can be fed to any printing/plotting device. It's been adapted for Eggbot and is still under construction as we try to improve it along the way!

Have a great Geekster, we hope to post some more fun egg designs over the coming week.

Music in Video: "Horizons" by Tekno_Eddy

Feb 5, 2010

Cold Feet Interactive Bouquet On Brazilian TV!

GeekPhysical's Interactive Wedding Bouquet, "Cold Feet" has premiered on Brazilian TV on their biggest daily television show, Mais Voce!

We lent the bouquet to a set of Wedding fairs in Brazil, "Bridal & Fashion Expo, the largest fair of marriages in Brazil, which has been operating for 16 years" and have been featured on TV!

You can see the show here although it's in Portuguese. It starts talking about the bouquet at about 3:35.

Text below roughly translates as:

Starting February 4 (Thursday), in Sao Paulo, Bridal & Fashion Expo, the largest fair of marriages in Brazil, which has been operating for 16 years on the market with much success. The exhibition presents all the trends of services and products for the segment, always giving the public what is most interesting and innovative in the marriage market, from the invitations to the moon honeymoon. More than 110 exhibitors focused on immigrants Exhibition Center, between 4 and 7 February. The space will be the scene of many new services and products for the industry, which moves in Brazil about $ 4 billion a year. Among other changes, include:

* Bouquet shows humor of the Bride: Bridal Expo & Business, in partnership with GeekPhysical of Denmark, brought this issue with a uniquely innovative and unusual bouquet. Called Galvanic Skin Response Bouquet, the bouquet has LEDs that light up as the mood of the bride at the altar. If it's calm, he turns blue. In her case be nervous at the altar, the light emitted is white. This is possible because two sensors are connected to the bride to measure heart rate and body temperature. All data is stored in a memory card of 1 GB.

Thank you Yris!

Jan 24, 2010

A fun week in geeking

Its been a fun week (actually two now that I write this!) we got married, interactive bouquet and all, and were given the internet wedding gift of being featured on a multitude of blogs, thank you internet!

Some of the favorites:


Fashioning Technology

Thanks to everyone for all the views, we hope you liked it! Comments, suggestions and critique are appreciated, send them in!

Jan 11, 2010

Cold Feet

GSR Bouquet
Originally uploaded by geekphysical
The couple (who met creating a critical corset that tightens when the wearer's heart rate goes up) have decided to take the leap and get married! We of course love biometrics and geekery and thus have decided that our wedding needs to be equally geeky. We've been working hard on taking our biometrics project into a new realm, detecting wedding emotions and datalogging the entire day.

Check out all the photos here:

And the FULL blog post including tech specs, here:

Jan 8, 2010


Originally uploaded by geekphysical
As explored last year in the form of the "TouchMe Tree" ( we have used capacitive touch sensing to create a Christmas tree whose lights only turn on when the tree is being touched or played with.

(Text from our original post at

Using a AC switch mode power supply as a switch mode generator to create noise, the plant’s capacitance is measured, and added to when a human touches it (thus adding capacitance). As the voltage varies, the noise changes and is filtered in such a way that the lights get brighter as the tree is being touched. Depending on how long the tree was touched for, the lights fade away to nearly being off until they regain a steady flow and return to a normal lit state.

Technically, this is being done via a single ATTiny45 chip, a string of Christmas LEDs, and wire connecting to the base of the Christmas Tree.

Credit is due...

"Our Slanted Voices"
by DoKashiteru

Original Illutron/GeekPhysical TouchMe tree project:

Fantastic tree-loving friend:
Nina Rydahl Andersen