Dec 1, 2011

100 Year Celebration at Denmark's Technical Museum

The installation, unboxedDzl's sensors, sensing when an object is picked upMonitor attached to two way glassThe whole set up featuring Peter/The DadThe whole set up featuring Ina/The DaughterTwo way mirror carefully set into a 1960's bathroom cabinet
Motion sensorTwo way mirror carefully set into a 1960's bathroom cabinetGuestsThe guests may have been there in year one as well... wonderful to see them coming back.The bathroomThe mirror with objects on shelf
Replicas replaced real objects after we figured out the hard way how slippery and breakable the real objects were.Real objects, cleverly stored in a cabinet, away from gravity's reach.Guests try the mirrorBeautiful exhibition design by Marie ØrstedholmBeautiful exhibition design by Marie ØrstedholmA guest contemplates the mirror
Mirror featuring Albert/The SonBeautiful exhibition design by Marie ØrstedholmGuests looking into the future exhibitGuests playing video games in the teenager roomSomeone inspecting the mirror signMirror featuring Ina/The Daughter

100 Year Celebration, a set on Flickr.

Denmark's Technical Museum, the home of beautiful planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention engines, bicycles,jets, tools and even our lovely Kraka Submarine created by Copenhagen Suborbitals, has just celebrated it's 100 year anniversary!

To celebrate they chose the theme of what's happened in the home in the past 100 years. GeekPhysical has been working with them from the onset of this project, beginning with a fun walkthrough Ikea to gain ideas on how the home is made up and thinking about how to create interactive experiences in each room, to brainstorming ideas for how people could interact, learn, and share experiences within the exhibit.

After a lot of idea generating, we were asked to create a 1960's bathroom - with a wayback mirror, a mirror that, when you walk into the bathroom, would reveal a person from the past, going about their morning ritual. We adapted the idea from the wildly popular "" (thank you for inspiration) and made up our own system using Open Frameworks and Arduino for input and output.

There were four characters:

Dad: Peter Madsen (of Copenhagen Suborbitals), shaving.
Mom: Miss Mia (of Miss Mia's Hula Hoop), putting in Carmen Curlers.
Son: Albert Møbius (age 11, son of Dzl), using hairdryer.
Daughter: Ina Viuff (age 12, daughter of Harald, part of illutron), using a tanning machine.

For each of the four characters they would go through a routine, one would come on screen, randomly once the mirror was activated. Let's say it was the mom. She'd say hello and ask you to pass her the curlers. If you pick up the curlers off the shelf and pass them to her, she takes them, and begins curling her hair. Once she's complete, she'll fade away and a new character will appear.

It was wonderful to see all the loyal patrons of the Tekniske Museum and to present our work there as a permanent exhibition. Thank you DTM for such a great experience!

Some react differently to the Cold Feet Interactive Wedding Bouquet...

This woman had a fun time with our biometric bouquet during Next Generation Meeting (NGM) 2011.

The NGM in Stockholm, Sweden was an opportunity for GeekPhysical to participate in the "Nerd Square", a fun interactive space where we set up many of our favorite experiences for conference participants to play with. We featured:

The Touching Booth
The VFD Clock
The Arbormorphic Tree
The LED Wall Art
The Cold Feet Interactive Wedding Bouquet
one of our lovely little servo based robots.

We had a great time and met some inspiring people - thanks to everyone!

Sep 29, 2011

Tesla: Magnetic Coil Photobooth

GeekPhysical has had a long standing interest in Nikolaj Tesla, so when we were asked to create something with illutron as a center piece for an installation celebrating Tesla, we were on board right away. Kulturværftet in Helsingør, (known as the Culture Yard in English) has a small room which they are dedicating to Tesla over the next 6 months. Casper Øbro, an artist who has worked with illutron before, asked us to join to create a Tesla themed installation amongst his many stunning visuals and projection mapping projects in the space.

We decided to re-create this iconic photo of Tesla in the form of an installation where visitors can sit down and press a foot pedel to take their photo. They then proceed to an 1920's styled computer kiosk where they can add Tesla coils to the photo affecting four parameters: Persistance, Voltage, Fuzz, and Crackle. Once visitors adjust these parameters via dials and have achieved their ideal level of Tesla coils, they can hit a shiny silver button and email the photo to themselves.

The installation opens Friday, 30. September, and all information is here (translated from Danish).

Here's our first photo from the installation:

A Flurry of Workshops

GeekPhysical's been busy teaching these past weeks! A roundup of our latest workshops includes:

  • Platform4 Future Meeting Hub #1: Teaching Concept Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Robot Making
  • ITU: Lecture & hands-on exercise with idea development
  • New Scene Art Theater: Introduction to Arduino and sensing the real world - Part of a ubiquitous computing course. 
  • Roskilde University: Practical Prototyping and Concept Prototyping
And the details: 

Platform4 invited GeekPhysical and illutron up to another city in Denmark, Aalborg for a weekend of 'mini maker faire' with a Makerfaire area, workshops, lectures and even a cross-continental dinner where we joined the Wonder Dinner, having breakfast in Denmark and dinner in New Zealand and discussing the concept and possibilities for Time Hacking. GeekPhysical did two workshops, one with pre-produced robot parts so we could create servo motor robots and put them together from a kit, and one where ideas reigned, a warm up for the upcoming Roskilde University workshop, wherein participants came with no ideas, generated ideas from scratch, built and tested their ideas in two hours! 
  • ITU: Lecture & hands-on exercise with idea development
ITU in Copenhagen, Denmark, brought in GeekPhysical to lead a one hour lecture in inspiration from projects, and an introduction to rapid prototyping and idea development. Students had to conceptualize and build their ideas in just 10 minutes from materials nearby and then present their concepts. 
  • New Scene Art Theater: Introduction to Arduino and sensing the real world - Part of a ubiquitous computing course. 
A four hour workshop with older participants looking to learn about ubiquitous computing. They spent the day learning with Majken Overgaard from Everybody Knows Frank about ubiquitous computing and then the evening trying their hand at Arduino, servo motors and all different types of sensors including our newest toys, the alcohol, humidity, and ultra sonic range finder sensors that we just bought from the Danish version of Sparkfun, Electrozone. A great day with fantastic questions from the class and fun with red wine and alcohol sensors :) 

  • Roskilde University: Practical Prototyping and Concept Prototyping
A two week workshop for students of Roskilde's Humtek (humanties/technology) program. Half the students took Dzl's workshop on Practical Rapid Prototyping, working with CNC machine and laser cutter and half took Vanessa's workshop on Concept Rapid Prototyping working with brainstorming, participatory design, cultural probes, personas and paper prototypes. We're in the middle of this so we'll let you know how it turns out, but so far, so fun! 

Sep 10, 2011

Visiting Platform4 for Future Meeting Hub #1

GeekPhysical teamed up with Platform4 this weekend to offer workshops at the Future Meeting Hub #1. We prototyped our prototyping workshops on Saturday and Sunday, offering participants either the opportunity to play with robots made of two servos and CNC'ed wooden parts OR the challenge of developing an idea from a random shiny object and taking it from brainstorm to proof of concept to user testing in a two hour period.

A bit about the robots:

The robots were prepared using CNC milled wooden parts and building upon our old workshop with illutron in Odense ( In our older workshop we used wooden sticks and glueguns and our robots have since evolved to become sexy sophisticated models with endless adaption possibilities.  The robots start out playing a game of leap frog and can be adapted to respond to any imaginable input and do anything you can think of for them to do!

Here's a photo of us CNC milling them:

More news, photos and video coming soon as we progress with our weekend fun at Platform4!

Aug 28, 2011

Newsletter, Website, and CS4Fun, oh my!

There's a certain feeling of fullness, of satisfaction when everything finally, finally gets to be where you've wanted it to be. This week GeekPhysical got the pleasure of feeling that happy moment - we finally published our new website (with endless thanks to our fabulous designer, Jonas Eriksson) and sent out our first newsletter, carefully and seriously painstakingly, selecting 417 people from all of our combined contacts who we thought might enjoy receiving it. We're excited about the work we've done and happy to share our stories with each of you so it was nice to send out this newsletter and share a bit with the world what we're up to and where we're going!

Please check out our shiny new Newsletter here:

Our very fantabulous new website here:

and... the 12-hours-later result of one Mr. Paul Curzon, who was so enthused by our newsletter story about the Touching Booth that he wrote and published an article at CS4Fun here: (Thanks Paul!)

And please - if you have feedback for us on our newsletter or website we'd really like to hear it, we're always looking to improve!

If you'd like to join our newsletter, sign up in the right hand column of this blog!

Jul 31, 2011

Playing with fire, again

Playing with fire by geekphysical
Playing with fire, a photo by geekphysical on Flickr.

It's been a little quiet on the blog-front because we've been going nuts getting ready for the big festival with illutron - KulturSYDhavn (Culture in the South Harbor). It's the second year we're working in collaboration with the 10-years running Kulturhavn (Culture harbor), an amazing festival with tons of performances.

This year we decided on the theme "Remixing the Physical" and playing with some new 'elements': Sound, Fire, Water, Light, and Robots.

In this photo, we're experimenting with fire under water and throwing in some electricity for fun.

To read about some of the ongoing projects, check out: or

Happy Geeking!

Jul 16, 2011

The Touching Booth

The Flirt by geekphysical
The Flirt, a photo by geekphysical on Flickr.

As part of LABtoLAB in Nantes, France, we created the Touch Chair installation, part photo booth, part kissing booth, where two people sit across from each other and touch to take a photo.

Each time the photo is taken, half the screen changes so as to allow strange combinations of strangers or friends - or even two instances of the same person occur.

When one person touches the other, the camera takes a photo of one side of the scene - when another touch is 'felt' the other side of the photo is taken.

In this way, two photos make up the scene and people had fun playing with the possibilities, creating some amusing photos and finding some interesting ways to 'connect'.

May 21, 2011

Giant Printer in Rio de Janeiro!

GeekPhysical is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! We're using the giant printer, re-designed, and multiplied (we now have 3!) to print the hand prints of 1923 fans of Vasco da Gama, the Brazilian football team. We're at the São Januário stadium, where the football team "Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama" was founded on August 21, 1898 as a rowing club first, and a football later, in 1915. The team has 20.5 million supporters!

We're working with fantastic people from Espalhe, the Guerilla Marketing Company from São Paulo ( to create this project. Fans submit their handprints online via a Facebook app ( where they hold their hand up to the webcam and their handprint is converted to a vector file which our printer can read. 1923 fan's hands will be chosen to be printed on the wall, and for a very significant reason. 1923 was the year of the team that was subject to racism, and in 1924, the president of the Vasco da Gama football team said NO to racism, holding up his hand, and turning down a championship game after he was asked to remove all black and poor players from his team. This was a huge movement for Brazil as shortly afterwards, the racist barriers set by the other teams were dropped. Story below. Penalty, the company sponsoring Vasco da Gama and the creator of sportswear has put out the newest shirt, featuring the hand from 1923. (

We've been working for two months to prepare for this project, and will be covering it in a series of blog posts, photos and videos as we complete the project. More after the story...

The Story of Vasco da Gama and 1923:

In the 1920's Vasco da Gama was asked to ban players from the league that didn't comply with their aristocratic standards, primarily those who were black or poor. The high brow teams of the time, namely Fluminense, Flamengo and Botafogo had all done so and Vasco da Gama was pressured to do the same. The other teams even went so far as to disguise black players (in whom they recognized extraordinary talent) with rice powder, to hide their skin colour. Of course, this was sweated off during the match and players received the name “Pó de Arroz” (rice powder). The team of the year 1923 was subject to this racism and in 1924, the president of Vasco, José Augusto Prestes sent an answer to the Metropolitan Athletic Association who was pressuring him to ban black and poor players, in the form of "The Historic Answer", stating that he would rather not play the championship than comply with their racist rules. This letter was accompanied with the open hand symbol, saying no to racism. In a few years, the racism rules died out, and all players were invited once again. (As told to us by Espalhe and read from various parts of the internet and

Building the printer:

We wrote a lot about building the printer here: but this time the printer was re-designed, specifically to match the needs of our Brazil project, and in doing so, advancing the printer significantly. You can see the re-designed printer here:

In answering the question, "how is this technologically innovative?" for a press release, we came with the following answer, which may give some insight into the printer:

There are two parts to this answer: 1)The design of the printer itself and 2)The purpose of the printer.

1)The design of the printer:
The printer was designed considering that we would be travelling with it and that we might have to build more parts or repair parts so we only used cheap, readily available materials that could be easily purchased in any supply store, worldwide. We used plywood, wires, and spray paint guns that we knew we could find anywhere so we would save the trouble of having highly specialized, irreplaceable parts.

Also, the printer was designed using an iterative design process. Many prototypes were built, and with each new prototype, it was tested, problems were found, the prototype was re-built, re-printed on the CNC machine, re-assembled and re-tested. We went through many of these phases to find the best design that solved all the problems we encountered.

Software wise, each time the printer moves, there is a lot of math involved to predict where the printer needs to go next based on its ever-changing position. Furthermore, the software takes vector files and converts it to something the printer can understand. The reason we made this is a)there is nothing available to solve this problem, and b)this gives us more control over the printer and we can make our own special features such as timing or spraying and we can change it to be exactly what we need. This is also a prototype in development, and one we have worked hard to get good usability from.

2)The purpose of the printer:

The original idea was to use the printer to print very large areas like buildings, dams, or stadiums with a minimum hardware cost. We decided to use wires to limit the amount of hardware needed and it makes the printer lighter to transport. It's also more flexible to use since it is not an industrial component. In the old version, the motors needed to be in a specific spot and now the motors can be in a convenient location and the wires can run from suspension points and this should make the entire set up more flexible.

The idea behind the giant part of it is that we can write messages or images on walls using cheap paint, with an easy set up, and using readily available materials, moving directly from the design on the computer to the wall without having a print shore in between, and with a much lower cost since it can be any paint in the spray can.

More to come as we begin printing in Brazil! While you're waiting, check out some of the press coverage we've received (with Penalty and Espalhe), just hit "translate" if you're using Google Chrome, or use and translate the site.

Apr 9, 2011

Visiting STPLN in Malmo

The livingroom/workspace by geekphysical
The livingroom/workspace, a photo by geekphysical on Flickr.

We went to visit the new Stapelbäddsparken cultural space in Malmo - and to see 1scale1's new diggs there!

The place is fantastic with a huge upstairs dedicated to hosting events such as parties, performance, exhibition, or the like. Then downstairs is the mecca of geekhappiness, with a giant yet undecided room (although rumours of botwars have surfaced), a living room / cosy area, a projection space, a bike kitchen where people can fix, hack, or play with bikes which are either their own or some of the ones brought in by apartment owners when bikes are discarded; a workspace with tools, an office and a 'wet room'. It's a great space and we can't wait to see what happens with it!

Congrats to 1scale1 and STPLN! Looking forward to bring Everybody Knows Frank there to play!

Mar 13, 2011

Everybody Knows Frank

GeekPhysical, with Majken Overgaard, has created a network - a place for creative people who are inventors, thinkers, engineers, geeks, tinkerers, modders, conceptualists, designers, hackers, makers, artists, and all those creating experiences for others.

This network aims at bringing together all the people in the Öresund Region who work with technology in creative, innovative ways. We invite both creators and possible partners to participate.

The goal is to create discussions between creative, innovative people who can help each other, collaborate, form possible partnerships, introduce networks, and be introduced to the people they possibly want to partner up with.

We've had two events so far, our premier on the illutron barge, and our follow up event at Labitat, a great hackerspace with really fantastic people, thanks Labitat for a great time!

See a video of our first event here (also below):

Photos of both events here:

Read more at:

Frank is on PODIO - Podio is really what we need to connect all these amazing creative people and get them collaborating on projects together. Check it out here:

Video from the last "Everybody Knows Frank":

Feb 17, 2011

Blow Tree by Fraser Ross

Okay, admittedly, I don't know if the name of the installation is blow-tree, I'm pretty sure it's not. (As it turns out, Breath of Life is the name, which is much nicer). But I found Fraser Ross' site ( from another site about Icelandic design and a museum called Biologiska Ross has made a tree that reminds me very much of our own Arbromorphic project, here, but his is fascinating in a beautiful way - you blow to activate the lights. Simple but charming, and we love it! Nice work Mr. Ross!

Feb 3, 2011

The Giant Printer

The Giant Printer was originally made in Komponent/LAB, a venue for electronic music and activity ( that Dzl was part of for 10 years. It was made for the Public Service Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2006. ( At the time, Komponent needed to print some large canvasses, 5 x 2.5 meters and had a limited budget. They needed a cheap printer with cheap ink. When they started to build the printer, their first idea was to build a giant X Y plotter (horizontal and vertical moving bar) but since there was very little time available they wanted to make the printer as simple as possible with as few mechanical parts as possible. They started to experiment and while measuring the length of the belts for the printer, realized they could raise and lower the print head by pulling on the belts. The hardware was simple, but the software proved to be a bit more difficult, they needed to solve the equation for the varying length of each belt as it moved.

After they made it, they were notified that it was similar to the Hektor printer which had been developed during the same time period. ( They thought it was great that a common design solution was discovered by both parties, validating their own design choices.

Cue 2010 and 2011. We dug out the printer from storage to make the logo on the side of the illutron barge and then re-imagined it in 2011 for Venture Cup Software Final. Some of the updates included:
- Motors mounted on tripods so it's a portable system
- Machined wooden frame for motor and belt mounts on CNC
- Fresh wires
- Minor software updates

The software takes HPGL plotter file and allows you to scale the image so it fits on the printed area. The software also allows you to pause while printing, in case, for example, you need to refill the paint container. Finally, it also gives you the opportunity to start from where you left in case of fail, such was the case at Venture Cup where our compressor knocked off the USB port each time it started up. Luckily, the software remembered it's last point and was able to continue from there.

The original idea for the printer was a land art printer which could paint buildings, dams, or bridges, painting areas up to 100m x 50m large and the print head would be large enough to accommodate two people and barrels of paint (to fill up the paint container whenever it emptied). Perhaps we'll still pursue that - anyone have buildings that need funky designs?

The next upgrade is to update software so it is less 'wobbly' using acceleration and deceleration rather than abrupt stop and go which is currently employed.

Check out the video of the printer here: and the photos here:

The equation describing the lengths of the belts as a function of print head position. A and B are where the belts are anchored and P is the printer head. R0 and R1 indicate length of belts and can be determined by equations given. The length of the belt can be translated into how many steps a stepper motor has to turn by multiplying by a factor of Z.

Jan 13, 2011

Behind The Scenes - Critical Corset Las Vegas Photo Shoot

Ah memories - good times with Sparkfun!

We distinctly remember this video being shot at about the 37th hour of non-sleep after travelling on something like 4 flights to get to Vegas from Tenerife. We had slept a bit of course, 2 hours here, 2 hours there but I'm surprised we remembered our names for this interview. AMAZING time with Sparkfun though, great memories.

Jan 12, 2011

Laser, Laser

Okay so we're getting super itchy to buy a laser cutter after visiting before Christmas and making some really special reindeer which sparked a debate about the new terrorism - laser cut patterns resulting in oddities that one ponders for hours and days on end. The reindeer in question is still on my dining table, mocking me with it's bizarre body. Thanks to the designer by the way who probably doesn't have a clue what he's done.

Moving on.

Dzl, after spending hours trying to convince me to spend a LOAD of money on a laser cutter, has built his own in the meantime: granted, it's miniature but hey, it's fun and full of laser goodness. Laser, attached to a CNC machine, and now we have fun laser cut objects all over the house. Granted, they're all made out of paper, or like my camera lens cap, now have my email engraved into them, but good times nonetheless. Check out our 'interlude video' here: