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!