[Spime] Distant touching

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Internet communication has not reached its limit yet: we have text, sound and video easily available. Few years ago, some people tried to develop odor extension, but I’ve not seen this really breaking through yet.

Because I need to communicate with someone, and I miss something, I was thinking about adding another sense to our internet communication: touch.

Since then, I’ve been playing with the Arduino card (see previous post), and play to connect it to an USB massage gadget. By internet, both gadget will communicate, each personn allowed to make the other gadget massaging more or less quickly.

Today I’ve discovered that Thomas Edwards has already complete his touch project!

From there, I’ve found many interesting links that will greatly help in my own project, hoping that knowledge will flow in both directions:

  • Phy2Phy: a wiki about physical interaction over IP, with lots of useful information to develop your own hardware, and because interaction is not limited to touch;
  • Touch source code and more technical information

[Electronic] Arduino board

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Wanting to do a fast electronic prototype of an idea I had last night (more description about this idea in a later postà, I discovered this morning the Arduino project.

What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

Arduino

What to do with it?

It’s basicly the Processing.org wet dream:

  • You make and verify you program in Processing (or similar IDE from Arduino)
  • You connect your board to your computer via USB and send the program to it
  • You disconnect it, find any external power source (batterie or plugged), and you app is running on a small hardware machine

Now you can add enough outputs (led, motor, …) and inputs (switches, potentio-meter, …) to make any physical hack. Smaller version of the board are also available!

And Berlin is the best place to live to get this working, everything is available in shops, and this one was particulary cheap: 27€

How to install it?

This board is working on Windows/Linux/Mac platform, but I had some difficulties to make it really plug&play on my Mac. Follow Gck instructions on Arduino forum if you have some problems too.

[RepRap] Extruder Kit mounted

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Closing screw I’ve just arrived few days ago at Madrid, and I’ve had the joy to received the RepRap Extruder Kit built this summer by RRRF!

The pieces are well cut, and there is some neat mechanical design (I’m new in this domain) helping to put pieces together.

The only issue has been the middle part, containing the driving screw, with one of the part just a millimeter short. It looks one-sided, if put on the wrong side, there’s a gap at the bottom of the piece near the plastic part.

Now, I’m just missing « 40mm length of 3mm braided steel wire », some « JB Weld high-temperature epoxy glue » to finish completely to assemble this extruder kit. Thanks to Fernando from Barcelona who gave me a ferreteria address to visit in Madrid to get this kind of pieces.

The next missing part is the PIC programmation, I’ve got some issue with the Olimex PG3B pogrammer and pkp (under Ubuntu), they seem unable to communicate, and the programmer board is stuck with PRG1 led once parallel port is open… Hope to solve this during the week before to leave to Berlin with everything connecting, and come back soon with all mechnaical parts!

RepRap: shop online to buy parts

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RepRapRepRap shopping website has just appear online, this is the place where we’ll be able to buy parts to begin with the RepRap project.

There are probably few people readier than me to build their 3D-printer, and only few pieces are available on the shop. The shop should be filled on regular interval, so I’ll wait another time to to order all parts to build Las Indias printer. I’ve just ordered the PowerComm board now to test the connection between the Mac and the future machine, there is probably some hacking-fun to have here 🙂

Until then, I’ve just installed RepRap java source yesterday on my computer, it’s lauching well from Eclipse if you follow the simple step-by-step instructions, I just wonder how difficult it’ll be to communicate with the external electronic board, I’ve never used any USB->Serial comm. tools before…

Fabbing: 400$ 3D printer, self-replicating

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Fabbing might be a coming revolution: far more accessible than nanotechnology, it would allow people to have a mini-industry at home to build common objects.
In coming months, my project it to build one of these 3D printers, that will be self-replating itself to spread fabbing in few places like Toulouse, Berlin or Madrid.

rr1_header.png

I’ve discovered RepRap this weekend, it seems the best options to follow, a great community around a small budget printer (400$ is their goal).
Now, let’s get it in practice, that’s a really extended project: electronic, software, mechanic, … a lot a new skills to learn!

Call me back in a month to see if something has been built yet 🙂

More links:

From weblog to geolog: virtual wall maps

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How to get a virtual world wall map similar to those you can find in most of students flat? with small pins on it to celebrate reminders of excellent moments abroad?

Using google map, it’s possible to add this pins (markers) on the map, and it’s possible to add lines between these markers, so everything is there to implement basic functionnalities.

Once the basics are done, the next steps could be more interesting: how wirtual maps can extend the experience?

  • Add a slider to navigate thought time, David‘s idea with his students about extending google maps with history layers (see google market sliders);
  • Have the possibility to add future markers, so your friends – or other people – can see your plans for coming weeks. Serious privacy issues, but all the tracklog concept lay on these issues;
  • Creating a multi-layer map with friends or other people on it, there we are really near a Global Surveillance concept;
  • Color change on path, depending on the transport – plane, foot, bicycle, … – or relate to the time slider with a nice gradient.

Interesting links around the same idea:

Hacking history: Back Orifice

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Nearly 10 years ago, a teenager dream became a virtual reality: Back Orifice released by The Cult of The Dead Cow

Basicly, it was a small trojan horse with really simple commands to connect to infected computers on internet. All you needed is a range of ip – national ISP networks were working well – to scan for any open connection and start playing with it. Really useless, but so much fun 🙂

Today, CCC has released a documentary about this piece of history:

BEAM Robotics: electronic art life

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Vibrobot

From Wikipedia:

The word « beam » in BEAM robotics is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. This is a term that refers to a style of robotics that primarily uses simple analog circuits instead of a microprocessor in order to produce an unusually simple design (in comparison to traditional mobile robots) that trades flexibility for robustness and efficiency in performing the task for which it was designed. Exceptions to the convention of using only analog electronics do exist and these are often colloquially referred to as « mutants« .

Interesting links: