Initiate! Open Frameworks Detroit

I’ll be presenting Broken City Lab at:
Initiate! Technology + Collaboration + Community + Change
Saturday, 2/25, 5-9:30 PM
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Ave Detroit MI, 48201

Looking forward to a great discussion on creative uses of primarily open source technology and open source approaches to creating art and social change with a bunch of awesome talented people.

Hope to see you there!

I made an iPhone App and so can you !!!


For one of my last projects with Sigi Torinus as part of my BFA degree I made an iphone App.

I was able to speed up a usually lengthy process by skipping over the coding portion of creating the app. This was made possible by using Buzztouch, a web-based content management software (CMS) out of Montery California that helps build iPhone and Android apps. Buzztouch provides tools that allow people to create mobile apps and provides a back-end database to support those apps over the long-term. They do both of these things for free, for anyone. The source-code that app owners download for each of their applications is released under an open-source license.

Continue reading “I made an iPhone App and so can you !!!”

The EyeWriter

In case you haven’t already seen it floating around the interwebs, I had to post it.

Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group communities have teamed-up with a legendary LA graffiti writer, publisher and activist, named Tony Quan, aka TEMPTONE. Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, a disease which has left him almost completely physically paralyzed… except for his eyes. This international team is working together to create a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes. The long-term goal is to create a professional/social network of software developers, hardware hackers, urban projection artists and ALS patients from around the world who are using local materials and open source research to creatively connect and make eye art.

This project, which I’ve posted about before, was developed using OpenFrameworks, a cross platform c++ library for creative development (somewhat similar to Processing, which uses Java as its base), is hugely inspiring. A project like this shifts the role of the artist / the programmer / the open-source advocate in a really interesting way.

Not that we have the technical skill base to develop anything near this in terms of software / hardware, but this project is a perfect example of why I still get excited by the idea of working in that medium.

Nerd Alert: could be amazing. The idea is to create a visual Web-based library of componentized instruction sets, “building blocks,” for doing various hardware and software constructions. Put a bunch of these components together, and you have all of the instructions you need to execute a multi-part project.

So, that crazy project you’ve always wanted to do but were never sure how to even start it might finally be able to be realized, if Bildr can come together. The thing is, it will require a lot of input from a ton of knowledgeable people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve spent hours on Google trying to find the exact right answer to a problem I’d been having, whether in PHP, Perl, or Max, but it wasn’t always just finding the right answer, it was trying to figure out how to ask the right question.

Something like Bildr could fix that… by allowing you to assemble your own set of instructions from those little modules of instructions, things could be a lot easier. However, in some ways, it still requires you to know exactly what it takes to do what you want to do, and for me this has always been the gap. How do you know what needs to be asked to solve a specific problem?

Bildr is just starting up and looking for expertise, so you if you know how to do some little bit of programming or building or if you have a very specific knowledge subset of LEDs, for example, contact them.

[via Make]

Interactivos? re:farm the city

re:farm sensors

re:farm the city is a low-tech urban / community garden project of sorts. The image above is a part of that low tech. This is a simple monitoring system developed using Arduino and Processing that will track humidity levels in six planters and alert the gardener if they get too low (essentially broadcasting that they are in need of watering).

The project is aimed at developing a series of tools that would enable city-dwellers to grow and monitor an urban garden using open-software and open-hardware and as much recycled materials as possible. It also focuses on new ways of visualizing and understanding relationships between plants situated in close or distanced proximity to one another.

I’ve been anxious to get into learning more Arduino for a while, but we haven’t seemed to have an appropriate project as of yet. Maybe there are some ways to include some technology that would aid in the educational element of our community garden…

[via  we make money not art ]

Open Source Hardware

Team Arduino: Gianluca Martino, Massimo Banzi, and David Cuartielles Photo by James Day

There’s a really good story over at Wired about the idea, business models, and inventors behind open source hardware. Pictured above are the founders of Arduino, three pretty relaxed looking dudes, making knowledge open and free. It’s really incredible to realize that there are companies and projects that are based on open source hardware and profit from it in one way or another. We could build an exact copy of the Arduino board, call it Broken City Board and sell it, as long as we kept the same Creative Commons licensing as the original Arduino board. Walmart could also do the same, but of course, would also be subject to the same licensing requirements.

Open knowledge and the potential to make things more open, more accessible, more functional is the future. Again, it’s a great read and just goes to show how important it is for us to document and share everything we do.

Jessica Banks and Ayah Bdeir: Open Source Snobs

Short video from a talk by Jessica Banks & Ayah Bdeir from the MIND08 Symposium (part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at MOMA and co-presented by SEED Magazine). Both Banks and Bdeir are former MIT students and research fellows at Eyebeam’s R&D Open Lab. They talk about the concept of opensource  design, and what it could mean for both designers and end-users. Over the 16 minutes, they briefly go over some history of opensource software, their ideas and products (which are pretty incredible), and the potential for the future to be patent-free.

Turning TVs off With a Single-Purpose Universal Remote

TV-B-Gone by Ladyada

This is the TV-B-Gone—it is a single-purpose universal remote that is used to shut off a large variety of televisions. You can see a video of it in action. It’s open-source, so it’s fairly easy to build using the instructions included on Ladyada’s website

I was thinking about combining that with the Turn-Signal Biking Jacket project we looked at last week. We could basically build this remote into the front pocket of a jacket and run a switch to the tip of the sleeve and the go around the mall and turn off all the TVs. 

And on a different, but related note, check out this blog, Creative Physical Computing, many, many in-progress projects using things like Arduino, Max/MSP/Jitter, Processing, Quartz Composer, etc.