NYC Resistor Heats up the Big Apple with The 2014 Interactive Show

 

TitleNYCRBehind a nondescript loading dock in Brooklyn stands a normal looking brick building. Go up 3 narrow flights of stairs – you’ll find yourself at the door to the awesome known as NYC Resistor. Last Saturday, NYC Resistor held their 5th Interactive Show, and Hackaday was there! Much like the city it calls home, the Interactive Show is a melting pot. This particular pot is filled with NYC Resistor members (and the public) showing off their projects, NYU’s Tish School ITP students displaying their interactive art, and a good heaping portion of old fashioned hacker partying.

The first thing I was struck by was the building. They have a great space up there in Brooklyn. A late 1800’s era loft which started life as a section of The Federal Brewing Company. Between the old brickwork, patchwork tin ceiling, Devo Posters, and LEDs, it’s got all the mad scientist lab charm one would expect from such a space.

trammellThe event itself took place in two rooms. The front room had the DJ, along with dimmed lighting. When I heard the thumping music, I figured I’d see the typical DJ lights and strobes. I couldn’t have been more wrong! There was no need for that here; [Trammell Hudson’s] LED projects provided more than enough blinkenlights for the entire room.

Making my way through the crowd watching two players compete at snake on the Megascroller, I found myself in the back room, where most of the projects were on display.

[Daniel Luxemburg] was first up, with his leap-lifx, a Leap Motion based controller for LIFX RGB LED lightbulbs. Olivia Barr had her Not A Camera on display. Hopefully she found the selfies I left on there by now.

Next to the cameras was Olivia Barr’s Spank Strength Test (YouTube link). A bodystocking-adorned mannequin used aft mounted sensors to measure the strength of a spank. The results were of course displayed on LEDs ascending the front of the outfit.

SubwayTucked in the corner of the front room was one of the standouts of the entire event. Subway Stories is the creation of [Alon Chitayat] and [Jeff Ong]. The user dons headphones and interacts with the piece using two levers on a metal box. One lever accelerates the train, while the other zooms in on the riders. As each rider passes into view, you can hear their thoughts through the headphones. Ambient subway sounds fill in the background. The experience was incredibly immersive. Who hasn’t ridden on the subway and wondered what that guy in the corner was thinking? An Arduino converted the lever input to serial, which was fed to a computer running the sketch on Processing. The audio was handled by Max/Msp.

subway2

balletAbout halfway through the evening, everyone was gathered in the front room for a demonstration by the Brooklyn Ballet. Two dancers showed off outfits created as part of a collaboration between the Ballet and NYC Resistor members [Nick and Sayaka Vermeer], [Olivia Barr], and [William Ward]. One of the ballerinas worked a Snowfall Tutu – a white tutu with accelerometer-controlled white LEDs create a snowfall effect in response to the dancer’s movements.

Popping artist [Mike “Supreme” Fields] showed off his Pexel Shirt. Loaded with LEDs, [Mike] has complete control of the shirt by moving muscle groups. An accelerometer in each pectoral muscle flashes LEDs on his chest, while accelerometers at his wrists send streaks of light up his arms.

Once the dance portion of the evening was over, I made my way back to the bar, where I sampled a homebrew created for the event by NYCR members [Travis Collins] and [Matt Joyce] In addition to the beer itself, they built a dual tap kegerator out of a 1950’s era Leonard refrigerator.

Skillfully located next to the bar was [Sophi Kravitz], with an updated version of her HeartBeat Boombox. This version included an updated front panel and a sleeker overall design.

mimimirrorI ran into [Amit Klein], who was showing off Mimi The Magic Mirror. Powered by a quad core i.mx6 WandBoard running Android, the mirror was showing off demos of helping people with their morning routine. It also ran a demo where users could watch an animation and mimic the motion. The mirror would then display the original animation with video of the user just below it.

Just about this time a crowd was gathering in the font room, which could only mean one thing – Mario was up and running on the Megascroller. Mario in the round turned out to be quite a fun party game, with cheers for every successfully captured castle. My personal best was about halfway through the board before Mario got ahead of me, and ran straight into a goomba.

As the wee hours of the morning approached, the crowd was waning, but the NYC Resistor members were still going strong. I headed out into the city, refreshed from seeing some of the best minds are still at work. I’d like to thank [Adam Mayer] and the rest of the NYC Resistor crew for their hospitality during a great night.

Comments

  1. streivo says:

    This space is the only hackerspace I’ve ever been to that actively tries to attract women – as explained to me by the head honcho.

    • wwward says:

      Yes, that’s more or less what we would say about keeping Resistor a safe, non-creepy place for men, women or gender-nonconforming hackers. We do actively work at this, and though I can’t speak for all the Resistors, my opinion after 5 years is that we’re full of people who try to do the right thing, and if anything is amiss, we collectively accept the change necessary to fix it. — William Ward, NYCR Member

  2. ricouzuki says:

    Are you guys planning on visiting the geek group?

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