72 hours of hacking came to a head with the completion of the Red Bull Creation. This years challenge was to build something out of junk that moves a human. It’s hard to pull all the aspects of the event together in one place, so here’s some links you’ll want to check out if you weren’t able to attend.
Tech Crunch has an overview of all the event winners. One of our favorites is pictured above. The spinning see-saw is not your average playground toy. Its built-in accelerometer waits for the forces to peak, then snaps a picture for later enjoyment. Techshop, a San Francisco hackerspace, took the team prize for their work on it. Don’t miss the video after the break
The overall winner was a team from Minneapolis called 1.21 Jigawatts. They produced a human-sized hamster wheel that pulled a small follower behind it. As you walk, the follower prints incoming text messages on the sidewalk, kind of like the chalkbot. We searched around for video of it, the best we could find is this one.
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The txtBomber is a high-tech graffiti printer developed by [Felix Vorreiter]. Details are a bit scarce but the video clip after the break proves that this works quite well. [Felix] admits this is Arduino powered but we’re going to have to guess at the rest of the setup from the pictures. He says there are built-in-pens so we’d bet there’s a felt-tip type of thing going on and those look like seven solenoids that actuate them. He posted a picture of the handle side of the device and we can make out two wheels that are connected to LEGO gears. This tracks movement of the txtBomber across a surface in order to synchronize the printing process. There’s no sign of an LCD so it looks like you have to pre-program the messages before you go out into the field.
This is akin to the Chalkbot, but the messages that leaves wash away with the rain. This one seems like it might get you into some trouble if you get caught leaving permanent tags around the neighborhood.
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For those who watched the Tour de France, you may have been pleasantly surprised to see some cool tech. Nike was using a robot to paint pictures on the street in chalk dot matrix style. It was accepted by the general public as new and innovative, as well as generally cool. In the hacker community though, a bit of trouble began to brew. The Chalkbot bears more than a passing resemblance to a project called GraffitiWriter. GraffitiWriter was a bot initially designed to protest the militarization of robotics. As it turns out, one of the early developers of the GraffitiWriter is behind the Chalkbot in a legitimate contract. The trouble doesn’t seem to be one of intellectual property legalities. People are mad at the corporatization of public work. They want kids watching to know that this system was designed by regular people in their spare time at their homes, not by a team of researches in a secret underground Nike laboratory.
The article takes a bit of a turn and talks some about the possibility of projects being taken and used for corporate advertisement. The specific item they are talking about is the Image Fulgurator which secretly projects images on objects in your photographs. You’ll have to go check that one out to see how it works.