SIGGRAPH 2008: The quest for more pixels


Long before we started reporting on [Dan Kaminsky]‘s DNS chicanery, he contributed a guest post about one of our favorite sources of new technology: SIGGRAPH. The stars have aligned again and we’re happy to bring you his analysis of this year’s convention. [photo: Phong Nguyen]

So, last week, I had the pleasure of being stabbed, scanned, physically simulated, and synthetically defocused. Clearly, I must have been at SIGGRAPH 2008, the world’s biggest computer graphics conference. While it usually conflicts with Black Hat, this year I actually got to stop by, though a bit of a cold kept me from enjoying as much of it as I’d have liked. Still, I did get to walk the exhibition floor, and the papers (and videos) are all online, so I do get to write this (blissfully DNS and security unrelated) report.

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Hackit: The Bronco Table


While attending LA SIGGRAPH Maker Night, we got to talk to [Brett Doar] about his Bronco Table. The table is meant to make life more difficult by bucking off anything that’s set on top of it. Right now, it uses a tiny piezo mic to listen for the impact and then drives three leg motors in a random pattern. He envisions later generations either running away or following you intently when something is set on them.

The main problem with the current design is that you have to hit the table hard enough to make a noise the mic can pick up. The ideal solution would be able to detect anything, no matter what the material or how forcefully it was set down. How would you detect objects being placed on the surface (table doesn’t have to be wood)?

LA SIGGRAPH Maker Night


We coaxed our friends at Mahalo Daily into coming along with us to LA SIGGRAPH’s Maker Night. There were a handful of interesting projects there. [Univac] was showing a circuit bent Teletubby and his CellularRecombomat. [Brett Doar] brought his Bronco Table. Tired of engineers building items that made life easier, he decided to make something that made life more difficult. The table uses a piezo to detect the sound of something being set on top. It then starts twitching and bucking to shake the item free. The motors look like they’re salvaged window motors. Finally, we talked to [Mark Frauenfelder] from BoingBoing/Make about how he got into the DIY culture.

Upcoming events


We’re headed to Cleveland at the end of the week (we’ve heard rumors it rocks) and thought it would be good to list the events we’re planning on hitting in the next five months.

  • Notacon / Blockparty April 4-6 Cleveland, OH – This will be a first for us, but we’re definitely excited, especially for the demoscene madness at Blockparty (like Trixter’s MONOTONE PC speaker tracker).
  • ToorCon Seattle April 18-20 Seattle, WA – In its second year, this small gathering is sure to be a blast just like last year.
  • The Last HOPE July 18-20 New York, NY – Our first HOPE and the last one ever.. since the hotel is being torn down.
  • Black Hat US August 2-7 Las Vegas, NV – If anything gets released this year, it’ll be here.
  • DefCon August 8-10 Las Vegas, NV – The first con we ever went to. It’s not the best con, but it’s always interesting.
  • SIGGRAPH August 11-15 Los Angeles, CA – SIGGRAPH is where you need to be if you want to see cutting edge graphics and interaction projects. It’s a favorite of ours and a nice break from computer security.

Anything we’re missing?

UPDATE: Maker Faire May 3-4 San Mateo, CA – Can’t believe we forgot it. Thanks [pt]!

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