We all deserve to create. Some people seem to have the muses hidden in their pocket, but everyone benefits when they express themselves in their chose art form. Each of us has tools, from Dremels to paintbrushes, and many folks here build their own implements. Even if we don’t have our macro-enabled mechanical keyboard or a dual-extrusion printer, we can make due. But what if you couldn’t operate your drill, or mouse, or even a pencil? To us, that would be excruciating and is the reality for some. [Laura Roth] and [Christopher Sweeney] are art teachers designing a tool holder for their students with cerebral palsy so that they can express themselves independently.
On either side of this banner image, you can see pencil drawings from [Sara], who has spastic cerebral palsy. She made these drawings while wearing the tool holder modeled after her hand. Now, that design serves other students and is part of the 2020 Hackaday Prize. The tool holder wraps around the wrist like a wide bracelet. Ribbing keeps its shape, and a tube accepts cylindrical objects, like pencils, styluses, and paintbrushes.The result is that the tip of the pencil is not far from where it would have been if held in the hand, but this sidesteps issues with grip and fine control in hands and fingers.
The print is available as an STL and should be printed with flexible filament to ensure it’s comfortable to wear. Be mindful of digital styluses which may need something conductive between the barrel and user.
Hackers are familiar with the challenges of cerebral palsy, and we’ve enjoyed seeing a variety of solutions over the years like door openers, camera gimbals, and just being altogether supportive.
Cutting every corner can lead to some shoddy projects, but [Terry Gilliam] shows us that cutting the right corners yields unforgettable animations when mixed with the right amount of quirky imagination. The signature animation style of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a mixture of [Terry]’s artistic craft and doing it with as little work as possible. You can watch after the break.
For [Terry], cutout animation is the quickest and easiest way he knows to convey an idea, a joke, or a story. With his vocal repertoire, even the sound effects can be produced in a basement studio. Sometimes, he makes the artwork himself and sometimes he relies on found-media in magazines or print. Both of these resources have vast digital counterparts for the betterment or detriment of animators.
Cutout animations have limitations such as jerky movement and the signature paper-on-a-background look, but that didn’t stop South Park. Textures and gradients can be used, unlike traditional animation which leverages a simplified color palette so you can pick your poison.
If your story or idea is held back because it can’t be expressed, maybe it needs a cutout animation kick in the right direction, and it couldn’t hurt to illustrate your 2018 Hackaday Prize submissions. At the opposite end of the tech spectrum, we have an animation made with 3D printed objects.
Continue reading “Cutting Paper And Corners In Animation”
Researchers at UC San Diego have been working on a robot that learns facial expressions. Starting with a bunch of random movements of the face “muscles”, the robot is rewarded each time it generates something that is close to an existing expression. It has slowly developed several recognizeable expressions itteratively. We have a few questions. First, are we the only ones who see a crazy woman with a mustache in the picture above? Why is that? What makes [Einstein] look so effiminate in that picture? Secondly, what reward do you give a robot? You can actually see this guy in action in a video after the break.
Continue reading “Robots Learning Facial Expressions”