Nothing Comes From Nowhere

How do you come up with new ideas? As much as it sometimes seems like they arrive in a flash out of the blue, they don’t just come out of nowhere. Indeed, we all have well-stocked mental toolboxes that say “this thing can be used to do that” and “if you want to get there, start here”.

One incredibly fertile generator of “new” ideas is simply putting old ideas next to each other and realizing that a chain of two or three can get you to someplace new. It just happened to me while listening to Mike and myself on this week’s Hackaday Podcast.

bikelangelo

Here’s the elevator pitch. You take something like the player-pianoesque MIDI barrel piano that we featured last Thursday, and mix it together with the street-painting bicycle trailer that we featured on Friday. What do you get? A roll of paper that can be drawn on by normal kids, rolled up behind a bicycle, with a tank that they can pressurize with a bike pump, that will spray a pixelated version of their art as they roll down the sidewalk.

Now how can I make this real? One of my neighbors has a scrap bike trailer…

But see what I mean about ideas? I just took two existing ideas and rubbed them together, and in this case, they emitted sparks. And I’ve got a mental catalogue of all of the resources around me, some of which fell right into place. This role as fountain of good proto-ideas is why I started reading Hackaday fifteen years ago, and why it’s still a daily must-read for folks like us everywhere. A huge thank you to everyone who’s sharing! Read more Hackaday!

Burning Man 2011: Christopher Schardt’s Garden Of Rockets

This is one piece I regret to have missed this year at Burning Man, however I certainly heard tales from any one who stumbled across it. [Christopher Shardt]’s Garden of Rockets consists of three kinetic fire art pieces with spinning propane rockets that you can control!

[Christopher] decided to incorporate his Burning Man 2010 project, 4pyre², which is a 12 foot pipe with opposing propane fueled rockets on each end. Onlookers can control the amount of propane fed to the rockets and twist the pipe they are attached to causing the whole thing to spin around like an out of control fire hose. Accompanying 4pyre² is  PyreGoRound, and  Pyroticulation which are two variants on 4pyre²’s concept of spinning rocket bars. [Christopher] was lucky enough to have his project materials funded by Burning Man, but added three thousand dollars (!) in propane to the mix out of pocket.

Check out a video of the project after the jump, and [Christopher]’s site for details and schematics.

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Burning Man 2011: Peter Hudson’s Charon Strobe Sculpture

Here at Hackaday the only thing we like better than giant whirling artistic desert based contraptions are interactive giant whirling artistic desert based contraptions. [Peter Hudston]’s Charon is no exception. Known for his strobe sculptures [Peter] has returned from a two year hiatus with possibly one of the craziest and nightmarish sculptures found on the deep playa. The work features a gigantic spinning wheel that has posed human skeletons mounted on it’s inner edge. Onlookers can pull a series of 6 rope pairs which cause the wheel to rotate rapidly. When the rope pullers are coordinated enough to get the wheel spinning at the right speed, a strobe is activated revealing the skeleton’s animation.

I wandered over to this thing one night after hearing the local buzz about the piece.  The towering wheel was spinning away as the rope pullers of the moment tried desperately to get the strobe to activate, every couple of minutes or so somebody would try and coordinate the pulling only to confuse things.  From my perspective it seemed to be very difficult to get the right speed, and the pullers had to yank the rope practically to the ground. During the short time I was watching the piece (jaw to the floor) the strobe activated once or twice and honestly it was completely worth the effort. To see what this monster looks like in action check out the video after the jump.

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The Cloud Mirror

Cloud Mirror is an interactive art installation that combines you and your easily available online information in real time. Attendees stood in front of the camera and held up their badges. Cloud Mirror then projected them on the wall and displayed a speech bubble containing information from the web. In the example after the break, you can see our very own [Eliot] displayed with his most recent twitter post. To add another layer to it, you could send a text message with someone’s badge ID to the system and it will display your message in that person’s bubble.

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