Violet Ray

I found this beauty on a marked in Fredrikstad on a family holiday:

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I had no idea what it was but instantly fell in love! A few hours of research (AKA Googling) later i realize I have bought a pre WWII miniature Tesla Coil to stick up my ass! How cool is that!

The device is a Helio Lux Violet Ray Electro Therapy kit with a large variety of electrodes, including Eye Socked Electrodes, Anal electrode and Spinal Electrode. These devices was used for health care in the late 1930s but are now adopted by the BDSM community.

We have off course already given it a run at the 220Vs but, as expected, the device is completely dead. A look inside revealed a broken fuse and a shorted primary cap 1uF/1000V. This is now ordered from RS-components and my guess is that it’ll do the trick.

One question remains though; is the Noble Gas in the tubes still present after so many years..? Update will come when the cap arrives!

Update: Cap has arrived 🙂

 

Hugs,
Einar
tech dept.

The Chess Sequencer

The Chess Sequencer is a step matrix sequencer made from a chess board, where placing the pieces make music. The sequencer is connected to software synths on my Mac trough USB and a Processing patch to convert the serial data to internal midi.

Take a look:

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Animatronics for Teater Avvik

Lars Vik of asked me last december if our robot, Dr. Bürhool (AKA Nille), could be used by Teater Avvik to create a performance for children. Dr Bürhool is already an experienced actor after two seasons of “Bråta” in Porsgrunn.

Anyways, he also wanted a kind of Nilfisk (the Brand of the vacuum cleaner used for Bürhool) univers, with more stuff to play around with. So I made him Willie and Ada. The story to be told is about a groundskeeper, Bull, taking his favorite inventions on the road after loosing his job.

Here they are, Nille (Bürhool), Willy and Ada.

sonicriders

SonicRiders

Again I found myself at Medialab-Prado for a workshop, this time an intensive 48 hours of Global Game Jam together with Eduardo Moriana. We decided to join the jam to further our research with the kinect and our remake of Space Invaders.

El Pais had an article about it. 

The Game Jam usually starts with a word that the ideas should revolve around, but this year it was an image of a circular snake biting its own tail. We then had 20 minutes to brainstorm concepts that could be presented and from which the teams would be made. Apart form a very loose idea of using the kinect to control a noisy feedback that should be harmonized into an Ohmmm, I was kind of blank. Luckily several other people had good ideas and I decided to join a project that intended to make a game that would add small loops together to form a musical score. That was the idea.

The team consisted of Enrique Hervás (Head of Game Department), Rob Díaz (3D Art) and myself (Certified Game Tester). We started discussing the essence of what we wanted and investigating its possibilities, it’s related to Guitar Hero, but we are not making a Keyboard Hero.
After looking at examples of similar things (SolarBeat) and discussing the use of a musical score sheet turned into a roller coaster, or MIDI as a note generator and synchronizer (not that easy inside Unity and with only 40 hours until deadline it was a no go), we ate dinner discussing the finer aspects of game development and went back to Medialab to start building the core mechanics.
They where: object A moves along a line, when close to object B the player can press a key so that object B moves and a sound is triggered. The two experienced programmers had this up and running within an hour so we decided to end the day early. Now the game only lacked a theme and some further development.

That night I played around with the game mechanics in my head before falling asleep, trying to visualize the music score roller coaster or even a music box game of some sort. But when I strolled in a bit late around 10 there had been a radical change. The game theme was a race circuit with 8 tracks and the game was taking shape rapidly. From scratch Rob had already built a crude model of the world and was designing the cars. Enrique was in deep concentration with the code.
So, I started searching for sounds with this new theme in mind, but it was difficult as all the visual aspects were not there yet. When evening came and we put it all together for the first time, it became clear that the soundscape I had chosen did not fit our game and a retake of the whole thing was needed. I took the last metro home, while the others stayed to code all night! It makes you think about the amount of coffee that is built into every game.

The next morning I decided to get there early and arrived at 9, though only hours left before the game needed to be uploaded, and found to my surprise the game almost finished. It really had become its own game during the night, Rob even found some new sounds to try out. I sat down and cut, pasted, stretched and looped all the sounds to fit this new game.
The hours passed in a frenzy. Code was being closed as we spoke and some of the ideas had to be discarded. The final changes where not implemented, the game had no quit button, but it was more or less presentable. Then the judges arrived, and we left our game running and finally started walking around to see the other groups. 14 games, more or less finished, in 48 hours. There was a presentation of all the projects and then the winner was announced: SONIC RIDERS!

TO PLAY THE GAME ONLINE, FOLLOW THIS LINK. 

Epilogue. So I started work on Monday tired of working the whole weekend. But, but, my teammates managed to ask if I had been paid for making the game when I showed it to them. That is not the correct attitude.

I have participated in several workshops at Medialab-prado before, but usually with artistic projects, and they fail a lot. I find this acceptance of fail one of the strengths of the place, but with the game geeks it was an whole different level of win.

The Cracker Way

Soo, last year Bieber killed steampunk (we have flirted with it, but consider ourselves more atompunk) and this year starts with Suckerberg paying homage to The Hacker Way. In a short text inside Form S-1 REGISTRATION STATEMENT that was just released, this is the same type of document that gave us Google’s “Don’t be evil”, we can read:

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

Hacking is also an inherently hands-on and active discipline. Instead of debating for days whether a new idea is possible or what the best way to build something is, hackers would rather just prototype something and see what works. There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments.”

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.

What can we say? We agree with this, but seeing it in a document signed by MORGAN STANLEY J.P. MORGAN GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO does not feel right. The nerds have had their revenge and sold out. It is 2012 folks, we need to crack it up and let some light in.

Using Video Projectors as Stage Light

We installed three video projectors facing the audience at a small venue, and made a patch in Processing simulating moving heads, strobes and other effects we came up with.

EDIT! I HAVE UPDATED THE SOURCE CODE TO BE INDEPENDENT OF THE DREADED DMX LIBRARY!
Click here for zip with the new source code (for Processing) tested on Mac and PC.
You will need to install Processing at http://processing.org/ and the RWMidi lib at http://ruinwesen.com/blog?id=95

Basic instructions are included in the header of lightTable.pde.

The X-Ray project

For this years StedSans I ended up creating a machine “x-raying” a building as the audience walked by, off course  sporting a projector and  a PC.  (I know everyone else would use a Mac. And I don’t care.) The building was about 50 meters long, so I had to rig the contraption onto  a trolley which I pushed manually down the opposite sidewalk of the building.

As the trolley moved along videos of bizarre situations should be displayed on the wall of the building.

I needed some way to sync the projected image with my movement so all the action would appear to stand still on the wall while the view port was moving. I was planning to connect a wheel to an optical fork, connected to an Arduino calculating the movement and sending it to the PC trough the USB- serial port. It ended up A LOT simpler; a large Lego wheel connected straight into the scrolling wheel of a mouse. Easy to make, easy to interface.

Foto: Dag Jensen

Foto: Dag Jensen

To display the more then 15 videos on the right place I made a patch in Processing begin able to start, stop and wall-sync up to 30 videos simultaneously.  To keep frame rates up I started and stopped the videos as the entered and left the view port. Most of the videos had no sound, so suiting clips where played from Reason controlled from the Processing patch trough midi.

The plan worked out quite ok, but far from perfect. The problem the wheel sync is that it does not account for changes in projector angle or bumps in the sidewalk. My trolley also got far to heavy and was hard to control. I ended up making cue marks with chalk on the sidewalk where I stopped my trolley and pushed a key to resync the viewport position to the next cue. Hard to explain really but it did help a lot.

Footage is taken of the whole performance, but I doubt I’ll ever get finished mixing it down to a decent Youtube video to show around. Andy, I need you! To many projects and to little time!

And .. eh .. should write more details but I’ll just publish it now. Cheers!

Forrest canceled – A new project emerging

After to many changes in the plot of the Stedsans Drammen scene, and after seeing the area with my own eyes, I figured the Lamp Forrest would thrive there. Instead we have agreed to do a virtual x-ray scan of one of the buildings which has a nice flat and bright surface for projecting.

A bit like this: http://www.chrisoshea.org/out-of-bounds but with the projector moving on a trolley to cover the whole building.

The idea is very much inspired by Luca, the Italian artist contributing to Stedsans Porsgrunn and other GF events.

The time is short and the road is long and winding. Godspeed myself.

(by the way, the new “white” layout is awful… I want Chuck back! )

The Lamp Forest #2

Foto: Torbjørn StråndOk, there never was a post for Lamp Forest #1 because of Norwegian dept’s prolonged uselessness.

The Lamp Forest is a grid of old worn indoor lamps individually controlled from a laptop. This makes it possible to make the lamp dim and twinkle in interesting patterns, or to let the lamps interact with the audience or actors.

Foto: Torbjørn StråndAt the fall of 2010 the Lamp Forest was set up for the first time for Stedsans Porsgrunn. It consisted of 64 lamps in a 8 by 8 grid in the park. Add some rain and we probably set the record for Porsgrunns ground fault of the year 2010!

Anyway it all went well with no dead actresses or technicians, and this year we will try again at Stedsans Drammen. I have still not discussed the matter with Mario, my programmer for the last year lamp forest (hatted gentleman below), and I still do not know what to change and what to keep. I’ll keep you updated! (maybe.. or maybe I just fall into prolonged uselessness again…)
E, Norwegian/Technical department.

These dimmers are older then you... Yes you!