The cockroach is a notorious survivor, and the latest robot from the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at University of California Berkeley is following in the insect’s six footsteps. Built by graduate student Paul Birkmeyer, the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexpod aka DASH is laser-cut from a single sheet of polymer sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard. It can be made for less than fifty dollars and put together in under sixty minutes. The completed robot can scurry across the surfaces, climb objects, and survive plummets of 28 meters.
Professor Ron Fearing, head of the lab, believes that further work on DASH will result in even more durable and capable robots that can act as first responders in situations of disaster and crisis considered too dangerous for people.
Thomas Thwaites, a design student at the Royal College of Art in London has made a toaster – literally from the ground up. Thomas Thwaites has travelled to mines across the country to get the raw materials for his toaster. Processing these raw materials at home, (for example he smelted iron ore with a leafblower and in a microwave). (more…)
3D Glasses are So Passe
These reading glasses by Caroline Abram of Filao Paris. Inspired by her childhood in Senegal, Abram’s designs incorporate wood, ceramic, cotton, glass, leather, resin, mother of pearl, onyx, turquoise, tiger eye and crystal in her work. The chains she has handmade in Senegal.
You have to respect a company such as Filao Paris who’s company Description reads:
Once upon a time there was a pair of glasses, it made children cry while adults wore it for need reason. The pair of glasses begun to improve itself and to cultivate its look. And a day was love, charme and seduction. Filao put its chains until the passion.
Perhaps it is mistranslation but I like it….
I can see how easily this sort of design could be realized via Ponoko by popping the lenses out of your existing glasses and sandwiching them between the laser cut materials of your choice…
Most interestingly for us, Windell and Lenore have designed the electronics to fit into customisable ‘handle sets’:
“A unique feature of Meggy Jr RGB is that it is designed to be mounted inside a “handle set” — a wooden or plastic case that’s safer and more pleasant to hold than a bare circuit board. You can make, mod and customize your own handle sets to suit your taste– These are like faceplates in that you can switch whenever you want to suit your mood or the game that you’re playing, however different handle sets can radically change what the Meggy Jr looks and feels like. Above, you can see what our basic handles (left) look like, as compared to a set of custom smoke-colored batwing handles (right).“
The source files for these sandwiched laser cut designs are available for download as .svg and .pdf, and come with some suggested engravings:
So, another fine and more than thorough offering from the Evil Mad Scientists , but their claim to uniqueness is at odds firstly with the many handset options for the Wii platform, as well as this DIY offering for the iPod touch/iPhone from ronnsprocket:
A neat bit of cardboard cutting there, sadly no templates available as yet.
Pepko is a tool to allow people to create animation quickly and in a social setting- (more like South Park stylistically then say, the Lion King.)
In Matt’s words. I heard about Ponoko from a friend who was on the beta and thought how I could use it to create custom ‘paddles’ and discs. I didn’t do any test runs or anything I just uploaded my files and selected my materials – which all luckily sandwiched together like I was hoping. Inside the paddles there are three discs with the reactivision patterns on them – all the patterns hold a unique id which is sent, along with the X,Y position and rotation of the marker in realtime to Processing where the cartoon characters and props can be drawn. The three discs correspond to the face, arms and legs – by rotating the discs inside the paddles you can cycle through all the different arm/leg positions and facial expressions.
The props have different functions.
-there is a space rocket which rotates around when you rotate the marker.
– the UFO with flashing lights which lowers its landing gear when you lower the marker.
– a moon which you can scale up and down.
– there are other random props you can place on the screen
In total there were about eight different individual discs for props, three cartoon characters and five different backgrounds to play with.
This a great example of open source software allowing grass roots designers to realize their ideas.
There’s a new article at dvice.com suggesting that some companies offer so many variations of their products that they should just make the jump to mass customization. There is an interesting take on how humans make decisions:
Offer shoppers a choice between two jellies for their toast, they’ll pick one. Offer twenty, and they keep on walking, suffering from paralysis by analysis — too many choices. Forget it. But go to the deli counter and offer a custom sandwich with all your favorite ingredients on board, and everybody’s ready to eat. That’s because the choice belongs to the customer, and it doesn’t involve a predefined group of products whose differences are too complicated to discern. Therein lies the difference between ready-made choices and something you’ve designed for yourself, building something especially for you.
Companies such as Garmin, for example, are already offering so many GPS units that you need a product matrix just to sort them out. Might as well just make their line all-custom, letting you choose screen size, Bluetooth capability, street name call-outs and traffic-reporting capability for yourself. It’s the difference between offering 60 models and maybe 200 different combinations.
This weeks Product of the Week is from DSCulp and I really love it. I’ll let him describe why he came up with it:
The Monarch butterfly truly is an inspirational creature. Like most butterflies these beautiful and delicate creatures usually have an adult lifespan of only four to six weeks. But once a year, a special generation is born; one with a mission. Somehow these chosen few manage to fly over 2000 miles, to congregate in a place they have never seen before; a remote region in the Mexican mountains. There, by the millions they wait for the warm breezes that will awaken them and signal their journey home. Scientists cannot explain this miraculous journey.
The monarchs were a part of my childhood. We collected the caterpillars and watched them emerge from their jewel-like chrysalis. Watching them fight the breezes they inspired me with their delicate tenacity.
It seemed natural to me that some 30 years later they would re-emerge in my life and take this new form.
A layer of shimmering copper foil is sandwiched between 3mm black acrylic. Laser cutting and etching create the delicate patterns of the wings.
Brooch is 74mm x 47mm (approx 3″x 1.75″) and each is signed and numbered.
Limited edition of 100.
Brilliant stuff! Congratulations DSCulp for being the Ponoko Product of the Week.
Often when I’m searching the world of laser cut products it’s the metal products that seem to catch my eye. I believe this comes down to the finish, what can I say? I like shiny things! However there are problems with metal; it’s heavy, expensive, corrosive, has sharp edges, and most importantly it’s not a material that is currently available to you guys via Ponoko. However, acrylic is light, cheap, easy to work with, available and can look fantastic.
Some really cool effects can be created by sandwiching fabric between two layers of clear acrylic like from us with love do with their chair and side table (previously written about here). The piece of grey fabric makes a stunning carbon fibre like effect.
Photo 4 me prints directly onto acrylic which looks great. A similar effect could be created with paint or ink. Megan Ellis used a combination of ink and engraving to great effect with her Raya Bracelet. These techniques seem to enhance the beauty of the acrylic and I think result in more interesting and desirable products.