Let me set the scene a bit: It's the summer of 1997 and World champion chess player Gary Kasparaov has been beaten in a six game match by two wins to one with three draws . But not by another man. A machine, built by men, has beaten him. IBM's Deep Blue could evaluate up 200 million positions per second, and capable of calculating 11.38 Gigaflops.
In honor of that stunning piece of engineering, I set out to make a suit, that, upon wearing it, I would be transformed into the most logical of logic machines ever built, a chess playing computer!
All that, using just a great big pile of these dinky things:
It is not a perfect replica, by any means; I took many artistic liberties. I was inspired by Deep Blue's portrayal in S2E20 of Futurama, Anthology of Interest
. It is rather the stylized idea of Deep Blue, the pop culture impressions of a thinking machine trapped in a big black box.
I used almost exclusively surplus parts to make this thing, so it ended up only costing about 30 dollars. Otherwise though, this costume took quite a bit of work, and erm, it was a bit on the more cumbersome side. But whose else has a mainframe costume? Incidentally, it was so cumbersome that It took me about 15 minutes to shove my way from one side of First Avenue to the other, missing the costume contest registration by just a few minutes. Once there I promptly put it in the coat check so I could breathe.
The frame of the costume is the remains of several cardboard boxes spliced together with duct tape, and the "thinking" lights on the front are controlled by the innards of about 27 little electronic dice, all wired together in a monstrous chain. Another set of lights scrolls back and forth over the speaker grille sorta like KITT, making the AI presence ever clearer. I added a pair of intake/outtake fans so I could breathe ever so slightly better inside, and finally a voice changing box to speak in a robot voice and say great classic things like, "Pitiful creature of meat and bone," and "How about a nice game of chess.""Not all problems can be solved by chess, Deep Blue. One day, you'll understand that. "
- Al Gore