my summer as AIR at instructables
My time as an Artist in Residence at Instructables went something like this:
I arrived in San Francisco and arrived at the Instructables office. I was (to be honest, though now I'm so embarrassed by this assumption) expecting cubicles. Instead, there was energy, vibrancy, and TONS OF COOL PROJECTS!!I There were electronics scattered about (which is, like, enough to lure me in for life :). I met Noah and a few others. After discussing some contract stuff, he told me to come by for some pizza and ice cream in the afternoon. Sounds pretty cool...
So, I went to Tech shop, I was blown away by the amound ot 3d printers, laser cutters and other amazing fabrication tools all under one roof, all waiting for me to use :)
Then ... free pizza and ice cream, and a bunch of new people... sounds fun. I arrived at 4:30 and it wasn't quite a party, just yet. it was a talk. And an extremely interesting one, with a big portion of the Autodesk community present. So I really started to get a sense of who was in the community, and where does Instructables fit in. Then, I got to see .. DRY ICE ICE CREAM!!! So cool. Actually enough to entice me to order dry ice for a near future party!
Anyway, I somewhat rapidly began to feel right at home. I ordered some parts for some projects and I began working straightaway. I started working on small electronics projects and other experiments related to water and boat robots. The next day (Thursday) I got a call at 10 PM in the evening…
It was Noah. I was working at Tech shop at the time (I tried to work at Instructables office in the morning then head to T.S. in the afternoon to do some bigger scale construction work in the woodshop. Well, the Redbull challenge had been announced ("games") and they had begun brainstorming how to make… yes, remote control electric wheelchairs, that were controlled by a user who had a blindfold on, and would be listening through a wireless radio to commands from the person in the wheelchair with no control over themselves. Anyway, I headed straight over to Instructables, and the 72 hours began…
The next morning, I head over with Randy to pick up our will-call items from Jameco, including arduinos, wireless arduino shields, xbees etc etc.
Then we headed to Noah's shop in Emeryville… and the hacking began.
An unfortunate thing was that I had to go to teach Arduino at Tech Shop Sunday evening, which is when the actual fun of riding the wheelchair occurred. Anyway, it was a super cool weekend of collaboration and intense work.
Oh, and by the way, see here how to make your own: PSYCHO SCOOTER scramble, here.
The rest of the summer continued on, the biggest accomplishment for me was getting Sneel_003 built and tested in the water. A really cool next step would be to get some 123d catch of underwater objects, trying it out at the aquarium, then do some 3d printing of cool underwater stuff.
I did various other projects involving wireless communication, using Arduino for various electronics projects, programming joysticks and remote controllers, etc.
A really neat thing is that every day at 2 pm there is "show and tell" which is just a quick "go around the table and say briefly what you've done in the past day". So I really got to get a feel for the way that things were working, who was operating on what, what was happening in the office and out of the office. So I felt immediately a part of the family, in a sense.
Instructables is a super cool place: the facilities were amazing, the people were vibrant and knowledgable and motivated and fun, and the experience was super. The facilities I used most were: laser cutter, vacuum forming machine, woodshop, tons of electronics, 3d printer… Everyone I met from Instructables and AutuDesk as a whole was super helpful and great to talk to. It is really a great community.
Before I left, I gave a presentation of my work during my time at Instructables. Here are the slides: