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Graffiti artists replicate The Matrix on Instructables.com--and win $15,000 Universal Laser Cutter! Answered

Instructables and Universal Laser are happy to announce that the incredibly creative Instructable, How to Enter the Ghetto Matrix (DIY Bullet Time) has won the Grand Prize in the 2008 Instructables.com and Universal Laser Cutter Contest: a 40-watt VersaLaser laser cutter valued at over $15,000!

Grand Prize Winner

How to Enter the Ghetto Matrix (DIY Bullet Time)

How to Enter the Ghetto Matrix (DIY Bullet Time) provides an extremely detailed Instructables tutorial on how to build a cheap, portable special-effects rig to create "bullet-time" animations--a technique, popularized in The Matrix movies, where the audience's point-of-view moves around the scene at normal speed while the action on screen is slowed down.
"We want to inspire great ideas and provide skills, tools, and shared know-how," Instructables CEO Eric Wilhelm explained. "This project represents exactly what we're trying to achieve with Instructables."
The DIY Bullet Time Instructable was created and documented by the Graffiti Research Lab, an open-source urban art and communication collective supported by the Free Art & Technology Lab, a Brooklyn-based non-profit research lab creating work at the intersection of popular culture and the public domain.
"This will be the cornerstone of our new lab space," said GRL member fi5e. "A whole crew of creative people are really excited to put this thing to use! Thanks for helping us bring the VersaLaser to Brooklyn."
The winner was chosen by votes from Instructables users and our panel of expert judges, who reviewed the 14 finalists drawn from a pool of over 600 entries.

Congratulations to fi5e and everyone at the GRL - we know you'll really put the VersaLaser to work, and can't wait to see what great things you make!

First Prize
(in alphabetical order)

Second Prize
The authors of these Instructables win a robot t-shirt and a laser-etched plaque. Listed in alphabetical order.

30 minute USB microscope
The Ambience Enhancer
Autonomous, Wirelessly Controlled Hovercraft
Conductive Glue And Conductive Thread: Make an LED Display and Fabric Circuit That Rolls Up.
Cool Wave Ring
Dollar Store Parabolic Mic
Handcut inlay
A Home Power Plant - Wind Power Generator Revised
How to Make a Color-Changing Lighted Faux Fur Scarf
How to make a pair of Angel Wings
How to Make an OAWR (Obstacle Avoiding Walking Robot)
Make DIY Vanilla Extract
"Quicksilver" Retro-Future Scooter from appliances and scrap metal
Solid Wood Digital Clock
The Stirling Engine, absorb energy from candles, coffee, and more!
Squishy Breast Stress Relief Toy
TiggerBot II Robot
Tube Amp Rebuild (and Mod)
U-Disp - The Digg (tm) display (Open Source)
Wooden Gear Clock

Expert Judges

To help us judge, we assembled an amazing team of expert designers, engineers, hackers, journalists, scientists, technologists, and other really smart people. They spent hours examining each of the finalists Instructables and helping us make a decision. We'd like to send a huge "Thank You" to each of our incredible judges. We couldn't have done it without you.
Violet Blue (author, blogger, podcaster, columnist, and SRL vet)
Gareth Branwyn (Contributing Editor, MAKE Magazine)
Zoz Brooks (Host, of the upcoming TV Show Prototype This)
Joe Brown (Editor, Wired Magazine)
Colin Bulthaup (CTO of Potenco, co-founder Squid Labs)
David Calkins (Co-founder of RoboGames)
Julia Cosgrove (Deputy Editor, ReadyMade Magazine)
Chris Csikszentmihalyi (Professor at the MIT Media Lab, Computing Culture Group)
Simone Davalos (Co-founder of RoboGames)
Lenore Edman (Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)
Dan Goldwater (Founder of monkeylectric, co-founder Squid Labs)
Saul Griffith (President of Makani Power, co-founder Squid Labs, MacArthur Fellow)
Duncan Haberly (Instructables)
Matthew Hancher (NASA Researcher in the Intelligent Systems Division)
Brian Lam (Editor, Gizmodo)
Ed Lewis (Instructables)
Jeffrey McGrew (Designer, Because We Can)
Chuck Messer (Tackle Design, The Open Prosthetics Project, host of Discovery's Smash Lab)
Megan Miller (Editor, PopSci)
Jim Newton (Founder of TechShop)
Quinn Norton (Journalist)
Windell Oskay (Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)
David Pescovitz (BoingBoing, Institute for the Future, MAKE Magazine)
Cloude Porteus (Instructables)
Randy Sarafan (Instructables, Eyebeam Resident)
Peter Semmelhack (Founder of Buglabs)
Tyghe Trimble (News Editor, Discover Magazine)
Noah Weinstein (Instructables)
Eric Wilhelm (CEO of Instructables, co-founder Squid Labs)
Dan Woods (Associate Publisher, MAKE Magazine)

For the full information on how the winners were chosen, click here.


Great job, everyone! I didn't realize how prestigious some of those judges you have are...except that Eric Wilhelm guy, who's he?

 If you read it correctly, you would realize that the terms "hahahahah" usually mean they are joking.

They know who he is.  

Your rude comments are not appreciated.  Please consider this before commenting/posting again. 

Hello Effector, and welcome, I'd like to note that the best way to introduce yourself into a community does not begin by bringing up a years old thread just to call someone stupid.

Who's Eric? Eric... Eric... I'm heard that name somewhere... Oh yeah that's right. He was the pizza guy last night.

"To help us judge, we assembled an amazing team of expert designers, engineers, hackers, journalists, scientists, technologists, and other really smart people."

Somehow funny to me. :-)

*start secret formula here* I like KFC!! *stop secret formula here* Thing is, who's the chairman of Instructables then?

Now, that is why I didn't enter the contest, even though the prize could have been sent to the UK - there's just no way I can come up with 'ibles of such quality.

Well done, all.

That is just not true. Yours are of high quality just not made with a bunch of flashy lights and colors. :)

good job, i think we can safely say that the GRL will document their use of this thing pretty well, as they seem to do a lot of publishing about what they are up to! Good job guys

HOORAY! Congrats all entrants, and especially to you - G.R.L. ! Now go Laser-etch-bomb some buildings! This years projects were freaking insane! Everyone keep up the awesome work!

great job, all of them were great ideas and builds

Yes, congrats to all the winners. With the quality of many of the instructables entered, this HAD to be a REALLY tough one to judge. They're all winners just for submitting (GH quickly hides his Heathkit analog oscilloscope in the corner :-)

Nice! Hope to see some cool laser cut graffiti!


10 years ago

Just wanted to chime in with a huge thanks to everybody, and much respect to all the other entries. Getting this piece of equipment is a really big deal for us and we'll do our best to be as active and irresponsible with it as possible. Thanks all!

Hey man, you gotta admit, I was chompin' on your behind! ; D You think if I ever make it to Brooklyn you can show me around or somethin?

Yea, I still thought right up till the end it could have easily gone to you, really nice work. And yes of course, keep in touch via email and give me a heads up if you are ever making it out this way, it would be great to meet up.


10 years ago

Well done winners!

boo! hiss! You all suck! Seriously though,....it's been fun! Thanks everyone for getting me (and the yurt/s) as far as the finals! :-)

Congrats all! *walks off mumbling to self*

Congrats fi5e! I was also blown away at the caliber of judges you got to judge the finalists!

This is what I was rooting for. It is so unique and cool and GRL needs the support! Congratulations, GRL (and all of the finalists) you deserve it.

Horray! Congrats!

I can imagine that the GRL will put the Laser Cutter to great use ;-)

Wow, a whole bunch of people I really admire got to see my instructable. I didn't win, but coming in second to GRL means that a lot of those people above liked my project. That means something, right? -Bilal Ghalib

Many of our judges sent notes like this:

So after a pretty bad week judging the laser cutter contest today made me think the world will be OK. It might seem slow, but Instructables is winning the turning hardware into open source and making hacking great game. The community is pretty amazing. I loved all the entries. Seriously though, you should be amazingly proud of where Instructables is now, where it was, and where it will be in the future!


Oh my F'ing god. the laser cutter contest contestants were amazing. I haven't been following instructables as closely lately, so to check in after 8 weeks absence and to be blown away was really rewarding. You guys have done an incredible job. Really incredible.

They were really impressed with the entries, so you should feel super proud to be included.

Congrats guys. Giving the grand prize to a large team is brilliant - you'll constantly be using it!


10 years ago

Very excellent job done by everyone! Great participation and great work by GRL!


10 years ago

Congrats everybody - lots of very cool projects!


10 years ago

When you watch the Matrix video of his you can see the bullet-time rig at the beginning of the spin and at the end of it. Other than that it was a good effect with the combination of a slow shutter speed and the bullet-time.

woohoo, all we need is a bunch of graffiti people with a laser cutter..... lol joking! gratz on the win to whoever won it

YAY! I didn't win, doesn't matter, but this Matrix Instructables was just AWESOME! Congratulations to (all) the winners!