Prosthetic LIghts

multi colored lights in a dark room as if plotted on a graph...but as a long exposure photo

While working with a prosthetist (someone that designs, creates and fits artificial limbs) to record and analyze the behavior and performance of of amputees wearing prosthetics, we discovered that we could do more than just capture the information with gyroscopes and accelerometers… we could display it in real time. But that was too much for the human eye to handle. Using a programmable LED strip we were able to strobe different colors representing different axes and motions. And by taking a long exposure photograph in an otherwise dark room we were able to capture rather striking images of the exact data we were seeking to plot. It was real life data visualization.

multi colored lights in a dark room as if plotted on a graph...but as a long exposure photo
Gate tracking with pulsed lights, accelerators, and long exposure photography

Rugby

Brian makes three great tackles in a row while injured.

Brian (gray sleeves, red socks) is injured at the start of this play (on the ground protecting his head). He’s trying to get get subbed off the field… but the play comes his way. So he does the only thing he can think to do – he makes the tackle. And then he does it again and again. The play finally moves away from him and he can limp away… but he keeps checking to make sure his team doesn’t need him. Fortunately his injuries were temporary and he was able to rejoin the game after a short break.

Rugby Tackle
Brian in hot pursuit from a lineout on the far side of the pitch.

Life U Rugby Camp

Rugby tackle
Brian makes a tackle a the the Life University summer rugby camp.

Playing rugby at the Life University rugby camp. It’s unthinkable that so few kids know about the Life camp. The best college players in the country (many from outside the US) run a week long overnight clinic for high school kids. There is just not a better place to have a clinic.

Las Vegas Sevens

Kids playing rugby - white player running with ball with green player in pursuit
Brian running for a try at the Vegas Sevens

Every year the Rugby world lays siege to every hotel and parking space in Las Vegas. Rugby Sevens is the fast past version – 7 minute half, 7 a side, of the regular version. The national teams from around the world play in the evening and the middle school through college kids play during the day.

Firebot

small robot shooting fire

At RobotsConf in Florida Ben was struggling to find a way to make his bot competitive. All the bots started as identical laser cut kits. Whatever to do? Hairspray! Well hairspray and a pilot light that is. The firebot was born. But it didn’t look the part… but that’s a story for another post.

Dry Ice Jenga

Group watch a man play jenga with tongs and dry ice over an empty aquarium

Jenga is a pretty simple game… that gets a wee bit trickier when you can’t use your hands. In particular playing with tongs to handle the dry ice means that if you squeeze too hard the dry ice will squeal as it sublimates under the tongs and the tongs move as you squeeze and the gas escapes. It just seems to make people more nervous, but it looks cool – especially if you add blinking LEDs. Using a mitre saw with a simple jig is a good way to turn out uniform pieces in short order.

Flip Flop

The basic flip-flop circuit or astable multivibrator (try telling a bunch of middle school kids that’s the name of this thing). This version was built after the Feltronics Flip Flop, but make so all the components could be used with feltronics. The negative voltage across electrolytic capacitors and the initial race condition meant that this was never the best first contact teaching tool, but that only inspired us to come up with something better. (ssh – this picture isn’t really a flip-flop, can you figure out what it really is?)

Who needs a fiberglass substrate? Paper circuits for the win!

Ben

Of course we have made the flip flop circuit many different ways

Head Manufacture of Felt Integrated Circuits

Giant Jenga

Large Jenga set made from 2x4s

Bored kids at home demanded something to do. 20 minutes in the shop yielded a few hours of fun. Shoes required, and your head must remain out of the fall line. Super easy to make, but one component is not to be missed, the stacking jig to help set things up. We took Giant Jenga everywhere, including MakerFaire Atlanta at Georgia Tech among many other places. This also started a trend for us of making giant versions of simple games and toys.

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