March 14, 2010

Reveling in dorkery – tales from SXSW #1

I was in my element last night, reveling in dorkery at the Dorkbot event @SXSW.

If you’ve never heard of Dorkbot before, it’s a movement “doing strange things with electricity”. And the stuff in question that was being demoed here was fricking awesome.

First up was a guy called Mikal Hart who’s invented the “Reverse Geocache box“. I expect you know what one of these is – but if you don’t the shortened explanation (without geek) is a locked box with a bunch of geo-technology inside and a screen on the front, which will only open up if it’s taken to a specific location. And based around this simple idea, Mikal created a game out of it called the “Reverse Geocache puzzle“, which rather than explain I’ll just direct you to a blog post about it.

Second up was Bre Pettis – a rather hyper-active Nooo Yorker, who’s obsessed by “making things”. Bre’s latest invention is the “Makerbot“, a 3-D printing device that allows you to literally print stuff. That’s right – you draw it, it prints it. For example, Bre told a story about how a guy was due to referee at his son’s football match and realised he didn’t have a whistle – so, using Makerbot he printed out a whistle in a couple of hours. That’s right – he actually printed out a working whistle. Fricking awesome.

Arcattack played out the Dorkbot event with a flash and a bang – using a mixture of mind-bending technology and a couple of Tesla Coils to create a visual and audio experience which was a kinda like a musical electric storm.