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MakerBot TV Launches!

I’m proud to announce the birth of MakerBot.TV, a new online web video series that I co-produced covering all things awesome in the world of MakerBot.

I spent most of July and August working out of MakerBot’s Brooklyn Headquarters (the BotCave) to concept, staff and launch this new series. Working with long-time pal Bre Pettis, MakerBot’s cofounder, CEO and former video superstar himself, we set to work on coming up with a new 12 to 14 episode weekly series that would appeal to current MakerBot owners and non-owners alike.

The show has to be entertaining, informative, tell great stories and appeal to a wide audience. The first thing we did was set about finding the perfect person to bring in full-time as MakerBot’s Video Superstar. This was not an easy search as the role demanded not just a great on-screen presence, but someone who can think creatively, quickly, knows online video production, is a great editor and isn’t freaked out by deadlines. After almost a month of searching, we hired Annelise Jeske.

MakerBot.TV just launched, the new weekly online video series I co-produced about all things MakerBot.

Annelise is perfect for the role. She’s got a cool sense about things, is very creative, driven, and didn’t freak out when I threw Final Cut X at her and said “you’ll be using this.” Once Annelise was on board, she and I set to work to concept out the various segments, branding, music and story ideas.

MakerBot’s 3D printers aren’t just a product, they’re a lifestyle. While still arguably in the early adopter and hobbyist days, these robots are part of an ecosystem that is exploding with creative use and potential. To own a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic isn’t to just own a machine that makes replacement parts for your home. It’s about being part of something much bigger. It’s about being part of a fast growing segment of humans who are using shared ideas, designs, software and hardware to build upon the greatness of others. Call it the DIY movement, the maker movement, whatever. It’s about solving problems, learning, creating and ultimately sharing knowledge with others like you.

MakerBot has spawned a growing community of people who share their 3D designs on an open website called Thingiverse. If you design a bicycle mobile phone mount or coat hook, you can share those designs on Thingiverse and others will build upon them to improve or make variants of them. This is exciting stuff, because that means as a new MakerBot owner, you have access to thousands of products that you can print out at any time. There’s new models posted all the time, so we’re doing a regular segment called Thingiverse Roundup that focuses on cool stuff found here.

MakerBot TV launches!

Annelise has experience doing stop motion animation, so we quickly decided that the opening sequence and segment IDs should be animated using printed models and letters. We saw Tony Buser‘s Bob the Bobblehead robot appear in the office one day and knew we needed to incorporate him into the show.

As a result of Bre’s appearance on the Colbert Report, MakerBot has been scanning the heads of friendly hackers, thinkers, writers, artists and musicians with a high resolution 3D scanner. These scans can be printed out to render a perfect plastic bust thus giving us our Notables segment.

There’s so much more to come. I’m really happy with our debut episode, which features much head scanning when the organizers and artists from the AfroPunk Festival stopped by MakerBot’s workshop. Angelo Moore from the band Fishbone and Reggie Watts are two of the artists who are featured. An excellent model of Yoda and a multi-piece Sword of Omens are featured in the Thingiverse Roundup segments. Future episodes will focus on interesting creators, artists and events in the ever expanding universe of affordable 3D printing.

My role was primarily getting MakerBot TV off the ground. It’s in Annelise’s very capable hands now. The show has tremendous momentum, support from the whole MakerBot staff and a universe of stories that have yet to be told. I’m proud of what we’ve produced and very excited at what’s to come. Please tune in, subscribe and tell your friends. It’s going to be an awesome ride!

Meet Robohamster

I got this robotic hamster for Christmas. I had a real hamster when I was a kid, but now I prefer simulated pets. No cages to clean, less poop and only needs 1 AAA battery!

Roboexotica 2008 video on Boing Boing

Back in December I was lucky enough to be in Vienna, Austria for the 10th annual incarnation of Roboexotica, the conference for cocktail robots. I shot copious amounts of video of the various booze bots in action and Boing Boing has just published a nicely edited, whirlwind tour of the mayhem from my footage.

My RoboGames piece is live on Current TV

Many moons ago, I was commissioned by the fine folks over at Current TV to do a VC2 piece on RoboGames, the annual event for all things related to robot fight competitions. The piece follows the team behind Beer Bash, a “special” kind of robot, as they prepare it for competition at RoboGames. It’s airing all week in heavy rotation I’m told, so lemme know if you see it. It’s also on Current’s site and embedded below.

Tickles the keys and play me a drink

I’m finally plowing through the massive amounts of footage I shot at Roboexotica in Vienna. This cocktail robot, the K&K Kavalier Klavier by students at FH Joanneum in Gratz, is a piano that allows one to “compose a drink”. You’ll notice a bunch of liquors and mixers mounted at the top. They connect to a series of tubes in the back that connect to valves controlled by a microcontroller that magically determines the right mixture of liquids based on the song you play. Here’s Astera making Red a drink with a little Bach piano concerto.


Astera plays a drink on the Kavalier Klavier from ekai on Vimeo.

My Roboexotica 2008 post on Laughing Squid

My Roboexotica guest post on Laughing Squid

I’ve got a guest post up on Laughing Squid on what I’ve seen at Roboexotica this past week. Includes links to tons of photos and some video. Pop over and have a read.

RoboVox speaks your mind

RoboVox lives

RoboVox stands proudly in front of the Museumsquartier, greeting visitors to Roboexotica. RoboVox is no ordinary 25 foot retro deco happy robot. If you look closely, you’ll notice those two big black circles on his chest are speakers. If you send an SMS text message to +43 681 10679782, RoboVox will speak your message loudly in his best robo-synthesized voice. RoboVox was conceived by prolific Slovenian artist and all around good guy Martin Bricelj, who is also an artist-in-residence here.

Roboexotica uprising on track

It’s the day before the big opening of the main event here in Vienna, Austria, the 10th annual Roboexotica Festival for Cocktail-Robotics. Lots of preparation action going on in the Freiraum with several of Johannes’ students collaborating on a few delightfully rude drink dispensing bots. I’m happily joined here by many bot friendly pals from the States including Bre Pettis, CTP, Kal Spelletich, Al Honig and Mitch Heinrich to name just a few, all on track with their creations. Here’s some pix to whet your appetite of the madness to come.

Roboexotica setup

CTP arrives!

RoboVox assembles

8 Days in Austria

Taugshow #9

Before I completely forget, it’s time for my Austria trip wrapup post.

Vienna: Vienna is beautiful old city, once the center of power during the Austro-Hungarian Empire empire. It has exhibits in it’s natural history museum that are older than the United States. This place IS real history. Austria is also known for it’s copious amounts of meat, chocolate, punsch and beer. I indulged in plenty of all of it.

Roboexotica Festival – The main reason for trip, this event is like nothing else. Johannes and the monochrom crew along with Magnus from SHIFZ put this thing on, now in it’s 8th mechanically intoxicating incarnation. Essentially, Roboexotica is a week long exhibition in the heart of Vienna, showcasing a variety of robots and other machines related to cocktail culture. Much media was made. GETV videos w/Violet hosting. LunchMeet w/Johannes & one with the Slovenians coming soon. My photos. Jake’s photos. Violet’s photos.

– Roboexotica Symposium – I was asked to deliver a lecture which became a multimedia presentation on undeground robot culture in San Francisco. I covered mostly my experiences with SRL. I was a bit nervous following the creative genius minds of Kal Spelletich and V.Vale.

Taugshow #9: This is monochrom’s live monthly variety/talk show which was brilliant and hilarious. Since there were so many of us from San Francisco in town, Johannes made this a special English language only edition. Highlights include interviews with Kal, Violet, Vale, the overhead projector song (acoustic and disco versions) and Krack the robot that dances to cheesy techno. Video of the whole thing is online.

Graz: The city of Graz is just 2 hours outside of Vienna and is the home to the football stadium formerly named after famous Graz homeboy Arnold Schwarzenegger. The city erased the Governator’s name from the stadium after his uncompromising pro-death penalty stance. It is amazing that the US is one of the last “civilized” nations to still employ this barbaric method of justice.

– Videoblogging workshops – Johannes asked me to give a series of videoblogging workshops to his students at the FH JOANNEUM- School of Informations Design in Graz. I did four 45-minute sessions to four different groups of students. It wasn’t really enough time to go into much depth but I was able to cover basics of getting video onto a blog using blip.tv and Blogger. Here’s the results.

– Lecture: Videoblogging, Webzines and Zombies – I gave another multimedia presentation, this time in Graz at the same university as the workshops, and relating to videoblogging, independent publishing and underground San Francisco culture. This was fun to do as there is such a wealth of documented material out there on all this, and they are all things I’m passionate about. I think Scott Beale alone deserves credit for the photos I used to illustrate the culture topic. I’ll try and output the presentation from keynote and post it.

It was a great 9 days and I know I’m missing tons. Thanks to Johannes and Evelyn for putting me up at their place for the duration and to Johannes for finding a way to fund this trip for me. It was an amazing time and it’s heartening to know that creative freaks are doing amazing things in other countries AND want to include us often self-centered Americans.

SRL in San Jose



SRL San Jose 2006 Show
Originally uploaded by Laughing Squid.

Last night was one of the best SRL shows ever! Tons of machines, copious amounts of fire, big range, brilliant lighting and weeks of hard work by the crew to produce this 40 minute spectacle. As always, Scott is the go-to man for the best pix.

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