Concept Narrative

So, I'm not sure how to lay this over my Venn or mind map, but I'll try to make this work textually.

My idea is called Pleech. It is a device that will generate power, via magnetic induction, from mechanical moving parts, similar to how some bicycle power generators work.

It is designed for activists, hacktivists, graffiti artists, and others interested in installing low power electrical work in areas without access to grid power or easy change of batteries. The Pleech will be left in place for as long as it is allowed to exist, and the public is welcome to plug in their own work into it once it is encountered.

In-Depth Precedents

So, I went more for breadth on my last post than depth, which is where I should've put my efforts. No worries--it's worth getting a wide area of ideas. I'll focus on three of those now, though.

Mapping Precedents for Studio


  • Ethics
    • Open Source/Content
      • FSF
      • GPL

Concept Map and Venn Diagram

Concepts for Final ProjectConcepts for Final Project

My motivations can be summarized roughly according to the domains I've detailed in the diagram.

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by science. From a very young age, I devoured books on dinosaurs and space. I really enjoy seeing how the world works, and science, in its many fields, has provided me with a window onto that. I went to a science and technology high school, where I first developed a love for biology and engineering, and I graduated from college with a degree in anthropology. Following school, I dove into computers and taught myself comp sci and the math and theory behind it. By training, at least, I am a scientist.
I've been curious about ethical choices for almost as long as science. Partly due to my upbringing and partly my own pig-headedness, I'm stubbornly in defense of my beliefs about fairness and equality. I believe that information should be free for everyone. I believe that people and countries with many resources have a moral obligation to act for the benefit of the less fortunate. I believe, in so doing, that the fortunate benefit from this as well: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Physical Computing and Wireless
Both of the areas are new to me, and I love novelty. Both provided interesting approaches to problems that arise from both my scientific and ethical senses: How can people without money or infrastructure begin to organize their lives for the better? How can solutions be created from inexpensive parts through methods that are easily reproduced? What are the technical and human possibilities that we haven't yet considered?
Games are fun. They're also interesting windows onto human behavior, as well as possibly powerful tools for education and understanding. They also give people the ability to examine realities that exist only in potential space for now, which could aid science and humanity via further investigation.

My notes follow:


Ugh. I just realized that the post I put up for the last Major Studio assignment didn't actually make it up. I wrote it in the gallery sometime between the insanity and the madness. For some damn reason, it didn't actually get posted. I think I may have hit preview instead of submit. At any rate, I had to shut down my computer because of the power failures, and I didn't check it carefully when I had the chance. Ugh.

I'll try to re-post it later. Ugh.


Spy in the Lab Is Go!

What's in the box?!What's in the box?!So we've got Spy in the Lab running. That unassuming little box on the floor? That's a high-power robot Hell bent on mass destruction. Just a few minutes ago we had him scooting around the gallery, terrifying the other pieces. Muhahahaha!

This show has really come together nicely in the past few days and even in the past few hours. The whole show is amazing. If you're reading this and anywhere near 11th Ave. and 22nd St., drop in!

Beryl Rules

It really does. Check out the features. I just started running it on my Ubuntu laptop. Kick ass!

Just one more reason to start moving over to Linux. Yes, I'm the only dork in the department (that I know of) who is running Linux full time, with the exception of Dave D. But, a few years from now, there'll be many more of us. And they'll be rocking Beryl, too.

Ten Years Running D Minus One

I'm trying to nail down everything for the big Ten Years Running show that our department is putting on at the Chelsea Art Museum.

So far, the piece I'm working on with Paul Notzold is working pretty well. You send a message to a phone running Sydewynder, and it kicks back a random message from a set of Tom Cruise quotes. I also tried to get it to hook up to twitter, but that didn't work. Lame.

Spy is trickier. We still need to get networking going for that.

Three Ideas For Web 2.0 By One Guy

Ideas that will change the world--or not.

  1. What is Love?

    I wish the net had a site that could determine what love, or other emotions, are represented in web content. This would allow to search the web emotionally, and not just semantically. The idea would be that the site's backend would crawl through major web services, like, Flickr, YouTube,, etc. and use existing tags and other keyword fields to identify which other keywords and data appear in entries related to "love" or other emotions. Then it would make predictions based on new content, and flash these up to web users. In HotOrNot style, users could say whether the found items represent love or not. The search would become more refined over time.

Trauma Bear in Video Format

For our midterm project in Yury Gitman's Interactive Major Studio, we made a teddy bear that had a beating heart, lungs, and tons of sensors that felt chest compressions, its physical orientation (with an accelerometer, ) the instruments placed into its mouth, and a magnet to trip the switch we placed in the "paddle" that would restart his heart.

Here is how the trauma bear play testing went down (maddest possible props to Tracy for editing this):

and here's a clip of what we did leading up to this:


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Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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