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In User Land

I went to the Bent Festival at Eyebeam today--sorta. I didn't do the music--noise music makes me want to stick icepicks in both ears and both eyes. In fact, I think the Max/MSP teachers at Parsons next semester should hoist noise "musicians" out the window until they apologize for making our collective heads compress every time yet another one "discovers" how to modulate sawtooth waves with the fucking serial-in off a potentiometer circuit. It's a trick--get an ax.

I digress.

The classes I went to were fantastic and related very well to the user research I am doing for my Pleech project. The first was for a build of the MintyBoost, taught by its inventor, Limor Fried. Not only is it charging my wife's iPod as I write this (thanks for the guinea pig, hon!), it has the right kind of electronics (1.5V to 4.5V in, 5.0V out, 350mA max) that could power the kind of devices I'm interested in. This could be the supply end of the Pleech, minus the two AA batteries.

Pleech Prototype: Building, Testing, Tearing Apart

This week, I started building the prototype of my Pleech, the power leeching wind turbine.

The first thing I did was to assemble all the parts I could find. These included:

Pringles Can (cut lengthwise)Pringles Can (cut lengthwise)

Two Used CDsTwo Used CDs

Chrome Paper Towel HolderChrome Paper Towel Holder

5/8 in. Dowel: (cut to length with two nails driven into each side and snipped to make a needle bearing)5/8 in. Dowel: (cut to length with two nails driven into each side and snipped to make a needle bearing)

8 Ceramic Magnets: (oriented in alternating North/South configuration)8 Ceramic Magnets: (oriented in alternating North/South configuration)

400 Ft. 30 gauge magnet wire: (made into 8 loops of approx 275 2 in. windings)400 Ft. 30 gauge magnet wire: (made into 8 loops of approx 275 2 in. windings)

Various Electronics: (including a bridge rectifier)Various Electronics: (including a bridge rectifier)

With these pieces together, I began the assembly process.

More Process

Heh. So, I just realized that I forgot to tag the last entry which would have put the previous Process post appear in the MS:I blog area. Dumb. No wonder Yury didn't see it.

I'm thinking about the Savonius Turbine in particular because of projects like

At 300 windings per stator, the basic version of the PT should be able to produce between two and three volts, according to the authors. The plans have a pretty great discussion of the possible power coming out of the turbine.

Darrieus Turbine Design

Darrieus Turbine Design

This is a design for a guerrilla power generation device using the Darrieus Turbine design. It is more efficient than the Savonius Turbine, but may be harder to build and less sturdy.

Savonius Turbine Design

Savonius Turbine Design

Design for the Pleech using a Savonius Turbine design. This is a VAWT for power generation using wind energy. It is simpler to build, presumably, than other types of turbines, like the Darrieus, and is less prone to wear, but is less efficient.

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.


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 del.icio.us, Flickr, YouTube, Amazon.com, 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.

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

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