ThingM Project Feature: BlinkM in Firefly Cloud

http://vimeo.com/17617397

http://vimeo.com/17459405

http://vimeo.com/17909924

University of Michigan – Fall 2010 – SmartSurfaces offered a collaborative, project-based learning experience in which undergraduate artists, designers, architects and engineers came together to build structural surfaces that have the capability to adapt to information and environmental conditions.

Each team was required to design, build, program and test a ‘Biomimetic SmartSurface’. They had to consider and negotiate what makes a surface smart, and why we would be interested in copying nature to try to solve human problems.

Creators:    Steven Madsen, Material Science and Engineering
Kevin Yien, Material Science and Engineering
Chris Niswander, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Jordan Stoewsand-Kryscio, Taubman College of Architecture  and Urban Planning
Mallory Baran, School of Art and Design
Michael Theodore, School of Art and Design

Various types of LEDs diffusely illuminate a wall comprised of straws. Mimicking a swarm of fireflies, the lights flee and evade according to motion detection. The soft texture generated by the straws, in concert with ‘moving’ LEDs, offers a unique visual experience and gives users the childhood feeling of playing with fireflies.

Maker Faire 2014: We’re going. Come visit. Get a blink(1)!

Once again ThingM will be at Maker Faire.  We’ll be in the Maker Shed, demoing our BlinkM family, as well as showing off what the new blink(1) mk2 can do.  So. many. LEDs. And we’ll be just one of many showing off LED projects.

And for the first time outside of our Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get your own blink(1) mk2!  We have a limited quantity on hand for the Shed and they’ll be stocking them for us. (Any backers reading this, yours are shipping now, but come visit us at the Faire if you want more)

Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 is May 17 & 18 at the San Mateo Event Center. It’s mind-blowing and fun.

 

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BlinkM MinMs in SF 49ers Craft Bracelet

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The Gray Area Foundation For The Arts (http://www.gaffta.org/) had a workshop for teachers of middle school students. They created a nice gender-neutral bracelet for sports fans using BlinkM MinMs (http://minm.thingm.com/)

As Grace says:
“The workshop went well. I had two teachers as my students, one who teaches middle school and one who writes curriculum for a children’s camp. They were both very interested in the MinMs and their potential to be used in teaching. One issue that came up was that one of the teachers was trying to come up with a gender neutral design and decided to make a 49ers wristband and wanted the LED to flash red, then yellow. However, we realized that there was no way to create a true yellow. We were able to get around it by covering the LED with yellow felt, as you can see from the video.”

prepping the minms
programming the minms
making the bracelet
making the bracelet
the finished bracelet
the almost finished bracelet

Our CloudFridge project in Make magazine

Go grab the latest issue of Make Magazine!  In addition to it having a wonderful run down of many of the different types of Arduino or Arduino-like boards out there, it also includes a project Mike & Tod created: CloudFridge.

CloudFridge makes your fridge door Internet-connected, creating a real-time graph of when and how long the door is open.  Applications of this data could range from a simple fridge energy monitor to diet planning.  But mostly it’s a demonstration of just how quickly one can go from idea to working implementation with tools such as Arduino, BlinkM, and Xively: we went from idea to working implementation in an afternoon.

We originally created this article over a year ago and its showing its age a bit (today the Arduino Yun would be a great alternative to what we used), but the techniques are still very valid. Thanks to the Make magazine staff for helping update the article in the light of the Pachube->Xively transition.  And check out this awesome cute title graphic they made for the article.

cloudfridge1

MakerFaire 2013 Wrap Up

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Whew, MakerFaire Bay Area 2013 is over and it was astoundingly fun. Not only did we get to interact with so many people doing awesome things with ThingM products (like these BlinkM MinM earrings) but we got to show off a bunch of projects made with blink(1) and BlinkM-family stuff to thousands of new people. We heard tallies of 120,000 people showed up over the weekend, and we love seeing the concepts the Maker community inspires diffusing out into the larger world, as this LA Times article speaks to.

This year not only were we fortunate enough to have a ThingM table in the Maker Shed (Thank you Leah, Alex, Will, Carlyn, & Mike for helping staff it), but we also gave talks. Mike spoke about the future of manufacturing in a work filled with Maker-inspired tools and techniques, while Tod gave a talk on the process we went through to take blink(1) from an idea to Kickstarter to production.

Below are slides from both talks.

Mike’s talk:
MFBA 2013 336

The New Product Ecosystem: How design will reinvent manufacturing (Maker Faire 2013) by Mike Kuniavsky

Tod’s talk:

todmakerfaire

From Prototype to Kickstarter to Production: How blink(1) was made by todbot

High-five robot with BlinkM MinM

They said it couldn’t be done: a robot that only does high-fives. They were wrong. Thanks to a courageous BlinkM MinM who donated his brain to be rewritten with an BlinkMuino ATtiny85 Arduino sketch, the High-Five Robot exists.

BlinkMuino updated for Arduino 1.0

I finally got around to updating the BlinkMuino guide for turning your BlinkM, BlinkM MinM, or BlinkM MaxM into a tiny ATtiny85 or ATtiny84 Arduino system. BlinkM boards make great tiny development boards, especially if you’re interested in driving LEDs. BlinkM MaxMs are particularly great because they have more inputs and those three beefy MOSFET power transistors. And MinMs are good because they’re super tiny, but still contain a fully-programmable computer.

Thankfully, the ArduinoISP sketch has also been updated for Arduino-1.0, meaning you can use your Arduino as an AVR-ISP programmer, like this:

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Here’s the original video I made about BlinkMuino:

We’ll be showing off some examples of BlinkMs programmed with Arduino at Maker Faire, some say “hi”!