The i3detroit DIY Dentistry event was a big hit, and everyone had a fantastic time- at least until the anesthesia wore off! i3 member Dustin returned from a recent trip to Latvia armed with the knowledge and tools to make this class a jaw-crackin’ success.
Dustin began the day with a brief history of DIY dentistry, and provided many DIY DOs and DON’Ts (for example, DON’T use bondo for fillings; DO visit Thingiverse for fillings and crowns you can 3-D print with ease.)
We just had an awesome time running a paint-along class with everyone’s favorite late 80′s-early 90′s eccentric oil painter, Bob Ross. Yelp was kind enough to sponsor us with free snacks and drinks for this event! i3 member, Kevin, (while donning a bob ross wig) guided the students through the intricacies of wet-on-wet oil painting.
The students spent two and a half hours following along creating a majestic mountain landscape while learning innovative ways of working with oil on canvas. While the paint will take about two weeks to dry, the painters were able to take their paintings home that day carefully transported with plastic wrap. The painters can now demonstrate their newly-learned skills in wielding a fan brush, and palette knife.
There was a huge demand for the event, so we will definitely be running more of these in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and like us on facebook for future updates!
When first stepping through the door, the University of Michigan’s Walter E. Wilson Student Team Project Center feels familiar, like a well-equipped hackerspace/makerspace. A Haas vertical mill dominates the main floor, more modern than i3′s but otherwise similar. In the back are manual mills and lathes, and a nontraditional vehicle (in this case, a solar car) hangs from the ceiling. Upstairs, an electronics lab is giving rise to the next generation of self-contained autonomous quadrotor helicopters. There’s a feeling of easy camaraderie and a subtle sense that the future is taking shape within these walls.
What’s different about the Wilson STPC is that there’s no hobby activity here — no couch, no gaming, no rogue bumper stickers, no tinkering for the sake of tinkering. Use of the Center is for students only, of course, but beyond that, it’s restricted to official student teams competing in various events. Among them is the Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles team, competing in the International Aerial Robotics Competition. Dissatisfied with the suitability of commercially available UAV platforms, MAAV is building their own, and they were kind enough to give i3 Detroit a behind-the-scenes tour on Sunday.
Unlike the internet-darling quadrotors performing aerobatics in a sensor-studded room, MAAV’s machines are almost entirely self-contained, designed to operate in an uncontrolled environment. So in addition to the obvious motors and rotors and batteries, they’re flying sensor platforms, with two onboard LIDAR units, accelerometers, gyroscopes, cameras, and several processors to handle the numerous tasks required. That’s all fixed to an astonishingly strong carbon-fiber frame, home-brewed using a novel molding technique.
i3 Detroit’s tour group got to meet several MAAV team members, check out various early and current hardware versions, and ask tons of questions. As several of our members have robotics and quadrotor experience, there was idea-sharing in both directions.
To demonstrate the stability of the quadrotor’s control system, our guide Jonathan told it to take off and hover at a particular position, and then grabbed one corner of the machine and pulled it several feet out-of-place. It returned immediately to its commanded position and held there, steady as a hummingbird, until commanded to go somewhere else. See the full video of the demonstration here.
After leaving the STPC, half of our group continued on to the day’s second destination, a datacenter by the name of MACC: the Michigan Academic Computing Center. Housing servers and equipment for numerous university departments, it’s a rack-mounted forest of Infiniband cables, storage arrays, and machines with names like “dixiedynamite”. We compared notes about power and cooling, talked about fiber optics and interconnect latency, and hunted down a lone GPS time server.
There are plenty of interesting places in southeast Michigan, and with these field trips, we’re exploring some of them. Stay tuned!
A: Chris Peplin’s sweet ride, with a prototype OpenXC translator plugged into it!
On Friday, i3 Detroit’s first car hacking meetup brought a good turnout, with pizza and drinks and solder and software and tons of fascinating ideas. The mix of attendees included several industry experts, some hobbyists of varying experience, and a few curious newbies.
We were treated to the first public demonstration of the recently-released OpenXC platform, a standard API for interfacing aftermarket software into vehicles. Unlike common OBD2 interfaces that only work with a limited set of messages, OpenXC decodes the live CAN traffic and reveals lots more data, neatly formatted as JSON for your apps to parse.
What sort of apps? Well, that’s up to you — come to the next car hacking meetup (fourth Fridays) and get involved!
Saturday’s WinterLAN gaming party was a success by any measure. Game-wise, practically everything was represented — I think we had 7 or 8 vintage and modern consoles running simultaneously, plus dozens of PCs on the network, and tabletop games galore. People-wise, there were 40-plus people in the space most of the night, with the last game of Artemis finally wrapping up around 5am.
Thanks to everyone who made the party what it was, from the members who organized it, to the guests just making it to the space for the first time. By the way, there’s no need to wait for next year’s WinterLAN before coming back — there’s a regular tabletop gaming night on the calendar, and if hacking/making is more your style, we do that every night of the week! Just look for that little box in the upper right to say “open for guests”, and you’re invited, just like that.
phone: (248) 906-8473
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