Dorkbot 55: Learning with Machines and Borgfest’s Social Robot Social after party at ATX Hackerspace!

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Monday, April 20th at 7pm

ATX Hackerspace: 9701 Dessau Rd Suite 304, Austin, Texas 78754

Dorkbot is back and we have a new home! April’s Dorkbot features an amazing group of presenters and a VERY special Social Robot Social after party featuring social robot creations by members of Borgfest after the presentations!

April’s Dorkbot will feature three amazing talks about interactive learning machines! After the show, Borgfest will have some social robots to play and interact with, and Mickey Delp will open up the Music Machine for the audience to make their own sounds!

Doors at 7pm
Talks start at 730pm
All ages!
Plenty of parking!

I Got No Strings: Puppeteer Removal through Machine Learning on a Social Robot
by Brad Knox

Brad will talk about research at MIT, where he and others investigated whether robots can be effectively programmed for autonomous social interaction through a machine-learning method called “learning from demonstration”. In this case, the method involves learning from Wizard-of-Oz teleoperation, in which the robot’s human interaction partner is unaware of the human puppeteer. To test this technique—Learning from the Wizard— it was used to create an autonomous robot that acts as a playful learning companion for young children. Brad will share what he did and what was learned.

Brad Knox is prototyping tiny, lifelike toy robots, which he hopes are coming soon to a home (many homes!) near you. Before that, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the MIT Media Lab, computer science PhD student at UT Austin, and an undergrad studying psychology at Texas A&M University. His research spanned machine learning, human-robot interaction, and psychology, with a focus on machine learning algorithms that learn through human interaction.

The Music Machine
by Mickey Delp

Mickey Delp will show and talk about the creation of his new MUSIC MACHINE, a walk up and play music device created to show people of all ages, with very little instruction, how to create music and change sounds. The Music Machine made its debut at the 2015 SXSW Create event:

by Ray Renteria

Ray will show and talk about his interactive robot, DAR-1, which was shown at the Robot Petting Zoo during SXSW:

Our Patron Scientist gets a Monument!


Nikola Tesla, circa 1890

As mentioned on The Guardian’s website Tuesday:

The president of Serbia unveiled a monument to Nikola Tesla in New York state on Monday, marking the latest milestone in a long-running campaign to raise the profile of the cult scientist and inventor around the world.

All I can say is, they couldn’t have picked a better scientist.

Read the full article about Nikola Tesla’s new monument on The Guardian’s website.

ArcAttack builds biggest Tesla coil ever

This just in: ArcAttack has built the largest Tesla coil in existence. You can see photos of it on Flickr, courtesy of Steve Ward.

Arcattack and The masters of lightning come together for a common cause, to design the worlds largest DRSSTCs. Due to freezing rain, and extreme schedule constraints, the first test is limited to Daves loading dock, but still it was pretty awesome.


Thanks to all presenters & participants @Dorkbot 25

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the creative tomfoolery at Dorkbot 25. A special thanks goes to the Austin Hackerspace for hosting the event. Also thank you to our presenters: Jonathan and Sharon with their masks, Christian and his UberHoop, the guy who brought his obstacle-detecting tank-bot (plz add to comments if anyone knows his name), Lindsay Greene of The Dead Left and his square-wave distortion boxes, and of course The Dead Left for a fantastic performance at the end of the event.

In case you weren’t able to make it out last night, here’s a sample of what you missed. Yes, you missed the LED throwies (which Hackerspace member do I have to thank for those little gems?). You missed custom-molded Halloween masks, an announcement about the Dorkbot-Arduino 101 class coming up in November, a raffle to give away some fantastic hackable electronic components (though I think Dustin was secretly just cleaning out his closets), a great band, and a fantastic space for hacking and working on whatever project you little maker-heart desires.

That said, how could we ever top Halloween-o-rama? With Dorkbot 26 of course! Coming your way in November. Details coming soon. If you or someone you know would like to present at the next event, just contact us. laura [at] eastsidehovel [dot] com or milsyobtaf [at] gmail [dot] com.

Christian Miller’s UberHoop in action during last night’s intermission. Thanks to Katie and Nate for hooping!

Lindsay Greene presenting his square wave distortion boxes that he uses when performing with The Dead Left.

Lindsay Greene and Lauren Gurgiolo of The Dead Left performing at Dorkbot 25.

White House Science Fair

Science Fair

Science Fair / CC Image courtesy Kelly Sims (

Looks like the President has decided to extend the warm White House welcome, so common for high achieving athletes, to the high achieving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students of the nation!  I look forward to checking out some of the celebrated projects once they hit the blogosphere.