dorkbot-austin people doing strange things with electricity Mon, 11 May 2015 13:35:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dorkbot 56: So Long And Thanks For All The Fish Mon, 11 May 2015 13:35:03 +0000 Slide1


We’re back for May! Join us May 18th at ATX Hackerspace for the next installment of Dorkbot awesomeness!

7pm doors
730pm talks

All ages!
BYOB/BYO food/snacks
Special celebration after!

Three great talks!

Brandon Wiley 
Making Your Own Mobile Phone for Fun and Privacy

Brandon will be talking about the open source hardware mobile phone project being developed by his non-profit, the Operator Foundation. It’s a phone that anyone can build easily. Building your own phone pulls back the veil of mystery that we attribute to these magical devices. You also know exactly what your phone is doing, so you don’t have to worry about tracking, hacking, or leaking of your personal data.

Andrew Darling 
Superhuman Strength with a Shoestring Budget… and Perhaps Actual Shoestrings

There is a lot of work ongoing in strength-enhancing exoskeletal systems in various corporations and universities, but the strategy is almost universally to build a wearable robot, analogous to the Iron Man suit of comics and movies. Such suits have a number of drawbacks, with tremendous power demand being the major concern. There are, however, alternative approaches that mimic biology, requiring much less power and leveraging the natural advantages of mammalian anatomy. I’ll discuss how much stronger human muscle is than most people realize, how your muscle fibers do it, and how we can use some of these biological tricks to build cheap, elegant, strength-enhancing exoskeletons with extremely low power demand.

Laura Smith 
How to start an apparel business

With 15 years of industry experience in tech and a wealth of knowledge in user-centered design, what’s the best way to take advantage of all that? Why, move into a completely different industry and start an apparel business, of course! Laura will be talking about everything you always wanted to know pursuing your passion in life!

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Dorkbot 55: Learning with Machines and Borgfest’s Social Robot Social after party at ATX Hackerspace! Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:37:54 +0000 11079301_942992732387431_1530260546_n (1)

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:

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Dorkbot 54: Hold the Line Mon, 16 Feb 2015 20:10:34 +0000 Dorkbot 54: Hold the Line

Get ready for Dorkbot 54: Hold The Line at Spider House Ballroom on Monday, February 23rd!

Dorkbot 54: Hold The Line Facebook Event!

Peter Flynn will be presenting about how to use a telephone pick-up coil (designed for recording phone calls) to translate the electromagnetic fields coming off of everyday electronics into eerie sounds. Including a little background on the strange former rules against connecting devices to AT&T’s network that led to the development of Rube Goldberg type inventions like the telephone pick-up coil in the first place. Peter is a Midwesterner by birth but Austin resident by choice since 1992. Works as a computer support specialist at UT by way of a degree in English. A film fanatic who watches several hundred films each year and gleefully attends festivals like Fantastic Fest and SXSW Film. All of which have nothing to do with the subject he will be talking about.

Jason Vines will be showing a super cool robotic character he created for a film project! Jason is an actor, improviser, singer, web designer and special effects makeup artist living and working in Austin, Texas. He’s been dabbling in special effects for the past 8 years and has created creatures both fantastic and disgusting for Halloween, haunts, stage and screen. He also really likes bacon. Please visit his website at to see what else he has done!

Clint Young is a local artist who will be presenting the process of how he comes up with a design! Clint’s illustrations reflect everything he finds wonderful about storytelling and childhood imagination. Father, husband, writer and illustrator of children’s books and adventurous stories. Clint has worked on multiple Star Wars titles as visual effect / conceptual artist, and currently he resides as a senior concept artist in Austin, TX.

Announcements by SXSW Create and the SXSW Create Robot Petting Zoo and Borgfest Robot social!

Dorkbot is a regular meeting of artists, hackers, designers, engineers, students and other interested parties who are involved in the creation of electronic or otherwise technological art (in the broadest sense of the term). We will have speakers to talk about their awesome projects while you drink some tasty beverages!

Happy Hour starts at 5pm at Spider House Ballroom – come early and prepare to enjoy yourself! Talks start at 7!

As always, Dorkbot is a Free and All-ages event. Bring the kiddos! Bring your friends! Bring your AI lifeforms!

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Dorkbot 50: Under the SeaBot – April 21 @ Thinkery Austin! Thu, 10 Apr 2014 01:56:59 +0000 robots_cute

This month we will submerge ourselves under tidal waves to explore the magic of sea life… from subsea ecosystems to sea-based agriculture. Let’s dive in!

DORKBOT 50: Under the SeaBot
Monday, April 21, 2014 –  7:00-9:30pm
Thinkery Austin
(1830 Simond Ave Austin, TX 78723)
Free and open to all!
RSVP on our Facebook page, if you do that kinda thing. Otherwise, just show up and have a good time!

Farming Seaweed in Austin, Texas: the Tech Below the Surface

Lewis Weil (You know. From Nerd Nite!)

Austin, Texas is home to the only inland culinary seaweed farm in North America. Lewis will for the first time give a public presentation on the technology that makes my farm possible. Weil’s seaweed is on plates in fancy restaurants, has been featured on Slashdot, and every bit of it used to be grown in his garage. It is now in a greenhouse at an urban farm in south Austin.

Lewis Weil talks about aquariums way too much. He has a real job and other interests and stuff. But given alcohol and a chance the conversation always turns to growing things in water. He has kept everything from microscopic algae, rare amazon fish, delicate corals, and sharks. He tries to maintain a façade of being a cool human being. All his best ideas start out as jokes.

Naturalistic Paludariums 101

Wiley Wiggins (You know. From Juegos Rancheros and other stuff!)

This is the story of a normal person who never planned on building enormous microcontroller-regulated biotopes in his home. The acquisition of a cute and unassuming amphibian friend started a slow decent down the hobby hole towards madness. Learn how to create rainforest zones within glass boxes in your own home, all watched over by machines of loving grace.

Wiley Wiggins is one of the organizers of the Juegos Rancheros indie videogame meetup, monthly at the North Door. You may know him from other stuff as well.

Under the C’s: Lessons Learned In The Trenches of a Library

Dustin Younse (our Current-and-soon-to-be-Former Dorkbot Overlord)

Libraries are more than just a collection of assorted, dusty books, and recent advances in technology have highlighted the role of the library as a repository of knowledge, not a repository of paper, ink and glue. We’ll take a quick look at some of the cool stuff happening right now, and in the near future.

Dustin is the Overlord of Dorkbot Austin, was, until recently, the Webmaster for the University of Texas Libraries, and is one heck of a cat dad, according to his ward Audrey.

Dorkbot is – As ALWAYS – a FREE and ALL AGES event.

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Dorkbot 48: Count Chipula Attacks! Wed, 02 Oct 2013 17:38:49 +0000 Dorkbot 48: Count Chipula Attacks!

If silent disco dance floors with touch sensitive 3D cubes, live projections, chiptunes, synths, and audio-visual interfaces designed with plenty of dials and knobs are your thing… you’re gonna need a change of pants for this month’s show.

DORKBOT 48: Count Chipula Attacks!

Clay Lilliard – is one of the four founding members of COLLABnART, and is here to make you “fall in love with the process” of making and showcasing killer art. COLLABnART has put together numerous events featuring interactive installations, screenprinting, live mural painting, live sculpting, video art projection, acro yoga and glass blowing, to name a few.

Mike Behrman of TXchip – the sound tsunami AKA DJ battle champion “The Mysterious H” has returned to Austin and is here to geek out about interfacing old sound chips, making hybrid synths, and homebrewing hardware and software instruments for your ears’ delight. Check out other TXchip artists and events at:

Mickey Delp – the chief inventor behind Delptronics talks to us about his interface design showcased at Fantastic Arcade. Delp’s customized surface for the arcade version of the video game Panoramical was the buzz of this year’s event. The Alamo Drafthouse described the experience as “creating instant compositions of audio and form, mountains rising and boiling away, clouds making way for stars and black rain.”

Greg Cerveny Loves open source and DIY music technology. So he’s here to share his sliders, buttons, and knobs that make it easy to prototype new musical experiences. And a little of his vision for the future of DIY music tech.

We’ll also be giving away a 1-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud app of your choice. Must be present to win!


RSVP on our Facebook page, if you do that kinda thing. Otherwise, just show up and have a good time!

Dorkbot 48: Count Chipula Attacks!
Wednesday, October 16th
The North Door – 502 Brushy St., Austin, Texas 78702 [The Google Map]
(Parking is free and readily available in the lot across the street.)

Doors at 7, talks at 7:30

Dorkbot is — as always — a FREE and all ages event.

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