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updated 2010.04.25

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dorkbotpgh 35: November, 2011

Munehiko Sato: Munehiko is a PhD student researching human computer interaction at Cyber Interface Lab, the University of Tokyo. He has been working on multimedia technology for site-specific installations with embedded large displays. He holds a B.E. and M.S. in Information Science and Technology from Univ. of Tokyo and also studied computer science at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. Mune is currently researching on new sensing technology for interaction at Disney Research Pittsburgh. Munehiko will present some of his existing and new works.

Mark Barlow: Mark has designed and/or installed over a megawatt of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. His contributions to solar PV installations can be seen aside the hills of the Ohio River valley, atop a city skyscraper of downtown Pittsburgh, and among the distant lands of Nicaragua and Greece. He currently volunteers his time to the local Pittsburgh Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter, assisting with water and energy projects located in Ecuador and India.

A long time student of Nikola Tesla's work and writings, Mark is especially interested in Tesla's ideas regarding energy production and transmission. A Tesla enthusiast, Mark built his first Tesla coil while in high school and has constructed half a dozen coils over the years. These coils vary in shape and construction with their output voltages ranging from a few kilovolts to megavolts.

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dorkbotpgh 34: September, 2011

Speakers were representatives from four of Pittsburgh's people and places helping people do strange things with electricity:

Hack Pittsburgh: Matt Stultz's presentation described the activities of Hack Pittsburgh, a non-profit, community-based workshop that allows members to come together and share skills & tools to pursue creative projects. Our membership is open to everyone but typically comprises inventors, engineers, scientists, programmers, hobbyists, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, and arts and crafts enthusiasts. Our focus is on collaboration, education, and community outreach, in the context of deconstructing and understanding objects and systems and re-purposing existing materials for new and innovative uses.

Assemble PGH:Nina Barbuto gave an overview of Assemble, a not-for-profit event-based community space in Garfield.  Their mission is to invite artists/makers/technologists and  our neighbors of all ages to engage their intrigue and creativity through hands-on explorations, forging physical and non-physical community connections. Assemble programs include monthly openings during the Unblurred gallery crawls, as well as workshops, lectures and community activities with a focus on providing quality creative programming for children. Their goal is to build confidence through making while giving exposure to the makers of Pittsburgh.

BirdBrain Labs Tech-To-Go: Pittsburgh's latest pop-up retailer focuses on technology and hacking, with pickup at regular locations or same-day delivery with a purchase over $30.

Nucleus: Eric Singer pitched Nucleus, is a proposed new space to provide artists and technologists with the tools and knowledge to create work combining fabrication, electronics and robotics. Nucleus will provide facilities for metalwork, welding, electronics and computing; classes and workshops; meeting space for thinkers and practitioners for collaboration and brainstorming; and an avenue for expanding Pittsburgh’s leadership in technological and artistic innovation.

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dorkbotpgh 33: July, 2011

Larisa Mann / DJ Ripley: Larisa is a Fellow, Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies, at Berkeley Law, her research for a forthcoming PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy) situates a specific local culture of music-making within modern global colonial capitalism through examining music-making’s relationship to copyright law. As Larisa, she will give a dorkbot presentation on her researh. After dorkbot is over, she will perform as DJ Ripley upstairs at brillobox.

David Sanz Kirbis: David is an multidisciplinary experimenter interested in how things work and in finding creative solutions to technical projects. He is currently working towards a PhD to study how computer vision techniques, normally used in robotics or surveillance, can be applied to create new forms of expression in cinema. With an eclectic background as pizza deliverer, graphic designer, computer technician, soldier, independent filmmaker, and industrial designer he is interested in several fields like design, mechanics, electronics, programming, robotics, and photography.

Matt Gray. Matt was born in Australia, grew up in Canada, the UK, Australia, Singapore & Hong Kong. He trained as an actor, and worked in Canada the UK and the States as Actor, Director and Sound Designer.  He has taught acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and Carnegie Mellon. In addition to teaching acting, Matt has directed theatrical productions across Europe, including Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam & Berlin. Since arriving in Pittsburgh, Matt has been exploring the role of technology in live performance. He continues to direct ‘conventional’ theatrical productions, including CRIME & PUNISHMENT and Harold Pinter’s THE HOTHOUSE, both at Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (PICT). Matt’s current interests involve artificial intelligence in performance and the history of performance pedagogy as a testing/coding platform for new technology.

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dorkbotpgh 32: 21 April, 2011

Amisha Gadani: Amisha is a Pittsburgh-based artist interested in curious creatures and their unique adaptations, from swarming patterns and elegant defense mechanisms, to superorganisms and animals of the deep sea. She is currently developing a series of "animal homunculus" drawings to visually compare differences in sensory and motor adaptations in the animal kingdom, and a new animal-inspired defensive costume to partner her blowfish, porcupine and skink dresses, this time inspired by ink-squirting cephalopods. Through her drawings, videos, and kinetic wearables, Amisha aims to inspire curiosity in her hand-picked wonders of the world.

Suzie Silver: Suzie is an artist working primarily in video, sound and performance. Silver’s work has exhibited and screened widely nationally and internationally at venues including The Whitney Museum of Art, The New Museum, Documenta, ICA Boston, Pacific Film Archives, Anthology Film Archives, London Film Festival, and the Seoul Film Festival. Currently, Silver is Associate Professor in Electronic and Time Based Art in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Suzie will present a brief overview of three related recent and/or current projects exploring science fiction, space age abstraction, vaudeville in space and non-humanoid alien sexuality.

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dorkbotpgh 31: 18 November, 2010

Heather Knight - Heather is a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and founder of Marilyn Monrobot, which creates socially intelligent robot theater performances. Her installations have been featured at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, LACMA, Pop!Tech, SIGGRAPH, Mindshare LA, TEDxUSC and Fortezza da Basso. Her work also includes; robotics, and instrumentation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs (including an award-winning Rube Goldberg Machine music video with OK GO), and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics. She is an alumnus from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, earning her bachelors and masters in Electrical Engineering at MIT.

Kelly Gates - Kelly is Assistant Professor of Communication and Science Studies at University of California San Diego. Her major areas of research are digital media studies, science and technology studies, and visual culture. Her recent work has focused on the politics of computerization and surveillance system development in post-war United States. She has published in multiple journals, including Cultural Studies, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Social Text, Social Semiotics, and Television and New Media. She is co-editor of The New Media of Surveillance (Routledge, 2009), and her book, Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance, is forthcoming from NYU Press. She is currently spending a sabbatical semester in Pittsburgh.

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dorkbot 30: 21 October, 2010

Andrea Grover - Andrea Grover is a migrant curator, artist and writer. In 1998, she founded Aurora Picture Show, a now recognized center for filmic art, that began in Grover’s living room as “the world’s most public home theater.” She curated the first exhibition exploring the phenomenon of crowdsourcing in art, and, with Jon Rubin, organized an exhibit in which worldwide participants created a photo-sharing album of their imaginings on Tehran. In Fall 2009 she curated 29 CHAINS TO THE MOON, an exhibition for CMU’s Miller Gallery, which continued her research into cooperation and distributed thinking across disciplines. She is presently a Warhol Curatorial Fellow at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery at CMU

Ed Piskor - Ed is a hardworking illustrator based out of Pittsburgh. He has been cartooning professionally since 2005, starting off drawing the American Splendor comics written by Harvey Pekar, and later collaborating with Pekar on two graphic novels, Macedonia, and The Beats. Ed is currently putting pen to paper in his first solo graphic novel effort, Wizzywig, a serialized comic about hacking and phone phreaking comic steeped in 1980s-era hi-tech lore.

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dorkbot 29: 16 September, 2010

Jonas Loh - Jonas works in the fields of interaction design, generative design and speculative design on research prototypes for future interactive systems, applications and products and parallel realities. His work deals with past, recent and future technologies and (anti-) social objects in which we reflect ourselves and our complex human desires. He holds a B.A. in interface design from the University of Applied Science in Potsdam, Germany. He is currently an interaction designer and developer at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, in between winter graduate studies at the Royal College of Arts in Designing Interactions.

Derek Lomas - Derek is a PhD student in the Human-Computer Interactions Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is researching the underpinnings of fun and learning within commercial video games and helping to develop new design processes for building effective computer-aided learning games. Lomas is a co-founder of the Playpower Foundation, which recently received support from the MacArthur Foundation to further its goals of building affordable, effective and fun learning games to improve education around the world. Lomas received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts from UC San Diego and his BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University.

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dorkbot 28: 22 April, 2010

Jesse England: Jesse holds a BS in multimedia design from the University of Oregon. After three years of editing video for TV news, he is currently a first year MFA student at Carnegie Mellon University. His work stems from a fascination with imaging devices and their associated glitches. In an effort to find new visual errors to exploit for their aesthetic qualities, he made his own movie film with an inkjet printer, transparent plastic and a box cutter. Since coming to Pittsburgh from his native Oregon, he has been exploring the beauty of glitches in drawing machines, video recorders and vibrating furniture.

Kerry Skarbakka: Kerry is a visual artist/educator working in photography and video. He received his B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Washington and completed his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Solo exhibitions include The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Fifty-One Fine Art Photography in Antwerp, Irvine Contemporary in Washington DC, and Lawrimore Project in Seattle. Group exhibitions include the North Carolina Museum of Art, The Ahlen Art Museum, and the Warhol. His publications include Afterimage, Art and America, and Aperture Magazine. Recently he was featured on a live interview on NBC's Today Show.

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dorkbotpgh 27: 25 March, 2010

Ben Peoples: Ben is an artist, theatre consultant, tinker, and all-around geek. After graduating from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2002, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he began working as an architectural consultant, designing theatres and performing arts facilities. While living in San Francisco, he became involved in the community of Kite Aerial Photographers there and began building and flying kite camera rigs. After returning to Pittsburgh last year, Ben discovered that the winds here are not steady or predictable enough for kite photography. His efforts to solve this problem led him to his next aerial photography endeavor: the development of small UAVs, which he plans to use to aerially document historic industrial sites around Southwestern PA.

Marty McGuire: Marty is a senior research programmer for the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Lab at Carnegie Mellon. On the side, he is a council member for HackPittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s first hackerspace, and the creator of the mobile photo sharing site He is passionate about the desktop manufacturing revolution, powered by open source hardware like the MakerBot CupCake CNC, and a vibrant online community of makers. Marty will talk about his adventures in home fabrication and his experiences with this community and (with a bit of luck) give a live 3D printing demo with the help of his own MakerBot, number 131.

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dorkbotpgh 26: 28 January, 2010

This dorkbotpgh event is part of the Contestational Cartographies Symposium, co-organized by the Miller Gallery and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.

Chris Harrison. Chris is a Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests primarily focus on novel interaction technologies and input methods - especially those that leverage sensing and the environment in unconventional and expressive ways. In his free time, Chris gets excited about large data sets and how, through computation, they can be given form. Often, this is through the use of simple visual primitives that self assemble into rich information tapestries.

Susanne Slavick. Susanne is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon. Graduating from Yale University in 1978, she subsequently studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and earned her MFA at Tyler School of Art in Rome and Philadelphia. Susanne has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, her paintings have also been recognized through an artist fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and four awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Susanne was honored as 2008 “Artist of the Year” by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts where she premiered “R&R(&R),” an ongoing series of works on paper that convert our military expression for “rest and recuperation” to images of “revelation, regret, and restoration.” These and new works will be featured in a January, 2010 solo exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.

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dorkbotpgh 25: 10 December, 2009

Paul Zelevansky. Paul is an artist, writer, and teacher who recently moved to Pittsburgh after 14 years in Los Angeles. His work includes digital animation, artist's books, theoretical writing, curating, and graphic design. He has a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters in Educational Technology from Columbia Teachers’ College, and was a member of a team that created some of the earliest digital interactive museum exhibitions (NY Hall of Science 1988-92). His PhD, also from Columbia, is in art education, and he has published widely on the use of text and image, web art, popular culture, and educational and aesthetic theory. His most recent book is "24 IDEAS ABOUT PICTURES", a primer composed of 24 visual/verbal propositions about the grammar, meaning, and metaphysics of pictures.

Ivan Poupyrev. Born in the USSR, Ivan is currently a Senior Researcher at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, a unit of Walt Disney Imagineering. He designs and investigates user interfaces for future entertainment and digital lifestyle that seamlessly blend digital and physical properties in devices and everyday objects. His work includes developing novel tactile and haptic user interfaces, shape-changing and flexible computers, tangible and embodied interfaces as well as more traditional augmented and virtual reality interfaces. His research has been presented at ACM SIGGRAPH, ACM CHI and ACM UIST and released in various consumer products. Prior to Disney he spent nine years working in Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Tokyo.

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dorkbotpgh 24: 22 October, 2009

Lenka Clayton. Lenka is an artist, recently moved to Pittsburgh from London, England. Her work investigates the poetry of labour expended toward epic, utopian, often impossible tasks. In recent projects she searched for and photographed the 613 people mentioned in a German newspaper (Local Newspaper), hand-numbered 7000 stones (7,000 Stones), filmed one person of each age from 1 – 100 (People in Order), re-organised the 4100 words of President Bush’s Axis of Evil speech into alphabetical order (Qaeda, quality, question, quickly, quickly, quiet) and is currently writing a hand-written letter to every household in the world (Mysterious Letters).

Eric Singer. Eric is a musician, artist, engineer and programmer and the founder and Executive Director of LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon; a Diploma in Music Synthesis (Magna Cum Laude) from Berklee College of Music; and an MS in Computer Science from New York University. He has over 20 years of music and arts programming, engineering and performance experience in the areas of interactive music and graphics systems, alternative controllers, networked multimedia environments and robotics.

Eric will ramble on about musical robots, interactive art, guerilla street performance, pyrotechnics and whatever else happens to come to his mind.

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dorkbotpgh 23: 17 September, 2009

Michael Johnsen. Michael is a music instrument builder and performer. He will give a mildly informative lecture-demonstration outlining his approach to electronic sound production and, not coincidentally, its audition. Working almost exclusively on the analog end of the hypothetical digital/analog spectrum, his work is characterized by a relative lack of ideas per se, and an intense focus on observation (it's only "discovery" when you're sure you saw it first), the way a shepherd watches sheep.

(podcasts in production)

Melissa St. Pierre. Melissa is a pianist and composer who has toured the United States both solo and with ensembles several times over. Specializing in prepared piano work of John Cage, she has used those works as a jumping-off point into her own composing work utilizing piano hacking and live electronic manipulation. Melissa will talk about and demonstrate the Prepared Piano. Audience members are invited to bring their own preparations for the piano, and she will demonstrate appropriate ways to incorporate most, or all, of these implements in the process of finding your own piano sound.

(podcasts in production)

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dorkbotpgh 22: 19 March, 2009

Ian Ingram. Ian is a roboticist and owner of Ingram Clockworks, a small Lamettrian Geppettoist company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Using tickworks and tockworks, we make machines, creatures, remnants of creature-like machines, artificial symbioses, observations of encounters with creatures unknown to most of Science, and the Like.

(podcasts in production)

Adrien Treuille. Adrien is a an Assistant Professor in the computer graphics group at Carnegie Mellon University. He was one of the creators of Foldit, the computer game where users contribute to science by folding proteins. He also pursues research in the simulation and animation of very high-dimensional nonlinear phenomena like animal morphology, human motion, and large fluid systems.

(podcasts in production)

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Art and Code vs. dorkbotpgh Pecha Kucha (Kinda)!:
8 March, 2009

Dorkbotpgh is hosting Art and Code for a pecha kucha-style event at Brillobox. We'll start at 7:30pm and go until we run out of presenters or we get kicked out at 0100 in the morning. Each presenter will get 10 minutes to show their work.

(podcasts in production)

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dorkbot pgh 21: Thursday, 19 Feb., 2009

Keny Marshall. Keny builds kinetic, sometimes robotic art that plays with technology and how people relate to it. Hand-built devices are combined in seemingly ridiculous ways as a means of critiquing the increasingly invisible world that technology inhabits. Electric motors, surplus lab equipment, and scrap hardware are (re)sourced to build systems with transparent inner workings to counteract the “blackbox” nature of present technology. Currently Keny is the Coordinator of Special Projects for Phil Fraley Productions, where he manages teams of artists, blacksmiths, and fossil preparators in the fabrication, installation and rigging of large scale natural history museum exhibits.


Carin Mincemoyer. Carin is a sculptor and installation artist who currently lives and works in Pittsburgh. In her recent work, she has utilized recycled materials such as Styrofoam and plastic packaging to create works that examine the often contradictory desires that we look to the natural world to fulfill. She is the recipient of several awards, including a 2007 grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts in 2002 and 2007 and an Individual Artist Award from the Pittsburgh Foundation. She currently works as an exhibits preparator for Phil Fraley Productions, where she prepares fossil specimens and creates natural history museum exhibits.


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dorkbot pgh 20: Thursday, 22 Jan., 2009

Chico MacMurtrie, Amorphic Robot Works. Chico acts as the Artistic Director of Amorphic Robot Works (ARW), a collective he founded in 1991, consisting of artists and engineers who help in the realization of his work. Since that time, his investigations have resulted in the creation of more than 250 mechanical sculptures that assume anthropomorphic and abstract forms.


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dorkbot pgh 19: Thursday, 20 Nov., 2008

Richard Pell, Institute for Applied Autonomy. Richard is a founding member of the art and engineering collective, the Institute for Applied Autonomy. His work includes several robotic, web and biologically based projects that call into question the imperatives that drive technological development. IAA projects such as the robotic GraffitiWriter, iSee and TXTmob have been exhibited in art, activist and engineering contexts andhave been chosen for an Award of Distinction and two Honorable Mentions at the Prix-Ars Electronica in Linz. Richard's narrative and documentary videos explore the individual's relationship to authority. His most recent video documentary entitled, Don't Call Me Crazy On The 4th Of July, has won several awards and has screened in numerous international festivals. In 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Rockefeller New Media Fellowship for the establishment of a new museum entitled The Center for PostNatural History.


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dorkbot pgh 18: Thursday, 23 Oct., 2008

Jill Miller, " I Heart Surveillance"
Jill is a recent Pittsburgh transplant; she moved here from California because she heard that the weather was better. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art Department and HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She previously taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Arts. She is a conceptual artist and will talk about her recent project, Collectors, when she went undercover and conducted surveillance on art collectors in San Francisco.


Eric Paulos, "I Want to be Unique Like Everyone Else"
Eric is a recent arrival to Pittsburgh coming by way of UC Berkeley, San Francisco, Intel Research, and Survival Research Labs. He has been known to build flying robots, create EMP devices, and construct interactive public trashcans. His recent efforts as an Assistant Professor at CMU's HCI Institute focus on citizen science, activism, sustainability, green design, and environmental awareness. Eric will explore these topics as well as explain what it is like to fulfill a personal fantasy of driving a public street sweeper.


dorkbot pgh 17: 7:30pm, Thursday, 18 Sep., 2008

Lea Albaugh. Rossum's Universal Robots, written in 1920 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek, introduced the word "robot" to the world. Lea presented work done on a prototype costume for a future theatrical production of R.U.R to be produced in Spring, 2010.

Axel Straschnoy. Axel is a artist and instructor who lives and works in Helsinki and Buenos Aires. He is currently visiting Pittsburgh to work on a project with the Robotics Institute. His presentation included a survey of prior work and a description of his work at the RI.

(podcast unavailable.)


dorkbot pittsburgh 16: 21 August, 2008

dorkbot pittsburgh participated in Robot 250 as part of "Meet the Made" at The Mattress Factory.

Seema Patel: Seema is CEO of Interbots. Interbots creates compelling interactive characters who enable memorable experiences with their guests. They specialize in the design and construction of custom interactive characters (both physical and virtual), control software, and interactive multimedia content.

(podcast under production.)

Golan Levin: Golan develops artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression. His current projects, such as Opto-Isolator and Double-Taker (Snout), employ interactive robotics and machine vision to explore the theme of gaze as a primary new mode for human-machine communication. Golan is currently Associate Professor of Electronic Time-Based Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

(podcast unavailable due to equipment failure.)

dorkbot pittsburgh 15: April 24, 2008

Eric Schweikardt: Eric is a deliberate comprehensivist – his
background is in architecture and now he makes modular robotic stuff. He's convinced that playing with computational toys encourages kids to develop intuitions about complexity and become better designers. Eric will demonstrate roBlocks, a robotic construction kit made up of little magnetized cubes. He's currently a PhD candidate in Computational Design at Carnegie Mellon University.


Marek Michalowski: Marek is a Ph.D. student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He participates in the Social Robots Project, the Project on People and Robots, Humanoids@CMU, and RoboOrg (the RI student organization). Marek will discuss BeatBots, a project to develop rhythmically intelligent robots for research and entertainment.


dorkbot pittsburgh 14: March 20, 2008

Jia Ji, Touchtown. Jia is the Director of Product Management for Dancetown, a dance-based digital fitness system developed for seniors. Using a computer and dance pads, people of all ages are able to participate in healthy intergenerational play through the Dancetown system. Jia is a Stanford University alumnus and actively supports grassroots technology efforts in the Pittsburgh area. He currently serves as Technology Director for NAAAP Pittsburgh, volunteers on the local game developers board, and helps organize the Pittsburgh PodCamp conference series. Prior to joining Touchtown, Jia was president and founder of Flying Fish Media. He has also worked for a variety of technology companies and startups such as,, Dreamwork Soft, Inecom Entertainment, Interactive Media Systems, Ripple Effects Interactive, and eGenesis.


Jim Jen, AlphaLab. Jim is the Executive in Residence at AlphaLab, a six month program for software startups that provides companies with funding, free office space, services, and access to investors and advisors. Jim works closely with the management teams of startup technology companies to identify and address critical business issues facing those companies. Previously, Jim built and managed software businesses at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Agile Software (acquired by Oracle), and Instill Corporation (Mayfield-funded, privately held). As a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, Jim advised executive management of Fortune 500 companies on marketing, strategic planning, and organizational issues. Jim holds a BA and MA in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business.


dorkbot pittsburgh 13: 24 January, 2008

Jennifer Gooch: Jennifer is a multimedia artist interested in our attempt to, and inability to, connect. Interested in "mediated exchange" – how people use technology and other means of mediation to interact – Gooch's work often looks at mediation, the mediated, and the awkward space between. She is currently working on her web and community based project,, "a site for the collection and hopeful reunion of Pittsburgh's dropped gloves." A banjo-toting singer from Dallas, Gooch received her B.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Arlington and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art at CMU.


Richard Tuttle: Richard joined the Plextronics team in July of 2007 and has been working as a Formulator in the Inks & Applications group during that time. He is a 2006 graduate of the University of Akron with a M.S. in Physics. While at Akron, he was part of a research team that studied the processing and applications of electrospun ceramic fibers. This team researched the effect of variables such as humidity, temperature, precursor concentration, collection procedure, voltage, and annealing conditions on the formation of polymer/ceramic composite fibers.  He also holds B.S in Physics from Muskingum College.

(podcast unavailble due to equipment failure)

dorkbot pittsburgh 12: 18 October, 2007

Lori Hepner: Lori is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on aspects of coding through spoken and computer language in digital culture.  Ambiguous visual representations of binary code are used in the Code Words body of work to create large-scale digital print installations and are performed in the Unworkings of a Binary System body of work. Ms. Hepner has been working through ideas of translation of code through performance, video, and photography since earning her M.F.A in Digital Media at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005. Ms. Hepner currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA where she holds the position of Assistant Professor of Integrative Arts at Penn State Greater Allegheny.


Gabe Johnson: Gabeis a PhD student in Computational Design at CMU. His background is in computer science and software engineering, blah blah blah. He's also a music nerd and can cook marginally well. He misses Colorado. Gabe will demonstrate FlatCAD, a system that lets you create your own physical construction kit by coding in the LOGO-like FlatLang language. Construction kits are now something you can design, if you can write a simple FlatLang program, you can design a kit and "print it out" on a laser cutter.

updated 2007.04.28

dorkbot pittsburgh 11: 19 April, 2007

We have two speakers this month, Michael Philetus Weller and Elizabeth Monian.

Elizabeth Monoian

Elizabeth Monoian will speak on the topic of "Committing to Pittsburgh as Interdisciplinary Art Practice". Elizabeth Monoian is an interdisciplinary artist who uses the Internet, found objects and spaces, electronic noise, video, and performance to tease apart and question cultural relationships to time, history, and memory.

Performatively she becomes Eliza. Willing to live the nightmare of grade-school child standing in front of the classroom naked, she is exposed to the familiar gaze of strangers. Elizabeth becomes the image -- the performance, the character -- that is viewed. Eliza navigates within the noise of contemporary culture -- the cacophony of electronics and wires that bring whales above the ocean surface to sing and nurtures premature infants in the neonatal ward -- the chatter of capitalism that permeates our cellular selves.

Elizabeth founded and co-directs Society for Cultural Exchange with her twin sister Barbara. Society for Cultural Exchange is a unique non-profit arts organization that is developing exchanges nationally and internationally in three distinctive locations. They have an artist in residency program and art space located in a 2500 sq. foot Victorian house in an historical steel neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA, an artist in residency program on a fishing boat in the Native American Tlingit Village of Hoonah, Alaska, as well as an art space in their rent-stabilized apartment in the East Village, New York City. Currently they are transforming a blighted lot in Pittsburgh into an outdoor/public electronic media center.


Michael Philetus Weller

Michael Philetus Weller will demonstrate Posey, a computationally enhanced poseable hub and strut construction kit that can be used as an interface to applications running on a host computer. Its optocoupled ball and socket joints transmit local topology information and determine the roll, pitch and yaw of connections. Zigbee transceivers in each hub communicate this data wirelessly back to the host computer. The host computer assembles a representation of the physical model as the user creates and configures it. This representation can then be used by application programs to control models in particular domains. For example, a skeleton of a puppet can be used to control the movement of a more detailed virtual puppet to create an online puppet show. And by connecting posey to a molecule modeling application, information on different molecules can be retrieved just by building the molecule using hubs as atoms and struts as bonds.

Michael Philetus Weller is a Ph.D. Candidate in the CoDe Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. He is experimenting with ways computation can be embedded in buildings and furniture to reimagine our relationship with the built environment. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy, a B.A. in Architecture and a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington. He believes in Open Source, and believes everyone should read Daniel Dennett.


dorkbot pittsburgh 10: 22 March,2007

Scott Davidoff and Ian Li, Moodjam.

Scott researches ubiquitous and context-aware systems for families. Scott works with the Project on Family, Control and the Smart Home, part of Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute. Before graduate school, Scott was principal of Scott Davidoff Design, and much better-rested. Scott holds a Masters in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon, and a BA in Political Theory and English from Duke University.

Ian Li researches technologies that help people make better decisions and find opportunities for positive changes in their lives, using methods from human-computer interaction (HCI), interaction design, and behavioral research. Currently, Ian develops ubiquitous computing systems that improve people's awareness of their behavior to motivate physical activity, to increase mood awareness, and to aid office productivity.


Carl DiSalvo and Tom Lauwers, CREATE Lab

CREATE -- Community Robotics for Education, Art, & Technology Empowerment -- Lab is committed to broadening public participation in science, technology, engineering through the development of disruptive robotic technologies.

Tom and Carl will present a survey of recent projects undertaken by the CREATE Lab, including TeRK, Robot Diaries, Neighborhood Nets, and Robot 250. These projects range from hardware and software technology development, educational robotics for middle school girls, arts based community robotics, to the development of a large scale city wide robotic art and technology event involving thousands of participants.

Tom Lauwers is a fourth year Ph.D. student at the Robotics Institute. He has a long-standing interest in educational robotics, as both a participant in programs like FIRST and later as a designer of a robotics course and related education technology. He is currently studying curriculum design and evaluation and hopes that his study of the educational sciences will help him create educational technologies that are relevant and responsive to the needs of educators. Tom received a BS in Electrical Engineering and Public Policy from CMU in 2003.

Carl DiSalvo received a PhD in Design the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. Carl's work approaches design from a critical and reflective perspective. He uses design to ask questions, provoke debate and facilitate conversations concerning the social aspects of technologies and technological discourses. Carl is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in The Studio for Creative Inquiry and the Center for the Arts in Society. Carl also is a founder of the Pittsburgh GIS company DeepLocal.


dorkbot pittsburgh 09: February 23, 2007

Jason Simmons, Gradient Labs, Mr. Simmons is an information and interaction designer; his company, Gradient Labs, makes data-driven engines for interacting with information and media. Past and current projects include, the Progress Pittsburgh Knowledge Base (a wiki-like map of the regional political landscape), (a tool for managing group knowledge work meetings), and the Warhol Timeline (a soon to be launched tool for exploring Andy Warhol's life, work, and the 20th century through time and relationships). Prior to founding Gradient Labs, he worked for a Carnegie Mellon spin-off company developing data visualization techniques for the military and healthcare industries. Simmons' Gradient Labs is currently focused on developing a new tool for visualizing temporal patterns, and a major overhaul of


Grisha Coleman, echo::System, Ms. Coleman has worked with an inter-disciplinary team of collaborators working outside of the field of arts, conducting residencies at the Banff New Media Institute [Canada], the Beall Center for Art and Technology at UC Irvine [CA], Eyebeam Centre for Art and Technology, RPI, and Amherst University among others. Coleman is a graduate of the College of Letters at Wesleyan University, and received her MFA in Composition and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts. She is a current research fellow at The Studio For Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, and interim Course Director for the MA Degree in Contemporary Dance and Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.


dorkbot pittsburgh 08: January 25, 2007

Kazuhiro Jo, Ph.D. student researching auditory interaction design at the University of Tokyo. Kazuhiro is a co-founder of dorkbot tokyo and acts as a member of The SINE WAVE ORCHESTRA, a member of Monalisa project, a member of a performance unit "aeo" with eye (e.g. Boredoms) and Taeji Sawai(e.g. portabole[k]ommunity).


Roger Dannenberg is an Associate Research Professor in the School of Computer Science and School of Art at CMU. He is internationally known for his research in the field of computer music. His current work includes research on computer accompaniment of live musicians, content-based music retrieval, interactive media, and high-level languages for sound synthesis. Among other projects, Dannenberg and his colleagues created "McBlare", a robotic bagpiper.


Jacob Ciocci, Paper Rad. Jacob is a founding member of the art group Paper Rad. Paper Rad synthesizes popular material from television, comics, video games, and advertising, allowing these materials to contextualize and cross-reference each other. Within Paper Rad, Jacob's animations, web art, music, and performances address the relationship between belief, transcendence and popular culture.


posted 2006.12.07
dorkbot pittsburgh 07: November 30, 2006

Kevin C. Smith is a musician and (bedroom) producer who also turns obsolete toys and children's keyboards into unique musical instruments through circuit bending. He will give an overview of circuit bending including what to bend and basic techniques. He will also present and demonstrate such circuit bent instruments as the voice changing megaphone, Speak & Spell, and Casio SK-1.


Garth Zeglin is a professional roboticist and a journeyman artist. His day job is developing legged robots at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, but his quest is finding his artistic voice in more poetic machinery. His current projects include robots suspended in the air, talking mirrors, and pneumatic percussion instruments. He is fascinated by elegantly simple technology and dynamic behavior, and he seeks to balance his love of gadgetry with the expressive needs of the work. The talk will include a short overview of past projects, then zoom in on current work, presenting both technical and artistic rationales, and culminate in a live demo during the break.


posted 2006.11.01
dorkbot pittsburgh 06: 26 Oct 2006

Osman Khan, Electronic Artist,
Osman Khan is an artist interested in using technology to construct engines that help create artifacts for social criticism and aesthetic expression. His work explores certain themes to see how technology fabricates as well as subverts our understanding of identity, communication, and public space through interactive installations and site-specific interventions.

Christopher Sperandio, Driving Content / Art and Television,
Christopher Sperandio's collaborative work explores margins between mass and museum cultures. In 2006, Sperandio created ARTSTAR, an eight hour reality television series based in the New York art world, airing on The Dish Network. He has collaborated on projects for the Museum of Modern Art/PS1, and museums in the US, Scotland, Denmark and England. Sperandio is currently the Jill Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

posted 2006.09.22
dorkbot pittsburgh 05: 21 Sep 2006

Jonny Farringdon, Director of Science, BodyMedia, Inc. Jonny spoke about wearable body monitors, technology, data, application and design for wearing sensors 24/7. He will discuss practical design and technology issues from woven sensors, clothing that fused Philips & Levi's, and did a live demonstration of a Body Media sensor.

DJ Soy Sos of Tuff Sound Recording, Herman Pearl (aka Soy Sos) has 20 years experience in the music industry, including performance, production and sound design. Herman talked about his clean and dirty aesthetic in music production and sound design and gave a demonsration of the Doepfer analog music system.

Photos (let us know if you have photos to share):

posted 2006.05.26
dorkbot pittsburgh 04: 29 June 2006

Alexi Morrissey and Damien Miller demonstrated Wake Up Call and discussed the history, development and future of the project.


Photos (let us know if you have photos to share):
(none as of yet)

posted 2006.05.26
dorkbot pittsburgh 03: 25 May 2006

William von Hagen, the author of several technical books including Hacking the TiVo gave a talk on TiVo hacking and made a pitch for starting a computer museum in Pittsburgh.

Photos (let us know if you have photos to share):
(none as of yet)

posted 2006.04.23
dorkbot pittsburgh 02: 19 April 2006
Our second dorkbot matched the first. Over 50 people showd up at brillobox to hear Dave Mansueto and Tina Blaine talk about their work.

If you couldn't make it, here are podcast-like versions of their talks:

Dave Mansueto gives an energetic introduction to podcasting -- including a live podcasting demo -- and talks about
video podcast, 192Mb

Tina "Bean" Blaine talks about her interactive art works, life with D'Cuckoo, and shows off some interesting interactive musical work from other artists.
video podcast, 357 Mb

Photos (let us know if you have photos to share):
(none as of yet)

posted 2006.04.20
dorkbot pittsburgh 01: 23 March 2006
Our premier dorkbot was an amazing success. Over 50 people showd up at brillobox for presentations by Nathan Martin and Petter Coppin.

Photos (let us know if you have photos to share):

jet's photoset on flickr