Mon, 09 Jun 2014
We had an excellent talk by Deborah Robertson on Saturday as part of the Digital Makers Group about how to ensure that your 3D models will 3D print. Deborah took us through the common mistakes that you might make with your model and the things to look out for when trying to get the best possible print. She has made the slides available to download as a PDF, so those who couldn't make it can download them. Dale Robertson also gave us an introduction to 3D scanning using the Microsoft Kinect and other devices. We'll be sharing the results of this shortly. We'll definitely be running more sessions like this in the future.
Sun, 01 Jun 2014
Interact Labs was involved with the 2nd Minecraft in Leicester event this weekend. Our goal was to demonstrate how Minecraft can interact with the "real world" in various ways. We did this by showing how you can 3D print Minecraft objects and how you can use the Raspberry Pi (and by extension its GPIO port) to control Minecraft running on the Pi. We also had a robot arm to show the sorts of things you could control with a GPIO-connected Minecraft world. This is a work in progress, but we hope to be able to demonstrate a direct connection between Minecraft on the Pi and the robot arm soon. There are pictures from the event here on Flickr and a video interview with Sean Clark about the even here on YouTube. If you are interested in Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi feel free to come along to the Digital Makers Group on the first Saturday of the month - it's certainly something that the group would be interested in developing further.
Fri, 16 May 2014
It's been busy at Interact Labs this week. A number of projects have started to come together and we've been testing various prototypes. Our work with Esther Rolinson has resulted in a test LED lighting rig that will be used to try out lighting sequences for her exhibition in October. We've had Paul Brown up for a visit to look at a prototype of a recreation of an electronic artwork of his from the 1970s. Plus we helped him install a software piece on a Raspberry Pi computer. They we finalised the technology for the Movers performance at Embrace later in the month. See our photo stream for some pictures.
Wed, 16 Apr 2014
The 2014 Leicester Minecraft Event will be held at Phoenix on Saturday 31st May. This year's event is being run in partnership with De Montfort Video Gaming Society, Interact Labs, Phoenix and The Spark Arts for Children and will build on the success of last year's Minecraft Meetup event, which was attended by over 180 people. The keynote speaker will be Adam Clarke, a games based learning expert with a special focus on Minecraft in education, heritage and social settings. Adam will be talking about how Minecraft can be used to expand horizons and unlock opportunities. As well as talks, activities, games and interactive art, we will be announcing the winners of the Leicester in Minecraft competition.
Tue, 18 Mar 2014
If you know about Arduino then you might be surprised to hear that it is only ten years old this month. If you don't know about it then you really need to find out more! The Arduino is a low-cost, flexible, open and well-supported platform for creating custom electronic systems. Easy to program and develop for, the Arduino is used by artists, engineers and hobbyists to create everything from interactive artworks, to automatic plant watering systems and robots, and much more.
To mark International Arduino Day on Saturday 29th March we are initiating a number of Arduino activities. On the 29th itself Leicester Hackspace is running a workshop (primarily for members), this will be followed by similar workshops at Phoenix Interact Labs on 5th April and then 14th June. The regular Digital Makers Group will also be hosting some Arduino-themed sessions in the near future. Keep an eye on the diary for details.
Wed, 05 Mar 2014
Visual artist Esther Rolinson is currently working with Dave Everitt (DMU) and Sean Clark (Interact Labs) to implement three new artworks - Splinter, Melt and Thread. All three pieces combine intricate physical structures with computer controlled lighting. The artworks will be exhibited at Phoenix in the Cube Gallery later in the year.
Tue, 04 Mar 2014
Paul Granjon is a performance and visual artist whose interest lies in the co-evolution of humans and machines, a subject he explores with self-made machines for live performance or exhibition. Granjon has produced since the late 1990s a collection of robots that include a set of Robotic Ears and Tail, several Automated Forests, a kicking automaton, a disco-dancing humanoid… His best-known creations to date are the Sexed Robots, a male and a female wheeled platforms that performed their cybernetic romance in the Welsh Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005.
Paul will be coming to Phoenix on Tuesday 6:30pm 11th March 2014 to give a talk about his work and process. Entry is free, but you are encouraged to book in advance as places are limited. You can do so here on the Phoenix site. You can find out more about Paul's work on his website at www.zprod.org.
Fri, 31 Jan 2014
DMU Masters student Alice Tuppen worked with Interact Labs to produced the technology needed to support her Point. forty show that was exhibited in the Phoenix Cube gallery at the end of January 2014. Sean Clark helped her to design electrical switches and Arduino circuits that could be used to trigger sixteen different video clips when various objects were moved by the exhibition visitors. Micro- and tilt-switches were used to send information to a pair of Mac mini's via an Arduino and a Max/MSP patch. This in turn played the video clips on four screens in the gallery space.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014
We have a great Computer Arts Society talk coming up in February. Elaine O'Hanrahan will be speaking at Phoenix on the 11th February at 6:30 about the artwork of her father Desmond Henry.
Henry was a computer arts pioneer who worked in the 1960s. Unusually, he made use of mechanical - or analogue - computing devices from decomissioned WWII and 1950s bombers. He adapted these machines by adding pens to capture their motions, resulting in a large body of complex and intricate images.
Elaine will be showing examples of her father's work and talking about how he developed his unique machines and ideas. The talk is free to attend and their will be time for questions. Book a free place here.
Sun, 12 Jan 2014
Interact Labs has only been going for two and a bit months and we've already managed to generate a lot of interest in "Digital Making" in Leicester. In fact, there have been over 400 visits to the lab since we opened on October 26th 2013.
The 3D printer has been particularly well-used, with local artists, technologists and workshops attendees all creating and printing their own 3D objects (often for the first time). We've also helped bring together a group of people interested in setting up a hackspace in Leicester. If all goes to plan, we will actually be opening "Leicester Hackspace" at the Makers Yard (just two streets away from Phoenix) in February.
Our plans for 2014 are to do more of the same. We will continue to hold Digital Makers Group meetings monthly, support groups such as Creative Manifesto and Leicester Hackspace, organise talks and workshops, and run a few live events. There will also undoubtedly be a few surprises too. Remember, everything we do is about encouraging people to be creative with technology. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, whatever your level of expertise (or not!).