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Ytai Ben-Tsvi
Works at Google
Attended Tel-Aviv University
Lives in Sunnyvale
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Ytai Ben-Tsvi

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Some good coverage by Microchip of my Maker Faire 2016 booth.
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Ytai Ben-Tsvi

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How the #makers  lost #makerfaire  

I've been creating stuff since I can remember myself. Over the last decade or so, my creations have been around physical computing, embedded systems and visual art. I'm really excited about the possibilities in this field and keep pushing my own boundaries and sometimes the boundaries of the entire field. I work hard, spending endless hours, reading, learning, experimenting, exchanging ideas. Not easy while having three little kids and a day job, but the urge to create is stronger. Sharing has always been an important part of my creation. Some of my projects have been around enabling the community to do things that were previously pretty difficult. For example, I created the IOIO board and distributed it and other people have picked it up and built beautiful projects around it.

I had heard of Maker Faire years before I had the opportunity to attend. It had always seemed magical and I knew that this place is full of my own kind. The first time I went was mind-blowingly fun! And since then, I've been going every year for the past five years, usually exhibiting and sometimes bringing my kids along to learn and be inspired. Every year I work very hard to prepare something new and fun for the Faire. I take great pleasure from the interaction with visitors: I like seeing people smiling at my creations, I like seeing how my work makes them think, inspires them, makes them ask questions, propose new ideas. I love talking to people about this stuff. I like seeing kids being surprised and delighted by thing they didn't know were possible.

Every year I get better and my projects become more sophisticated and novel. However, every year I feel that the attention of the visitors to my work decreases and that intimacy we used to share is almost gone. One could argue that I lost the touch and my works are no longer as exciting as they used to be. This may as well be true, but I feel that it is not the main reason. I feel that Maker Faire has changed a lot. Over the years I've seen an insane increase in the number of commercial entities exhibiting there. It started mostly with smallish companies that are targeting makers as their customers, such as 3D printer manufacturers (enough, already!) and slowly grew into tech-giants wanting to have a strong presence there to improve their branding in the eyes of consumers and appeal to creative makers as possible employees. These commercial entities are spending significant money and engineering months on their booths. And surely enough, they are building some impressive installations! How can the individual hobbyist, working from their garage, as talented as they may be, compete with these projects? Indeed, it is almost impossible.

I have almost no doubt that Maker Faire is more profitable than it ever was. But it sold its soul to the devil. It is no longer about the Maker spirit, but merely a Maker-themed trade-show. Visitors are overwhelmed with the content, almost to the point of sensory overload. I have witnessed many people wondering around seeming completely indifferent to anything that is not a crazy production. Totally missing out the experience in appreciating the beauty and joy of the little things that individual people have made with a lot of love, passion and hard work.

I don't think I'll be going to Maker Faire again. I'm saying this heavy-heartedly, since it used to feel like my home field. Maybe something else will come along...
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A long time ago at Maker Faire, I remember there was one guy who had this motion sensor triggered foam disc gun. that's it. kids played with it, reloaded it, lather rinse repeat. There's nothing commercial about that, but the idea got me to build my own on a four-wheeled pan-tilt "robot" that I could drive around the office. There's a class of things that has disappeared, which is this: cute/interesting/entertaining things which may have no point, and NOTHING TO SELL. Though tbh, if they had boxed foam disc guns and a servo and some bits to pull the trigger, I'd be ok with that too. but it would certainly be distracting from the "oh!" moment of delight when I came across it.
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An article about my Pixie on Microchip's magazine as an example for an interesting use of their PIC12F.
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A new and exciting Kickstarter project. which I was involved in has just been launched!
Let the world know :)
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Ytaichook - Buy me a drink next time i'm around ;) 
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Exciting! A new product of my design just hit the market last week! World, meet Pixie - a 3W chainable smart LED Pixel. Kind of a long title... what does it mean? LED Pixel: The Pixie is a color LED module, allowing an exte...
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My IOIO Plotter is featured on the new Android Experiments website!
Android Experiments is a celebration of all the creative and boundary-pushing Android work of developers everywhere - as well as an open invitation for creators to submit their own experiments to the gallery.
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Yes, definitely! Thanks for sharing that. The source code is available here: https://github.com/ytai/IOIOPlotter. I've made improvements to the rendering algorithm to support different scribbling styles that I haven't yet pushed. There are no CAD files for my physical build. It was mostly improvised out of piece of wood and random objects found around the house. Shouldn't be hard to build, it's just a couple of reels driven by stepper motors and a simple hobby-servo-based apparatus for lifting the pen.
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Ytai Ben-Tsvi

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Win a chance for your experiment (and you) to go to Google I/O 2016. Enter now.
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I would be happy to help. The information I published is on my blog. It is not a complete step by step guide though. Are you in the bay area? If so, we can meet up and talk about details. Otherwise we can do this over email.
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A scaled-up version of the IOIO Plotter I designed at the Android booth in Mobile World Congress.
We found a crazy little robot that draws line versions of your face at Google's Android booth at Mobile World Congress.
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Awesome , I want one !
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A cool project made with my Pixie!
 
Feel the magic of fiber optics! This guide will lead you through adding fiber optic ruffles to a skirt or dress, and then change lighting modes with a twirl or twitch of your hips. You can use an existing dress and add your own ruffles, or make one from whole cloth -- your imagination is the ...
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Another Hackaday mention! Onward and upward!
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A new product of my design is finally out!
May it be put to good use :)
NEW PRODUCT – Pixie – 3W Chainable Smart LED Pixel NeoPixels are plenty bright, suuuure. BUT ARE THEY 3 WATTS BRIGHT? No! They are not! That’s why you need a Pixie. These chainabl…
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Sure. The firmware is open. You can disable the temperature protection altogether if you trust that your controller will never go haywire and if catching fire is not a risk.
I'm looking together with Adafruit into this issue. For all we know now, this is something about the programming process, since the problem seems to go away when the unit is reprogrammed.
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You are def the smartest ET on the pl
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Have him in circles
964 people
Tim Frisch's profile photo
Ham Radio360's profile photo
Ely Porat's profile photo
Nikhil Agarwal's profile photo
蕭閎仁's profile photo
Liang Hong's profile photo
Fernando Reig Matthies's profile photo
Robis J's profile photo
Mohammed Khan's profile photo
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Education
  • Tel-Aviv University
    Computer Engineering, 1999 - 2003
  • Tel-Aviv University
    Electrical Engineering, 2005 - 2011
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Married
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Die-hard hacker
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Occupation
Software Engineer
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  • Google
    Reverse Engineer, 2008 - present
  • Samsung Electronics
    Software Engineer, 2004 - 2008
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Sunnyvale
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Tel-Aviv
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