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Smithsonian High Tech Preservation Site

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New VR system that adds parallax to the mix to the Occulus VR system.

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Micro Radar gestural interface.

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The new cool at Siggraph 2015. Trending toward real world interaction and immersion

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' 3M Art and Technology Award, a $25,000 tech prize for 'an innovative, outside-the-box idea for connecting the community to the museum through technology.'
Entries are open through July 31.
If you're looking for inspiration, stop by! Remember, the MIA is always free, except for those few galleries hosting traveling shows like the daVinci Codex that's on view now.

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The Greenway Glow is taking place Saturday, tomorrow night, and I need your help with my project. I'm going to be launching glowing water balloons through the night sky.

I need help transporting a giant trebuchet from the Hack Factory, at 3119 26th street east, to a spot right near Freewheel Midtown Bike center, roughly 10th ave south on the greenway. Total trip length: about 2 miles, or 8 minutes of driving.

The trebuchet is pretty good sized, but it breaks down into pieces, and just might fit in a good sized pickup truck.

The event starts at 8 pm, so I need to be loading up from the hack factory by 6 pm or so to get there and get everything set up in time.

I'll be taking apart the trebuchet on Sunday, during the day, so there's a lot of flexibility for the return trip.

I could also use some help assembling and operating the trebuchet, and having someone to hand out fliers to people attending the event.

If you can help in any way, please let me know.

You can see the trebuchet in action at Northern Spark 2014:

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How To 3-D Print a Steel Bridge

Jun 16, 2015 Agence France-Presse 
(Article from IndustryWeek, June 17, 2015)

'The underlying principle is very simple. We have connected an advanced welding machine to an industrial robot arm.'
A 3-D printer at work.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A Dutch startup has unveiled plans to build the world’s first 3-D-printed bridge across an Amsterdam canal, a technique that could become standard on future construction sites.

Using robotic printers “that can ‘draw’ steel structures in 3-D, we will print a (pedestrian) bridge over water in the center of Amsterdam,” engineering startup company MX3D said in a statement, hoping to kick off the project by September.

The plan involves robotic arm printers ‘walking’ across the canal as it slides along the bridge’s edges, essentially printing its own support structure out of thin air as it moves along. 

Specially-designed robotic arms heat the metal to a searing 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,500 degrees Celsius) to painstakingly weld the structure drop-by-drop, using a computer program to plot the sophisticated design.

“The underlying principle is very simple. We have connected an advanced welding machine to an industrial robot arm,” said the bridge’s designer, Joris Laarman. “We now use our own intelligent software to operate these machines so they can print very complex metal shapes, which can differ each time.”

So far, the robotic arm has been used to print smaller metal structures, but the bridge will be the first ever large-scale deployment of the technology, MX3D spokeswoman Eva James said. It is hoped that the bridge, which also involves the Heijmans construction company and Autodesk software, will be a first step toward seeing the technique used on construction sites, especially those involving dangerous tasks such as on high buildings, she said.

A company in The Netherlands is planning on building a bridge without human labor by utilizing 3D printing technology.

The technique also removes the need for scaffolding as the robot arms use the very structure they print as support.

The designers are now in talks with the Amsterdam city council to find a site for the project which they hope will be completed by mid-2017.

“I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production,” Laarman said. “It’s a new form of craftsmanship. This bridge can show how 3-D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials.”

Amsterdam city council spokeswoman Charlene Verweij said the Dutch capital was supporting the project, though “We are still in negotiations as to where, exactly, the bridge will be built.”

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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Extremely fast laser etching machine. Local company.
Watch toward the end for the payoff.

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This post is primarily intended for Brad Flaherty; however, other Makers may find it useful and/or interesting.

igus GmbH recently developed a low-cost 4-axis articulating robot that uses stepper motors for axis drives.  The base configuration starts at about $1,600€ (~ $1,800).  Of course, this price goes up with any customization (end-effectors, system integration, etc.)

This could be a fairly inexpensive, and versatile, robot for an "entry-level" automation project.  

igus GmbH seems to have targeted the "Maker" audience, by offering light-industrial robot features at an approachable price point.  

Incidentally, igus GmbH has a USA-based operation in Providence, RI.

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I still have 2 seats left in my April 25th bow making class. If you ever wanted to get into archery, and learn how to make a bow of your very own, this is your chance.
Here's a pic I found that another archer took, of me using one of these bows at the archery range south of Lake Calhoun (ack, so chubby back then):
Here's a link to the class:
I'll be scheduling more classes in the very near future, so keep your eyes open.
I also still have room in my Laser Cutter class on April 21st:
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