Posts Tagged ‘art’

People Celebrate My Birthday

6 October 2019

It was amazing how many people were out on this sunny Saturday preparing for my birthday celebration!

During my usual trip to and back from Folsom, I ran across not one, but two young bucks. The bucks tend to keep their distance from the trail more than the does do, so they must have known I was coming and wanted to see them.

deer-buck-ARP-20191005-54

Later on, during my lunch break, I was entertained by various flying machines from an airshow someone had thoughtfully decided to put on that day at Mather Field.

airshow-at-mather_field-20191005-67

But the really big event of the day happened later that evening, when I went to see “5000 Watts” a charity event thoughtfully themed around two of my favorite subjects, electronics and art.

I arrived well before sunset, when they were still setting it all up.

5000_watts-event-20191005-72-setup-raley

In the background of this image is Raley Field, a West Sacramento baseball stadium and event venue named after the locally notable Raley family, famous for their chain of grocery stores.

5000_watts-event-20191005-72-setup-cropped

Here we see the four symbols used by Square Root Academy, the fundraisers for this event. Earth, Air, Fire and Water if I recall correctly. This group sponsors science programs for disadvantaged youth. Prominent in the background is Eileen the “pearl” peacock, a creation of Kristen Hoard and her group of artists and makers.

Well, the sun finally set, and they let us in.

5000_watts-event-20191005-73-entrance

We were greeted by Kate Marusina’s installation, featuring Ohmu (a creature that plays a major role in a Japanese anime). It seems Kate is a PhD-level researcher at UC Davis who does this as a hobby.

5000_watts-event-20191005-75-ohmu

As the story goes, when an ohmu’s eyes turn red it means that it is mad. This one, however, just moved its mouth feelers around a little bit.

5000_watts-event-20191005-79-flowers

These flowers were made by young people participating in a school program.

5000_watts-event-20191005-81-inflatables

The inflatable “plants” are an invention of Stan Clark. He sells them through a company called Astro Botanicals.

In the distance we see William (Cenote) Jerome’s “Luminescent Grand,” an electric piano made of plastic that glows as you play it. The visuals of it on his own website are much better than what I could do with a still camera at night.

Also by the piano was an installation by tech company RocketLife that is marketing an app and a small piece of hardware that can help anyone add animated lighting to their creation or project.

Local electronics guru Chris Biddle also showed up with his huge 3D LED matrix (no photo) and there were several other projects on display.

How thoughtful of them to do this for my entertainment!

The open space across from where I live was recently renamed in honor of a downtown developer who died of cancer at the young age of 35. Ali Youssefi, as it turns out, was instrumental in getting the building I am living in constructed, and also a similar building over on R Street which is specially designed for artists.

Last night someone had the square fenced off for some sort of paid event involving “pro wrestling.”

event-at-Youseffi_square-20191005-91

And they had failed to invite me! Well, perhaps they knew I wouldn’t be interested…

Dial Two

4 May 2019

This is my third project in the “dial” series. See Dial One here.

With this project I wanted to try out a few design options, and I concentrated on those.

Though it is still far from a thing of beauty, the more minimal enclosure, featuring primarily the dial itself, was one thing I wanted to try. There was plenty of room for the electronics, and a nice big dial, but putting the power supply in the box seemed not possible. This is not necessarily a big problem, as the system also requires a sensor, or signal source box, and this could supply the power.

dial_two-20190430-88-cropped

The dial itself is irritatingly green, but in a more finished version, that board could be painted black. For the “featured” photo I adjusted the color balance to fade the green down.

16 steps

The other feature I wanted to try was a 16-step dial.

For this design I abandoned the idea of scanning the dial, which meant inventing a significantly different way to get the dial pattern to move around. Each step on the dial is on or off depending on a latch which stores that value for one cycle of 16 steps. Each latch gets its data from a common signal line, but the time when the data is transferred is different for each latch. In that way, the signal – which carries the pattern – can be time-delayed relative to the scanning pulses, thus updating the position of the “pointer” for every 16-step cycle.

Lights and Colors

To keep things simple, I used one circle of white LEDs. But this does not seem very aesthetically pleasing. I need to find colors that will work better. There is also no fading built into this design; the lights are either full on or full off. More control over light intensity seems desirable here. My next design will address these issues.

dial_two-20190430-98-slightly-lightened

This photo was made under very low-light conditions, then brightened slightly with digital manipulation. But this only slowed down the camera enough to show three lights on at once. I am considering making videos of my projects. That would give you a better idea of how they look “live.”