Pop Up Pittsburgh

May 30, 2009

We had a great afternoon today at HackPittsburgh during “Pop Up Pittsburgh” – an event to showcase all the cool stuff going on in Uptown. Of course, we were on the tour of the coolest stuff around.

After a brief introduction to who we are, we got on to showing everyone the cool stuff members of the group had made.

We started off with Mark Barlow’s very cool “spark-speakers” – which produce sounds by using an electrical arc to vibrate the air. Unfortunately, I don’t have a video recording so you can see and hear the arc producing sound, but believe me it was pretty sweet. We even had a young pianist from the audience pound out some notes on the attached keyboard – to a round of applause.

After that, we got to check out Lori Hepner’s “Twitter portraits”. The concept is to take the Twitter feed of one user, parse it and turn in into binary, and then have a rotating platform with 8 LEDs blink it out – all the while a medium format camera is being exposed to the pulsed light. This all adds up to produce some pretty cool prints. After showing Obama’s portrait, one attendee remarked that she thought it looked like his style – maybe this concept is deeper than even Lori imagined?

In addition to being cool, it’s also a great case study that embodies why HackPgh works: community. With Matt Stultz’ hacking know-how, Lori was able to take her concept and make it reality – very cool.

The final demo was Matt Stultz’ interactive laser show. It used infrared sensors to detect the presence of the user’s hands and, from that, control the rotation rate of the two mirrors – making some very cool spirograph-like effects at the user’s control.

Everyone seemed to love the demos, and we got some good interest of several of attendees – of just a general audience. I think this bodes well for our future – Pittsburgh has a great creative community in addition to a great technical one – a perfect mix for us maker-types.

One Response to “Pop Up Pittsburgh”

  1. That’s great. I’m glad the tour people eventually showed up, and I’m sorry I had to leave and miss all the action.

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