GoldieBlox is a company that makes really neat engineering toys geared towards girls. I worked with them to create this Rube Goldberg Machine in October and November of 2013. The build took about 2 1/2 weeks, and I had a crew of 5, including Paul Thompson, Craig Simmons, Robin Carpenter, Eric Mesple, and Rebecca Thompson. Craig Nakano of the Los Angeles Times wrote a great piece about the project here. It’s also been in the New York Times,IEEE Spectrum,Forbes,and a host of other news outlets worldwide. The video’s success haseven brought attention to other contestants in Intuit’s“Small Business, Big Game“ superbowl contest (vote often!).
Here’s a video of me explaining a bit of the machine:
UPDATE: The original video that had gone viral (scoring 9 million views in one week) was replaced with new music. The revised video has been posted above.
I created 75 of these little machines for Google. They were given as gifts to people who had been speakers at the Zeitgeist Americas 2012 conference. The parts were waterjetted from 16 gauge stainless steel, then welded together and powdercoated. I did a run of 4 different colors to match Google’s pallette, and the parts were mixed and matched in the assembly.
It’s operated by lighting the little copper alcohol lamp at the lower left hand corner of the photo. It heats a pressure vessel that then moves a piston, releasing a little steel ball to roll down a track. It falls into a basket and is then dumped off onto a magnetic ball catcher.
This sets a little pendulum oscillating.
The oscillating pendulum moves this little lever and after a couple of cycles, the lever disengages the red catch. The catch releases the pressure vessel, which falls and snuffs out the lamp.
This video shows the process a little bit better.
The machine came with a little accessory pack, which included a bottle of fuel (denatured alcohol), a ball, a lamp, a box of matches, a manual, and a shiny penny.
I was commissioned byMohawk Digital and The M.A.D.E. agencyto design and build this machine forCellairis, maker of protective gear for smart phones. The Twitter Punisher is an automated typewriter whose keys are actuated by solenoids. It is driven by software written byTom Jennings. The system scrapes a twitter feed for messages with a specific hashtag, then types out individual messages into the screen of a smart phone, eventually destroying the screen. It was built to demonstrate the strength of Cellairis’“Shell Shock”screen protector.
The number of tweets is displayed by a Nixie Tube array.
I’m really proud of this little clamp that I designed and machined out of aluminum. It’s fully adjustable and can hold anything up to about 4 inches wide, and you can change the lateral position up to about 1 inch.
These LEDs blink, and the bell rings, to announce an incoming tweet.
It was shot using about 50 gopro cameras, as well as the ultimate arm, which was the same mercedes-mounted rig that was used to shoot the James Bond and Batman films, among others.
It was really gratifying to be able to work with such skilled people. At every level, we were working with some of the best people in their fields in the world, and I think it showcased the machine very well.
The El Toro Marine Base was at one point the largest lima bean field in the world.
I designed and fabricated these mobile room dividers to subdivide a large studio room at CalArts.
One of the challenges of the space was that natural light only came in through one window in a corner of the room, so it was important that a sense of “lightness” was preserved. The panels are made of Polygal, which allows for some privacy but still allow light to be transmitted, and they also have a kind of “hook and eye” linkage at front and back, that allow them to be connected to each other. They have a “tripod” design, with a stabilizing strut on only one end- this allows them to be connected at any angle. All in all, they’re very versatile, lightweight, and easy to move around.
In April I worked with Noah Hutton and Couple 3 films to create some contraptions for a series of short films for Scientific American. What I created was a machine to illustrate Pavlovian Conditioning, (where a stimulus, like the ringing of a bell, is associated with something unrelated, like a plate of food. Eventually, the ringing of the bell independently stimulates a reaction, like salivating, that was originally associated only with food) and the firing of synapses in the brain.