Workbench Time Lapse – Tricorder Craft

Inspired by Norman Chan’s recent video featuring the Roddenberry.com tricorder replica, I make my own take on the tricorder.   To make this nerdy craft that you and your kids will love, you will need a soap box, some scrap cardboard, and lots of tape. Or, in my case, high-tech scientific instruments that a 21st-century maker has no business having. Unfortunately my technological prowess gained the attention of a particularly grumpy little visitor from the future… Stay tuned to the site for a thorough writeup soon!

A crime was committed? To the holodeck!

virtual crime scene

There’s a small problem that crime scene investigators have when it comes to sharing their findings. In spite of fancy tools that allow them to map environments in 3D to determine things like bullet trajectories, investigators, prosecutors, and lawyers often have to resort to 2D printouts to get that information to juries. Instead of trying to communicate complex spatial relationships on paper, juries are going to start to be able to step right into crime scenes, using 3D visualizations and the Oculus Rift. Check out the result below: I’m going…

Opportunity’s Getting Forgetful in its Old Age

Opportunity Mars Rover

Ask my 5-year-old who her favourite robot is, she’ll quickly tell you “R2D2.” Press her about who her favourite real robot is, and she’ll confidently answer “Curiosity.” The SUV-sized mobile science lab who charmed the internet with its selfies may have captured her imagination, but for my money, little Opportunity has Curiosity beat, hands-down. To date, Opportunity has exceeded its mission by somewhere near 10 years. That’s pretty old for a space robot, it seems, because the flash memory onboard Opportunity has started getting corrupted after being in use for so long. In human terms, Opportunity is having trouble…

Turning Physical Memories Into Digital Ones with Photogrammetry

First Spaceship

As much as I want to be able to keep every single thing the girls and I make forever, I have to accept at some point that we’re going to drown in stuff, hoarder-style, if we do actually keep everything. There are a lot of memories contained in stuff. Take, for example, this spaceship, hammered together out of old juice bottles, plastic bits, and cardboard. This thing has been shuffled around, banged up, broken and repaired a number of times over its years-long life and I’m starting to think that…

10 Reasons I Didn’t Realize I Missed Windows Phone

You know, I have been happily wedded to Android for a while now. I’m typing this on my old Nexus 7, and it’s still a great device. It’s not as hardy under the hood as my Note 3, on which I do most of the art for this site. But even this Nexus 7 is a powerhouse next to my first smartphone from as few years ago, the HTC Surround. I charged it up for a lark recently and realized that as much as I enjoy Android, there’s a lot still…

Art and Science in Perfect Harmony: IBM’s Atomic Stop-Motion Film

  Researchers at IBM have made me love stop-motion animation. Using a scanning tunnelling microscope, these fine folks have painted perfect pointillist pictures using individual atoms, and made a fun little short film about a boy and his one special atom.     This may just be a smile-inducing aside to real research into quantum computing but MAN is it cute.

TED Tuesday: Build a School in the Cloud

Sugatra Mitra presents a model for education that I absolutely love — present students with a problem to solve, a practical challenge that demands to be solved, and then provide them the resources that they need to learn for themselves the skills required to solve the problem. What a great idea–put the students in charge of their own skills development! I question, though, how effective that would be in certain situations. Can a student become a skilled communicator without feedback and refinement? Can a kid learn organically the relationship between…

Sunday Reading 18/02/2013

It’s Sunday, right? No? Well it’s PRACTICALLY Sunday. Here in sunny, snowy Ontario it’s Family Day, which means my students are off doing something other than school and the tiny people here are playing house. That’s right, folks–a long weekend. And here’s something to fill a) your holiday with some compelling stuff or b) to give your brain a break when you’re stuck at work. Giant LEGO X-Wing Might Be The Coolest LEGO Set Ever Made – Luke Plunkett, Kotaku I had to lead with this because of my recent…

Star Wars Anniversary

It was roughly 2003. I was in ninth grade, and my friend Chris, several years older, approached me for help with his short film. He called it Star Wars: The Gifted, and it was an attempt to bring Star Wars into the real world (as we know it). There’s a slow and ongoing effort to remaster the film, to build out the bones of the larger story that we had initially planned. But more important than the film itself or the story behind it is what it represents. It was…

Why so little love for the Lumia?

September 5th has come and gone. We’ve seen the announcement of Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920, how PureView technology doesn’t quite mean what we thought it would mean, and yet there’s a hollow feeling that seems to be pretty common amongst tech writers. With pretty freaking rad devices being announced, why was there so little love for the new Lumias? The problem may have been our expectations. We’ve been trained by Apple’s fantastic keynotes to have a certain level of excitement going into an event, and to watch for the…