Soft Robots for Hard Problems

What is a soft robot anyway? Over the last few weeks I’ve been giving demos at Resistor to show students what they are, what they’re good for, and how you can make your own.

Resistor was host to two meetup groups: the ACM NYC Group and the Soft Robotics Technology Group. During the demonstrations I gave a brief overview of the state of the art in soft robotics and then went into how I designed and built my most popular soft robot to date: the Glaucus.

Students helped out by casting waxes, degassing silicone, and pouring up molds themselves. Maybe soon I’ll come up with a way to get an even more hands-on demo where people can each make a bot themselves to take home.

Below you can find video from the ACM lecture:


Special Interest Group (SIG) on CNC Machines starting

We are starting up a Special Interest Group (SIG) within Maui Makers that focuses on CNC Machines.
CNC= Computer Numerically Controlled. Machines like the Shapeoko, 3D printers, milling and other machines that make other machines and stuff.  The underlying control of mechanical systems is used in closely related fields of Robotics, etc. The group will be a place to share experiences, work on projects (using/upgrading our Shapeoko), and meet others with similar interest.

The plan is to meet on the last Tuesday evening of the month at our makerspace (200 Waiehu Beach Rd, Wailuku, HI) at 630pm for a couple hours. First meeting will be next week March 31st. We will talk-story and look over our Shapeoko to plan out some upgrades and future of the SIG.

The first meeting will be open to public but future attendance will be limited to Paid Members of Maui Makers. Membership at the Friend level is inexpensive ($40/yr).

We are in planning stages for other SIGs.  If you have an interest and would like to start one, talk to us at


VHS-GIS Workshop – Friday March 27th, 2015

Welcome to First VHS-GIS Workshop.

In this first workshop, we will look into how to create different datasets of terrain surface from raw Digital Elevation Model using ArcGIS platform. We will look at some of the different sources, where to get DEM tiles, how to work with, as well as some things in DEM tiles. For the practice, we will map an island nearby the City of Vancouver, or possibly other place we decide.

In this workshop, we will idealy create and explore the following surface datasets:

  1. Topographic contours with predefined contour interval;
  2. Slope raster dataset;
  3. Hill-shadowed raster dataset;
  4. Aspects of hills’ slopes raster dataset.

And if time permits and depending on how we manage to make it, we might be able to overlay created datasets in visually appealing manner.

Participants are welcome to watch and ask questions. Unfortunately the software program is not free. I will use version 9.3 of ArcGIS during workshop. Participants may download a 60-day free trial version of ArcGIS from ESRI Canada website; though, I think only newer ArcGIS version 10.x is available for trial download, which will not be consistent with the version I will use and, I will not be able to coordinate.

If you can get ArcGIS v. 9.3, or trial version of it – great! If not, please feel free to bring your laptops and experiment how you can connect your technologies, if you like to. Certainly bring your notebook and pen/pencil to take notes.


Please note: this ongoing event will not repeat the activities from previous dates; each following event will idealy cover next steps (after creating datasets, we will look into categorizing, classification, overlay, scaling, projection, layout …), so participation on every scheduled date is strongly encouraged.

Please ask in comments and, I will try to accommodate your interests into the workshop, as long as you post well ahead of the first date.

Donations will be much appreciated for “I am broke as a joke”.

Oh.., yeah ..! For dates and tickets please follow this link:

The workshop is planned to take place at the VHS, 104 – 1715 Cook Street, Vancouver V5Y 3J6.

Friday March 27th, 2015 starting @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

VHS members, friends of VHS members and anyone who can get in.

Event hosted by Yuriy Shevchuk (a.k.a. Neo Shevyuchtayuk – Native Earthian whose name was modified by harsh rocky Canadian environment)!

Looking forward to seeing you there.



Workshop: NixOS hack session

Am Samstag, den 28.03., ab 15:00 Uhr stellt shackspace Mitglied Joachim in einem Workshop die deklarative Linux-Distribution NixOS vor.


Ziel des Workshops ist es:

Zur Teilnahme wird entweder eine funktionsfähige VirtualBox-Installation oder ein Laptop mit leerer Festplatte benötigt.

NixOS Neulinge können sich mit Joachims Vorträgen auf der GPN und der Easterhegg einen kleinen Vorgeschmack holen.

Zum Vortragenden:
Joachim ist langjähriger NixOS Entwickler und auch beruflich viel mit Linux unterwegs.

Zum Event:
Eintritt frei! (Spenden an shack e.V. sind gerne gesehen) Jeder ist willkommen!
Datum: Samstag, 28.03.2015, 15:00 Uhr
Anfahrt: U4/U9 Haltestelle “Im Degen”, Ulmer Straße 255, Stuttgart Wangen (gegenüber Kulturhaus Arena)

Workshop: NixOS hack session


Spectral Forms

Spectral FormsOver the past few months, we have been working with brain waves. What started at Artek Circle hackathon last year has grown to be Spectral Forms. We have taken consumer-grade EEG wearables, and tried to see what is the potential and limits of these devices are. Available online and for only $50, it has opened up a whole new area to play with. These small devices claim to accurately detect and interpret the tiny electrical impulses our brains output. These impulses can be broadly categorised into four bands, representing four different ‘levels’ of thought.

We have created software programmes that takes in the brain data, then displays it in a number of different patterns. We also play back an audio representation back to the wearer via a bone conduction unit. You can hear a sample below.


Lab in the Gallery

We are now taking the project to the public to try out. From the 24th till the 29 March we will be in the Science Gallery as the Lab in the Gallery . We are hopping that people will drop into us and listen to their own thoughts for a while. During our time there, we hope to work more on the 3D printing of brain wave data and testing the accuracy of the sensors.

 Skull Radio Workshop

We are running our Skull Radio Workshop during our time in the Science Gallery where you get to make your very own bone conduction kit. For more information on the workshop and tickets visit here.

Spectral Forms forms was created by Sinead McDonald, Jeffrey Roe and Krzysztof Foltman with lots of help from TOG members.