Harry Snowpotter

The neighbour’s kids put up a snowman over the warm weekend, so I thought I’d build their snowpile a friend – here’s Harry Snowpotter II.

JC_snowpotter

He didn’t last long though – I could blame it on the +4C temperature and drizzling rain, but I suspect he was murdered in the night by the evil wizard Voldemelt. 😉 Pretty sure I’ve traumatized the nearby kids – this is some Indiana-Jones-ending-style facemelting.

Voldemelt

On the Oculus Rift

Back in the mid-90’s I stood in line at the Exhibition Fair for over an hour to pay cash money to experience VR firsthand – a company called Virtuality were offering 5 minutes in their Dactyl Nightmare game for $20.

DactylNightmare

The game was rudimentary – five checkerboards connected by stairwells and floating platforms, and some faux-greek pillars you could roam around. Above us flew a polygonal pterodactyl on a circular animation path. The headset was laggy (see Barfogenesis!) and the viewing angle was extremely narrow. The pointer guns were impossible to use. Nothing had shadows or texture, the 486 machines pounding out graphics were steaming under the stress of rendering the unshaded polygons.

Despite the plentitude of flaws, as I walked up to the ledge of one of the platforms I saw the great expanse of space before me shift in parallax, and I WAS THERE. My brain completely exploded. It was a defining virtual experience that is burned into my memory – it felt completely plausible even through the pounds of sweat-stained plastic and glass I was viewing it through.

The Oculus Rift is out in March for $599 US, and although I hear complaints that it’s expensive, I think it’s a bargain. $599 to enter a virtual world of your own design – to really BE there, in high definition, ultra-fast motion sensors, brilliant colour and sound? I paid nearly $600 for my first VCR. I’d pay twice that.

The Ship List – 2015

It’s the end of 2015, and I’m stealing an idea from my friend Kert who keeps track of his “Ship List” – all the projects he’s completed over the course of a year. 2014 was a personal train-wreck for me – but take that with a grain of salt. I ran a triathlon and built a 3d scanner and did my first Pecha Kucha talk, so it’s not like I was a slouch, but some bad news mid-year really threw me for a loop and up until early 2015 I feel like I was sleepwalking, if that makes any sense given my level of creative output.

As a kind of reaction against the anger and frustration of 2014, I set out to make a difference in 2015 and things got CRAZY. The list might get an update later on – there’s a few secretive things waiting to be revealed!

January

Participated in a Prosthetic Hand design competition at the uOttawa MakerSpace
Presented a projection art piece for GTC (Government Tech Conference)

February

Spoke at Ottawa Architecture Week Pecha Kucha about Projection Art
Re-wrote my slit-scanner to do some wild stuff
3d Printed my family

March

Nominated for the Presidents Award for Service Excellence at uOttawa
Built an indoor growing station for my garden plants!
Luau in Montreal!
Launched new University Events site at uOttawa

April

Mentored at Ladies Learning Code
3D Scanned my first Cosplayer
Launched the new Financial Aid site at uOttawa
Started attending Life Drawing sessions regularly again

May

Hosted some friends from Seattle!
Planted my garden
Relaunched the Forms and Tools site at uOttawa
Launched the Student Guide website at uOttawa

June

Raced my bike 100km to Kingston with the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour

July

Formally launched the Ottawa LittleBits Chapter events – and helped a local student win gold in the littleBits Olympics!
Presented a “Web Images Master Class” at Refresh Ottawa
Launched a new Student Information System website at uOttawa
Photographed dancers for an Ottawa Dance Directive production

August

Designed and built a robot knitting machine with textile artist Greta Grip
Relaunched the Important Dates and Deadlines site at uOttawa
Designed software that projects a moustache under your nose
Wrote a face-swapping magic mirror program

September

10th Anniversary trip to New York City!
Designed a staircase in Spain
Presented a projection art piece “Recesses” with contemporary dancer Jocelyn Todd at Nuit Blanche

October

Spoke at Pecha Kucha Ottawa about robot graffiti
Co-founded the Algorithmic Poets Society with Emily Daniels
Invited to be a trustee of The Awesome Foundation
Photographed more dance projects!

November

Ran the LittleBits table at the Ottawa Maker Faire – taught about 1200 kids how to make awful noises using an oscillator. :)
Spoke at University of Ottawa Annual Webmaster Meeting about web content management processes
Re-launched the “How to change your program” site at uOttawa

December

Hacked the Ottawa Maker Faire badge (It’s an arduino!)
I did a video projection art project at MakerHouse
Co-founded OMG Haus with a bunch of genius maker-types