All righty then, let's get started. Welcome all, thanks for coming to the Hack Chat today. I'm Dan, I'll be minding the shop today along with Dusan as we welcome Cory Collins to the Hack Chat. Looks like Cory just joined, so welcome!
Hi, it's nice to see you here.
Cory, can you start us off with a little about your background please?
Sure. I've been an artist and animator for about 20 or so years professionally. And pretty much all of my life before that as well. I've worked in the video game industry for a while before finding a home at a company that makes digital simulations of patients for nurse and healthcare education.
As a leader in educational simulation technology, Shadow Health has developed an extensive network of partner experts and institutions to support our mission of nursing excellence and patient health. Our Academic Advisory Board provides us with state of the field recommendations on our ever-expanding and ever-improving curriculum.
I really found that part of your CV interesting. Basically VR for doctors and nurses?
But, in my free time, I animate for some cool indie projects and films, and making paper sculptures from my favorite genres sci fi and horror films. Lately I have bee attempting to add electronics and motors, servos, motor controllers to my creations to make them com alive. Sort of like Dr. Frankenstein, lol!\
We are now working toward vr and ar. But our mission was to provide these similations, over a web based system so we could be used with no expensive hardware or setups. Basically a pc or a Mac laptop.
Our patented technology was actually developed at University of Florida. It's a very deep conversation engine.
We use the Unity game engine to develop the simulation around that engine
Oh, that is cool
Unity? Wow, that's a pretty innovative way to stretch the technology.
It's much more satsifying as an artist, to have your work help make the world a better place. Over killing zombies or the like.
From my point of view, anyway, lol
One can argue that killing zombies makes the world a better place ;-)
Isn't killing zombies supposed to be making world a better place?
This is true.
So now we can chat up with the zombies?
But, with out them, we wouldn't have all of these cool games and shows....so, there is a purpose! :)
We recently were approved to have our simulations count for actual clinical hours in courses. This helps schools with fewer resources or access to clinics and patient actors.
So, for the simulations I'd expect that artistic accuracy is a big deal. Do you really have to work hard to make sure you're showing exactly what a practitioner would see?
Wow, that is great. Must be a big step forward for the company
But my real passion in life is to just create stuff, and make it come to life or be interactive. That's where my love for art and tech really comes togther.
Some of my non work projects include walking robots, flying models of different crafts, and a whole splurge of both paper sculptures and 3d printed models of different vintage horror and sci fi characters.
Are you working on anything now?
When you’re starting art projects, do you start with a vision and figure out how to make it, or do you have some tech in mind and figure out what you can do with it?
Yes, I am making a flying model of the Lunar Lander Training Vehicle or LLTV that was used to train the Apollo astronauts to land on the moon.
I gotta link here, just a sec...
That's the "Flying Bedstead" right?
This shows the progession from paper sculpture to a more detailed version
I really love your tankbot. I would like to try my hand at reproducing some Masamune Shirow's work (Ghost in the Shell).
And also my ability to hack low cost electronic toys into my art pieces, lol
Any stories involving magic smoke leaking from its intended places?
Here's the tankbot:
Yes! I have released the magic genie several times! Once from my 3d printer, and several times hacking together these robots!
Here's a list of my robot works:
That is so cool - and inspiring!
Or a playlist
Beautiful! (And needs gun platform stabilization. The barrel vibrates so much it'd need to stop to fire, rendering itself more vulnerable to enemy fire.)
(I mean the LLTV)
Here's a page detailing how I failed on making the tank bot turrent work. There is a funny video of it in action embedded in the middle:
I have since replaced the big gun with a smaller version and changed the gear ratio in the turret control so it rotates much slower.
Love the laugh track!
Lol, it's good to be able share the fails, and get a good laugh from it too!
One of my other favorite projects was the Big Ass Wall Plotter (BAWP) that was covered her on Hack-a-Day:
I love using electrical conduit for projects! Great stuff, so versatile.
sweet! How did you suppress vibrations of the vertical beam hanging down?
Here is a whole gaggle of plotter projects:
Making these guys got me started on this whole "hack together what you can" trip I have found myself on. Learned a lot about both electrtonics and mechanics on these
It runs pretty slow. Lol
But, it was intended to print out large parts from paper sculpture designs, so it didn't have to be supper accurate. As long as I cut it with a steady hand, lol
Yeah, the CNC you actually build is infinitely better than the one you spend your life designing but never actually build. AMHIK
That's my goal!
If using a blue laser diode, and the paper is white and reflects too much energy, you can first draw the outline with a yellow pen and THEN cut the same path with blue laser. Works marvels.
Yeah, I kept reading that the lower powered lasers would cut black paper easily, but reflected too much to cut on white paper. Which bummed me out. I nver thought of doing the design in a marker first, the lasering it! Thanks for that tip!!!
There may be new life for the BAWP even yet! LOL!
A trick commonly used in industry for laser welding of transparent components is an IR-absorbing ink on the interface. Laser shines through, gets absorbed where the heat is needed.
This is a variant on the same. :D
Very cool! You have definitely thrown fuel on that fire again!!!! :)
If cutting cloth, a water-soluble marker can be used.
A fugitive adhesive and some backing can prevent the cutouts from falling out or deform during cutting.
Thought about it for cloth.
Does the yellow pen have to be a certain ink or wavelength?
Anything that absorbs the used wavelength. Any yellow for blue. Any near-IR for 808 nm.
I finally broke down and bought a Silhouette Cameo 3 for the small to mid size paper cutting projects.
A K40-III CO2 laser is a sweet thing for small stuff. If you replace the electronics with anything that can be fed with regular g-code.
I have a disease called Myasthenia Gravis, that greatly reduces my hand strength, so I had to find a way to keep creating. These plotters and cutters do that for me, and this idea for cutting with the big plotter is da bomb!
Wow, glad to hear that you could leverage tech to keep in the game.
For grayscaling, an excellent way to dose the energy is in time domain. Lasers behave strange at low power levels, the gas ones won't ignite discharge, the diodes go below lasing threshold and become effectively LEDs. But pulses are easy to make with very high precision. And at short enough intervals when we can neglect the material's heat dissipation we just need to deliver the same amount of joules per square millimeter.
Human bodies suck. :(
Lol, true dat! Luckily tech is helping us out, but it doesn't have to be radical brain implants to help. I recently saw on here someone soldering with a device that steadies their tremors. This interested me much, as I have general tremors as well, and soldering can such a pain.
Soldering requires steady hands, so when [Jonathan Gleich] sadly developed a condition called an essential tremor affecting his hands, soldering became much more difficult. But one day, while [Jonathan] was chatting with a friend, they were visited by the Good Ideas Fairy and in true hacker fashion, he ended up repurposing a handheld camera stabilizing gimbal to hold a soldering iron instead of a camera or smartphone.
be such a pain. I think that is why paper is such a good medium for me. There is practically no end to the availability of replacement parts!
The same approach can be used for steadying mouse pointer, though software-only is sufficient here.
Or a spoon to counter Parkinson.
That's the one. Also there was an article on an even lower level of the same item, but made for holding a spoon
Used a couple of the little sg90 servos.
That's the one, yeah
Laser soldering. Also a way to deliver heat to the point. But needs either UV laser that isn't so well reflected by the metal, or enough power, or mediate through dyed flux.
Parts are getting smaller and smaller. Heat conduction through the tip is getting less and less sufficient.
Funny story about adopting technologies- From an old animator:
Early in my career, motion capture was getting introduced as a viable source for game animations, and cinematics as well.
I swore, as an animator, I would never, ever use mocap! But as I worked in the industry more, used that technology, I became a damn good mocap editor, and loved doing it.
What changed your mind?
As an artist, some one who made sculpts in clay, there came along a new technology to threaten me. 3D Printers.
I swore I would never use one. Until I did, lol. Now I love it. And have both an FDM printer and a SLA printer, lol.
The studio I worked at had made the decision to use mocap over animation. So I had to learn it. Or get another job, lol.
It do be like that sometimes...
But once I got into it, I found the art. Y'know? The same with 3d printers, and the same with electronics. I found the art that satisfied my craving to constantly be making something. Making art actually exists in the real world. Hold it in your hand. And have it react and move.
An interesting take. Maybe the same as the struggle painters faced when photography came around. You want Impressionism? Cause that's how you get Impressionism!
I think that is what it boils down to. The hacking expands the art, and the art exapnds the hacking. :)
Is there a fixed boundary between them anyway?
Not really. I think only in my mind to start with, there was a barrier. But I still get stumped and need someone to bail me out.
On the more technical side.
People too often see things through their names and not through their nature. That then limits ideas of how to use them.
Also, a 3d printer trick for drawing/plotting. If the substrate gets shifted/deformed laterally under the pen tip, avoid lateral movements and print as dots. Move to xy, peck down in z, repeat for next dot.
I love to collaborate. I found a friend of mine at work who loves the technical aspects of making robots as much as I love the artistic side. We have just started making our own designs for robots and are a pretty good team.
I suck at understanding how to write code for Arduinos and such, and he can take my ideas and make them work in a sensible way with the tech.
Ah, makes sense, Like a dot matrix printer, lol
+100 on collaboration -- the whole exceeds the sum of its parts.
So, we're up to the end of our hour, so we have to let Cory go if he needs to get back to work. I really appreciate the time you shared with us today, thanks so much. And thanks to everyone for an interesting discussion -- a bit of a departure from our usual fare, but still really cool to explore other areas like this.
Of course the Hack Chat is always open, so feel free to keep the conversation going.
I think I'm like an hour late, just wanted to see what this was all about
Could also work with a pointed tip, for making holes-in-paper art.
Thanks, Dan! And if anyone needs any art or animations or sculpted stuff for projects, and would like to collaborate, feel free to just message me! I'm up for anything interesting or fun!
Or with any sort of attachment, just replace the z-axis peck with its g-code.