Event SWARM

We’ve been lax about posting to the SWARM blog… SWARM gets out way more than you know!

Last week the orbs were found dancing and flirting with the laptops at the Jaunty Jackalope Ubuntu Linux Release party! (Each orb runs ARM embedded Debian, pretty nerdy, huh?)

This Thursday 4-30-09 a cadre of orbs will be migrating to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco for a “Nightlife” event! We’ll be there along with the Robots from RoboGames! (bartending bots are so cool)

Be there or be … round.

The orbs will be rolling out to Makers Faire in San Mateo. Don’t go to see us, go to see Maker Faire with your family! It’s really a tremendous event. 

You know what, you -should- go to Maker Faire to see orbs!

And I didn’t even mention SWARM at Subzero in San Jose June 1….  or more orbage at Robogames in San Francisco June 12-14! Oh wait, I just did. :-)

Here’s a bit more about the Jaunty Jackalope release party!

The San Francisco Jaunty Jackalope release party was held on Thursday April 23 and was by all accounts a great success.  It was quite well attended; I would roughly estimate several dozen people or 50-60.  We held the party in conjunction with a group of technically inclined electronic musicians on the Mp3Death.US Creative Commons netlabel, and they were responsible for a good portion of the draw.  The event was billed variously as “Ubuntu Linux Release Party featuring Linux Music & Robots”, or “Jens and the Jaunty Jackalope” (Jens being one of the performers).  “Robots” was a reference to the Orb SWARM project, which brought two of its machines to perform; they both ran embedded Debian on a TS-7800 board.

Our contact with Mp3Death.US was through its founder Jordan Gray, who presented the previous month at Bay Area Linux Users Group.  Jordan makes all of his music on Linux; his main tools are the open source MIXXX and LittleGPTracker applications, and he performs using two Linux-based devices: an EeePC netbook (running Ubuntu) and Game Park GP2X handheld.  Jordan graciously agreed to perform at the event, and in addition enlisted several of his friends to perform on the bill.

They had been planning to throw a birthday party for a couple of their DJs, so we agreed to combine parties.  We also recruited interim_descriptor, author of the open source “dvj” music visualization software.  INTD ran projections on the wall for the his own set as well as the other artists’.

The Orb SWARM team demonstrated one of their robots rolling around the floor inside its shell (2 1/2 ft diameter aluminum sphere cage).  The orb interacted with partygoers, operated by a SWARM crewman with remote control.  In addition to moving around the floor it flashed patterns on a matrix of multicolored LEDs and produced a variety of sounds.  Besides the shelled orb, we set up a naked robot on a table where people could see its inner workings.  It was connected by crossover cable to a laptop, and we ran a telnet session into the robot to demonstrate the Debian command line of the embedded ARM processor inside.

About half the party space was taken up by a laptop area where people were doing various things on Linux.  Grant Bowman performed a fresh Linux install on an HP Netbook, using the Jaunty Jackalope Ubuntu Netbook Remix bootable USB stick he made earlier that day.  We also gave away a Jaunty Jackalope CD on request.  A number of other interesting Linux devices were present, including an OLPC XO laptop and a phone-sized Nokia device running Debian (brought by a member of Noisebridge, the local hacking space).

A good time was had by all and we hope to repeat our success in October for Karmic Koala.

One Response to “Event SWARM”

  1. Lee says:

    Oh and check out our mention on the Maker Faire web site!

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