Valley Wag loves us!

 “One of the neatest things I have seen in the self-expressive miasma that is Burning Man, the countercultural arts festival here in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, has been The Orb Swarm, a group of spherical robots designed to roll around the playa and interact with participants with lights, motion and sound.”

Coverage on KGO 7 News

Here’s the text blurb from a short video piece that ran in the local news last night-

View a local archive.

Orb arrives on the playa!

The orb has arrived on the playa, and thanks to our kind friends at Geek Week, we can blog live during our testing.

Geekweek Arrival

Here, Beth and Tzara from the Geek Week camp examine the orb as it meets the playa surface for the first time!


We tested, and it rolls wonderfully on the playa surface! We tested Zigbee out to 500 feet with signal to spare, and we’ve got copious GPS data to crunch later. A successful test run, and we’ve still got time to screw around and experiment…


Waterjet Cutting Complete!

Omax Waterjet CutterAs of Saturday night, the pieces for all 6 orbs have been cut! Rich Humphrey, Jon Foote, Rick Lellinger, Lisa Schile, and myself worked two marathon sessions totalling more than 20 hours to keep the Omax Model 55100 abrasive waterjet machine running. The result is more than 500 cut ribs, giving us a few to spare beyond the 480 necessary to fabricate 6 orbs.

Laser Cutting the Wooden Lamp

Laser Cutting SWARM LampWe’re going to make a bunch of half-scale SWARM shells out of wood, to sell as art lamps for a fundraiser.  Here we are Laser Cutting the first one at the TechShop.

Prototype Progress

Here is a diagram of the orb prototype so far-

Prototype Diagram

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