elmo hacking

this saturday i participated in the elmo hacking workshop at eyebeam. adrianne wortzel , a resident at eyebeam, has a project which involves synchronizing the movements of 50 tickle-me elmos. mike gazes and soyoung park realized adrianne’s idea by reverse engineering the elmo’s and creating a new control unit based around an atmel atmega168, using the arduino development environment. wireless communication is through xbee radios (so many of them).

anyway, i went to meet the team last week and was introduced to the project, and yesterday during the holiday hackshop a bunch of dedicated volunteers deconstructed elmos, burned microchips and built the circuit boards. although we didn’t get all 50 built, we made great progress in getting the elmo army constructed….and saw the first live demo of 9 working together.

it was a great time, and the first time i’d been to eyebeam when it was open to the public. i missed out on the other workshops as i focused on soldering away. the experience of having to build many identical custom boards will definitely inform future projects. i realize now what the socialbomb kids were talking about when describing the process of creating the devices for their game…

I’ll be looking forward to the actual performance of the elmos at some point…

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