Today I wrote up a huge chunk of Vulcan's MIDI processing software. For those of you who aren't familiar with Project Vulcan, it's the $25,000 revolutionary pyrotechnics project I'm undertaking. I've already spent over a year in the R&D phase, and it's set to completely revolutionize the entertainment-based pyrotechnics and special effects industry by providing a platform for performers allowing real-time interactivity with special effects. You can read more (though slightly out-dated) information here: http://vulcan.chrismarion.net.
I'm writing the main software in Python, which will most likely be running on a small embedded Linux machine (I'm looking at you, Raspberry Pi). The software receives MIDI events over an RS232 serial connection from special equipment (classified at the moment..), processes them using a custom algorithm which takes into account chord structure and note values to generate a visually-pleasing output to the flame effects, and then provides its output over a second serial connection.
For now, stay tuned as the Kickstarter page for Project Vulcan will be going live shortly. Once I start receiving the funding from the page, expect to see video demonstrations of flame effect equipment interfaced to drums, guitars, keyboards, and other instruments.
In the meantime, I'll be focusing a ton of my effort towards developing a low-cost, entry-level solution to highly accurate DLP-based 3d printing, using photosensitive resins.
August was a great month for me. I had the amazing opportunity to go out to San Francisco for a week and work with prestigious fire art groups Interpretive Arson and the Flaming Lotus Girls. In addition, I got to work with artist Charles Gadeken. Check out his site here; it's full of amazing works of art. This year, he was building a 40ft tall willow tree, Aurora, and I had the special privilege of working as lead welder for a day on the massive project. Check out the picture below of Aurora at sunrise:
I was responsible for welding much of the structure you see above: I worked on the main trunk section, and I welded almost everything in the chunk of branches at the top right the sculpture. Many of the sections I was working on in the shop were 20 feet in the air, requiring me to perform "acrobatic welding" as I climbed across stepladders and hung from branches I had just welded!
Check out this amazing shot of Aurora at night at Burning Man 2011!
My work coil for a small-scale induction heater.
I need a centrifuge. It's as simple as that. Whether it's for harvesting algae or cleaning WVO, it's becoming a necessity. I modeled the bowl of my centrifuge in SolidWorks, and I'm planning on getting it precision machined on a 5-axis CNC mill in early 2011.