In User Land

I went to the Bent Festival at Eyebeam today--sorta. I didn't do the music--noise music makes me want to stick icepicks in both ears and both eyes. In fact, I think the Max/MSP teachers at Parsons next semester should hoist noise "musicians" out the window until they apologize for making our collective heads compress every time yet another one "discovers" how to modulate sawtooth waves with the fucking serial-in off a potentiometer circuit. It's a trick--get an ax.

I digress.

The classes I went to were fantastic and related very well to the user research I am doing for my Pleech project. The first was for a build of the MintyBoost, taught by its inventor, Limor Fried. Not only is it charging my wife's iPod as I write this (thanks for the guinea pig, hon!), it has the right kind of electronics (1.5V to 4.5V in, 5.0V out, 350mA max) that could power the kind of devices I'm interested in. This could be the supply end of the Pleech, minus the two AA batteries.

The second class was for the Shake Light (is that the official name?), taught by Mouna Andraos. This is a DIY human-powered flashlight that uses the same kind of alternating current technology that will run the Pleech. I learned a lot of useful tech on how to wind a good stator using a power drill, how much juice a super-capacitor can store (.22 farads?! damn!!), and how effective the whole kit and kaboodle are (the answer: very.)

There was a lot of interest by my fellow classmates in these kinds of technologies--people seemed to be eager to build strange new devices using greener power sources. So I think there's definitely a niche for the kind of thing I'm doing. Imagine charging your iPod using the summer breeze (or your neighbor's dumbass central AC unit). Sweet!

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