At South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night, hundreds of attendees turned out for Dorkbot, a celebration of makers and electronic geekery that takes place in cities around the world. Its motto is "People doing strange things with electricity."
Among the projects on display was Arc Attack, an Austin group that has rigged tesla coils to a DJ system, making it possible for the electricity shooting out of the tesla coil to be timed to the beats of the music.
A member of Arc Attack works on one of the group's tesla coils in preparation for its synchronized electricity and electronic music performance. The group also does its show with much larger tesla coils, but it was not able to use those in the tent SXSW had made available to Dorkbot.
The CNC Magic Screen Machine by James Delaney is essentially a robotic Etch-a-Sketch. The device rigs a computer to an actual Etch-a-Sketch and can automatically draw almost any image that is loaded into the computer.
A Lego Mindstorms robot built to solve Rubik's Cubes was on display at Dorkbot in Austin, Texas.
The machine, built by high school students, relies on sensors that can distinguish between the colors of the individual sections of the cube. This individual device was not able to solve the cube, because of problems with the sensor that made it difficult to distinguish between similar colors, but it was representative of a device that can finish the task.
"The Mule," an employee of iPhone app maker Smule, shows Chris Taylor (left) how to play Ocarina, the company's most popular app. Ocarina lets anyone with an iPhone simulate a flute-like instrument called, yes, an ocarina.
Bre Pettis, one of the founders of Brooklyn hacker collective NYCResistor, shows off his 3D printer kit. The kit makes it possible for anyone to build their own 3D printer at home and print small 3D objects.
The "Telepresence Rover" is a three-wheeled device designed to rove around the ground autonomously. It has sensors that allow it to avoid running into objects. When it encounters them, it turns itself away from them. The project was built by Bob Comer and David Comer.