How are you planning to incorporate the Dorkbot model for Dallas?
Well, I’m basing it on the Dorkbot meeting that I went to before in Denmark. I’m partly taking what I know is available in Dallas, like people I know doing this kind of stuff, and just using what’s available and using speakers that are around doing what they do. I’m probably going to speak at the first one, because we don’t have a lot of speakers yet (laughs) - it’s just getting off the ground and it’s a loosely organized group. I’m going to talk about some of my software related to music, like a project I did that approximates the pitches of the number pi and some new software I wrote for Treewave. We’re also having Lars Larsen talk about some of his synthesizer modifications. He takes old synthesizers and opens them up and modifies them. So we’re going to have that kind of stuff.
I think later on we’re going to get David Hanson to talk- he’s a robotics expert working on his PhD at UT Dallas. Ean Schuessler is going talk about some of the stuff he has done for Disturbathon, like the invite he sent last year, where you would get an email that would take you to this webpage, and then you get a phone call, and when you answer the phone the webpage changes. So he’ll talk about stuff like that. It’s real techie, but kind of art. It’s tech art, you know? I think the Dallas one may end up being a little more software oriented, because that’s what I’m involved in.
Yeah, I was going to ask you if you had any plans to emphasize more of the art and music side or the tech side.
Well, I think it will be pretty evenly balanced. The original tagline for Dorkbot is “people doing strange things with electricity,” so a lot of times it has to do with robotics. Doug Repetto , who started [the original Dorkbot] in New York years ago, runs an annual event where people build art robots called Artbot. Some of his stuff is more robotics based, and I think some of them are geared towards electrical engineering. We’re definitely going to have some of that. Really I’m not sure how it will go- it kind of depends on what people show up with, what their working on. I don’t know all of everything going on in Dallas.
Ideally, how often would you like to have meetings, and what are some of the things you’d like to see in the future?
Currently what we’ve talked about is bi-monthly. I think it’s a good way to start since I don’t know how many speakers we’ll be able to get. I know there are people interested , and I’ve definitely felt the need for this for a long time. I wanted to start one awhile ago, but I needed a few other people to step up and get involved.
I’ve read about a couple things like Artbot where different cities will organize events outside of the meetings. Do you have any ideas or plans for something like that?
I haven’t really thought about that, it may come to something like that. I’ve been to two different ones. One was more of an event, more of a fair like you're talking about. And the one in Denmark was more formal. Personally I prefer the more formal meetings.
Do you encourage anyone to come to the meetings, or are they geared towards people who would be presenting and are heavily involved with electronics?
No, I don’t think you have to be involved. You don’t have to be doing something to go to the meetings. The format will probably be: we have a set amount of time for each speaker, and we’re thinking the meeting will be an hour long. That’s what we’re planning for this Sunday. We’ll probably plan whatever speakers we have and divvy up enough time for 10 or 15 minutes of open mic time, where people can present things quickly, on the fly. That’s what they did in Denmark, and it worked out pretty well.
What is the best way to reach you and get involved with the Dallas Dorkbot?
We have a website, and there is a Google discussion group on the site. People can join the group or email me directly.
If you would like to see what Dorkbot members in other cities have been up to, you can also check out the main site.