STEAM Carnival by brent

I'm thrilled to report that we've launched a high-tech carnival to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering, art, and math! It's called the STEAM Carnival and we're launching it using Kickstarter to raise initial funds and generate awareness. You can see our campaign here.

Please support our Kickstarter today and tell all your friends!

Thank you!

Update: The response has been tremendous and the press responded well too! The wonderful folks at GOOD were kind enough to publish an article here. We've also been covered in: VentureBeat, USA Today, All Things D, Time, NBC's Nightly Business Review (around minute 11:30), Techcrunch, Mashable, SingularityHub, SparkFun, Mtv, Read Write Web, SFGate, myFOXla, Huffington Post, The Next Web, IEEE Spectrum, LA Weekly, TechZulu, LA Business Journal, SoCal Tech, Geekmom, InsideHook, CNET, I Programmer, RISD News, Patch and The Real Stan Lee!

We were fortunate enough to present the carnival on stage at the 11th All Things D conference! You can see the video of our presentation here and the KatieCam post-show interview here

We just got back from Jason Calacanis' Launch Edu conference and I'm thrilled to report we won the Best Presentation award, the Audience Choice Award and (pending due diligence) Launch wants to invest! Woohoo! More details are here. EdSurge covered the event here.

Here's our intro video:

Making Furniture by brent

This year I wanted to learn how to weld. Just like learning to program, it helps to have a project to focus on so I found some interesting objects at scrap yards and decided to turn them into furniture.
I started with an rusted warehouse grate and some old steel bannister and made a side table. I then found an old library lamp and rewired it (complete with color-changing LED light). And when we moved into the Two Bit Circus Big Top, we found three old sections of metal fence so Dan Busby and I welded it together with angled steel legs to make a dining table. I'm picking up 300lbs in glass to cover it with tomorrow!
I'm now spending a little more time with wood and started with a simple coat rack. Now looking forward to making benches to match the dining table.
There are few things as rewarding as building with your hands! [nggallery id=29]

Vacationing without your favorite game by brent

A few months ago my good friend Ien Cheng introduced me to the card game Anomia. It quickly rocketed to one of my favorite games and became staple entertainment at our Bushnell family dinners. We recently went on a family vacation and realized at the airport that we'd forgotten to bring a copy! With no access to a replacement, we spent a few dinners creating our own second edition. We happened by a Parisian game store and found a few decks of BLANK Bicycle playing cards and a stationary store with colored permanent markers and voila! Our game was complete. 104 phrase cards and 8 wildcards. Photos below and a Google Doc of our terms. We added a new mechanic we're not certain exists in the current edition; since card phrases have varying difficulties we ensured that symbols and their wildcards matched difficulty.
If you haven't already, purchase a game of Anomia today! You won't regret it.
A huge thanks to Andrew Innes & Jody Burr for creating such a ridiculously awesome game. We love it!! [nggallery id=28]

The Biggest Trackball by brent

After unending frustration calibrating an FTIR multitouch device Eric and I decided to take a different tack for a navigation game we were building. We took his giant circus ball and mounted it on casters, then pushed an optical mouse up against the bottom of it and voila! a giant trackball. So simple, but the increased size makes navigating gigapixel images much more fun than sitting at your computer. We paired the device with a few jumbo Happ Control buttons and a large projection to let players navigate around huge images. Thanks to the folks at Gigapan for use of some of their super high quality images!YouTube video [nggallery id=26]

OK Go Rube Goldberg Music Video by brent

The minds (and bodies) of Syyn Labs spent the past three months building a huge, two-story Rube Goldberg machine during which a piano gets dropped and a TV is smashed with a sledge hammer. Why? It's the centerpiece for the latest music video from the band OK Go (remember... the guys who did the treadmill video). It features the song "This Too Shall Pass" and even after listening to it hundreds of times, it still sounds good!

Huge thanks to the band for this opportunity and to all the Syyn Labs and Mindshare folks that helped pull this together. Special recognition to Adam Sadowsky for orchestrating the whole thing like a pro conductor. Thanks to all the people that helped make my vision for the Legos a reality! Namely: Dylan Bushnell, Heather Knight, Liya Brook, Paul Grasshoff, Peter Svidler, Izumi Hamagaki, Wyatt Bushnell, Sam Leventer, and Mahdroo McCaleb. Hats off to the steady camera man, a major hero for his ability to capture this on film! Thanks to the magical eye of Josh Reiss for capturing photos of the whole thing too!

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ArtWalk Fall '09 by brent

Wow! What a weekend. The Virsix showroom was alive and packed during the biannual Brewery ArtWalk. We had five of our games available and people ages 5 to 70 competing away! Players tested their cat burgling skills in the Laser Maze, avoided traffic in our foot tracking Frogger-style game, contorted their body for human Tetris, and even flew around the galaxy in a space battle. Thanks to all involved for their help putting this on, especially the guys at H2P for a marvelous job filming. [nggallery id=18]

uWink spins off tech into Tapcode by brent

We recently completed the process of spinning off the uWink technology into its own company named Tapcode. It's an exciting time as this separation allows us to focus exclusively on the licensing of our self-service and entertainment product suite to third parties. It turns out a "tap code" is a cipher for communicating, similar to morse code. As a word nerd, I can't help but like the double entendre in the new name! Visit the new Tapcode website here.

TimeGraff by brent

For the past few months I've been taking photos of graffiti in and around Los Angeles. There's *a ton* of it in this city and a good portion is really excellent art and unique typography. I don't yet have a camera with a GPS chip so I've been marking waypoints on my Garmin as I've taken the shots. A given graffiti location changes over time, so my plan is a Google map mashup of these photos with their location and an interface that allows navigating the spot over time. The alpha is available here.

Laser Maze by brent

Tyler, Dan, dad and I exhibited our laser maze (for the first time to the public!) last night at the February Mindshare. The object was to traverse the room without breaking any of the beams, ring a bell, and then navigate back to the start. Attendees pretended to be [take your pick of cinema's security-breaching thieves] employing everything from commando crawls to acrobatics to get across. Thanks to Seth Margolin for an excellent filming and editing job on the video!

Laser Maze at the Firehouse from Brent Bushnell on Vimeo.

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