New Method for Vectorizing Pixel Art

While algorithms for turning raster images into vector images are nothing new, the usual suspects perform terribly when it comes to sprite-sized pixel-art type images where each pixel matters a lot. Enter this cool project that Johannes Kopf and Dani Lischinski presented at Siggraph 2011. Their paper, which nicely explains the nitty gritty, is freely available (PDF), and there’s also an online gallery where you can see how their method stacks up against a bunch of other algorithms when it comes to scaling up some classic sprites. I especially like the new streamlined Space Invader shapes. I always wondered what they really looked like. [via O’Reilly Radar]

Depixelizing Pixel Art

Image deblurring using inertial measurement sensors

Scanning Art for the World to Download & Make

NEWS FROM THE FUTUREScanning Art for the World to Download & Make

Now, as if the promise of democratizing goods, revolutionizing industries and opening up a whole new era of “object” piracy wasn’t enough, the MakerBot team is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, scanning art with 123D Catch for the world to download and make.

Imagine an art class where you can see the Statue of David right in front of you. Imagine what will happen now that contemporary artists will be able to explore and hack famous works from the past. This is huge for the art community, The Met is absolutely awesome for letting this happen, and I couldn’t be more excited about this.

MakerBot is doing this right now, it will be interesting to see which museums ultimately do not allow 3D captures of art.

Maker Conference Tokyo

It’s Saturday morning in Tokyo at the first Maker Conference at Miraikan. The conference is organized by O’Reilly Japan and

Maker Conference Tokyo, June 2012

MAKE’s first Japanese edition in Tokyo in 2006, edited by Hideo Tamura. The first Maker Meeting, a small Maker Faire was held in 2008. It attraced 300 people. Last fall, the Maker Meeting event was held last November at Tokyo Institute of Technology and 12,000 people attended. Today brings together makers from across Japan to share ideas and experiences. Making seems to be established in a number of universities and there are a growing number of makerspaces of all sorts. Notably, there’s Fab Cafe — think lattes and laser cutters under one roof. I haven’t visited yet but the pictures I’ve seen are amazing. “Fab Life” is a new book from Professor Tanaka about living in a house that doubles as a fab lab. Fab Life was just published in Japanese by O’Reilly Japan. Makers are talking about what this means for manufacturing, innovation, and education.

The Maker Conference Tokyo is a sign of the growing worldwide participation in the maker movement. I’m glad to be here to experience it firsthand.

3D Printed Mintronics: Menta Case on Thingiverse

TodBot of ThingM wasn’t content with keeping his Mintronics: Menta (available in the Maker Shed) in the included tin so he 3D printed his own Menta enclosure.

[The Menta] is a great little Arduino clone that fits in a mint tin yet still has Arduino-standard header sockets for shields. I found the mint tin limiting though if you’re adding wires & parts to your circuit, plus I have always felt a little iffy about putting prototypes in metal enclosures. So here’s a printable case for mint tin-sized circuits like the Menta. It has openings for the DC power jack and the FTDI cable.

TodBot has both 25mm and 35mm versions up on Thingiverse but you could easily stretch the case enclose almost any circuit or shield you need.


Dangerous Prototypes at Maker Faire Bay Area


Our pals at Dangerous Prototypes put together these wonderful videos about Maker Faire Bay Area 2012. The first gives you a maker’s POV of being at the Faire, setting up, what to bring, etc. The second video offers a rundown of 13 projects that Ian of DP found at the Faire.

Really great work, guys! It was a pleasure having you all and having Skot in the Make: Live fishbowl talking about his DigitGrid project.

Dangerous Prototypes

See all of our Maker Faire coverage here.

Micro FM Transmitter

image source:

A nice and very useful project i stumbled over a time ago is this circuit, which is commonly credited to Japanese multimedia artist Tetsuo Kogawa. It takes audio input through a 1/4″ phono jack and, constructed as shown, without the optional antenna connections, will broadcast an FM radio signal about 30 feet.

This circuit is the standard model of Mr. Kogawa’s simplest FM transmitter, which is slightly more complex than his most basic design in that it includes a trim capacitor to adjust the transmitting frequency. It can be powered by a 9V battery and uses a hand-turned copper coil.

The circuit is extraordinarily simple and could be built on an experimental panel. Just follow these Make instruction to build your own FM transmitter:

Micro FM Transmitter

XBee-enabled SumoBots Appearing at Maker Faire

Rob Faludi, author of Building Wireless Sensor Networks, is bringing some very cool bots to Digi’s Maker Faire Bay Area Booth:

Say hello to Troy and Abed! They’re Digi International’s brand-new XBee-enabled SumoBots and they’re ready to begin training for their debut at Bay Area Maker Faire 2012. They’ll be battling it out in the Digi booth May 19th and 20th, so prepare yourself for a wireless robotic sumo showdown!

XBee Enabled SumoBots for Maker Faire

New in the Maker Shed: RedPark TTL iOS Cable Breakout Pack

RedPark just announced a new version of their iOS cable and it’s available right now in the Maker Shed! This revised cable allows you to hook your iDevice up to an Arduino with no soldering or jailbreaking required. The new cable works just as the RS-232 terminated version except RedPark has make a few internal changes so that it communicates over TTL serial (the same serial protocol used by an Arduino.) Eliminating the need for a TTL adapter means it’s never been easier to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to an external microcontroller for enhanced sensing and communication!

The new RedPark TTL cable is available by itself or in a handy breakout pack that includes our deluxe jumper wires and Mintronics: Survival Pack Guts (no tin.) This way you have everything you need to hook the cable up to an Arduino and have plenty of components to experiment with. Just add an Arduino, a copy of Alasdair Allen’s “iOS Sensor Apps with Arduino,” and you’ll be up and running in no time! Also, we’ll have them in stock at Maker Faire!


  • Does not require soldering!
  • Enables development of iOS apps for private use in homes, schools and offices
  • Connects iOS devices to microcontrollers and sensors!
  • Designed for use with iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch (fourth generation), iPad 2 and iPad.
  • Used in conjunction with the Redpark Serial Cable SDK and sample code. Together these tools enable you to write iOS apps that communicate with serial devices.
  • Requires iOS 4.3.x or later.
  • Includes Mintronics: Survival Pack Guts
  • Includes Deluxe Jumper Wires


New in the Maker Shed: The Original Egg-Bot

At long last, Make has the Egg-Bot Kit in the Maker Shed! The Egg-Bot art robot was originally designed by Bruce Shapiro and is purpose built to draw designs on round objects 3cm to 10cm in diameter. Use it to decorate eggs, light bulbs, ornaments, golf balls, and (with some work) even wine glasses! The laser-cut tool holder can accept fine point markers, engravers, and a host of other drawing apparatuses. To use it, simply assemble the kit, adjust the holder to fit your object, plug in your computer, use the open source program Inkscape to create your design, and hit the button! Before you know it you’ll be creating art on unique objects like never before!


  • The Eggbot chassis with integrated stand
  • Two precision stepping motors
  • Pen-lift servo motor
  • The Eggbot controller board
  • All the hinges, standoffs, and other hardware that makes up the Eggbot
  • Plug-in universal-input power supply
  • USB cable
  • A Sharpie brand pen