dorkbot san francisco

People doing strange things with electricity

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From Karen Marcelo
From Mitch Altman

From Mark Stephen Meadows - Good Bot. Bad Bot.
From Kal Spelletich and Mitch Altman (1gb includes embedded video)
Split Brains Press Release (Word doc)

7:00pm social hour 8:00pm presentations
Mar 01 2017

2169 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
How to get into the space

Sliding scale entry $5-$20 for our hosts much appreciated

Speaker/Ventor/Demo Tables

Terbo Ted - book signing for D Cash or Paypal accepted

2169 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

Mark Stephen Meadows - Bad Bot. Good Bot.

You're authenticated on Facebook but chatbots aren't. Bots can spam, scam, phish, spoof, and abuse more effectively than people. What we need are license plates for these things. If we bolt a voice onto a bot we make an assistant, so let's look at what assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) collect, what's done with that data, and how they can share it in ML dialogue markets. Then let's bolt a face onto the assistant and look at the future of multi-modal avatars for video chat, VR, and AR. Oh, and ethics.

Mark Stephen Meadows is an author, inventor, artist, and CEO of With 20 years experience in real-time 3D (VR/AR/etc), 15 years experience in NLP/AI, and 5 in robotics he's designed and developed artificial intelligence applications with companies as diverse as Microsoft, Sony, Xerox-PARC, Stanford Research Institute, LucasArts, Oracle, and others. He leads the vision of Botanic by inventing new methods of computer-human interaction, developing the hearts and minds of highly social avatars and graphical bots.

Kal Spelletich and Mitch Altman - Harvesting Brain DATA for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment

This installation art piece is a collaborative project of Kal Spelletich (artist, robot maker), Masahiro Kahata (brainwave control hardware/software), and Mitch Altman (integration hardware and software).

They have two large and identical split brain robots. Volunteers will wear EEG brainwave-monitoring helmets. One participant's left-brain controls one robot arm. The other participant's right-brain controls the other robot. Can they make the robot arms kiss? If they do, everyone is treated to a show of lights! (Alternatively, one volunteer can attempt to control the two robots independently with their left and right brain!)

They are exploring new ways to use brain-wave reading technology in an experiment to improve people's lives and exemplify the poetry of the mind. The robots are not programmed, they are responding live to human brain waves. Each robot will respond uniquely to each participant's brainwave input signals. Left-right brain research is perhaps a start at understanding the way the brain divides learning tasks between verbal and visual, analytical and global, logical and creative.

They are interested in exploring and critiquing transhumanism and critiquing the promise that new 'advances' in information and communication technologies will solve our problems and fulfill our dreams -- that all we need to do is update, upgrade and replace our devices. Is technology stalking us or are we stalking technology?
Can we translate human emotions into robot actions?
Can this demonstrate to us a new way to instill consciousness? Mindfulness?
Can we create empathy for a robot?
What are robots best at? What are humans best at? What about the grey area where these two things are evolving?
Is there a role for hybrid human machine systems?
Can a robot respond to, represent or convey one's inner desires?

Kal Spelletich explores the interface of humans and robots, using technology to put people back in touch with real-life experiences. His work is interactive, requiring participants to enter or operate his pieces, often against their instincts of self-preservation. He probes the boundaries between fear, control and exhilaration.

He has exhibited at The Catharine Clark Gallery, Gallery Maeght and the De Young Museum, all in San Francisco, SFMOMA, all over the world. He was awarded San Francisco Art Commission funding for 2016.

Mitch Altman is a San Francisco-based hacker and inventor, best known for inventing TV-B-Gone remote controls, a keychain that turns off TVs in public places. He was also co-founder of 3ware (a successful Silicon Valley startup) and did pioneering work in Virtual Reality at VPL Research in the mid-1980s. He has contributed to MAKE Magazine and other magazines, and wrote a chapter for "Maker Pro", a book about making a living doing what one loves. For several years he traveled around the world giving talks, and leading workshops, teaching people to make cool things with microcontrollers and teaching everyone to solder. He promotes hackerspaces and open source hardware wherever he goes. He is a co-founder of Noisebridge hackerspace, and is President and CEO of Cornfield Electronics.

Terbo Ted - A Reading from D: Based on A True Story

An Artificial Intelligence attains self awareness and becomes obsessed with a disgraced tech journalist who had previously coded computer screen savers for a living. The two fall deeply in love and build a robot to become sex partners. Mayhem ensues. Terbo Ted will be signing books available for sale at dorkbotSF and read from a chapter that covers the 90s SOMA Multimedia Daze...) Paypal or cash accepted!

Theodore Terbolizard, born as Theodore Jonathan Hommel 5th generation Californian. He is an artist, musician, internet developer and politician, also known as Terbo Ted.

As an artist, Terbo had three collaborative internet pieces added to the Permanent Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the early stages of the late 1990s 'dot com' boom. Ted or his work have appeared on- or in- PBS, NBC Europe, NHK Japan, National Geographic, the BBC, O'Reilly Books, Chronicle Books, and many more. Since 1990, he has continually performed, shown paintings or displayed other works in many small art galleries or venues in California and beyond. As a musician, Terbo has DJ'd on four continents, released six CDs of original electronic music and been singer, guitarist and songwriter for a number of unsigned rock and roll bands. His currently playing with the rock group Chief Enablers. He has licensed original songs for TV commercials, and CDrom soundtracks he composed in the early 1990s for software and computer manufacturers were printed in excess of ten million copies. In 1992, he was the first person ever to DJ at the then-unknown Burning Man Festival in Gerlach, Nevada; he played to ten miles of empty desert on a Friday afternoon.

Ted has worked with advertising agencies to create digital marketing products for some of the world's leading corporations, generally in the technology and entertainment industries. In 2006 Terbolizard was anchorman and producer of an internet-based world news program in association with

Terbolizard has run for office twice. In 2003 he pulled papers for the California Governor Recall Election but did not appear on the ballot. In 2008, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in California's 4th Congressional District but lost his party's primary election to the eventual winner of the general election.
Excerpt from D

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Tours / Related Events:


Epic DorkbotSF by Rudy Rucker March 2012

Knowing is Half the Battle - Jon Korn and Nerd Nite SF's Guite to Geeking Out in San Francisco   posted by Jon Korn the bold italic March 2012

BB Video: Tank Tour - One of the World's Largest Collections of Historic Military Technology   posted by Xeni Jardin BoingBoing June 2009

The art of living dangerously   by Annalee Newitz New Scientist July 2006 Issue 2560
Non-subscriber version here

dorkbot: Warehouse of Wild, Weird, and Wonderful Projects   by David Pescovitz   Make Magazine Premiere Issue 2005

dorkbot-sf is a spinoff of dorkbot-nyc which is
"a monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students and other interested parties from the new york area who are involved in the creation of electronic art (in the broadest sense of the term.)"

the purpose of dorkbot is to

  • give artists/programmers/engineers an opportunity for informal peer review
  • establish a forum for the presentation of new art works/technology/software/hardware
  • help establish relationships and foster collaboration between people with various backgrounds and interests
  • give us all a chance to see the cool things that our neighbors are working on

If you would like to speak at a future dorkbotSF contact Karen Marcelo (@dorkbotsf on twitter)

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