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Images and Video
Video of Bruce Damer's Evogrid
Video of Bruce's presentation from James Young

7:30pm Wednesday
08 April 2009

Gallery with No Name
1286 Folsom @ 9th
San Francisco CA


FREE ADMISSION but DONATIONS to our hosts much appreciated.

Dorkbot SF glow in the dark T-Shirts will be for sale! $20 cash

Gallery with No Name

Bruce Damer - The EvoGrid: Building a Percursor Origin of Artificial Life Simulator

The EvoGrid project seeks to design and build a large scale grid of computing resources supporting a precursor simulation to make an "origin of artificial life" possible some time in the 21st Century. To date, artificial life simulations have hit "plateaus" of complexity preventing self organization at greater heights. Early chemical life on Earth is likely to have gone through a "ratcheting-up" process of ever greater complexity, ultimately giving rise to the first single celled organisms. The EvoGrid is a test-bed designed to break through successive plateaus of complexity leading to the emergence of what might ultimately be determined an "artificially alive" virtual entity or system. The EvoGrid project is being organized as a worldwide consortium of individuals and organizations with portfolios ranging from chemical protocell development to virtual worlds.

Bruce Damer is a pioneer of early graphical user interfaces, working with Xerox in the 1980s to develop some of the first PC-based desktop operating environments. In 1992 he read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" and was hooked on the idea of a vast, multiuser, graphically rich virtual world cyberspace. Several years later, Bruce, science fiction writer Larry Niven, anthropologist Jim Funaro, and educational MUD pioneer Reed Riner cooked up the Contact Consortium, which became an organizing force during the emergence of avatars and virtual worlds on the Internet which began in 1995. Bruce worked with Consortium members to create some of the first in-world meetings, group building projects (such as Sherwood Forest town), educational applications (TheU and Vlearn3D), the Avatars book and series of physical and online conferences, which ran from 1996 to 2003, and (the Digital Biology Project) which produced the Digital Biota series of conferences, the Nerve Garden installation at SIGGRAPH '97 and is the home for the Biota podcast for the artificial life community today.

Bruce's company DigitalSpace today provides open source virtual world applications to NASA for its current and future missions. In 2008 Bruce started the Evolution Grid (EvoGrid) project which seeks to build the foundations for an "artificial origin of life" event that could shed light on the chemical origins of life on Earth. Find everything about Bruce and his worlds at

MakingThings in collaboration with Michael Brown - Bluerain - 23,520 LEDs, 1 Make Controller

Bluerain is a zillion blue LED installation based on a desktop computer running a QT app, a Make Controller (of course) and 98 x 16 LED cluster water-proof wall units running awesome TI LED PWM chips (TLC5491). Total number of LED: 23520. Total power: 50W. Levels of brightness: 4096. LED Colors: 1. BLUE.

In its current incarnation, little snippets of text from a variety of sources, including a library's check in, check out and catalog search system, flow down from the top of the 56' display toward the ground. Its final resting place is an outside wall of the London School of Economics library, from which the feeds originate.

It's up now in the carpark of the Mission Bank, 16th St between Mission and Valencia St's and will remain there for the next little while.

MakingThings will present some of the design details, show some of the electronics and share some of fun they had making it.

David Williams - Engineer and co-founder of MakingThings
Liam Staskawicz - Engineer at MakingThings
Michael Brown - Artist

Michael Brown

Kimric Smythe and Shannon O'Hare - Steam Engine MII and Steam Calliope

Kimric and Shannon will be presenting (and possibly demoing) the Neverwas Haul's steam blower. New improvements are to the uniflow steam engine. It also has a Model T exhaust whisle with steam running through a power steering pump, the whistle makes for a pretty good, loud siren.

Needing no introduction, Kimric and Shannon are fixtures of the steam punk, machine art scene in the Bay Area. Fearless leaders of the Neverwas Haul and also SRL crew members, they've put steampunk on the map spawning a whole aesthetic with exposed working parts and machine crafstmanship, their 3-story mobile Victorian house, steam car, and Neverwas line of goggles and helmets. Kimric also sells and repairs accordions in Oakland, CA.

Please mail Karen Marcelo (dorkbotSF [at] dorkbot [dot] org) if you would like to open dork (10-15 min mini-presentation)

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