Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nerd Nite Austin

Waterloo Labs will be presenting our Eye Mario System tonight at the Austin Nerd Nite.The event starts at 7:30 at the United States Art Authority, and there will be beer. For those of you not in the know, Nerd Nite is a group that gets experts to speak about topics of every sort. Tonight we are presenting with the Tipsy Texan talking about martinis and a student talking about butterflies and climate change. Should be a great chance to meet some amazing nerds in Austin. Please come out and join us, and you may even get a chance to play Mario with your eyes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh Dear...

I found out some both good and bad news today. If you Google a certain phrase, my picture is the very first thing you see. Unfortunately, that phrase is incredible nerd.

Friday, August 6, 2010

We're Millionaires!!

In views, at least. Today, the Waterloo Labs YouTube channel has officially surpassed 1,000,000 views with our latest video, eyeMario, pushing us over the edge. Now we can start focusing on our millionaire party.

Since we first started meeting 1.5 years ago, we all agreed that as soon as we had a million views we would dress up in tuxes and go downtown to live like millionaires because we are (sort of). And so to everyone who enabled us to loosely use social definitions as a reason to throw a hell of a party...thank you!

Also if you haven't seen the latest video yet, check it out below.

Friday, July 23, 2010

myDAQ Piano Staircase Video Live

Finally! After waiting a couple months because we were too on the ball, we have finally released our Piano Staircase video, a la Big. Tom Hanks would be so proud. NI myDAQ is a new product that's marketed to college engineering students, something like the TI-83 but for data acquisition and instrumentation. Oh, and piano staircasing. Check out the video (the whole thing cost less than $25 for supplies).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Going to Chicago

A more travel-suited version of our iPhone car will be on the road soon to Embedded Systems Conference Chicago. Why not the full car, you ask? It turns out it's incredibly expensive to ship a car across the country and apparently the car in its current form isn't exactly "street legal."

So we made a beautiful smaller version that plays a freeware racing game instead by controlling pedals and the steering wheel of a PlayStation driver station using the same motors, wrenches, and code as our original car. If you are already going to ESC, come try out the controls for yourself at the National Instruments booth. Tickets to the expo are free, so if you are in the area be sure to swing by.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Move Over 13 Year Old Tom Hanks... and your piano playing boss have some competition. We have just wrapped filming on a quick video about how to make an uber-cheap piano staircase (like under $25 cheap). Basically we set the whole thing up in one of the stairwells at work... and watched everyone avoid stepping on it. A bunch of people walking up stairs while not playing the piano made for a pretty boring video, so we moved the whole thing to a much smaller stairwell. That way people would be forced into having fun on our pile of yardsticks blocking the fire exit. And boy did they ever, you'd be surprised at the number of engineers who know how to play the piano, or juggle, or juggle while playing "The Saints Go Marching In" backwards on a staircase.

Watch for the video to come out later this week (and of course instructions on making your own)!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Math + Barbecue = Delicious

So this past weekend a couple of us went down to Lockhart after the annual weiner dog races for some delicious barbecue at Kreuz's Meat Market. While enjoying some amazingly good barbecue with no sauce or utensils, we talked about the idea of automating a barbecue so you just start the fire, put in the meat, and get a text when its done.

Well, today what did I find, lo and behold some people have already done this. Now of course its not as cool as we would have done it. Our BBQ pit would be shaped like a giant unicorn (the smoke would obviously come out the horn), and we'd add robotics to mop the meat for you. But at least now we have a good starting point.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Official, We're Famous

Since we're all engineers, growing up we all had our fair share of subscriptions to Discover Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Mad Scientist Quarterly. But the best day was always the day that Popular Science showed up. Yesterday was the best day of all of those best days because on page 84 of the May edition is yours truly riding on a car.

Yep, pretty much we can all die happy because we've now been in Popular Science (the real version, not the crappy online version). Go get yourself a copy today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Have Mind Control...

...well technically its eye control, but mind control sounds cooler so we're going with that. But now that we've successfully made little lights on the computer turn on by just looking around we want to know what cool things you would like to see us do.

So far we're planning on blowing stuff up by blinking (maybe a good stephen king movie) and playing a little old school Mario just by looking around the screen but we know ya'll have better ideas than that. So let us know in the comments what you'd like to see us do.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We're Getting Fancy Here

For our latest project we have decided to get all fancy, we have a bit of a complicated circuit and rather than getting 8 breadboards with wire going every which way we're building a custom circuit board. It reminds me of when I did this in high school with a sharpie, transparency paper and acid. It seems however there are companies that do this for you which is all well and good, but you don't get the fun of acid burning your friends. To each his own (or her own) I guess.

Here's a nice 3D view of our custom board so far designed by Barron (we picked him to do it because he sits behind me, it just turned out he's also really good at it).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Waterloo vs the PhDs

I know we've been a bit quiet lately, our day jobs lately have been more day-and-night jobs. But don't worry we're back (like Die Hard....with a vengance!). We are moving forward on our latest project. Mind Controlled Mario.

We have successfully figured out how to control an NES from a computer using LabVIEW so the hard parts over. Now we just need to figure out how to design our own isolation system, measure microvolt signals on your skin, interpret these signals and translate them to some sort of external movement on the NES. How hard could that be, I mean its not like there's PhD research being done on this or anything. Oh wait ... there is? Then allow me to compare our iPhone remote controlled car to on done by PhD research.

Our Car ("Wendy")German Car
1 Month2 years
Couple of undergrad degreesPhD and research group
Built from scratchBuilt on DARPA car

So bring it on PhD research.