Two men giving a presentation on a small stage at Noisebridge. An image of Heddy Lamar is projected behind them.

The Return of Dorkbot SF

After 3 years of virtual-meetups, Dorkbot SF had it’s first in-person meetup since the pandemic. Dorkbot is a series of discussions by artists, scientists, and geeks about making cool things with electricity. Last night’s Dorkbot was in Noisebridge, a legendary hackerspace in the heart of the Mission District.

Kal Spelletich and Jonathan Foote- “Pouring Voice into a Laser Beam”

Two people standing in front of a small stage. One is speaking into a mic. In the air above the stage is a bright blue laser beam.
Watch out for that laser, Jon!

The night started with a presentation by Kal and Jonathan showing a cool way to send secret messages via lasers. They explained the method, then demonstrated it live. In the photo above, Rachel McConnell volunteers to speak into a mic that is connected to a laser gun. On the opposite side of the stage is a solar panel that is connected to an amplifier. As Rachel spoke, the audio was sent wirelessly to a solar panel connected to a Raspberry Pi that converted the data back into audio and played it out of a nearby amplifier.

Anja Ulfeldt – Charged Environments – Electricity, Connectivity and Community

Anja standing at a podium at Noisebridge. The blue laser is still on and projecting through the air in front of the stage.

Anja Ulfeldt gave a cool recap of some of the installations and art pieces she’s worked on. A lot of her work has a shared aesthetic that involved exploring everyday sounds and ideas. Like this piece where she put a contact mic on a chair to recreate that feeling of being the last person in a meeting and feeling self-concious about the sounds your chair makes while you are trying to settle in:

Some of her other pieces involved having low levels of electricity interacting with nearby objects. Like this piece:

Noisebridge AI Fiber group – AI Dreamweaving: A Collaborative Exploration of AI and Textile Development

Two presenters on stage at Noisebridge. The message on the screen behind them says "Welcome to Dorkbot". One of the presenters has a small baby in a baby bjorn.

Some members of the Noisebridge AI Quilting group shared some of the projects they are working on. They talked about how some of the earliest computer programs were used in textile factories and how that inspired them to explore the technological aspects of quilting and working with textiles. Their group has done several experiments with AI, like prompting Midjourney to create a quilt, then trying to create real world copies of the AI’s quilt.

If you’d like to learn more about them, check out their Substack to hear about their current experiments. These are all created in the beautiful sewing area on the second floor of Noisebridge.

Yasmin Mawaz-Khan – “Magical Mythical Maker Spaces: a brief look at where it all started and where its all going”

The final presentation was by Yasmin Mawaz-Khan, a local filmmaker who is working on a full length documentary about Bill the junkman and Ace Junkyard. She talked about the importance of maker spaces like Ace Junkyard and then showed a clip from her film. I really enjoyed what she showed and can’t wait to see the full length production.






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