xsection.js | 30 Years in Data

The Earth has, just today, completed revolving around the sun three times for each finger on a typical human hand since the day I was born. To commemorate the occasion, I made an interactive visualization of my life. I've open-sourced the code as xsection.js and you can create your own custom version by modifying the data.js file.

Mystic Rose Generator

Here's yet another geometric math/art/code thing. It's a javascript-based Mystic Rose Generator. What's a mystic rose? Draw a circle with n evenly spaced points on it and draw a line connecting each point to all the others.


I wanted to do something interactive for Maker Faire last year. I had been drawing my PenFlakes, and thought it would be cool if people could design their own and print them out. So I created FlakePad, a javascript/HTML5 web app that enforces the basic symmetry of a snowflake, and provides a hexagonal grid to work off of.

Aside from being a great way to get my hands dirty with HTML5, the most interesting part of the app was creating the hexagonal grid. I wound up learning about and utilizing Isometric Cubic Coordinates. These coordinates provide an amazingly simple way to label hexagons on a grid, as well as a relatively simple transformation to and from standard Cartesian Coordinates. The basic trick is to recognize that a hexagonal grid, can be seen as a projection of a 3D arrangement of cubes centered on the plane x+y+z=0 (imagine Q*bert, the old NES game).

Giant VU Meter

In addition to my "official" Maker Faire Detroit project, I created a giant VU meter for the after party.

It's powered by a Velleman mono VU meter kit. This is the same kit Eli Skipp used for her VU meter scarf. I replaced the single LED outputs with opto-isolators which provide a 12V signal to the segments.

The segments are made of masonite and frosted acrylic, connected by 1/4-20 threaded rod. I used 12V LED strip lighting, and each segment has 18 LEDs on it. There is also an aluminized mylar shroud around each segment to reflect stray light back in. With the shroud on, it's very bright, even in an artificially lit room.

Special thanks to the following awesome people who helped me with design and construction: Paul K, Sean D, Joe B, Becky T, Mike B, Roger S, Nate B, Ted H, Nick B. And of course, it was made at i3 Detroit!

This is just a preview, I'll be doing a full writeup soon!