Name: Sam Blanchard
Lives: Blacksburg, VA
What are you showcasing at World Maker Faire this year?
SeeMore is a kinetic sculpture and parallel computer made of 256 Raspberry Pi's, which are small, functional computers that show what's going on inside as they perform tasks, such as Google searches.
How did you come up with the idea?
It was my collaborator, Kirk Cameron, that approached me with a question; “How can we use art and parallel computing to get people interested in computer science?” Kirk, a professor of computer science himself, explained that there was a challenge in communicating the abstract nature of his field. The outcome, a mash-up of art and science, pulls inspiration from early super computing (the project is named for Seymour Cray, the father of parallel computing), fluid simulations and funnel clouds.
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Did anything surprising happen while you were developing it?
It was developed in two teams working side by side, one art-based and the other computer science-based. I was surprised to see the similarities in our processes, how we evaluate concepts, artistic or functional, through critique and iterative design thinking.
What are you working on next?
Because SeeMore is a computer and as such capable of an infinite number of tasks, we want to integrate an input system through twitter that would allow the viewer to interact, perform searches, ask questions and so on.
Is there anyone at World Maker Faire you’re excited to meet?
Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi Foundation, of course!
What invention do you think would change the world?
A.I., because we all need someone to blame for our screw-ups…
Meet Sam Blanchard at World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science Sept. 26 & 27.