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Matt's Blog

A Most Stupendous & Audacious Undertaking

[local] Play on aerial dance equipment!
I went to the last one of these, and it's very much worth checking out.


Dear Friend,

We are hosting a Play Date and Costume Sale! The one we had in March was so much fun, we decided to make it a habit. Come play on our structures, try on our costumes, put things on your head! You'll regret missing it...


Play Date and Costume Sale!
   Wednesday, June 22nd 7-9pm
    Zaccho Dance Studio, 1777 Yosemite Ave #330, SF
creative at capacitor dot org


Bring comfortable clothes, a water container and curiosity! suggested donation: $20.

Capacitor is looking for a individual and corporate partners for the premiere of "Okeanos". If you have an interest in working with us to make this sensory immersion meet reality, please email me at

We are also looking for long-term storage space for our structures, props, and costumes. Please contact me if you have space to donate and we will give you a donation receipt for your taxes!

Startup Name Change
We are thinking of changing our startup name from 3dcapture.it to MatterPort. Motivation: we are looking for something a little more flexible (in case our product changes) and evocative as opposed to super-literal. It sounds fun to say too.  Any feedback?

Also, we were in BusinessWeek!

NotEphemerisle Proposed City Plan
I put together a proposal for the NotEphemerisle city plan.  Urban planning is a lot of fun, especially when you can reconfigure your city in a matter of hours.

My thinking:

I'm trying to optimize for several things:
- Easy transport between houseboats (either from boat to boat, or via central platform and other projects) so houseboats must align at gates.
- City design that allows 47ft and 56ft houseboats to mix.
- Creation of a sheltered central area for community platforms and art projects.  (Last year, the koosh felt lost amid a long line of houseboats)
- Clear focus on community space
- Easy speedboat/patioboat/small craft docking at community platform, complete with an exciting promenade entryway experience in order to wow new arrivals on Saturday.
- Sheltered swim area for kids.
- Incremental assembly process that is robust to arrival of boats at various times.  
- Easy accomodation of an unknown final number of houseboats.
- From the outside (from most directions) it looks like a regular houseboat party... this helps us keep a lower profile.
- Not boring like 2010's design!
Some notes:
- The central platform and Terry's bar are on loose bits of rope, allowing them to be pulled toward either adjacent houseboats or the central platform.  This allows both these floating platforms to function as rope barges, allowing passengers to take a shortcut from houseboats at the end
- The sex platform is essentially also a rope barge.  Its position will have to be moved based on prevailing currents... users drift out on it, and then pull back when they're done.
- The reed art may move further out if there's too little wave action in the shared area.
I am not the leader of this event (there is no leader!) so you could ignore this design and attach wherever.  But it's in all our collective best interest to have a city design we like (whether it's this one or a different one).

Reflections on Maker Faire, 3D scanning, and life stories
The 3D scanning software we built now allows for live reconstruction of the images as we scan them. We wrote this UI in the few days before Maker Faire, and got to show it off all weekend. It was very well received, but it also had a significance that goes back several years:


In 2003 I took over 500 pictures of my room with the hope that sometime in the future I could feed these pictures into some algorithm that would generate a 3D reconstruction of it. Then I could show my kids and grandkids what my living environment used to look like. There is a program called Photosynth that aligns photos in that manner but it does not create accurate point clouds that could let you truly wander around in 3D.

I also have this art project I did way back in 1999 – a giant paper-mache dragon head that was a source of great excitement for a year or so but over time became ambient and eventually something a white elephant; something I cared enough about to not throw away but didn’t care enough about to have as part of my living space. Thus is became a burden in my storage locker. A couple of years back I had the desire to document it and then immolate it, but I never went through with it. While prepping for Maker Faire and the demo of our 3D scanning product, I saw the dragon head in my storage locker, and it suddenly became relevant again. I performed the act of digitizing this old art project again and again for an audience, showing how this emblem of my past could be captured and liberated as bits.

Original dragon head at Maker Faire, ready for scanning:

3D reconstructed dragon head -- viewable form any angle:


Dreams and desires of the past are manifested into the present, and the various narrative threads of my life become more interwoven. I make the future I want to live in.

The people at the adjacent booth had a 3D printer, and they kindly printed out a 3D copy of the dragon head. It was low-resolution and gray instead of color, but it gave me an inkling of this feat I’ve been wanting to accomplish for years.  It looks like there are some online services that will print a high resolution full-color 3D copy for around $16 per cubic inch. 

Here's one of the 3D prints the neighbors did for me:

Maker Faire 2011

I’m now scanning everything I can get my hands on. A guy walked by in a Master Chief costume – I scanned him and now have a 3D copy of him too. 

Maker Faire 2011 
Kinect 3D reconstructions  Kinect 3D reconstructions  Kinect 3D reconstructions

Life has been very busy lately, but I want to make sure I keep blogging.

Floating Tilting Game Platform finished!
The Floating Tilting Game Platform is a lot of fun.  It's also very good exercise.  In the only time we took video, Adam managed to quickly score one against me:

Kate painted the game balls and made them look awesome:

Testing the Tilting Game Platform

Dressing in our team colors :-)

Testing the Tilting Game Platform

Kate takes good action shots:

Testing the Tilting Game Platform  Testing the Tilting Game Platform
Testing the Tilting Game Platform

Come out to NotEphemerisle and play!

Thanks to our Kickstarter backers:

First tier (<$20)
- Michael Katsevman
- lovekickstarting
- you_will_succeed
- Anonymous(1)

Second Tier: ($20-$50)
- Christine Peterson
- Jonathan Cain
- Terry Floyd
- Gerry Deckert
- Mike Gibson
- Anonymous(3)

Third Tier: ($50+)
- James Hogan
- Anonymous(1)

NotEphemerisle 2011 -- Built the floating tilty game board today
Kate helped me build the floating tilty game board for NotEphemerisle today.  We learned that routers and hole saws are awesome.

P1170614  P1170616
P1170618  P1170619
We're planning on testing it at Fortman Marina in Alameda on Monday.  Come by if you want to play!

What will it be like?  Check out this scale-model video of gameplay from 2010.  The project was originally planned for that year but abandoned in favor of the koosh.   

Onion article (sort of) comes true
I received a notice in the mail from the SF Planning Commission informing me that a medical marijuana dispensary is opening up around the corner from me.  They are soliciting my opinion on whether they should be granted a permit.

Reminds me of this Onion article:  http://www.theonion.com/articles/tonys-law-would-require-marijuana-users-to-inform,1298/

Wide-brimmed condoms?
There's plenty of research out there claiming that condoms not effective at preventing the spread of STDs that can be transmitted through genital-to-genital contact.  HPV, herpes, and others are on this list.

I was thinking last night that this problem would actually not take much work to solve.  Essentially all someone has to do is create a condom that flares out at the base to a width of 6 inches or so.  The outer circumference of the base would have an embedded semi-rigid ring that would keep the shape circular.  (It would be similar to the outer ring of the female condom, but bigger)  This flared base would ensure that there's no direct genital-to-genital contact.  

Granted, relatively few people care as much about reducing STD risks as I do, and a condom that looks like a miniature sombrero likely would be seen as kind of ridiculous-looking and potentially unsexy.  But surely there are enough people like me that this could be some sort of niche market.
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Tour of the SF Armory (slightly NSFW)
There is a forbiddingly high, incongruous, block-sized Scottish castle a few blocks from my house.  It used to be a city armory back in the day, but has been abandoned and disused from the 1950s.  Abandoned, that is, until recently.  In an effort to raise money, the city decided to look for potential buyers to purchase the abandoned armory building.  However, they wanted to find a buyer who would preserve as much of the building's historic appearance as possible.  The winning bidder was a company that, unlike the other bidders, was happy to get a set of dingy, mostly windowless spaces with heavy iron doors, boilers, and lots of attachment points on the wall and ceiling. 

Specifically, this company made kinky porn, and an old armory/castle suited them perfectly.  There were some protests from local residents who felt that the company would bring an unsavory character to the neighborhood (a neighborhood, I should point out, that's rife with drug dealing and other street crime), but the city government went ahead with their bid.

Recently, the kinky porn company started offering building tours.  Porn isn't my thing (I'm more into the real thing than watching other people do it), but the promise of learning about the internal workings of the porn industry and getting to poke around a mysterious old building was too hard to resist. 


We got to talk to several of the kink.com employees, and from what I could tell, they do a very good job of treating their employees well and trying to keep safety standards as high as possible. 

slightly nsfw picsCollapse )

This is perhaps the best letter I have ever received
NAM just wasted a bunch of money on some very crappy direct mail leads.