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RBCSo for this year’s Red Bull Creation 2014 Qualifying round, we were challenged to consider a way to make the world a better place, or at least a more fun and interesting place.  We went with fun and interesting, because anything that makes it fun and interesting, can also help make it better.  We decided to  put a new age spin on an old tyme tradition: the photo booth, a social experience where the outcome was always a surprise and you had to wait for the magic to happen.

We built the InstaHam from a TRS Drawbot design, by Sean Michael Ragan and Mikal Hart , with a small computer and a webcam to create a portable robotic photo booth that can be taken to various events as an outreach tool for Eureka! Factory events ,like Gulf Coast MakerCon and Roboticon, and10440793_719894301407568_8455677873310977066_n for our FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, Team Duct Tape. By taking the InstaHam into the community we can engage people with technology in a fun and non-threatening way. The simple drawing mechanism helps to demystify robotics and computer aided manufacturing as well as demonstrating how accessible technology and making is to the general public.

We think the InstaHam provides community, fun, mechanical entertainment and gives fresh low-def perspective in a world often rendered too sharply hi-res to allow for the joys of imperfection.

We had a great time putting the InstaHam, together and learned a lot in the process. How awesome is it to convert an image into sound and then back into an image again?! By a bunch of amateur tinkerers  using a home computer and hacked together components, no less! This brings a whole new meaning to “home making”.  And brings home again, as well, the enormous potential of a citizenry encouraged and empowered to create!