Michael Hoffman of Tandem NSI, who Matthew met at an information session on DARPA Robotics Fast Track, wanted to find out more about our work at Super-Releaser. You can see his impressions from the interview "Super-Releaser Applies Soft Robotics to Exoskeletons, Prosthetics."
As always, had a blast at Henson, this time making a the kids' costumes (including custom hats) for "Jurassic Cookie." There are many cute details added to the vests to give them more texture and grounding, and we made the patches in-house with an attention to detail to give dimensional elements.
This is the very personal account of this test, for more facts and figures, as well as scientific context, check out the press release.
Had my first experience as a Test Director for "hardware validation in relevant environment." It was an incredible honor to work with the team at NRC-Canada, and there was no one I would have rather had my ass-handed to me over and over again by until we got hardware approval. They were incredibly helpful and supportive in getting the test up to acceptable flight-worthiness. During test approval, I would be super focused on resolving an open issue, but also surrounded by brilliant, talented, and generous people ready to lend a hand on anything. On top of their own responsibilities, whenever something came up that could use extra hands or new ideas, they would rush on in!
FFD space suit tests were approved for parabolic flight early on the 2nd day in Ottawa, and The A-Team (aka Test Group 1) got to fly the microgravity flight mission before storm clouds rolled in. The team performed beautifully, and I was proud of our joint achievement. I didn't barf, and got to sit in the jump seat watching the autumn colors during take-off and landing. I also had a delightful moment when the pilots warned of a bump and I got to see the plane run into a cloud and feel it.
Was equally excited to fly with Test Group 2, and since my flight had gone smoothly the day before I felt much more able to enjoy it. There ended up being a free parabola at the end, and I let myself unclip and free float (during test tasks I only loosened my lap belt entirely, since I wanted to be controlled in case someone needed help after a parabola).
Those who had weekend departures were able to kick back and just celebrate. Our meet up location had beer flights, which seemed like the perfect thematic choice. I suggested if we just took sips out of each others' glasses we could try one sip per parabola, until someone pointed out that I was on two tests and would need my stomach pumped. One flight it was, but I couldn't resist calling the phases of the flight. Then there was bistro food, decadent desserts and lots of hugging. I love the striving and the challenge, but I also love the moments we take to celebrate the team.
This is me trying not to laugh while issuing you all tickets to the Soft Robotics Gun Show. I am wearing two iterations of The Neucuff, a simple, powerful, safe exoskeleton for giving Cerebral Palsy patients control over their arms. The project is out of Super-Releaser Robotics, and was conceived of and lead by Matthew Borgatti, who has put up some excellent documentation of the project on Hack-A-Day. As I was writing this post, it also came to my attention that the project is now a semi-finalist for the 2015 Hack-A-Day prize!
Got a notice today in my inbox from Brooklyn Academy of Music that they are having an advance screening of "Sleeping With Other People." The release date is not until September 11, 2015, but I was happy to see that a project that I worked on last summer is officially "coming soon." I won't have anything particularly noteworthy to show, since my role was specifically day player tailor on alterations, but if someone looks good I may take partial credit. The other footnote on this project is that I got a check that said it was for Sleeping With Other People, which made me laugh.
I had a blast making a vest for parody Tyrion Lannister in this Sesame Street segment called "Game of Chairs." The goal was to make it closely evoke a particular costume from "Game of Thrones" with materials available in-house.
I love learning new skills, even when I didn't have a particular goal in mind at the time. You just never know when they will come in handy! For example I recently was asked to make a fabulous custom hat and goggles for a producer, we jokingly called it the Ferrari of novelty hats, and was able to make use of my shoemaking skills and laser cutting/vector knowledge.
Here you can see some leather stretching over a custom eye-shaped last, an application I never could have anticipated as I was making my first shoes.
Here is another photo of the work-in-progress, now with laser cut lenses, which also had laser made holes for the rivets. Ultimately I hope to have some press photos to share, but happy to share a little bit of the development!
Astronaut Karen Nyberg is totally awesome, and spent some of her leisure time while working on the ISS quilting in microgravity. You can even watch a video of her explaining the challenges of sewing in space. Fortunately for crafty space nerds, she decided to invite the rest of us to join in on this unique crafting experience by sending in star-themed blocks to be joined to her block. The finished quilt will be included in an exhibit at 40th anniversary International Quilt Festival in Houston. This exhibit will also highlight the relationship of sewing to the development of NASA missions and will include sewn samples from spacesuits and parachutes, a cargo transfer bag and other soft goods.
As someone who works at the intersection of sewing and space, this seemed like a great opportunity to participate and get more people excited about how space travel can resonate and touch our lives.
My block's style is more in line with the "compass" tradition, but it looked so much like a star that I couldn't resist using it for this application. The colorway was driven by my desire to incorporate the green fabric with black graphic dinosaur, stars and figure escaping a bell jar. I had designed the fabric as a practice run at making repeating patterns (something lost at this scale), and had it printed at Spoonflower.
I am looking forward to sharing a little more about my professional journey, and this website is a great first step! To tide you over until there is more news, here is a photo I got at the Space History Auction of Astronaut Scott Carpenter with his daughter.