I’ve had a terrible time finding a good piece of software to draw mandalas with. To be honest, I don’t care what mandalas are but I’m obsessed with how cool it is to draw with replicated symmetry on multiple axis.
Without further ado, here it is (drag your mouse to draw):
So wow… just wow, this blew up. This little tool ended up making the front page of Reddit in one amazing thread in which many people shared their mandalas. It was an amazing day in many ways, first of all I’ve never seen so many positive comments in a single thread online. The amount of people who seem to have been positively touched by this program is humbling. Drawing mandalas is apparently great stress relief for many and I’ve received several personal notes on how much this program had done for them. I did not see that coming to say the least. Then the fact that this tools was picked up by real artists pushed it to build creations I didn’t even know it was capable of. Lastly, my solar powered raspberry Pi handled hundred of thousands of connections in a single day which turned out to be a technical challenge on top of the overwhelming response. When I set out to create this program, I did not have the slightest idea that it would hit such a sweet spot. I mainly wanted to scratch an itch and couldn’t find any good apps out there. It is a true privilege to have had the chance so see so many people use a tool I made, and have them report they were positively touched by it.
Here is a few of the most amazing mandalas that were posted on the Reddit thread, this is what it looks like when real artists take over your tool 🙂
Robin & I have been working on a rover for the land since his toy RC car broke. I opened it up to see if I could fix it, and as with many things, I quickly came to the conclusion that “I’ll just throw a Pi in there and do it myself”.
Here’s the supposedly amphibian piece of shit that broke within 1 hour of use. I have to take this back, the company replaced it and it has been sturdy with all the mods.
From the ground up
Before anything else, we introduced the notion of a relay. In the past we used Lego motors and batteries to apply power directly to actuators and create little robots. I just snipped one of the wires and had Robin create contact manually so he could make the correlation between a closed circuit and the motor going.
Ok we have a web controlled Lego motor going. Let’s see if we can replicate with the RC car’s motors.
Then with the Pi controlled relaysOur first iteration looked like this and had a few issues. I separated the circuit powering the DC motors and each were powered by only 1 AA battery. I also had many adjustments to make in the logic.
Eventually, by adding a DROK voltage regulator, I was able to power everything from a single USB charger and prevent the motors from affecting the rest of the circuits.
But the extra hardware is hard to fit in the Nosy Monster so it’s unlikely that I will be able to fit the solar panel that would turn it into a completely autonomous robot. So I started googling for other potential frames and OH GOD I JUST STUMBLED INTO THE WORLD OF RC ROBOTICS. Oops…
In any case, I broke down the control into a step by step process. Instead of pressing “Go” and “Stop”, pressing “Go” will make it go for 1 second. There is 2 reasons for this. First, web based control introduces delays which make for a shitty live driving experience. Second, I would like this to behave like an actual rover on another planet. It reports back its sensors status and human decide on the next steps to follow. Heck I’m even thinking the next steps could be something that is voted on online. This would not be possible with “live” control.