BFB3000 meets “mancave solutions”

ABS warping and PLA broken filaments is a very well known issue in the 3d print world! At Artica we have our good old BFB3000 and we solved this problems using what I have later proudly called “mancave solutions”!! :D

Here I am using a heater pointed to the printer, this keeps the object and the platform quite warmy! and it works flawleslly! Besides it keeps the room quite warm wich feels good under the winter.. summer will be much hotter I suppose!!
ManCave Solutions for BFB3000

PLA filament lose elastic properties through the time and on the BFB3000 it simply snaps inside the rubber tubes.. I created a roof on the top of the printer as you can see, the filament enters the print head without any stress and no more snaps!
ManCave Solutions for BFB3000

ManCave Solutions for BFB3000

And the result is awesome!!
3D printed bevel gears

Sega Rally Championship @ Codebits VI

Codebits as you might know is the most geekest event in Portugal and surroundings!

Its audience range goes from programmers and entrepeneurs to hackers and designers! This year 800 people came to participate in 3 days full of talks, challenges, games, demos and junk food!!

About our participation @ Codebits VI, at Artica we are extremely addicted to race games, Trackmania is only one of our favourites!! We still are addicted to race games but we usually don’t play them, instead, we prefer to create our own games.. :D we thought it would be way cool to drive a remote control car using a steering wheel and pedals, and if the car had a wireless cam, the gamer could look at the screen and really see what the car was seeing in real time, just like an arcade game!

This was our proposal to Codebits! To have an arcade game where it would be possible to drive two cars and participate in a real race, without any simulations or complex algorythms, neither 3D graphics.. we want something real! Celso Martinho was very excited with our idea, and by coincidence (or not) they were planning to have a retro gaming area at codebits!! Luis Sobral also known as TheArcadeMan, was the one behind the retro gaming area, Luis refurbishes old arcade machines and transforms them into brand new machines just like magic!

Besides having his own Arcades there, he was working on 10 old arcade machines, making them work with the so acclaimed Raspberry PI!!

Luis had just bought two old SegaRally Consoles, and there was the possibility to transform them to be the control station for our RC cars! On a first (of many) tours to Luis’s “mancave” we start disassembling the old consoles, removing the old electronics boards, wondering the best way to connect all the gear!

Sega Rally Championship
apologize for the crappy quality photo :p

There is a strange beauty in this sturdy mechanical systems, they are so well engineered and one can feel they were pushed into the limits through the years, and are still able to be pushed a lot more!


This was the throttle pedal gear, on the right you can see a hand-made replacement, it was a cool hack to do.. and a miracle that it worked flawlessly all the event!

Sega Rally Championship

At this stage we couldn’t imagine that one of the biggest challenges was about to come!! Yes, the CRT’s… to send Video signal to this old CRT is not impossible by any means.. but it prooved to be way to much complicated for us..

Sega Rally Championship

after many attempts and despair.. we finally decided to “kill the rabbit”!! We found two Mitsai CRT’s willing to have a new glorious life!!! :D

Sega Rally Championship

And they fitted perfectly in the old frame!

Sega Rally Championship

The steering, pedals, gears and buttons were connected to an Arduino, and data was sent via xbee to the car.

Sega Rally Championship

The car had a receiver Arduino mapping the data to the wheels, throttle and to the video switch! The gamer could choose wich camera to use, the front camera proved to be extremely difficult to use and only hardcore drivers used it!! The upper camera needed a support, and it had its iterations due to be easily broken when the car crashes or capsize! The final iteration was a one PVC piece bended with heat, it proved to be sturdy and survived to the hole event!

Sega Rally Championship



Finally at Codebits VI !! :D Artica had the honor to be at the Hardware Den with TheArcadeMen, Altlab, Ultimaker, InMotion, Mitch Altman and RaspberryPI Foundation.

The Sega Rally Championship Arcade was fully working all the time, we only need to stop a couple of times for final tweaks..

Sega Rally Championship

..and to recharge batteries!

Sega Rally Championship

To drive this things was extremely cool!! We are looking forward to repeat the experience!!

Sega Rally Championship

As a final note, we want to give a big thanks to all SAPO and PT Team for making this event a reality, Mauricio Martins and Adriano Couto from AltLab for helping us with the CRT’s, Francisco Dias gave a major help with his hacking skills, João Ribeiro for being a true Artica member, Filipe Valpereiro for all the hardcore geeky support, he was the guy who told us how to remove the steering wheel lag caused by the xbee buffer.. and finally thank you Celso for believing in us!!!

Robots & Avatars

We had the opportunity to participate at the Robots & Avatars exhibition that took place in Kibla, a multidisciplinary center. It was almost a 24 hours trip, but we finally get there.


The Robots & Avatars exhibition is a great initiative create by the people at Body>Data>Space, they are very into robotics, human-machine-interaction, telepresence and virtual worlds, take a time to visit their website.

We took with us three magabots, one of them was running NAVI (a cool project that I will speak on a later post). The other two were running telepresence with Skype, plenty of people had the opportunity to remotely visit the exhibiton.


This kid was controlling Magabot with an Android phone running Skype.


The exhibition had great robotic installations, debates, workshops and even artistic performances, I will leave you with some photos, apologize not having pictures of every installation.


ROBOVOX was a SMS to VERY LOUD speech robot, by Martin Bricelj Baraga (SI)


The craziest Delta Robot ever, by Ruari Glynn (UK).


ZOE, roaming creatures, by Niki Passath (AT).


Blind Robot, this two arms where really alive, they touched your face very smoothly while simultaneously creating an abstract image and sound during the “recognition” process, by Louis Phillipe Demers / Processing Plant (CA/DE).


Funny little creatures created in a workshop for children, by Mia Lean Kronemann (DE).



Very inspiring debates around subjects like artificial intelligence, virtual worlds, intelligent robots, and human machine interaction, moderated by Ghislaine Boddington.


Visit to The Cultural Center of European Space Technologies, at Vitanje.


Riding with style!! :D

It was a great honor for us to participate in this great event, we came back to Portugal very inspired to create better and friendlier robots!!

A great thanks to everyone at Kibla and Body>Data>Space!!!

360º Projection at TryAngle

TryAngle is a great artistic iniciative sponsored by the European Culture Programme, it had three labs, and one of the labs was at the “O Espaço do Tempo” in Montemor-o-Novo.

Two artists had this great idea of a video projection inside a cylinder, with a 360º panoramic view of “Praça de Touros de Montemor” filled with persons, where each person represented a degree. Guess who they called to stich the 18 photos, and set all the projection system inside an empty cylinder.. ? :)

360º projection @ TryAngle

360º projection @ TryAngle

360º projection @ TryAngle

360º projection @ TryAngle

This was a huge challenge for us since we had never tried such a thing and a huge challenge for our Einstein VideoPlayer. Glad that we made it and everyone was happy!!

This next video shows another views of the projection system and also other creations:

Don’t forget to visit the TryAngle website to know everything related to this awesome initiative!!

Shop Window – Interactive Instalation

Here we are at the Museu das Telecomunicações (Comunications Museum) in Lisbon.

One of the museum installations is a shop window, showing three old devices, and when you place your hand or finger one the window, content is displayed on the side screen… fair enough, but the truth is that is was lacking some more interactivity, and we suggested to have spot lights on each device, and every time someone touch the area, the spot would fade in and the others simply fade out. Another cool thing we added was a led-strip on the top, giving an ambient light when there was no interaction, and blue light when someone touch the glass, everything just faded smoothly.

Artica @ Rock In Rio and SuperBockSuperRock

MusicBox is the new PT’s music channel, at the festival they wanted to had the application on a big screen and have the possibility to control it using hand gesture. We were hired by Hipnose to accomplish the challenge.

This was ment to be with the so known kinect camera, but what they didn’t know is that the kinect doesn’t work outdoor, so we used a laser sensor and it worked flawlessly!!


This installation had a huge PA (power amplifier – sound system) outside, and when there was a concert at the main stage we need to cut the sound so we also customize four headphones to let the people still listen to the grooves. Margarida and Fernando did a great job with the headphones!!


We also added a led strip, it was ment to give instant feedback to the user, when a hand was detected it changed color to green, on click it gives red and on idle went blue.


also check Sapo’s video:

ICU2 – I See You Too

ICU2 is the evolution of the 1st iteration, this new version was totally upgraded, all the pans and tilts systems are from ServoCity, and the software had been re-written from scratch, the face tracker component is on a openFrameworks program wich makes it more performative, and on the Processing side we had a preset based animation program, everytime it looses a face it will load a preset with a diferent animation, this makes it more organic and less repetitive, I will talk more about the software on another post.

This installation is ment to work without the screen, it focuses the attention of the viewer on the ICU, but both of the exhibitions had the screen there as you can see. The knowledge pavilion required the screen to be there because it shows all the control side of the mechanism, and they want to show it to the visitors, and on the FCT Open Day, this exhibition was ment to be visited by new engineering students so we decided to let the screen to be there as well.