Leah Stella Stephens

@stellabelle

The Robots Have Descended Upon Hammerspace in Kansas City

Robot from Hammerspace Community Workshop in Kansas City

Before you’ll believe that robots have indeed taken over a small building in Kansas City, I want you watch this video. Then we can talk.

The founder of Hammerspace Community Workshop in KC, Dave Dalton, created an amazingly intelligent voice recognition software program called Iris, fifteen years ago, way before Siri was released (2011). He told me he installed Iris in his son’s bedroom, which fully resembles the inside of a spaceship. He showed me photos from his Facebook folder of his son’s bedroom and it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a looooong time. Dave jokingly or not so jokingly claimed that Apple had co-opted his program and spelled it backwards (iris=siri).

We did a test while I was there and asked both Siri and Iris the question, “What is going on?” Siri’s answer was “That’s an interesting question” while Iris answered at length, “Well, that is fascinating and I think the robot revolution is about to begin, don’t you?” Dave asked Iris the same question a minute later and got a different answer. Iris said, “I am not sure but I think whatever is going on now has happened several hundred times before.”

I was taken aback by the amazing intelligence of Iris. She was far superior to Siri in every way possible. Iris’ voice can be heard booming out of the Snack Kitchen as seen below. Dave has Iris do all the gruntwork like announcing to the members, “It’s time to clean up your workspaces now.”

a phallus-like object in right bottom corner.

I wandered into the room where I witnessed an object being printed by a 3-D printer (aren’t I cool now that I’ve seen a 3-D printer in action?). I was very impressed. I asked Dave a bunch of questions about how I could build my solar-powered superhero doll. He seemed a bit annoyed with me but after he could sense I was serious, he answered my questions. Here’s the 3-D printer and a bunch of 3-D printed objects that I got to touch and feel:

My favorite 3-d printed object was the thin yellow fabric at far right. It looks simultaneously organic and computer-generated.

I spent a large amount of time just looking at all the cool, weird stuff on the walls and in the various rooms. I believe in Tentacles too, so when I saw a cloth poster of it, I was in awe. I like the notion of donating to obsolete robots, as well. The absolute insanity of everything I saw today gives me a new sense of hope for Kansas City. I’m in. My solar hobby kits arrive soon, then I’ll be working on illustrating my solar doll. I’ll need help, obviously, but, I can visualize the doll and its solar house and pets quite clearly in my mind. So now I’ll just need to translate the depictions into reality.

My absolute favorite thing I saw was a female robot. I don’t know who made it but it was really cool:

I think the best thing about Hammerspace is the affordable membership fees. Once you are a member ($50 per month / individual, $75 per month / family, with all kids free), you can use the 3-d printer for your own projects. I asked how much an object costs to print and Dave told me the one printing at that very minute cost $16.03. Very affordable! If you want to learn how to use a 3-d printer, here are the instructions:

For Easter, there is a really cool event planned at Hammerspace. Decorate Eggs With Robots and Silk Neckties!

Visit their Facebook page for more details about their upcoming events.

Whenever I find things like this, I ask myself, “Where the fuck have I been for the last 4 years?”

Oh, yeah, I’ve been languishing in the gutter, gnawing on raw horse meat and darkness.

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Thanks for your attention in this matter. The robots are winning.

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