Firefly is Here! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!

The following is a quick status report for Firefly (previous reports).

We are very excited to be delivering a swarm of our Firefly creations to the Nuit Blanch Base Camp Party! Thanks to support from Recycle Your ElectronicsAwesome Ottawa, ArtEngine and more!

FireFly has been multiplying at a feverish pace thanks to Michael Grant (Krazatchu Design) who is assembling and testing of their little brains, feelers, sensors and lights.

We now have a large enough test lab to study how swarms of Fireflies scale. The software in Firefly’s tiny electronic brain has been designed to be “scale free”. Human networks have some scale free properties too so this is a key to their personalities (social network theory primer). I am now verifying and tweaking to make sure certain properties of their personality stays consistent regardless of network size.

I made a tray so I can quickly deploy and recover the bugs and keep them protected. I will be scaling this tray up shortly for some very large tests. So this could pop-up at a party or venue any time now. 🙂

We’ve updated the power system in the final design to be more green so this will be verified as well. Here are a few highlights in the final timeline.

Firefly in NBOG Blog

Here are some thoughts from Anna Paluch on how Firefly takes life.

Firefly in Metro News

We were happy to be interviewed by this Metro News. We also went on CTV Morning Live and the MakerFaire. Wwe were covered by Make Magazine and Hack A Day as they covered Makerfaire. We were also in the Citizen on August 29.

September 11th, Firefly Tops List for Visual Arts in Ottawa

We were thrilled to be at the top of this list.

First Large Scale Test Run, 14th

A pop-up swarm of Fireflies appeared at a venue in Ottawa last night. Mark Stephenson and I ran the test for a few hours while we discussed various software elements and made a couple of tweaks.

We had just added a collection of functions to the software and some instability came forward so I decided I needed to do a series of tweeks and tests to get to the bottom of it. I felt safe putting the new stuff in despite tight schedule since I can always roll back to the version before the changes.

The battery system and the rest of the hardware came through with shining colors. I studied the behavior of the software. I was fastinated by the fact that the issue seemed to come forward when there was a large number of Fireflies.

Second Test, 16th

7:30 At an undisclosed location.

Third Test, 17th

I evaluated individual and network behavior. I noticed that IR noise was a bit of a problem.

Fourth Test, 18th

Firefly made the Ten Must See list for Nuit Blanche!

I hardened the security of some of the information transfers. That took about 4h. Then I tested for several hours. I was pretty sure I found the problem. I managed to fix it and felt pretty comfortable after this.

Here’s a video Mark made for fun.

Fifty Flies, 19th

We brought the project to an undisclosed location to test it on a crowd. The system worked perfectly.




Megan appears on CTV Morning Live.


September 20th, TV

Mark and Laura appear on CTV Morning Live.