Category Archives: Design

Digital Graffiti

I’m not a huge fan of graffiti. While I’m sure it rightfully earned its place as one
of the founding 5 elements of hip-hop (whatever that means, and for whatever it’s worth), I’ve always thought it was kind of corny, like breakdancing and Bay Area rappers. I just don’t particularly care for it. Despite all of that, this is cool. Super geeked out cool, but really, really cool nonetheless.

It’s called Hektor. It’s a portable spray-paint output device for laptop computers. Hektor at work Hektor’s creators, Jürg Lehni and Uli Franke, explain: Hektor’s light and fragile installation consists only of two motors, toothed belts and a can holder that handles regular spray cans. The can is moved along drawing paths just as the human hand or old plotters would.

It takes a vector file like this:

We Try Harder vector

And it turns it something like this:


We Try Harder result

Sometimes I see or read about something that I think is so innovative, so masterful in it’s use of technology, or simply so far from anything that I’ve ever thought of, that I am literally stunned. As in, I have to take a moment to break myself away from the awe. These aren’t discoveries that will change the world or cure cancer, but they knock me on my ass. This is one of them.

This is the kind of thing I really get a kick out of. I think (hope) this will be one of the true accomplishments of all of the technology that completely bombards us and now affects pretty much everything that we do — not that we’ll be able to write on our friend’s Facebook wall from our watch, or that we’ll have cars that don’t need drivers, but that it’ll make something interesting to folks who normally may not dig it, or give folks access to things (or ideas or services) that they normally wouldn’t.