Ben spent most of the last month glued to his computer, working on product development, Horatio updates, and lots and lots of coding. But that’s not to say it wasn’t an exciting month! Here’s a few peeks at what we’ve been up to:
- We created a mockup for a public art installation in downtown Pittsburgh, which includes a web-portal control interface for an RGBW light. The controller also tracks temperature and humidity, since the lights in this installation are going to live in some pretty extreme conditions. (More on that soon!)
- The new revision of the Horatio hardware now sports an internal battery backup, allowing us to distinguish between a power failure and a network failure.
- We have a new system in the works (Code Name: Prometheus), and we’re getting close to a beta release and announcement. Can’t say more than that yet, but we’ll have more details for you in next month’s roundup post!
Mockup web interface with temp and humidity monitoring.
Updated Horatio board with internal battery backup.
Board for Prometheus, now in development. Any guesses as to what it is?
It’s almost two weeks since Ben got back from LDI, and we’ve finally recovered enough to post an update! The show went really well – Ben got the chance to talk to a lot of great people, the comfy chairs were a hit, and we even won an award! We’re not sure what for exactly, but you can check out the Barnelli Awards on Twitter to see the other winners – we’re in good company! We’re pretty sure it’s because they figured out the secret messages hidden in our booth. (Did you? You’ve got all the clues you need in the photos below – first person to figure it out and leave a comment below wins a prize!)
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and made our first time exhibiting at LDI so successful. If you didn’t make it to the show, check out the photos below to see what you missed!
The view from our booth – we had a pretty great spot!
The empty booth, awaiting our crate full of goodies.
Our crate arrives.
We brought a lot of pop with us. Probably didn’t need quite that much.
Setting up the booth.
Our C-stands with Source Four Minis looked like tiny booms!
The Natrona Bottling Co soda was a big hit!
The booth is all set up and ready for visitors!
Close up of part of the Wall of Signs.
We can now say we are an award-winning lighting controls company.
Prospero makes a great pedestal for the Barnelli award…
2 versions of Horatio, with a diagram explaining the system.
We’re headed to LDI this week (exhibiting for the first time!), and we’re excited to show off some great products and chat with people over locally-crafted pop while reclining in our super-squishy chairs. Here’s a peek at what you’ll see if you stop by and see us in Booth #1782:
A live demo of the Horatio Architainment Monitoring System – an affordable, easily integrated, internet-connected system that monitors unattended lighting systems, collects diagnostic data and sends out immediate notifications of problems. Designed to be manufacturer agnostic, Horatio dramatically increases the accessibility and visibility of the inner workings of any lighting network.
The Prospero DMX cue light controller – a reconfigurable controller that enables the creation of simple, flexible DMX cue light systems, providing the benefits of a custom cue light controller without the expense. Developed to the specifications of Broadway electricians and stage managers, it has been used over the past two years on more than 30 Broadway productions and tours, as well as installations in regional theatres and road houses.
The MSC Box – the newest addition to BPI’s product line, the MSC Box is a unique tool that provides visibility into a MSC message stream and can also pause the data stream, temporarily isolating portions of a show’s control system. We’ll be giving two MSC Boxes away this week – one at the show, and another one online, so follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter if you aren’t making it to Vegas this year!
If you are at the show, stop by our booth and relax for a bit while you chat with Ben – we’ll be fully stocked with a supply of pop from Natrona Bottling Company, including root beer, ginger beer and almond cream soda. A word of warning, though: the chairs are so comfy, you might not want to leave…
More product info
It’s been a big month for us here at BPI! We moved out of the old shop (just in time, since that huge storm blew out a window – if we hadn’t already moved Ben’s office out, all the computers and electronics would have been soaked!), and we’re mostly settled into the new shop. I’ve been organizing the office, while Ben got the router set up in its new home and started organizing the electronics shop. Meanwhile, the littlest member of our team has settled right into her office – we’re pretty sure she’d be happy to just move in there and never come home.
We got the move done just in time, since cue light season is back in full swing – we’re shipping 6 Prospero units in the next six weeks – and Ben is about to do a beta installation of Horatio Outdoor. He’s also continuing development on the Midi Show Control box, which should be done by mid-October.
We’ve also got some exciting news: we’re exhibiting at LDI for the first time this year! I’ve gone into master planning mode, making schedules and designing the booth, while Ben gets Horatio and Prospero ready to show off to the world. It’s going to be a crazy couple of months, but we’re excited. If you’re going to be at LDI, drop us a line, and stop by to chat with Ben – Booth #1782!
Sad to leave behind our “urban stained glass”, and our fabulous neighbors at the Design Center!
Good thing we got out before the storm – there were giant puddles in the middle of the former office!
New home of our little CNC router.
She’s made herself right at home.
The new MSC Box lets you pause and restart MIDI data with the press of a button.
Color coding is the key to everything.
We’ve been slacking off on the weekly roundup posts, but we had a good reason: we were moving the shop!
While we loved our shop at the Design Center, with its urban stained glass (aka graffiti on the windows) and awesome neighbors (hi, Plant Lady!), an opportunity arose that was just too good to pass up. Clear Story Creative, who we’ve done some great projects with in the past, had some extra space and invited us to move in!
BPI is still a separate operation, with our own dedicated space in their shop, and Ben gets an air conditioned and heated office out of the deal (no more fingerless gloves for programming in the winter!). Ben also gets people to talk to during the day (so you might see him on Facebook a little less often…), I get my own desk (instead of a tiny corner of an electronics workbench), and the littlest member of our team even gets a new office and some new friends (who are already providing her with exciting new toys…).
Posts might be sporadic for the next few weeks as we continue to settle in, but keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for pictures as we get the office set up and decorated!
Packing up the old shop
We packed everything onto pallets to make it easier to move. Hooray for pallet jacks!
The furniture was the only thing that didn’t go on pallets, so Ben only needed one helper to get everything moved (thanks, Ken!)
We thought a 26′ truck would be more than enough space, but it ended up packed to the gills…
Enjoying the A/C after moving all the furniture in. The disco ball goes up next week.
Our littlest team member had to test out Ben’s new desk. He might never get it back…
Ben and Horatio had a busy week last week, with great news on several different fronts. We made arrangements for the installation of Horatio Outdoor beta units in two different locations and applications (more on that in the weeks to come!), and Ben spent some time in the shop doing an overhaul of Horatio’s email alert system, to make it more streamlined and easy to use. Meanwhile, the Horatio at the Petersen Automotive Museum, one of our very first installations, celebrated 5 months of continuous uptime this week (that’s 152 days!).
Ben also continued working with Clear Story to develop a custom 4-universe lighting controller, all while avoiding being pressure washed through the shop’s leaky windows.
The location of an upcoming Horatio Outdoor beta installation
Streamlining the Horatio alert notifications
Working on a custom 4-universe lighting controller
Ben’s been busy with several top-secret projects this week (more on those in the next few months), but he also found time to do some more development on the outdoor Horatio unit that we’ll be beta testing soon. This week he was mostly working with those giant metal halide lamps he acquired last week – setting up a system to log data as they cycled, and then analyzing that data (graph of a single lamp striking below). He then used that data to create an algorithm that remotely detects lamp strikes, which will allow the new Horatio to monitor outdoor lighting in a variety of applications.
Coffee geek that he is, Ben also discovered that Aeropress Inverted is a thing, and he’s been brewing his coffee that way all week. He says it’s even better than the standard Aeropress method – which is pretty good all on its own!
Graph of a metal halide lamp striking
Inverting the Aeropress makes even better coffee!
It’s been a busy month here at BPI, starting with the grand opening of the Water Cube downtown, followed by the smallest member of our team turning three! Her birthday presents included a puzzle featuring guys in hard hats (just like her dad!), a camera, and a tutu. Also a cake with math on it – she’s a well-rounded kid.
Immediately after the birthday festivities, Ben jumped into work on two different custom Horatio installations, which included finding and playing with some used metal halide lamps: he needed to figure out how to monitor the life span of similar lamps that will be integrated with one of the Horatios. Being the geek that he is, he was super excited to find that Carnegie Mellon’s facilities department had boxes of old lamps lying around for the taking… (For scale reference, each of those lamps is about 9 inches long.)
To round out the last week, Ben also did a pre-inspection for a school district that he’ll be doing rigging inspections for soon. Summer is the season for inspections, since so many theaters are dark!
John Rohe from the Colcom Foundation, who sponsored the Cube, speaks at the opening.
Kevin McMahon, President of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, speaks at the Cube opening.
Box full of used lamps as big as your arm. A mad scientist’s dream!
Lamps lined up in the shop to be tested.
Inspecting a rigging system at a local high school.
The junior team member’s birthday cake.
Ben had a crazy schedule last week, working on at least 3 different projects every day and taking him everywhere from 2 different construction sites to the Water Cube downtown, The Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty, and at least three different coffee shops.
He installed a DIN rail Horatio in a newly-built office building (surface-mounted inside the rack, since there was no more space for a rack-mount version), cleaned up some programming for the Water Cube’s grand opening next Thursday, had great meetings with a bunch of interesting people doing interesting things (more on that later), and attended an Internet of Things panel hosted by Fygment, a great local organization that’s bringing together entrepreneurs of all kinds in Pittsburgh.
Upon returning to the shop at the end of a long day, he also discovered that someone had logged into the Horatio demo site and played with the lights while he was away. (Hello, whoever you are, and thanks for the blue disco lighting!)
DIN rail Horatio mounted inside the rack
Close-up of the DIN rail Horatio
An anomaly in the Water Cube usage data. Based on a Facebook comment, turned out to be kids spraying each other with the fountains!
Blue disco lighting in the shop, thanks to a Horatio demo user!
The shop is clean! Mostly. Enough that we could have a fun party, meet some great local artists, and chat with them about their current and future projects. Thanks to everyone who came out, and to the Office of Public Art for hosting! We’re hoping to make this a regular (maybe monthly?) thing, so more news on that soon!
Ben’s also been hard at work this week continuing work on Horatio development – and he even found some time to fix his 30-year-old backhoe, which made the littlest member of our team very very happy.
The shop hasn’t been this clean in years. We need to have parties more often.
The shop, all clean and ready for a party!
We rigged up a few interesting lighting effects to show off some of our recent work.
Goodies for the party guests: flyers, business cards, and candy!
Repairing Ben’s treasured backhoe for use by our junior team member.