Introducing The OpenCV AI Kit

14 July 2020

For the last several months I’ve been helping OpenCV ready their biggest launch ever, and today it’s here. The OpenCV AI Kit is now available on Kickstarter.

A Spatial AI platform so small, it’s going to be huge.

The best press mention so far has been Devin Coldewey’s piece for TechCrunch: OpenCV AI Kit aims to do for computer vision what Raspberry Pi did for hobbyist hardware

The campaign has been up for a little over 4 hours, and we’ve passed 500 backers, smashed our goal, and are about to cross the $100,000 mark.

New Work: Introducing megaAI, a 4k 60fps AI camera – Now on CrowdSupply

22 May 2020

The last month or so I’ve been working with a new computer vision / AI startup, Luxonis. megaAI is the first project we’ve worked on together. I named it, designed the logo, wrote a lot of the copy, and wrote/shot/edited/narrated the launched video. It’s a tiny but powerful camera built for Raspberry Pi and other embedded / low power situations.

Get one: You can get your own megaAI on CrowdSupply right now for $169.

7 Years On

15 March 2020

I’ve been laid off by Occipital after 7 years and 2 months of 8:30am to 6:30pm days. I didn’t see it coming and it genuinely hurts. I’ve got a little money, but not much. Until the next thing comes around, let’s do some of the stuff we used to:

You can find me streaming RimWorld, Fire Pro, and other stuff on Twitch

I’m still posting too much on Twitter

If you’d like to help me directly, you can join my Patreon for a buck and help me pay my rent / eat food while I work on my indie games, apps, etc.

You can, of course, also hire me to design beautiful, usable, apps, websites, and games for you. Hit me up on LinkedIn or send me an email.

A Deep Dive on Z-Index Usage

07 July 2019

How do you make sure your annoying popup is shown on top of every other element in the page, when you don’t know how many there are, who wrote them, and how bad they wanted their elements to be on top? That’s when you set your z-index to 100, or maybe 999, or maybe, just maybe 99999 to be really sure yours will win. That, at least, is how I write my CSS. In the rest of this post, we will look at millions of z indices to see what everyone else does.

Of course, if you make websites for a living you’ll find this interesting. Like most things available here.

THE ROAD TO MAGNASANTI

10 June 2019

Catnip for the doomed gamer generation:

In 2010, an obsessed gamer designed the perfect game of Sim City. Achieved through a repeating pattern of clustered high rises, “Magnasanti” exposes the hellish consequences of top-down civic design. In his new documentary, John Wilson explores how New York City is creeping closer and closer to realizing this fictional metropolis.

Rassler release 13 is now available

28 October 2018

Release 13 of my doomed video game project, Rassler, is now available for download. The dev log has more details:

First and most notably: The Rassler title screen and wrestler / territory select screens have music now! I made it. It’s probably fine? I also created and added a little punch sound effect when you start a new game. You can stream / download the new theme on SoundCloud

Rassler is a pay-what-you-can game. Pay-what-you-can means you can download Rassler for free, or if you’ve got the money, you can buy it.

Finding and exploiting hidden features of Animal Crossing’s NES emulator

12 July 2018

While looking for ways to activate the developer menus left over in Animal Crossing, including the NES emulator game selection menu, I found an interesting feature that exists in the original game that was always active, but never used by Nintendo. In addition to the NES/Famicom games that can be obtained in-game, it was possible to load new NES games from the memory card. I was also able to find a way to exploit this ROM loader to patch custom code and data into the game, allowing for code execution via the memory card.

Incredibly detailed and well-written article, goes super deep into reverse-engineering the technology.

Rough.js – A “Hand-drawn” Javascript Vector Library

19 June 2018

Neat tool for drawing cutesy vector shapes:

Rough.js is a light weight (~9kB gzipped) graphics library that lets you draw in a sketchy, hand-drawn-like, style. The library defines primitives to draw lines, curves, arcs, polygons, circles, and ellipses. It also supports drawing SVG paths.

There’s a lot of nuance to this, too. For example, there are 5 distinct fill styles (hachure, solid, zigzag, cross-hatch, or dots) and it supports Web Workers with the optional Workly library.

Universal Mega Dumper

18 June 2018

Unnaturally tempted by this project, which has created a common platform for cartridge dumping w/ standard adapters for the major consoles. It auto-recognizes which type of cart you connect, too!

The Universal Mega Dumper (UMD) is a game catridge read/writer project designed around a Teensy++ microcontroller. The universality comes from the UMD’s ability to support many different types of catridge connectors by having general purpose 16 bit data and 24 bit address paths along with a dozen control signals – all of which can be customized for each game cartridge mode.

More on the project page.

Metafilter needs help. Let’s help Metafilter.

14 June 2018

In a post on MetaTalk, cortex lays it out for us. The site is currently running at about an $8,000/mo. The vast majority of their operating costs go to pay for kind, thoughtful, moderators and the folks who keep the servers running. If you can afford to support Metafilter, do it. The internet needs independent spaces like Metafilter.

Retrobatch, a new batch image processor from Flying Meat

29 May 2018

Looks like a heck of a swiss-army-knife of a tool. It’s node-based, supports CoreML image classification and sorting, and yep… it supports AppleScript. FM’s suggestions for new use cases contain fun, weird, stuff like “Read an image from the clipboard, apply a drop shadow, and write it right back to the clipboard to paste into another app.”

Retrobatch is available as a 14 day free trial, and licenses start at $29.99. Props to Flying Meat for being one of those third-party Mac development houses that just keeps going.

Bridgesketball, a mixed reality basketball game you can play anywhere

28 May 2018

I’ve been working off and on for the last several months on a new project for the Bridge headset, which I’m calling Bridgesketball. It’s a mixed reality basketball game. You can put up a backboard practically anywhere and shoot hoops.

So I’ve promoted Bridgesketball to Project status here on Extra Future Dot Com. The last thing I did this for was la petite url (a custom URL shortener which got broken by some WordPress update or other and no longer works, sorry sorry) so… good luck, Bridgesketball. You’ll find a preview video on the Bridgesketball page as well as a slightly more thorough description, and I’ll add more stuff later. Promise.

The Best Third-Party Carrying Case for the Bridge Mixed Reality Headset

23 April 2018

Bridge logo spray-painted on the new hard case. Naturally, I had to customize it a bit.

TL;DR: This is the best case for Bridge


If you work on mixed reality games & experiences for the Bridge headset like I do you might sometimes (ironically, for a super-portable headset like Bridge) have a bit of trouble with getting your headset from point A to point B. The box that Bridge comes in is a great way to store the device when it’s not being used but it’s a little clunky for everyday carry.

Criteria

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying out several different commodity hard cases, using the loose criteria of:

  • Does it securely fit the headset?
  • Does it have room for the charging cables, controller, or other small accessories?
  • Would it stand up to my daily San Francisco commute?
  • Can it be had for under $50?

The Winner

After trying several cases that failed in one way or another (it’s especially hard to find something with the right height), the “Khanka Hard Case Travel Bag for Sony PlayStation 4 VR (PSVR) Headset and Accessories” is the best so far.

It safely and securely fits the Bridge headset, controller, cables, and even the lens spacers in the included bag. I re-purposed the lens bag the case came with as a shroud for the Structure Sensor and Wide Vision Lens while in transit, and there’s even just enough room for an external battery if you’re into that. You’ll have to bring your own padding. I used the thick foam that came in my Bridge box, but any foam or egg crate should work just fine.

CSS Sans

12 April 2018

A font constructed entirely by CSS. It is, essentially, a programmatic realtime typeface. I love how it degrades for older versions of IE:

It’s not what I’d consider practical for production use. Still, CSS Sans is a hell of a demonstration of how far CSS has come since Microsoft shipped Internet Explorer 3 in 1996, which was first browser to implement some of the CSS1 spec (CSS v1 was not yet a W3C recommendation).

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful things for a troubled world. I'm a UX engineer / designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator.

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