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March 24, 2010 AT 2:00 am

Kelly Dobson, Machine Therapy – 24 hours of Lady Ada Lovelace day #ald10

Pt 2735
Maker04
Each hour we are featuring a woman we admire who is currently doing amazing work right in the tech/maker/art/science space. Woman of the hour, Kelly Dobson.

Kelly Dobson, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Getting the blenders to know when you’re talking to them is no mean feat. Dobson programmed algorithms in C++ into 1GHz VIA Epia microprocessors mounted inside each blender, and to get them to work, she imitates the blenders with low, guttural motor sounds. “You have to make sure you have the roughness of a blender, so you might get him started with a rrrrrRRRRRRR,” says Dobson. When she raises the tone, they speed up. Friends have given her the nickname Monster.

Long before implants, splicing, and cyborgs, people and machines co-evolved as companion species. Critical infoldings happen in the connections between people and machines, and my work in Machine Therapy investigates these engagements. The machines (some made by me, some found) have expressive engaging behaviors, strength of character, negotiative egos and neurotic propensities.


About today:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognized. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines, whatever they do. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited.

Who was Ada? Ada Lovelace Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was one of the world’s first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

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