Spacebrew Session at ArtsTech Unconference

n April 27th we're holding a Spacebrew workshop at the #ArtsTech Unconference in NYC. This session will be a streamlined version of the workshop from our monthly meet-ups.  There will be a lot of other interesting presenters, workshops and performances at this event so we hope to see you there.

Here is a brief description of our workshop:

Spacebrew is an open, dynamically re-routable software toolkit for choreographing interactive spaces. Or, in other words, a simple way to connect interactive things to one another. In this hands-on workshop you will use ArduinoProcessing and Spacebrew to dynamically connect a light sensor to various apps and objects. Bring your computer and we’ll bring a handful or Arduino boards and sensors that you can share with other participants. No previous experience with Arduino and Processing are required.



Spacebrew Node Packaged Module


Last week Jeff Crouse created a node packaged module using the Spacebrew.js library and published it to the npm registry. This means that you can now easily install and import Spacebrew.js into node-based application.

Since this npm uses the standard Spacebrew.js library, the API to integrate spacebrew into your node app is exactly the sames as on a browser-based app. You can find more information about the Spacebrew npm here:

Spacebrew Goes MAD: March Session


Thanks to everyone who joined us this weekend for our first workshop at MAD, which doubled as our official March meet-up. We had a great turnout, a couple of hick-ups, some internet issues but in the end we were to connect a whole bunch of sensors, objects and applications together. Here are some pictures from Josh, who came all the way from Seattle to join us for this event. Over the next couple of days we'll upload a few more photos from other participants.

Our next workshop at MAD, and meet-up, is scheduled for May 11th. We'll be following a similar structure, however, we'll switch up the hands-on workshop to feature a different tutorial. We're still figuring out the details, but we'll keep you updated here on our blog, and on twitter - @spacebrewcc.


Spacebrew at Dorkbot


This Wednesday, 4/3, we are going to be stopping by the monthly dorkbot-nyc meeting to git a short informal presentation about Spacebrew. The meeting will be held at Location One, on Greene between Canal & Grand. Our session will be followed by presentations by artists Angela Washko and Madeline Schwartzman, both of which sound pretty interesting.

dorkbot-nyc is a monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties from the new york area who are involved in the creative use of electricity. dorkbot meetings are free and open to the public. Since we started dorkbot-nyc in 2000 many other dorkbots have sprung up around the world. 

Spacebrew.js Apps with Built-in Routing Capabilities

Now you can create spacebrew.js apps with built in routing capabilities. As shown in the video above, it is now possible to embed the ability to connect your app to a subscriber or publisher directly from the app itself.

We developed these prototypes (along with the updates to the spacebrew.js library) primarily for mobile apps since our current web-based admin tool does not render well on most mobile devices. Here are links for the three different prototypes that we created for you to try out. First off we have the button prototype. Next up we have the slider prototype. Finally we have the string sender prototype.

All three of these examples use an updated version of the javascript library coupled with an admin mixin, which provides the admin functionality. This new library and the admin mixim are not  available in the spacebrew.js repo because they are not officially supported yet (in other words, we haven't tested them thoroughly enough). However, you can get a sneak peak here.

From a broader perspective these apps demonstrate how anyone can create their own custom admin apps, or integrate admin functionality into their client apps. Soon we hope to provide more documentation that will help you explore these areas.

openFramework and AWS Tutorial by Omer and Ryan

Spacebrew was born in the LAB because we couldn't find an existing tool that supported our prototype-driven development process for creating interactive spaces. From the beginning, openness was a core element of the Spacebrew project - our goal was to create an open source tool that could be used, and improved, by a larger community of makers, designers, developers, hackers, artists, and architects. 

We are excited to see that people have started to create projects and tutorials related to Spacebrew. We are going to start celebrating this work here on the blog - starting with this post. Let us know what you are up to with Spacebrew by sending a note to the Spacebrew Google Group or using the contact us form on this site.

Video Tutorial by Omer and Ryan

A few weeks ago Omer and Ryan, two students from the Spatial Media class at ITP, put together an awesome Spacebrew tutorial from a bar in Williamsburg. This 10-minute tutorial first walks you through how to create a simple chat program using openFrameworks and Spacebrew. My favorite part though, is the tutorial on how to set-up a Spacebrew server on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud server. Even I didn't know it could be done so fast. Check it out here.

Museum of Art and Design Workshops


We are excited to announce that over the coming months we are going to be holding a series of Spacebrew workshops at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York. These workshops are part of the After the Museum exhibit. This exhibit explores the largely hidden research component of design practices and examines cultural institutions’ role in the shaping of design past, present, and future.

Mark your calendars because the first event will take place in just a few weeks, on March 30th. We will post more details in the next couple of days here and on our meet-up page. The second and third workshops are scheduled for May 11th, and June 1st. Make sure to sign-up for the event on our meet-up because the first people to confirm attendance will get free access to the museum. Also, space may be limited - we are still waiting to confirm how many people we will be able to accomodate.

The first session will begin with a 20 to 30-minute overview of what Spacebrew does, including a few live demos. This will be followed by an hour long hands-on workshop where we will take participants through our most basic tutorial that involves connecting an Arduino to Spacebrew using Processing. After the workshop we will hang out for a few hours to help people who are interested in learning about more advanced uses of Spacebrew, and who want to integrate Spacebrew into their personal projects. 

You don't need to have any previous experience with Processing or Arduino to take part in the workshop. We will bring a few Arduinos, breadboards and components for participants to use in the workshop, however, we will not be able to provide laptops or computers. Please note that people will have to work together in groups, as we won't have enough components for everyone.  Feel free to bring your own gear, just check out the tutorial to see what basic components to bring.

About MAD: The Museum of Art and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. Accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1991, MAD focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital.

pySpacebrew Library with Examples and Docs


Earlier this weekend we finished creating the example sketches and initial documentation for the pySpacebrew library. This library, which was contributed by Adam Mayer, makes it easy to connect pythons scripts and applications to Spacebrew. You can download the library and example scripts from github. Check-out the readme file and the examples to get up and running quickly.

Similar to the Spacebrew.js and ofxSpacebrew libraries, we’ve included four example sketches in the pySpacebrew repo. One for each of the three standard data types, and the fourth one featuring a custom data type. These core examples will be actively maintained along with the library itself. Here is a brief overview of each one.

  • The string example is a simple stripped down chat app
  • The range sketch functions like a console-based slider/potentiometer
  • The boolean script turns the enter/return key into a toggles switch
  • The custom data example functions like a virtual dice

We’ve been using this library for a few months now, especially when working with Raspberry Pis. Here are links to other projects and explorations where we’ve used this library:

  • The Raspberry Pi Experiments repo contains sketches that show how to control LED strips and Servos connected to a Raspberry Pi via Spacebrew.
  • The Open CV Motion Sensor repo features an advanced client/sensor application that uses cameras to detect motion – this app can be run on a full-fledge computer or a Pi.

Please note that these two apps are not maintained actively along with the pySpacebrew library. This means that they may not feature the very latest version of the pySpacebrew library. With that in mind, make sure to refer to the example sketches and documentation in the library’s own repository when creating your own apps.

Try out the pySpacebrew library and send us your feedback. We'd also love to hear more information about whatever you create.

Migration Completed: Please Update Your Links and Origins

We are happy to report that we have finished migrating the Spacebrew Server and Library repositories to their new home at We also have gone through the Spacebrew site to update links that point to these repository; except for the tutorials section, which we will finish updating in the next 48 hours.

Update Links to Spacebrew Admin and Examples: If you have bookmarked the Spacebrew online admin and hosted examples, you should take the time now to update your bookmarks. This way, you can make sure that your links will work when you are ready to use them again. The best place to find the updated links is on the examples page of the Spacebrew site.

Update Git Remote Origins: To help you update your local repositories, we’ve compiled a list with the new locations of all the repos that have been moved. All you have to do is open up Terminal, go to the local copy of the repo on your computer and run the following git command:

git remote set-url origin https://new_remote_url_goes_here

New Spacebrew Repository Names and Links

Spacebrew server
Name: spacebrew

Processing Library
Name: spacebrewP5

OpenFrameworks Library
Name: ofxSpacebrew

Javascript Library
Name: spacebrew.js
GitHub Page:

Python Library
Name: pySpacebrew

Let us know if you encounter any issues when attempting to update the repositories, or with broken links on the website. 

Migration Alert: Spacebrew Admin and Examples Down for Few Hours

We're transferring the repos for the Spacebrew server and libraries to a new organization on github. The source code is being transferred to new open source organization called spacebrew, from its current home in the labatrockwell org. Here is a link to the organization's home page - 

We're making this change because we are committed to Spacebrew as an open source project, and we feel that it is important that this is reflected in our choice of github repository. Unfortunately, this means that the hosted Spacebrew admin and examples will be down for a few hours until migration is completed. 

Thanks for your patience, and for using Spacebrew. 

Twitter and Foursquare Apps


Earlier today we uploaded the latest version of the Spacebrew forwarder apps for twitter and foursquare. These apps enable you to forward tweets and foursquare check-ins to other Spacebrew client applications. We developed these apps at the LAB to begin integrating content from our favorite web services into Spacebrew environments.

I've been playing with these apps for a few months now, working to squash some bugs and add a few missing features. This app is a very simple "alpha" prototype with a pretty clunky UI, but I thought it was time to share it with the world.

We are hosting an instance of these apps on our Spacebrew server so that you can check it out without needing to install a local version on your own computer, since that process is somewhat involved. Here is where you can access the twitter and foursquare endpoints for this app:

Take them for a spin and let us know what you think. We hope to add an instagram app to this list in a few weeks.

If you are interested in tweaking these apps you can get the code from the repository on github. Our apps use Temboo to access the APIs from Twitter and Foursquare. Temboo provides a more consistent way to interface with API from different web services. It is a great tool to use for prototyping this types of apps. 

February Jam Session


Last week we held the latest session of our monthly Spacebrew meet-up. Thanks to everyone who came out to learn about, and play with Spacebrew.  We had a great time getting to meet new people and welcoming back some repeat visitors. On a personal level, I was happy to get a chance to lead the workshop for the first time.

Check out the pictures on our flickr page.

We haven't set the date for the next installment of this on-going series, but we will let you know as soon as the next one has been added to the calendar.  

Spacebrew Library for Arduinos

Over the past few months we've been working on making it possible to connect Ethernet- and wifi-enabled Arduinos directly to Spacebrew. We are happy to announce that the Spacebrew Arduino Library is now available in beta.

This library makes it possible to create Arduino-based Internet of Things prototypes that can connect to Spacebrew and be untethered from a computer. Previously, most of our Arduino-based physical computing prototypes were tethered to a computer and depended on a forwarding app that connected to the arduino via serial, and to other apps via sockets.

Screen Shot 2012-12-25 at 9.53.14 PM.png

Arduinos that are connected to Spacebrew show-up like any other Spacebrew client. You can connect the input and output channels from your Arduino sketches to those of any other applications that support the appropriate data types. The Spacebrew library supports all three of Spacebrew's standard data types - boolean, range (int values between 0 and 1023), and strings.

Getting Up and Running

  1. download the Spacebrew Arduino Library and the WebSocketClient Library.
  2. unzip both libraries and copy them into the Arduino libraries folder.
  3. restart the Arduino IDE.

Check out the examples included with the library, and read the documentation on the overview page (and readme file). Once you are up and running, take a look at the Spacebrew Arduino Examples collection, which features more advanced examples (currently only one). You can also download this collection from github.

New Javascript Sketches

Over the past months I’ve been playing around with Spacebrew using javascript, processing and arduinos. I had a lot of fun with my explorations and in the process I developed a bunch of sketches, some simple others more involved. This past weekend I uploaded a selection of javascript sketches. Here is a quick overview of the new stuff you'll find in the javascript examples repo on github:

iPhone Events!

iPhone Events!

  • iphone events: web app that forwards iphone accelerometer and gyrometer events to spacebrew. Has not been tested on other phones but should work on phones that support the appropriate html5 features.
  • colored screen: simple app that controls the background color of a browser window. It accepts three range values from spacebrew and uses those values to set the page’s background color. I played around with this sketch by running it on fullscreen on three  computers and controlling the color using the iphone events app on my phone.
  • slideshow:  simple social slideshow app. It accepts strings that contain urls that point to images and adds new images to the slideshow. The images are played in a continuous loop, and can also be controlled by commands received through spacebrew.
  • text transform: transforms text messages from spacebrew. The user interface enables users to link a “key” message to a “mapped” message (this combination is called a transform map). The app listens for incoming messages from spacebrew. If an incoming message is matched to a “key” message, then the corresponding “mapped” message is sent out to spacebrew.
  • url launcher (chrome extension): controls the navigation of your chrome browser. It accepts a string that contains a url. It also publishes a boolean value when the browser has been idle for a period of time that can be specified via the query string.  **disclaimer** this app will seriously take over your chrome browser so read the readme. Ok, it won't harm your machine but it may require that you quit out of chrome and disable the extension to learn how to configure the app via the query string.

I hope you find these sketches useful. Let me know if you have any questions (I'll be at the jam tomorrow night). I’ll also upload the arduino and processing sketches over the coming weeks.

Download these sketches and other spacebrew javascript examples.

Another Successful Jam!

Spacebrew Jams in the Demo Bay

Spacebrew Jams in the Demo Bay

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their Saturday to hang out with us - it was great to work with such talented people, and we're grateful for the feedback received! 

In the Spacebrew zone.

In the Spacebrew zone.

We're now hard at work putting together tutorials and some more examples for you. Until next month's Jam, download Spacebrew from GitHub, or play around on the public Spacebrew cloud.

We'd love to see what you're up to - send any feedback or documentation of successful projects to Jam on!

Spacebrew Hotel Hack

Josh remotely switches a lamp on with Spacebrew.  

Josh remotely switches a lamp on with Spacebrew.


Josh and James were in Austin, Texas on Wednesday and Thursday for a conference. They took some time from their busy schedules to hack their hotel rooms with Spacebrew. Thank you to InterContinental Hotel for another successful jam!


Our November Jam Session is tomorrow from 1PM-6PM. We'll be providing snacks, drinks, and an assortment of electronics and accessories for your hacking pleasure. Hope to see you there!

November Jam Session Rescheduled

While NYC recovers from Hurricane Sandy, we've decided to reschedule the November Jam Session for the following weekend: Saturday, November 10. Snacks and drinks are still on us, but we're counting on you for fun hacks and good storm stories. Until then - stay dry and be safe!