Formula Slug

Formula Slug builds hands-on sustainable engineering projects. All the projects they develop, whether it be from a performance electric car to the portable solar station, are 100% student led and executed. Formula Slug students are working hard to formula-slug_openlab_ucscaugment their formal education with exciting, hands-on work, t0 better preparing themselves for the future

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Cymatic Water Tank Visualizer

Seeing and Hearing Resonance

The Cymatic Water Tank Visualizer designed and built by OpenLab artists David Harris, Sean Pace, and Zach Corse with Professor Parker. It operates in two modes. The first encourages viewers to become scientist-DJs as they explore the intricacies of resonance both sonically and visually. The second mode responds to sound data played through the table’s electronics, and was recently used to play earthquake data gathered from around the world.

Learn More: Cymatic Water Tank Visualizer


Art C.R.A.W.L.E.R

Art + Science Mobile Maker Space by Sean Pace


The ArtCrawler has been developed from a re-purposed military vehicle. It has been equipped with a wide range of fabrication tools and lab tools used for both science and digital media art. New inquires of research will be forged by housing the tools of both trades in one mobile studio-lab.



OpenLab’s Art + Astrophysics Lab

Art_Astro_OpenLab_UCSC The lab will work closely with OpenLab founding Professors Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Jennifer Parker with support from the UCSC NSF REU- Lamat Summer Research Program, OpenLab, and the SLUG: Supercomputer lab for Undergraduates.

See: Summer 2015 with Zach Corse as lead Graduate Student Researcher

See: Summer 2014 with Nathan Ober as lead Graduate Student Researcher


Coactive Systems Lab


Coactive Systems is an ongoing series of projects dedicated to working co-actively with non-human living systems.  Currently this research is focused on human relationships with bioluminscent phytoplankton.

New prototypes for future coaction systems enabling interactions between humans and phytoplankton via sound / cymatics,  oxygen / CO2 emitting systems and coming soon, a new integration with biometric sensors

Learn More: Coactive Systems


Vessels at the California Academy of Sciences NightLife Live

Warnock_Vessel_OpenLab_NightlifeVessels is an interactive sculpture where water is used to visually and sonically represent biometric data. The visitor’s heart rate is measured by reading blood density in the fingertip, and transposed into a liquid sequence which travels through a tube in the gallery. This sequence ends as drops onto a resonant steel drum, translating the sequence into sound. The water is collected in a reservoir for recirculation through the system.

Art + Biosensors + Audiences

Bio_sensor_ProjectLogo_UCSC_OpenLabAn art project that engages biosensors brings these approaches into play. The term biosensor has a wide discursive range including the sensing of bodily information from location and movement to chemical detection of blood sugar and heart rate. The term intersects with that of biometrics (measurements of the body), which could also include facial recognition, body temperature and perspiration levels.   OpenLab and the DANM Mechatronics Research Group work together with Associate Professor Kate O’Riordan and Dr Aristea Fotopoulou (University of Sussex/ 2014 Visiting Scholar Science & Justice)


BLUE TRAIL – Imagination + Innovation for Ocean Sustainability

OpenLab_BlueTrail_buttonDespite a growing awareness of “green,” most people are unaware that our actions are polluting, depleting and killing the biodiversity of the ocean—or that we can make a difference. The ocean crisis is at a tipping point—the time for “blue” is now

Learn MoreBlue Trail


Mass Transfer in Binary Stars

Lead Artists Sudhu Tewari and Drew Detweiler are developing an interactive sculpture  inspired by Mass Transfer in Binary Stars. The aim of the project is to better understand matter flow interacting with binary stars and to visualize what it might look like three dimensionally.

Advisors: UCSC Porfessors Astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz  and  Artist Jennifer Parker


Oceanic Scales

Dioluminescent-Project-Poster-(small-file)This is a project titled Oceanic Scales being developed by Gene A. Felice II & Jennifer Parker
and the Mechatronics research group in the Digital Arts and New Media Program at UCSC.

Oceanic Scales is a place to learn and to be inspired about phytoplankton, the first link in the oceanic food chain. This project explores biomimicry as a tool. It explores the tipping point between humanities desires and the oceans needs. 


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Infant-Family Program: a non-profit serving infants, families and professionals

THRIVE studies the infants’ capacities for emotional communication and social relatedness as well as the coresponding abilities of the caregiver.  Our treatment clarifies infant communication and facilitates caregiver empathy and response.  THRIVE provides training and education for professionals and disseminates knowledge to the community.

Project Website: Dr. Julie McCaigDirector THRIVE



OpenLab has helped to launch a new exciting on-line tool for art, science, tech, and education at the ZERO1 Biennial:Seeking Silicon Valley please visit the site for more information

website: ArtHere Video


Latex balloons: a major cause of death in marine turtles, birds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions as well as other wildlife

Robin Dunkin, Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, LML Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Latex balloons are a major cause of death in marine turtles, birds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions as well as other wildlife.  Despite claims to the contrary, there has been very little work to quantify the degradation time of latex in the environment.  This data gap is continuously exploited by pro-latex lobbying groups to claim that latex balloons and balloon releases are safe and even environmentally friendly.  Read More


Listening to the Earth

 The Listening to the Earth, research cluster, (originally sponsored by the Davis Humanities Institute (2010-12)), brings together graduate students and faculty at both UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz to explore the diverse creative possibilities that promise to emerge out of conscious collaboration between environmental studies, landscape architecture, the visual arts and performance studies. In the face of the most trying environmental challenges in human history, we are compelled to explore the collaborative possibilities that can emerge from a mutual exchange of knowledge, research and creation. 

Contact: Professor Elizabeth Stephens,  estephe[@]



The level of synchronization in distributed systems is often controlled by the strength of interaction between the individual elements. Read More…

Websites: Nick Ryan: nick.ryan{@}, John Matthias: john.matthias{@}



Aux is a collaborative research group lead by Sudhu Tewari, graduate student pursuing a PhD in Cultural Musicology and MFA in Digital Art and New Media. Aux takes its name from the auxilary input often found on older stereo equipment, an acknowledgment of the potential offered by something other than the traditional/standard phonograph, tape or radio input. The goal of Aux is to explore the world of sound art, primarily though experimentation with kinetic sound producing sculptures and electronic devices.

Contact: Sudhu Tewari, Research Director + Founder, Aux , loopstick [at] hotmail [dot] com


Astrophysics Visualization Lab

Visualization LabEmpirically, astrophysical objects are not amenable to experimental studies; we rely on careful observations rather than laboratory experimentation to obtain data.  Theoretically, astrophysical objects are rarely amenable to simple physical models; we rely more and more on computational methods to understand the complicated physics that governs the phenomena we observe. With the advancement of computer technology and numerical algorithms, complex astrophysical phenomena such as supernova explosions, accretion of material onto stars, stellar pulsations, and the granular patterns of solar convection are now accessible via simulation almost as if they were accessible via experiments in the laboratory.  But humans are visual creatures. Numbers alone do little to feed our physical understanding and intuition. To fully realize the scientific and aesthetic potential of these simulations, we also need sophisticated visualization tools.



SonicSENSE, gaffta, SonicSENSE is an expandable and evolving site for art, culture, new technologies, digital media, collaboration, and participation. Founded by Barney Haynes and Jennifer Parker in 2008.

SonicSENSE uses the creative diversity of computational media and traditional visual art practices to cultivate space for sharing, questioning, and exploring interdisciplinary frameworks, methodologies, and experiences. Each exhibition of the platform is a new iteration consisting of a series of mechanical sound sculptures and interactive objects that drive data mined from the internet and biometrics gleaned from the audience.

Project Website: SonicSENSE


Eco-Art: Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison

Among the leading pioneers of the eco-art movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development.


Website: The Harrison’s Studio




Collaborators: Amy Boewer and Jack O’Neill

Nomadpad is committed to providing a free and accessible multifunctional product designed to  deliver comfort and protection to those who are imposed-by the difficulties of the urban nomadic experience. Nomadpad is a nondiscriminatory, non-profit organization whose aims are to successfully supply a utilitarian product available to all users in the community of the city.



Website: NomadPad






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