The Future is Now: smartCANS in the 21st Century

The Future is NOW!

smartCANS in the 21st century.
TRADE SHOW and Conference

Bannister Gallery
Rhode Island College
Providence Rhode Island

Keynote Speech by Mitchell K. Ahern,
Chairman of the International iCAN Developer’s Association

His speech will take place via SKYPE at 6PM EST

AstroDime Telecommunications Company is sponsoring a TRADE SHOW and demonstration of cutting edge TIN CAN technology.
Based on consumer response, we will premiere our iCAN version, with new improved performance and optional interactivity. In addition, using only the most intelligent of our smartCANS and the faster than sound speed of our 2G network, consumers will be able to beta test ENHANCED ™ tin can phone calls via our Party Line, for the latest in social networking.

We are honored to have Mitchel K. Ahern
Chairman of the International iCAN Developer’s Association
as our Keynote speaker.
his Keynote Speech:  “iCAN is the Platform on Which We Will Build the Future”

Mitchel K Ahern, Chairman of the International iCAN Developers Association

Mitchel has been in digital marketing and communications for a very long time with titles like SYSOP, Webmaster, Digital Media Producer, Product Manager and Director of Communications for companies such as One to One Interactive, Eastern Acoustic Works, and currently Cantina. He’s worked with clients such as Aegon, Royal Caribbean and UPS to develop apps for both consumers and in the B2B space. He writes for industry publications such as iMedia Connection and speaks at various industry events, most recently leading a panel at the Direct Marketing Associations DMA2010. Mitchel also has extensive experience with non-profit trade organizations as Vice President of the Webmasters Guild and chairman of the Association of Internet Professionals with over 33 international chapters. In his current role as Chairman of the International iCAN App Developers Association Mitchel is responsible for coordinating the efforts towards establishing a coherent and consistent iCAN user experience, promoting accessibility, and establishing professional development opportunities for the larger iCAN technical community.

Survey Results for iCAN apps!

Focus Group Survey Results

On Friday, February 25, astrodimer sam smiley gave a presentation on the iCAN (TM) and also handed out surveys. The panel/presentation was called “An Afternoon of Dialogue, Debate, and Discourse” and included art historian Cher Knight and AIB faculty member and artist Nathan Felde. Stuart Steck was the organizer and moderator of this panel.

On behalf of Astrodime, sam sam smiley created a survey, which would help AstroDime in the creation of “apps” for the iCAN (TM). Here are the results of the survey.

1. If you had an iCAN, how often would you use it and what would you use it for?

Meetings, talking to myself in public
I would keep one half and give the other to a friend.
To recycle my thoughts, to prevent my thoughts from escaping to others, to prevent word pollution, to communicate with my head.
Every thought I had that I wanted to transmit to myself
Holding Soup, Talk Soup
Once a month
I’d use it for silly fun
I would poke, various noises, ring tones
I would pretend I was talking to my therapist
I’d use this every day in class. I think this would be a pretty amazing way to conduct crits.
The first thing I would do would be hack it.
Then I’d post my hack on the instructables under my hacker alias.

2. What would be your preferred network?

T riders
deep, dark secrets
Party Line
Just my close hacker community friends

3. What accessories do you suggest would be useful for the iCAN? What are your favorite colors?

Naples Yellow
“Phone covers”, bedazzled iCANs! Personalize your own!
An iCAN “sock” for a) modesty, b) cold weather use
Economy-can sized unit for family chat
Stylish label-cases: chunky and Campbell’s preferred
Jolly green giant, Cotton candy blue, Warhol soup can red
I love the blue
Funnel attachment
Those little cell phone charms. That would be way cute, like Hello Kitty or something.
A hands free head/neck holder brace thing so you can text at the same time (multitasking)
I like the natural colors of the materials
A hands free version would be nice

4. Can you suggest any apps you would like to see developed for the iCAN?

Music, Political rants
Thought whirling, circular thinking (like circular breathing), If you get thoughts whirling fast enough, they may puff up like beaten egg whites. Think what we might discern!?!
The eye-can camera phone
Recycling-yard filler
CAMP Bells- bang cans together to ward off bears
CANdid camera- easily changed into a pinhole camera
Puddle jumpers or step-ups to see over crowds
Poetry app
Inside joke app
Peaceful protesting “megaphone” app
Voice modifier
Some app that tracked my metrics and posted my usage data to twitter

Dia de los Muertes in Second Life


Postcard from Penelope in Second Life

The Smithsonian Museum Latino is about to launch their Second Life presence. This will coincide with the Day of the Dead, a Mexican day honoring the ancestors. Astrodime is sponsoring a collaboration between Lesley University, and the Smithsonian Latino Center as part of our Scientific American/La America Cientifica year long project. This has also come out because of the hard work from the Critical Pedagogy committees and Diversity committees at Lesley University. AstroDime member sam smiley will be visiting the real world Smithsonian Museum Latino this week in D.C.

You can get to the Smithsonian Latino Project by going to:

Or you can join virtually by going to

Smithsonian Latino 2nd Life

Smithsonian Latino 2nd Life

To take part in the festival virtually, participants must have an avatar in
Second Life and can
join by going to:
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in Latin America, particularly Mexico and
Central America, and in Latino communities in the United States to honor deceased family and friends through altars called “ofrendas” and by decorating cemeteries and individual tombstones. Offerings traditionally
include sugar skulls, marigolds, “pan de muertos” (a special Day of the Day
bread) and the material goods the deceased enjoyed while alive.
“With the growing number of Latinos in the United States, including people
of Latin American descent, it is no surprise that this holiday, traditionally celebrated Nov. 1 and 2, has become so popular
in the United States,” said Melissa Carrillo, director of New Media and
Technology at the Smithsonian Latino Center. “Illustrating this important aspect of Latino culture in a broad platform such as Second
Life will allow users from across the world an opportunity to participate in
and see firsthand, spiritual customs that have been passed on from ancient Mesoamerica.”
Highlights include a community altar in the virtual museum’s “Placita” (town
square) and a companion community altar in Virtual Native Lands, a partner site in Second Life focused on highlighting Native American culture and practices. Virtual museum resources include Smithsonian
Latino collections, a user’s guide, glossary, lesson plans and resource
links for educators. Teaching tools for teachers about key elements of the observance include the Spanish arrival, customs and
beliefs, traditional dancing and the importance of the return of spirits.

Astrodime at Maker Faire Rhode Island

Astrodime at Maker Faire Rhode Island

Sept 30 2009 by Amanda

This is a recap of Astrodime’s experience at the Maker Faire festival in Providence, RI. The website for the festival is at

On Saturday, September 19 the Astrodime Transit Authority demonstrated our tin can telecommunications system at the Maker Faire Rhode Island festival. The technicians of Astrodime, including sam, Julia, Lisa, and Amanda worked directly with adults and young children in using the AstroCan communications systems. Many adults were eager to prove to their children that the tin can system worked just as well as their iPHONES.

Set in the heart of the Financial District in Providence, Astrodime’s exhibition consisted of 2 videos displaying the most current INtransit journal “Can You Hear Me Now?” and “Secret Decoder”. Also on display were the hand-crafted iCANs, tin can phones, and wire tapping devices. Between 2pm and 10pm locals and out of towners experimented with our iCAN, tin can party line, and tin can phone wiretapping. Throughout the day, over 200 people tested the tin can communication device, and sam experimented with our wiretapping capabilities.

Maker Faire is the foremost event for grassroots American innovation. Being the first Maker Faire festival in Providence, this event attracted over 50 makers, inventors, and artists to showcase their most recent inventions. One of the highlights of the day was the disco bicycle party, designed by the custom frame bike-makers Circle A Cycles; another rare gadgeteer was Tellart, and they installed an interactive mixed reality pong game that people could play by wearing helmuts with IR LED’s attached. As Maker Faire continued into the late evening, the Providence River was set on fire as the themed “Celebration of Life” Waterfire festival took place!

The iCAN and the iPhone

On Saturday, March 21, the intrepid AstroDames did a Happening Event on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts, going up Boylston Street, and ending at the Apple Store. Our research objective was to find out what initial consumer response would be to the iCAN.

Julia testing the iCAN and text messaging for a customer

Julia testing the iCAN and text messaging for a customer

We met at the Tealuxe (AKA our Green Room) on Newbury Street. We put on our vests and starting walking down the street.
We had some compliments on our system from a woman on Newbury Street. We also almost bumped into several shoppers, clad in black, talking on their cell phones. When Maryann and Julia had their iCANs, we noted that they were having the problems of crowd avoidance while talking on the iCAN.

We headed up Boyston with Bebe and the trusty AstroBike (TM) carrying our equipment and refreshments. The gentleman to the right and between the pillars asked us if he could try the iCAN (TM). we gave it to him, and he said into the phone “Can you hear me now?”. Our studies show that lots of people are compelled to say “Can you hear me now?” when talking into a tin can.

Maryann and Julia couldn’t resist trying out our new “talk time” option.

Unlimited minutes with the AstroDime Plan

Unlimited minutes with the AstroDime Plan

We finally parked ourselves in front of the Apple Store, where much to my surprise, lots of tourists were already taking pictures. (kindof like going to the Hard Rock Cafe).

oooo ahhh - sound of trumpets

oooo ahhh - sound of trumpets

Maryann and Julia were still using their AstroDime talk minutes.

Julia and Maryann testing the iCANs in front of a giant iPhone

Julia and Maryann testing the iCANs in front of a giant iPhone

Bebe suggested we test out our new text messaging feature, which we expect to add on to the after-Beta version. Preliminary feedback has been pretty good..although some of the messages get stuck en route. But that’s why they call it Beta, right?

Security came out from the Apple Store..a tall gentlemen who told us that since Apple owns the ENTIRE sidewalk, we had to move on. As we disputed this, a guy pulling out of a parking space in front of the store offered us his parking spot (he still had an hour left). We moved the 4 of us and the bike into the spot, only to be yelled at by people in cars who wanted the spot. (NOTE: we still had 1 hour of time!)

Not wanting to be run over, we moved out of the parking spot next to the bike parking, still across from the Apple store. We were getting cold and decided to pack up. AS we were preparing to leave, a woman who introduced herself as the “Bitch of Boylston Street” told us we had every right to be on that part of the sidewalk, and if the security personel came out again, SHE would call the police on our behalf.

We thanked her, but by now we were REALLY cold and needed to get coffee or something. Maybe we’ll take her up on her offer next time!

-sam smiley

iCan Featured in Citywide Section of Boston Globe

Sam and Gina’s presentation of the iCan was featured in an article by Katherine McInerney on December 21, 2008.  Only available in the actual paper was a photo of the audience’s engaged and beaming faces as they learned about the new possibilities for communication with ATA’s latest product offering- priceless! Check out complete article here.


Glitch and Secret Decoder Ring Nov 23!

On Saturday November 22 at 8pm, AstroDime Transit Authority will be screening INtransit V.4 “What the [ glitch ] ?!” and INtransit V.3 “Secret Decoder Ring” in the lobby of Brickbottom Artist building. The screening will be free and open to the public. You will also have a chance to see and use the new iCAN and give customer feedback.

The location is in Somerville, Massachusetts. The best way to get here from the T is the Lechmere Green Line stop, walk up McGrath Highway to the right, and then after you go over the bridge, (you will see Brickbottom to your right) there will be some stairs. They will take you to the building. There is also parking available. Here’s more directions, and check out the open studios Nov 22-23 as well!

Brickbottom Artists Association


Tin Can Telecommunications at NubLabs

Nublabs is do you explain it? an art, science, education and pranks collective that hosts twice monthly talks at various venues around Boston.

Their web site is and their blog is at

AstroDime will be presenting on Tin Can Telecommunications, followed by a talk by nublabbers on Prank Science. Check it out!

Time: 7-10pm
Date: Sunday 11.9.08
Location: Tapeo on Newbury Street

Got Glitch? 8pm Nov 1 in Lowell

INtransit V.4: Got Glitch? release party followed with performances by Id M Theftable + Birdorgan

Id M Theftable – voice and objects
Marc Bisson – tabletop guitar and objects
deiX – vocals
Mike Fun – analog synth
Mike Dailey – drums
Walter Wright – analog synth and video

Video in a suitcase

Here are some pictures from AstroDime’s installation on Oct 17-19. Basically, Bebe, sam and Ali projected video in a suitcase, put Queen Victoria’s and President Buchanan’s voices in tin cans, and hung the vests.

Here's the big picture.

The gallery space was pretty interesting.

Video in a suitcase

Video in a suitcase

President Buchanan in a can

President Buchanan in a can