Bartley Gillan

I like to smash creativity and engineering together to make awesome things that do cool stuff, oftentimes bringing the future one step closer to reality.

Prototyping and robotics are my specialties where I build all kinds of mechatronic, electrical, and intelligent systems with an eye towards product design and entrepreneurship. I have built innovation on demand for major clients while conceiving and rapidly developing awesome futuristic ideas into tangible technology projects.

I also cofounded and organize the monthly Austin Hardware Startup Meetup to champion entrepreneurs and engineers to build companies around physical technology products. I've grown it from zero to over 650 members to become the largest monthly startup meetup in Austin. This is my stream of productivity over time. You can find me in sunny Austin, Texas eating tacos and inventing the future. Say hello at email!

Austin Hardware Startup Meetup
2013 - Present

I cofounded and organize the monthly Austin Hardware Startup Meetup to champion entrepreneurs and engineers to build companies around physical tech products. Every month I bring in great speakers and fellow hardware entrepreneurs to share knowledge and learn from the community about starting and growing hardware-focused companies in Austin.

Chaotic Moon Labs
Fall 2012 - Jan 2014

I made awesome things at Chaotic Moon Labs that did cool stuff, oftentimes bringing the future one step closer to reality. There I built innovation on demand for major clients and invented awesome futuristic technology projects. One example is a Google Glass Connected Rocket. Another is the Helmet of Justice, which I built in a week and was featured on TechCrunch, CNN, Fast Company, The Verge, and more.

Consumer Electronic Teardowns
Summer 2012

UBM TechInsights does teardowns of consumer electronic products and sells the information as reports. As an analyst, I took apart the devices and did component identification and costing to estimate the Bill of Materials. My teardowns included smartphones, tablets, medical devices, robots, media players, and more.

Electro Shades
Fall 2011

The classic Ray-Ban wayfarer sunglasses are still trendy, but I added the glow of EL wire to make a new night-oriented eyewear concept. They became popular so I produced them by hand and sold them in person at concerts and online.

Spirit Hood Glow Hack
Spring 2011

Spirit Hoods are a great fashion accessory but I hacked mine with some homemade glowing features. My sound-reactive light-up ear design illuminated to the beat of the music environment and EL wire outlined the fur. The fur and light made for an interesting reactive costume.

Sound-reactive Light-up Wearables
Spring 2011

My dive into sound-reactive lighting in the Spring of 2011 yielded a plethora of wearable accessories to showcase the technology concept. These wearable costumes and accessories were worn and tested at music festivals and parties. Concepts I made included a light-up deadmau5 ear headband (shown in the video), tiaras, buttons, and other reactive wearables.

Deadmau5 Sound-reactive Blinky Figurine
Spring 2011

Deadmau5 has amazing visual shows at his concert so in early 2011 I began experimenting with sound-reactive lighting. My labors resulted in an algorithm and electronics to sync lighting in an elegant way with any music heard, particularly electronic dance music. The insides of a deadmau5 toy speaker were gutted and replaced with my invention. And what better way is there to show it off then at a live deadmau5 show?

Remote Control Keepon Robot Clone
Fall 2010

Before Keepon, the dancing squishy robot, came out with an affordable toy version (MyKeepon) for Christmas 2011, I attempted a rough homemade clone. The motion is made from a hobby helicopter rotor and a remote control directs it. LED eyes were added that attempt to brighten proportionally to the volume of sound heard.

Mechatronic Flower of Faces for Theater
Spring 2010

When Shakespeare and robots collide they create something like The Robot Etudes which yielded my mechatronic flower. This robotic frankenstein of a flower can rotate, open and close, and spring open with remote control. The back of each flower petal forms a 3-dimensional shape of a face crafted by architects. Plus it has a mode where it can rotate and track a person autonomously using a separate vision camera system.

Linkage Lamp
Spring 2010

What does a lamp look like if it came alive? This endeavor explored the boundaries of that question through prototyping. My "linkage lamp" evolved from experiments in new forms and materials to being powered and mechanized. It has the personality of a cranky 19th century industrial machine. A blog documenting the design iterations of this linkage lamp is here for the curious.

Robot Hockey (Robockey) Competition
Fall 2009

Robockey, or robot hockey, is a 3 vs 3 robot competition with a hockey theme. A puck emits IR light and is sensed by mobile robots via phototransistors. The robots are given localization info from an overhead vision system. My contribution was a goalie robot designed mechanically, electrically, and programmatically from scratch. It had an 8-bit AVR microcontroller for the brains and a motorized flipper to deflect an incoming puck.

OmniCoupon Product Design
Fall 2009

Carrying multiple loyalty cards were a hassle in 2009 so my class team decided to invent a digital solution to this problem. We used a portable LCD device for storing digital versions of loyalty cards, membership cards, and coupon barcodes. We called it OmniCoupon. One could theoretically download and sync digital versions of rewards cards and coupons to the device and then have the cashier scan the barcode on the device's screen for discounts.

Self-balancing Mini Segway
Fall 2009

Segways are cool to ride but building them from scratch is very challenging. This is a miniature segway-style robot built from available materials and components to balance itself for as long as possible. The robot had an MDF body and the weight was distributed as best as possible. It used an accelerometer and 8-bit AVR microcontroller to balance upright.

Remote Controlled Maze Robot
Fall 2009

Here is a custom robot and wired remote control I built to race through a maze as quickly as possible carrying a payload. Acrylic and MDF were the materials used and custom circuits designed. This speedy robot achieved one of the fastest times in the maze competition.

Vision-based Mobile Robot Navigation
Fall 2008

The video shows a robot navigating through three sets of red gates in a "slalom" fashion as fast as possible. A program was executed on a laptop to navigate from the webcam's stream and beam motor commands back to the robot. Our team achieved the fastest time and won 1st place in the class competition.

Face Morphing
Fall 2008

My Star Wars face morphing video here was done with a program written from scratch in MATLAB. I created a few different morphing videos in addition to this one, but this is my favorite. The morphings are done by selecting control points in the images and then using either a triangulation or a thin plate spline model technique to morph between the images.

Mobile Ad-hoc Network Open Robot Platform
Fall 2007

My capstone undergrad design project was this semi-autonomous robot. It could randomly explore and visually survey an area avoiding obstacles on its own, or could be remotely controlled from a website. It was built on a RC truck base and was equipped with an x86 mainboard running OpenEmbedded Linux, ultrasonic range finders, WiFi, and a webcam for video recording. This was the first one built of a planned swarm of mobile robots to function as a testbed for research into wireless algorithms on mobile ad-hoc networks. My advisor was Dr. Sriram Vishwanath and the project is associated with the WNCG at UT. See this paper for more details.

DARPA Urban Challenge

The DARPA Urban Challenge made robotics history in 2007 showing that autonomous cars could safely navigate urban environments. I was a member of the University of Texas and Austin Robot Technology team where we developed a successful vehicle that made it to the semi-finals. My contributions were in the areas of high-level navigation and perception algorithms. Most of the ART team focused on the hardware while much of the software was written by the UT group. We published an article detailing our approach in the Journal of Physical Agents here.