Founded five years ago by Douglas Repetto, the director of research at Columbia University’s computer music center, dorkbot is an informal club of artists, techies and geeks who do “strange things with electricity,” according to their motto. In five years, chapters of the club have sprung up in nearly 30 cities around the world, from Seattle to Rotterdam to Mumbai.
This month’s meeting was held on what may or may not have been Sir Isaac Newton’s 363rd birthday, but the fact that history is unclear on that matter did not dissuade Mr. Repetto, 35, from enlisting him as the evening’s mascot. Slides of Newton and Newton-related arcana flashed across a screen before the lectures began.
But what would Sir Isaac have made of Mikey Sklar? Mr. Sklar, a UNIX engineer presenting at dorkbot for the second time, demonstrated how he had a $2 chip surgically implanted into his left hand – and why he did it. The Radio Frequency Identification tag under his skin uses the same technology that the E-ZPass system employs to identify cars on toll roads. Mr. Sklar, 28, said his tag unlocks his computer and accesses news feeds as part of an art project.