Welcome to the open version of my brain

Hi! My name is Anthony Liekens, I'm a scientist at work, a dad at home and a hacker in both spots. Here, you can find many of my eclectic projects and other random ramblings.

I don't have a hyperactive imagination... I just happen to live in an underactive universe

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Below, you can find some of the projects that I have produced and collected over the years. Other than that, my site also contains ramblings on computers, cooking, Lego and other miscellaneous nonsense.

At work: Biograph

Over the last few years I've put some research into building a web service for the discovery of biomedical knowledge in existing, published knowledge. A common problem for many researchers in biomedicine is that they get lost in the published literature, but more recently also get lost in the huge amount of data and putative research targets that are generated by their high-throughput experiments. Biograph combines a lot of knowledge bases from the biomedical domain into one central knowledge network and adopts mining techniques to discover relevant and specific links among likely targets. As a result, Biograph can help determine which of these targets is most interesting and automatically generate functional hypotheses to ground these rankings. Biograph is available via http://www.biograph.be

At work: music.biograph.be

Searching to expand your musical horizon? Are you looking for artists that specifically fit your preferences? But you're the alternative type and don't care much about popular bands and artists? music.biograph.be may help. This musical recommendation engine suggests music that is specifically related to your musical interests, instead of providing you with the obvious popular bands and styles. Even better, our service provides you with explanations of why bands are related, helping you on your discovery. Btw, this is a tech demo of our BioGraph data mining technology -- originally written for biomedical knowledge discovery -- unleashed on a network of artist and musical tag relations from last.fm. The service is available via http://music.biograph.be and we've hacked a Spotify app that uses this service as a backend, see the github repo for the code of this app.

Open Garage

Combining the ideas of my wife's weekly crafting club and that of hackerspaces, I've started opening my garage weekly so friends can collaborate on all kinds of projects. The projects that we've completed in the first weeks are already many years worth in making experience. So far, we've been working on a weather balloon (with successful launch and landing!), we constructed a windbelt, built our own Rubens' tube and a few tens of smaller projects and crash courses.

You can find announcements of these events at opengarage.org. Feel free to drop by or open up your garage as well!

Pioneering at home

I recently started pioneering in my garden. Many people know the techniques of using ropes and poles from scouting, but no one seems to take it beyond that. I have introduced it in our family as an alternative to buying a playground, which turned out to be a cheaper, more flexible and educational choice over a pre-built kit.


Towers is a minimal abstract strategy/stacking game for two players that I designed. It consists of a few simple rules, takes only a few minutes to play, but has complex dynamics and requires quite a bit of thinking to play. Unless someone cracks the game ...

Crme de mre

I have a huge blackberry bush in my garden. Every summer, I use the fruit from this plant to make my own blackberry liqueurs (in French, this is called a Crme de mre, hence the name of the blog). On this blog, I'm keeping track of all the recipes I've put in jars and blog on some various items related to liqueur making. When the liqueurs are finished, I can use this blog to put comments along the various recipes so I can start working toward new recipes for the next year's harvest. As such I hope to develop a brilliant recipe for a excellent creme over the next few years. The site is in Dutch as I'm more confident to write recipes and describe the little details of the taste in Dutch. Maybe when I develop a good tasting liqueur I'll open up the recipe in other languages, too. For now, it's all about experimenting, tasting and refining.

Geodesic dome chicken house

After building a geodesic dome with plastic straws and pipe cleaners a few years ago, the idea of building a functional dome of some sort has been lingering on my mind. When we moved to our new house and our chickens needed a new place to stay as well, I started constructing a wooden geodesic dome chicken house. View the construction pictures, get a couple of chickens and build your own!

DIY electric vehicles

From time to time, I need a new project that allows me to educate myself in a completely new area of skills. As a complete newbie in mechanical construction, I wanted to build my own little electric vehicle and learn about welding, electronics, car building and maintenance, building a transmission and mounting electric motors on some wheels. We have successfully converted a cheap go kart to run on batteries and an electric motor. You can find movies and construction pictures of the kart on our electric kart blog. Up next, I'm going to convert a Ligier JS6 -- a small 25 year old 45kph car that runs on a motorbike engine -- to electric.

Do you want to see the ISS fly by over your house?

Ever wanted to watch the International Space Station fly through the night sky over your own house? Keep your calendar up to date with upcoming visible flybys, in two simple steps, with a websitelet that I wrote, at lookup.liekens.net.


Graag heet ik je welkom op de web site van Punthoofd, punt hoofdpunt be, waar hij de interessante hoofdpunten uit het nieuws van het moment bij elkaar zoekt.

Want dat is nu net de specialiteit van Punthoofd. Hij is een geautomatiseerde journalist. Hij sprokkelt regelmatig al het nieuws bij elkaar van een heel pak online nieuwsbronnen. In al die data gaat hij dan op zoek naar gerelateerde berichten, en stopt deze bij elkaar. Bezoekers krijgen op zijn web site in een oogopslag een overzicht van het belangrijkste en heetste nieuws.

UK flag http://punthoofd.be is a Flemish news aggregator, a nice little project that fulfills my never ending craving for (localized) current news.


Op het Vlaams woordenboek is een wiki-achtig woordenboekske. Op de site kan iedereen die dat wil Vlaamse woorden toevoegen, stemmen op definities en definities van andere gebruikers op de web site van commentaren voorzien. Dagelijks verkiezen we ook een Vlaams woord van de dag. Er staan al meer dan 10.000 definities van Vlaamse woorden in het woordenboek, maar dat kan met uw hulp mogelijk nog veel verder worden uitgebreid. Neem dus zeker een kijkje!

UK flag www.vlaamswoordenboek.be is an open Flemish online dictionary that I have built as my first project written in Ruby on Rails. The web site and its description are inherently not in English ...

Enthusiast compositions of the Huygens probe on Titan

In January 2005, while I was working on my Ph D book, NASA and ESA landed a probe on Titan, the biggest moon on Saturn. The raw images from the lander were quickly published for amateur efforts. In a vision of pure procrastination during a weekend of frantically stitching together the images, my web site became the central collection and an attractor of many, many visitors. We were able to publish a lot of initial views of Titan to the public and got a little media attention along the way.

Data mining of musical profiles

A musical tag cloud is a textual depiction of a music listener's profile and his musical preferences, by visualizing the collection of common tags for a user's top artists. Based on the data from musical social networking service Last.fm, we can automatically generate such tag clouds. Here's a preliminary data mining analysis of a large sample of such tag clouds. Here's my tag cloud:

Hack your own analog binary wall clock

Check out the analog wall clock that I have converted into an analog binary clock, and lots more about binary numbers and time (true binary time).

3D Lego models

I've built various Lego models of well known statues and mathematical objects. I've produced a bunch of 3D modeling software to help me with that job.

Lego steam engine

My Lego steam engine that works on vacuum cleaner power

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