I know what you’re thinking.. “not another device that tweets something!” Yup, another device that tweets something. This time it’s a humidor and it tweets that status of it’s relative humidity and temperature levels. For cigar aficionados, this means a lot. In order to keep your cigars “fresh” for any amount of time over a few days, they must be contained in an environment that is controlled with the perfect amount of relative humidity and temperature levels. The purpose of this is so that your cigars don’t dry out or get too moist which would amount to a terrible smoking experience. The Tweetidor uses a digital precision relative humidity and temperature sensor (SHT75) along with the arduino.
Tonight is our weekly “Ask an engineer” live chat – 10pm ET tonight, we’re going to attempt to “broadcast” LIVE from Maker Faire Rhode Island. We’ll see how it goes, we might need to go text only if there isn’t a good connection. Either way – stop by! Here are some handy details:
This version uses 5 IR emitter/receiver pairs to read five of the nine potential pip locations on a die face. Five is the minimum number of locations you have to look at to definitively read the orientation of the die. I had to file down the edges of the detectors to get them pip-distance apart and place the emitters directly behind the detectors so they’d get maximum reflection from the surface (And there is really no other place to put ‘em.) On a white area of a die it returns a really nice signal. Which means what I’m really detecting is a lack of a pip, counting the white areas rather than the dark ones.
Greetings citizen scientists, budding biohackers, and backyard explorers! We think you’ll find the Make: Science Room a fun and useful resource. We hope you’ll use it as your DIY science classroom, virtual laboratory, and a place to share your projects, hacks, and laboratory tips with other amateur scientists. Your Make: Science Room host is Robert Bruce Thompson, author of Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture. (Make: Books, 2008) and Illustrated Guide to Forensics Investigations: Uncover Evidence in Your Home, Lab, or Basement (not yet published). We’ll be drawing material from these titles first, but will soon branch out into biology, astrononmy, Earth sciences, and other disciplines. We’ll be adding lots of material on a regular basis, so check back often. For more info on the site, see Introducing the Make: Science Room.
Why China makes most of the world consumer electronics from James Fallows… via Margery. James writes -
What I like about this segment (not including the load of industrial goo slathered on my hair by a well-meaning Shanghai stylist just before filming, but I digress) is its emphasis on the elements other than cheap labor that have been crucial to China’s manufacturing success. Yes, $10-a-day factory wages give Chinese producers a big edge. As I explained in the magazine two years ago, they also affect the way the whole production process is planned and laid out. Eg: Some functions that would always be mechanized in the US, Japan, or Europe are done by hand in China, because the cost of the machines isn’t worth it. This has its disadvantages, yet it also can allow Chinese factories to switch from product to product much faster than a more “modern” facility could.
But there are a lot of places with much cheaper wage rates than China now. The Chinese advantage over such places — Cambodia, Bangladesh, much of Africa – is the combination of relatively cheap labor and absolutely superb production infrastructure. Ports, industrial zones, highways headed to airports, whatever else it takes. This clip mentions the issue; the whole series goes into it at some length, and gives you an idea of what these factories look like on the inside.
This method of measuring mains AC electrical energy use is quite nice, it doesn’t require any breaking of the mains wire, which makes it much safer, you just clip-on to the wire a sensor called a current transformer (CT) that measures the current flowing through either the live or neutral mains wire. It does this by measuring the magnetic field that surrounds the wire, created by the current. The simplicity of just clipping on the sensor means that it can be used to measure the electrical energy used by the whole house. It is the method used by many commercial devices that you can buy.
I don’t have much knowledge of how the commercial devices work apart from the use of the CT sensor, I couldn’t find much information on them and so the following is what I have managed to get to work in quite an experimental way. The results seem promising and useful, there are probably better more accurate ways of doing it and so hopefully it will improve over time but this is how far I have got so far.
The vintage Z560M Nixie tubes, used in former East-Germany in the mid 20th century as numeric displays, were the inspiration for the design of Daniel Kurth’s (www.kurth.lu) Nixie Concrete clock.
The Luxembourgish designer enclosed the shiny orange Nixie tubes in a reinforced rough concrete body which can optionally be wall mounted. The strength of this design lies in the application of ‘retro technology’ and its interesting combination of components and materials, where one is easily fooled as to what is old and what is new. All electronic components in this fully functioning prototype are assembled by hand.
Unlike other clocks that make use of Nixie tubes, this one does not read like a traditional display. Kurth experienced that clocks – regardless of their esthetic value – sometimes form a disturbing factor in one’s house, since being constantly reminded of the time can be stressful. By rearranging the display, one can enjoy the playful interaction between the 6 different tubes without realising straight away what time it is. A short focus will however allow you to use it as a ‘normal’ clock. The time in the picture reads 10:23:54.
I’ve implemented a simple IR universal remote that will record an IR code and retransmit it on demand as an example for my IR library. Handling IR codes is a bit more complex than it might seem, as many protocols require more than simply recording and playing back the signal.
To use the universal remote, simply point your remote control at the IR module and press a button on the remote control. Then press the Arduino button whenever you want to retransmit the code. My example only supports a single code at a time, but can be easily extended to support multiple codes.
Jameco sent us this email today, below, we are going to politely decline (don’t worry, we like Jameco) – we thought this would be a good opportunity to make our policy on affiliate programs crystal clear – WE DO NOT DO THEM AND NEVER WILL.
My hope is that the name Jameco rings a bell. We certainly know who you are because we’ve observed that your website has been referring traffic to our site for some time now. We would like to propose a partnership that’s designed to both grow the amount of traffic you send to Jameco and compensate you at the same time.
We have recently launched an affiliate marketing program that pays approved affiliated web sites a commission on web visitors you refer to Jameco that place an order. The whole process is managed by a third party company, AvantLink, which provides the tracking software and pays the commissions.
We would like to offer you a 5% commission on all orders placed within 90 days of the referral. I would like to set up a very brief call to explain the program in a bit more detail and discuss with you strategies for increasing the traffic you send us and thus the commission check.
Please respond with a couple of half-hour windows so we can schedule a call.
Joi Ito brought a neat toy to FOO Camp this year — a Tenori-On. The Tenori-On is this very interactive, beautiful piece of hardware created by Toshio Iwai that, to paraphrase his words, creates a “visible music” interface with a shape and sound that fits the player organically, a sort of re-invention of the violin for the digital age. Here’s a neat YouTube demo of the Tenori-On. I had seen this instrument for the first time in a fabulous live performance by Cornelius in Tokyo, and had since lusted for it.
Joi was an amazingly good sport, and let me do what I instinctively want to do when I see a piece of sexy hardware like this — undress it! Thankfully, I always travel with screwdrivers and a camera to capture rare opportunities like this, so I was able to capitalize on the moment. I did get it apart (and put back together again!!), and here are some photos of the innards to share with you. I’ll eventually throw these photos up on ifixit, it’s a better site for sharing teardowns.
Arduino can easily generate MIDI output data for use with external synths and modules or to take physical events and turn them into control data for use with software synths and applications etc.
Although the Arduino only has one Serial output, it is still possible to use a multiplexer to send multiple streams of MIDI data to multiple devices.
The idea is pretty simple. The Arduino still uses its TX pin for sending serial data, but uses an analog multiplexer to choose where that data is going (say, one of two MIDI outputs for example). The analog multiplexer that I have chosen is a 4051 and can ‘route’ the data to up to eight different places.