The TouchKit Family is a modular multitouch development solution with the aim to make multitouch readily available in an open source fashion. It is a sister project of the CUBIT multitouch system and aimed at rapid implementation of multitouch projects for the masses.
TouchKit is comprised of software and hardware components. For both we provide the source files and welcome you to use, study, and appropriate the code and schematics for your work or projects. We are interested in TouchKit being a plug-and-play solution for simple projects and an easily extendable base for experimental and cutting-edge endeavors.
We are working on a Creative Common’d coloring book for “kids” (similar to Citizen Engineer volume 01) – the title for now is “Ladyada’s e is for electronics” – here is a list of words, one for each letter – if you can think of a better one or additional one for any letter let us know. Any suggestions you have would be helpful.
You can post your suggestions in the comments or stop by our weekly “Ask an engineer chat” Saturday night, 10pm ET 10/10/2009 (additional details below).
a – amperes
b – battery / breadboard
c – capacitor
d – diode
e – electronics
f – fpga/frequency/fet
g – ground
h – hertz
i – current/infrared/inductor
j – joule
k – kelvin
l – led
m – motor/microcontroller/multimeter/mos/mosfet the cat
n – noise/npn
o – ohm/oscilloscope/opamp
p – potentiometer/pcb
q – quartz / quantum field effect transistor
r – resistor/relay
s – switch/silcon/soldering iron
t – transistor
u – ultraviolet/usb/uart
v – voltage
w – wire/watt
x – xtal
y – yagi antenna
z – zener
Imagine a broadcast network in America that was dedicated to education, where the best educators had the opportunity to produce its programming, and where individuals as well as institutions could develop a new genre of wide-ranging educational programs? Educational programming could elevate the role of teaching in our culture and promote the value of lifelong learning. This blog post explores why education is a more important role for public broadcasting in America, a new role that would re-align PBS with its original mission as an educational network.
Our public broadcasting system should re-invent itself as a network for educational programming. Moreover, it should specifically focus on increasing public interest and engagement in science and civics. This is a vital public mission — promoting science and technology literacy and creating a greater understanding of our own system of government.
The Ice Tube Clock is a vacuum fluorescent display clock kit from Adafruit industries. I recently put one together and have been enjoying its calming blue glow. Unfortunately at night the calm blue glow is a little on the bright side. While there is a menu option to adjust the brightness it would be better if the clock dimmed automatically. Fortunately, the clock came with a few unused pins on the microcontroller and a space on the circuit board to add a sensor.
I added a resistor an a photocell to act as an automatic dimmer. The microcontroller provides power from one of its pins (which is turneed off if the clock is running on battery backup) and senses the voltage across the photoresistor using its analog to digital converter. I added a menu option to turn the dimmer on and off. Its operation is pretty simple. If the room is pretty dark, the display is at minimum brightness. If the room is light, the display is at the brightness set by the user. For extra credit I could add some sort of sensitivity option to the menu but I figured I would start simple and see how well it works. A modified firmware to enable the dimmer control (based off of Adafruit’s Sept 30th firmware) is available there.
The Arduino Ethernet Shield allows an Arduino board to connect to the internet. It is based on the Wiznet W5100 ethernet chip (datasheet). The Wiznet W5100 provides a network (IP) stack capable of both TCP and UDP. It supports up to four simultaneous socket connections. Use the Ethernet library to write sketches which connect to the internet using the shield. Please note that the current design of the ethernet shield is not compatible with the Arduino Mega!
The ethernet shield connects to an Arduino board using long wire-wrap headers which extend through the shield. This keeps the pin layout intact and allows another shield to be stacked on top. Arduino uses digital pins 10, 11, 12, and 13 (SPI) to communicate with the W5100 on the ethernet shield. These pins cannot be used for general i/o. The shield provides a standard RJ45 ethernet jack. An Arduino is necessary to use this shield but is not included.
Eventually we posted about this on our site and a Google engineer commented.
In early 2009, a month after we released the Tweet-a-watt, Google announced their “PowerMeter” and now almost a year later they have their first device partner, we’re a little bummed that Google *could have* had thousands of Tweet-a-watt customers using the Google PowerMeter all this time but for whatever reason will not?
On any given day you can find a miniature multimeter in my pocket. These devices are the equivalent of a Leatherman for electronic enthusiasts. (The Leatherman would be in my other pocket.) Most of the time, I want to check the voltage of a deep-cycle battery in my electric-vehicle or troubleshoot a problem with a solar photovoltaic system. But multimeters do things like current measuring, resistance and continuity, which make them handy for solving problems ranging from home wiring to electronics repair. (For more on what do do with one, check out Ladyada’s multimeter tutorial on adafruit.com). I’ve used a number of “portable” units over the years, and while many are anything but, one jumps out as my solid favorite. Here’s my take on a few popular units.
Update: We’ve included a transcript of the introduction and Ladyada’s speech. For transcripts we used 3Play Media. We uploaded the video, they transcribed it, we paid via paypal, all under a week and under $30 for two videos total.
6V Solar panel – 1.3 Watt – in stock now! These panels come to us from Voltaic Systems, makers of fine solar-powered bags and packs. These are waterproof, scratch resistant, and UV resistant. They use a high efficiency monocrystalline cell. They output 6V at 200 mA via 3.5mm x 1.3mm DC jack connector. The substrate is an aluminum / plastic composite, specifically designed to be strong and lightweight. They can easily stand up to typical outdoor use including being dropped and leaned on.
The Teensy is a complete USB-based microcontoller development system, in a very small footprint! All programming is done via the USB port. No special programmer is needed, only a standard “Mini-B” USB cable and a PC or Macintosh with a USB port.
USB can be any type of device
AVR processor, 16 MHz
Single pushbutton programming
Easy to use Teensy Loader application
Free software development tools
Works with Mac OS X, Linux & Windows
Tiny size, perfect for many projects
Available with pins for solderless breadboard
Comes with assembled Teensy board (ATmega32u4 with bootloader preinstalled) and header to allow easy breadboarding. We suggest using AVR-gcc (like WinAVR) with the LUFA library or ‘Teensyduino’ Be sure to check out the multiple resources available at PJRC!