When I finally got around to playing Portal, I was a bit surprised at how much the Internet loved the companion cube. Sure, the cube is pretty great, but in my mind it pales in comparison to the turrets, the real scene-stealers of the game. In fact, they inspired a Veruca Salt-esque covetousness in me.
I wanted one.
And, of course, it just wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t talk…
With the excitement of Portal 2 coming out, and in collaboration with Leigh Nunan, I finally was able to get my turret. Or, rather, to make it.
Max Mathews, often called the father of computer music, died on Thursday in San Francisco.
Mr. Mathews wrote the first program to make it possible for a computer to synthesize sound and play it back. He also developed several generations of computer-music software and electronic instruments and devices.
He was an engineer at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., in 1957 when he wrote the first version of Music, a program that allowed an IBM 704 mainframe computer to play a 17-second composition of his own devising.
Because computers at the time were so slow, it would have taken an hour to synthesize the piece, so it had to be transferred to tape and then speeded up to the proper tempo. But the experiment proved that sound could be digitized, stored and retrieved.
“The timbres and notes were not inspiring,” Mr. Mathews told a conference on computer music at Indiana University in 1997, “but the technical breakthrough is still reverberating.”
The implications of Mr. Mathews’s early research reached popular audiences through the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in which the HAL 9000 computer sings “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” as its cognitive functions are dismantled.
The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke had visited Bell Laboratories in the early 1960s and listened as a vocoder, or voice recorder synthesizer, developed by John L. Kelly, sang “Daisy Bell” to a musical accompaniment programmed by Mr. Mathews. He incorporated the innovation into the novel on which the film was based.
HANDS-ON kits offer great ways to learn about science and engineering. But the joys of making a small robot or a crystal radio set have long eluded those who can’t get past Step 2 in the instruction manual.
But now, even those without a wisp of natural geek in them may have a chance at success. That’s because Web-based instructions — often designed by hobbyists for other hobbyists — are now supplementing the often-confounding printed directions that come with such kits.
Bloggers who tinker are creating interactive tutorials, descriptive videos and step-by-step series of photographs that make it easier for nontechies to go forward confidently. Dozens of do-it-yourself Web sites, like Evil Mad Scientist, AdaFruit and iFixIt, also offer tools, components and kits of their own, many aimed at beginners.
Woo! The Times is writing about kits and sites that have great documentation, amazing!
What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community – “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer – stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week. Mosfet the cat stops by too. Previous chats can be viewed at http://www.adafruit.com/ask
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
I am making an Arduino course for hipsters, instead of looking at what you learn, I am going to concentrate in what people think about themselves, establish an indie relationship to the world of electronics, portratit electrons as Emo-children, help the bohemian soul to embrace complex concepts that go beyond drinking wine while listening to Coldplay … and all of this while only wearing B&W clothes.
This is the agenda for the course that will take place on April 28th at STPLN, in Malmo, Sweden.
The BoArduinos (and FTDI cables) were way popular because I use them for a workshop I’ve given three times (more than 50 people each time) now that is way super popular: Arduino For Total Newbies Workshop (using TV-B-Gone as an example project). I created a website to show how I do the workshop so others can do it, too…
PART FINDER FRIDAY – LOGIC CHIPS. Whenever you have 3.3V logic and you want to interface it with 5V logic, you need to take care so that you don’t shove 5V into a 3V input. We’ve found an easy way to do that is to use a level shifter such as a 74AHC125 or CD4050. The ’125 has 4 buffers and can be tri-stated, the 4050 has six buffers. Both can take 5V input on any pin if the chip is powered with 3V so effectively it converts down. Much faster than using resistors (almost no slewing) and works even if you end up using 3V on both sides. A good example of this is in our oled breakout board which is a 3V part, but easily wired up to talk to an Arduino which is 5V.
This is documentation from the April 14th, 2011 demonstration of the etch-a-sketch / bulletin board project, undertaken for the Mediatecture class (Oliver Hess and Nik Hafermaas), and filmed at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. This project is not affiliated with nor sponsored by the official, real-deal etch-a-sketch, its parent company, or, generally, anybody in a suit.
The boxes have shiny aluminum knobs. There is an arduino handling the controls. There is a rather solid processing sketch controlling the graphics.
Q: How is this mediatecture?
A: Art Center’s student dining room naturally serves as a 24-hour meeting place, rumpus room, town hall, and work lab. This is the social and architectural context that this project seeks to interact with and foster: somewhere to relax or work, meet or greet, see new work, and enjoy time away from the class rooms.
This project provides another layer of social engagement with: a twitter feed (pulling mostly student-written tweets related to Art Center), a clock (with both the date and the infamous Art Center week), and, most importantly, sketches drawn by real, live, interacting people who are sitting together at a table, and being watched by everyone in the room.
Interactive media that intersects the living context of a space, that is mediatecture.
Sacha De’Angeli had a big process flaw with a soon to launch product called Campfire #1. With the support of his local Hackerspace and the OSHW community a resolution was found and his product saved. This is a prime example on how the OSHW community can help a business solve problems, save money, and tap resources that would otherwise be out of reach.
If your think about building your own open source transmissometer or just wanbt to learn more, the theory, technical schematics, and details can be found on the Rugged Scents Blog.
The folks over at Buildlog have developed a complete interface and stepper driver solution for a DIY laser cutter that’s compatible with Mach3, EMC2 and more.
This [is] the new Laser Interface PCB. It adds a lot of new features including the stepper motor drivers. This board is designed to reduce the wiring requirement of a home build laser cutter/engraver. This should significantly reduce the cost of a laser cutter. If you use this with EMC2 (free) you should be controlling your laser for less than $100.
Check out the video above and the blog post for more details.