This tip is a quicky but very handy! When programming a tray into your pick and place, you will need to know the X&Y dimensions. This sounds simple but measuring them with calipers can be annoying which is when we found this really handy PDF from a JEDEC tray maker that has all the dimensions ready to go!
On Saturday, June 25th, FamiLAB held its first soldering class. This class was designed to be a “practice run” before the first public soldering class in July. (Add the link to the new eventbrite event here!)
It was a great time, and led to a really energized FamiLAB business meeting in the afternoon.
Special thanks to Cloudspace for hosting the event, to the GGHC team for the funding used to buy the soldering equipment and member Minty Boosts, adafruit industries for their Hackerspace discount program, Mitch Altman and MightyOhm for the “Soldering is Easy” comic, and to Da3v for his work procuring all the gear.
MORE CLASSES – COMING SOON!
Stay tuned for more class offerings from FamiLAB – we had a great time, and received very positive feedback from a few members of the community that were invited to help us test the concept. If you were one of the community members that came out, please post any additional feedback in the comments! We’d also like to see you in July – we will be setting up another class where you can bring a kit of your choice and FamiLAB members will be there to assist as needed. (Add the link to the eventbrite event here!)
We are also discussing an “Intro to Arduino” class – anyone that is interested, please post in the comments so that we can let you know when it is available.
What started as a quick re-factoring effort transformed to a major redevelopment, but finally all pieces fit together tightly and I am pleased to announce that initial release of USB Host Shield library ver.2.0 has been posted to github.
Some of the major improvements include the use of only 5 Arduino pins, 3.5x faster low-level transfers, and the ability to use USB Hub(s).
Make sure you stop by Circuts@Home to check out the full details like the current/future supported device classes and supported hardware versions .
EL Wire, also known as Electroluminescent wire, is a stiff wire core coated with phosphor and then covered with a protective PVC sheath. When an AC signal is applied to it, it glows an aqua (blue green) color. Sometimes its covered with a colored plastic shell to make it appear another color. It looks a little like thin neon. Very bendable, it keeps its shape and you can curl it around your finger. Its an easy way to add some glow to a project, not as bright as LEDs but uses a lot less power!
It’s often used for costuming, decoration, accent lighting, safety vests, bicycle/motorcycle/car/boat/home decoration, signs, etc. It’s definitely the most popular wearable electronics we’ve seen since its so easily to use.
Thanks to jersagfast @ TheCustomGeek. He wrote an awesome menu program for adafruits 2.8tft breakout board. It has 5 different menu areas as well as a settings area for backlight brightness and sleep timers which saves the settings to EEPROM so the settings are saved even when there’s no power. Plus many more features. I have added many updates. It is now both UNO and Mega 1280/2560. compatible.
I have also added the ability to read actual Vcc voltages at the core using the Bandgap method For accurate voltage readings and sensor readings. And more. If you’d like to check out the latest code it’s available Here on my site.
2.8″ 18-bit color TFT LCD with touchscreen breakout board! Add some jazz & pizazz to your project with a color touchscreen LCD. This TFT display is big (2.8″ diagonal) bright (4 white-LED backlight) and colorful (up to 18-bit 262,000 different shades)! 240×320 pixels with individual pixel control, this has way more resolution than a black and white 128×64 display. As a bonus, this display has a resistive touchscreen attached to it already, so you can detect finger presses anywhere on the screen.
This display has a controller built into it with RAM buffering, so that almost no work is done by the microcontroller. You’ll need 8 digital data lines and 4 or 5 digital control lines to read and write to the display (12 lines total). 4 pins are required for the touch screen (2 digital, 2 analog) but because of the way resistive touch screens work, we can share pins with the LCD so the entire setup can be run by 12 pins (10 digital, 2 analog).
In ancient times, digital mariners would steer their charges by the light of heavenly vias. Sometimes, they would see figures in the vias, and give them names.
Dateline — The Distant Future ™: An archaeologist with a flying car rediscovers this circuit board in the ruins of a subdivision of a New York City suburb in what used to be New Jersey. Assuming they can decipher the bizarre, refined glyphs that make up the Latin alphabet, what will they think? Did people in the 21st century really believe that vias were stars, or vice-versa? Is this proof of a previously undocumented (and quaint) belief system? Did these people really believe in primitive anthropomorphized electrons?
More than likely none of these. Assuming that people in the future will have stopped the ego-inflated practice of infantilizing the past, this artifact will be on display in a museum with the caption “A classic example of 21st-century wise-assery.”
In 2010, China filed 56 percent more international patent applications than the year before. The number of U.S. applications, by contrast, was down for a third year in a row.
The figures come from the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations agency based in Geneva. An international application is the first step toward claiming ownership in 142 nations—a domestic patent protects an invention only in one country.
Despite China’s growth, the United States still tops the list by a wide margin, accounting for more than a quarter of all applications last year. China’s rise, though, is signaled by having two manufacturers in the top ranks of individual corporations: ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. That both are in digital communications is no coincidence—that area leads the list of industrial sectors and features another patent powerhouse, Qualcomm.
The United States also still dominates the list of leading university applicants. The University of California system and MIT are at the top, but the roster also includes the University of Florida, in Gainesville, which received US $678 million in research awards in 2010 and is building a new “super incubator.” Staff there will work to commercialize medical and clean energy technologies. The Sunshine State’s innovations may soon go beyond Gatorade.
Brett Teper faced a logistical problem when he and a partner founded ModProducts LLC’s ModKat, which makes high-end litter boxes for cats, a few years ago. The New York City residents needed a way to cheaply store and ship their bulky goods.
Their solution was to outsource product distribution to Shipwire Inc., one of several services that small- and medium-size businesses are increasingly using for storage and shipping, or “fulfillment.”
With Shipwire, Mr. Teper doesn’t touch his products. They are sent from a Taiwanese manufacturer to a Shipwire warehouse near Los Angeles, where they are packed. When a customer buys off ModKat’s website, an employee approves the order, which then goes directly into Shipwire’s system. The boxes are shipped within 24 hours.
The service “allows us to do this without really thinking about … fulfillment and logistics,” said Mr. Teper.
Businesses such as Shipwire, Webgistix Corp. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Fulfillment by Amazon, among others, do the work. EBay Inc. plans to test its own service this year, a spokeswoman for the online marketplace said. A small group of eBay sellers in the U.S. and China will be able to have eBay handle all parts of fulfillment. It’s unclear whether eBay would run its warehouses or use a contractor.
We often get asked if we ever plan to outsource our shipping, we do not. But it is an option for the kit maker/maker business who does not want to do shipping. Lots of small companies we know do outside fulfillment and they seem to be happy with the results. If you use any of these services post up in the comments and share your experiences (as a customer or as a partner).
In the coming months, we’re going to retire two products that didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped, but did serve as influential models: Google Health (retiring January 1, 2012; data available for download through January 1, 2013) and Google PowerMeter (retiring September 16, 2011). Both were based on the idea that with more and better information, people can make smarter choices, whether in regard to managing personal health and wellness, or saving money and conserving energy at home. While they didn’t scale as we had hoped, we believe they did highlight the importance of access to information in areas where it’s traditionally been difficult.
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
Nǐ hǎo 你好 Adafruit is learning Mandarin Chinese. We have an iPad and iPhone here at the shop and as part of language learning (Chinese/Mandarin) we tried out a few apps to help us. After some experimentation we’re going with Pleco for now. Here’s an overview of the things we like about it:
Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion – an integrated Chinese dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live camera-based character recognition.
Dictionaries: the built-in one has over 20,000 example sentences with Pinyin, the popular CC-CEDICT is available as a free add-on, and 7 other wonderful dictionaries are available as paid upgrades.
Fullscreen handwriting: use the entire width of your iPhone’s screen to draw characters.
Live Optical Character Recognizer: look up words simply by pointing your device’s camera at them, or by tapping on them in a still image.
Flashcard System: create a card from any dictionary entry with a single button tap, import premade word lists, use advanced memorization techniques like SRS (spaced repetition), and study in a variety of modes including fill-in-the-blanks handwriting and tone drills.
Powerful search: look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces and tones optional), or a combination, with support for wildcards and full-text search.
Cross-referencing: tap on any Chinese character / word in any dictionary entry to bring up its definition.
Audio Pronunciation: instantly hear a native-speaker audio recording of each Chinese headword; recordings are available for over 34,000 words.
Stroke Order Diagrams: animations showing you how to draw each character; over 20,000 characters are covered.
Software is sold only through in-app purchases, those purchases can be transferred to other devices that sync to your iTunes account just as with any other iOS software; simply load up the free version on each device, open up the “Add-ons” screen, and tap on the “Restore Purchases” button to activate your purchase on each device.
We got the $100 pack and so far we’re really enjoying it, the flash cards are really good and can be shared across devices.
In the new issue of CR, I talk to Coca-Cola archivist, Ted Ryan, about the history of the brand’s 125 year-old identity, explored in a new show at the Design Museum. One of the highlights of the display is a book documenting the design and build of their first neon sign for Piccadilly Circus, in 1954…
When he returned to Atlanta, Ryan kindly sourced some scans of some of the pages from this rare publication, a few of which we used in the print piece in the July issue. The rest we present here as a series, alongside two Technical Data pages, should anyone be interested in how the sign was actually constructed.