Mitch Altman, founder of NoiseBridge hackerspace in San Francisco, talks at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 about how spaces like his are allowing creative expression all over the world. Hackers at NoiseBridge conduct biology experiments and hacked a wheelchair to be controlled by computer, phone, and even one’s own brain waves.
ZENCART ZENSDAY – Predictive inventory. Ok, folks this is likely one of the most useful parts of our Adafruit business we’re thrilled to share with the world… One of the ‘brick walls’ that any business eventually hits is how to manage inventory. If you’re a one person shop and you have 10 items to keep track of, you can probably do it all in your head. But once you get to 25 or so items it can get really messy. That’s why a few years ago we wrote up our own ‘predictive’ inventory system. Now to make it absolutely clear, this php code cannot actually see into the future. However, it can look into the past and make a good educated guess about how long your inventory will last assuming you have pretty steady purchasing history.
Basically, this code will look at all your product categories and items and sum up how many orders were placed for these items. Then it puts them in a table with the current inventory/stock. The table entries have a background of light red if your current inventory will run out before then. For example lets look at this screenshot:
If the future purchasing is like the past, then we’ll run out of 9V regulated adapters in about 4-6 weeks. If you know the approximate lead time for stuff you buy then you can just keep ordering just when the ‘red bars’ start showing up too much!
Sophisticated. Elegant. Open Source. The iNecklace is a gorgeously machined aluminum pendant with a subtle pulsating LED. Perfect for the playa or with Prada. Made for women who celebrate art, science, engineering and great design. For any lady who loves technology and wants beautiful, geeky jewelry. Welcome to the future! This is a new type of product for Adafruit, we want to create wearable electronics that are subtle, fun to wear and look classy.
The necklace pendant is CNC machined from the finest 6 series aluminum for durability and beauty. The iNecklace is a remarkable accessory. Machined with a “screw in backing” that allows easy access to the battery using a coin. Each iNecklace pendant contains a circuit board with pulsating LED and battery. The pendant comes strung on a 18″ long sterling silver 1.6mm diamond-cut curb chain that has been treated to inhibit tarnishing. The necklace is placed in a black velveteen box, ready to given as a gift!
The “pulsing” is similar to the “breathing” LED pattern on many laptop and computer systems. The default pattern is reverse engineered from the Apple “breathing” LED on Macs, MacBooks, iMacs, etc.
Ready to go
Before your fancy event, just pop the battery in, screw the backing on and your iNecklace will gently pulsate for up to 72 hours. Each order comes with 2 batteries, one for immediate gratification, and one spare. Simply replace it when the LED is too dim to see. We sell replacement batteries as well.
Designed and made in North America
Cufflinks are lovingly machined in Toronto, Canda by Ross + Doell, assembled in New York, New York USA. Created by Mike Doell, Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone.
David Schneider relates his own experience and gives some advice on building your own underwater ROV. He writes:
Last year at about this time, crews in the Gulf of Mexico were working feverishly to bring BP’s blown-out oil well under control. Some of the more spectacular parts of that effort, as you may recall, involved the use of remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs. Perhaps you had the same thought as I did—that it would be cool to build one.
To be sure, no garage-workbench hacker is going to build an undersea robot that operates a diamond saw or wrestles with a stuck blowout preventer. But those vehicles also monitored events on the seafloor and streamed some amazing video to the Web in real time. A small inspection-class unit—one that carries just a video camera around underwater—ought to be within the grasp of an avid DIYer.
I even built an ROV for fun in the late 1990s. Its underwater thrusters, like the ones employed by most DIYers today, used DC motors mounted in watertight housings. Flexible shaft seals prevented water from getting to the innards of the motors. It used trolling motors, the kind you see pushing small fishing boats around. Submersible bilge pumps are another popular solution.
The great thing about bilge-pump motors is that they are dirt cheap—perfect if all you want is something that can swim around at shallow depths. At greater depths, though, the pressure will cause the flexible seals to close down around the spinning shaft, sapping power and heating the seal. Ultimately, the seal fails and the motor floods.
I wanted my next-generation ROV to be able to go deep, so I took a different approach this time, which was to fill the motors with oil. Shaft seals are still required to keep the oil on the inside separated from the water on the outside. But the two sides of the seal are always at the same pressure, so the motors should be able to operate at any depth.
It’s a pretty good read, with a lot of valuable observations and source files too!
Lighting Designer for a band seeks someone to construct a simple, beautiful, durable, US-tourable LED set piece– long strips of led tape in aluminum channels, plus something (PVC tubing?) they can travel in. Spec provided, also rolls of led tape, power supplies, dmx controllers, and aluminum channel.
Aluminum welding involved, with any additional fabrication materials and electrical connectors sourced by you– reimbursement in addition to fee.
Finished product due on site Sept 23.
Read more, if you applied before – the email address was not correct, please email again!
In partnership with Entrepreneur Magazine, OPEN Forum takes you inside the minds and companies of some of today’s most innovative business owners. Hear Limor Fried, founder of Adafruit, talk about how she uses open-source hardware to collaborate with customers on designs that lead to useful electronic products.
It’s great that Microchip invested in the Arduino open source IDE. Unfortunately the contributions seem to stop with support for their product. Parts of chipKIT toolchain are still closed-source, and Microchip isn’t contributing open source drivers for the highly-advertised USB and Ethernet features of the chipKIT Mega.
We buttressed this editorial by saying we’re huge fans of Microchip stuff. It’s their time-honored right to deal in closed source software – most companies do! With the chipKIT, however, Microchip wants to tap the Arduino buzz. They want promote products using the work of an open source community, but they’re not participating in the spirit of that community. It’s not illegal, it’s being a bad neighbor.
We urge Microchip to give something significant back to the community they’re tapping. Open source drivers for the chipKIT shield would be a great first step.
We had a couple customers ask if we planned to stock the chipKIT, we’d love to, so we’ve said “not yet” – we’d like to see Microchip & Digilent address these issues Ian outlined, they’re off to a great start (and that should be commended!) – we’d love to see the product evolve to fully open-source hardware! We are here waiting with open arms
An electric tambourine that is completely powered by the playing of the instrument. Yellow LED lights on the jingles light up when the corresponding piezo is rattled. The harder the tambourine rattles, the greater the voltage generated by the piezoelectric elements and thus the brighter the light. If the tambourine is rattled with enough force, blue and red LED lights on the band also light up. Thus, the player can both hear and see the music generated by this instrument – by Jie Qi.
Nearly one billion people in rural areas live without access to all-season roads–meaning a large portion of the world’s population can’t get medication, food, and other supplies when they need them. The Matternet, a concept created by a group of students in this summer’s class at Singularity University, aims to leapfrog road-based transportation altogether with a network of electric autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) in the developing world that transports supplies and people from place to place. Think of it as the Jetsons meets Mother Theresa.
The Matternet concept was designed by a motley crew of entrepreneurs, engineers, hackers, and more–all of whom were challenged during Singularity University to solve a big problem related to world poverty (other groups focused on space, energy, education, security, and global health). The team quickly came across the problem of transporting goods in the developing world, where in some places it can take up to a month for an HIV blood test to get to a lab and back. “We want to shift the paradigm and say, do you really need roads?” explains Matternet team member Arturo Pelayo.
The Matternet is being developed in three stages. In the first stage, the Matternet team anticipates carrying loads of one to two kilograms. The team’s prototype (pictured above) can already do this, but its autonomous capabilities have not yet been tested. During the second stage, the autonomous vehicles will carry 200 kilograms, and automated solar-powered recharging stations will be installed on the ground. In the third stage, the vehicles will be able to carry up to 1,000 kilograms–so they will be able to transport both goods and people. The prototype AAVs are quadcopters that have a range of 10 kilometers, but the technology may change as the project advances.
This is a big idea. I have no idea if it will work, but I certainly hope it does.
A micro camera is installed onboard an r/c plane F-16. The camera transmit live the video to ground and I wear video goggle to fly the plane in real time like if I was in the cockpit. The camera replace the head of the pilot and the movement of the cam is control by the movement of my head on ground via a head mount gyroscope (head tracker)
The whole system cost me around $1500 including the plane. But it is many hours of hand made modifcation. You can start with simpler video system that cost around $500 and install it on your own r/c plane. Search for FPV on the web for more info about my hobby…
As a trained statistician with degrees from MIT and Stanford University, Srivastava was intrigued by the technical problem posed by the lottery ticket. In fact, it reminded him a lot of his day job, which involves consulting for mining and oil companies. A typical assignment for Srivastava goes like this: A mining company has multiple samples from a potential gold mine. Each sample gives a different estimate of the amount of mineral underground. “My job is to make sense of those results,” he says. “The numbers might seem random, as if the gold has just been scattered, but they’re actually not random at all. There are fundamental geologic forces that created those numbers. If I know the forces, I can decipher the samples. I can figure out how much gold is underground.”
Srivastava realized that the same logic could be applied to the lottery. The apparent randomness of the scratch ticket was just a facade, a mathematical lie. And this meant that the lottery system might actually be solvable, just like those mining samples. “At the time, I had no intention of cracking the tickets,” he says. He was just curious about the algorithm that produced the numbers. Walking back from the gas station with the chips and coffee he’d bought with his winnings, he turned the problem over in his mind. By the time he reached the office, he was confident that he knew how the software might work, how it could precisely control the number of winners while still appearing random. “It wasn’t that hard,” Srivastava says. “I do the same kind of math all day long.”
In 2009, the U.S. made less than 2 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. By 2015, the Department of Energy projects that, thanks mostly to the government’s recent largess, the United States will have the capacity to produce 40 percent of them. Whichever country figures out how to lead in the production of lithium-ion batteries will be well positioned to capture “a large piece of the world’s future economic prosperity,” says Arun Majumdar, the head of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The batteries, he stressed, are essential to the future of the global-transportation business and to a variety of clean-energy industries.
We may marvel at the hardware and software of mobile phones and laptops, but batteries don’t get the credit they deserve. Without a lithium-ion battery, your iPad would be a kludge. The new Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf rely on big racks of lithium-ion battery cells to hold their electric charges, and a number of new models — including those from Ford and Toyota, which use similar battery technology — are on their way to showrooms within the next 18 months.