Shwetak Patel is a computer scientist who has invented a series of sensor technology systems for home environments with the goal of saving energy and improving daily life through a broad range of applications. Much of his work to date has focused on the development of low-cost and easy-to-deploy devices that can detect and measure household energy consumption without an elaborate network of expensive instruments. To allow residents to track their energy usage down to the level of individual appliances and fixtures, Patel’s distinctive approach leverages existing infrastructure — such as gas lines, electrical wiring, plumbing, and ventilation ducts — and requires only a minimal number of small, wirelessly connected sensors attached to the central hookup of each of these utility sources. When coupled with a machine learning algorithm that analyzes patterns of activity and the signature noise produced by each appliance, the sensors enable users to measure and disaggregate their energy and water consumption and to detect inefficiencies more effectively. In addition to the resource conservation applications of his sensor systems, Patel is also exploring their potential for home security or elder care, as they serve the related function of sensing human activity and monitoring movement throughout a building’s rooms. While envisioning cutting-edge new tools to address pressing social challenges and to make the buildings we live in more responsive to our needs, Patel devises elegant, simple solutions that dramatically reduce the cost of implementation.
In the spirit of the slow, automated writing machine in Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony”, but channeled through laser-cut plastic, hobby servos and ink, “The Bureaucrat” was at the NYC Resistor table at MakerFaire, stamping the date on hackerspace passports.
Google has announced (#93) a new feature called “Hangouts On Air” for Google+. It allows you to wear an enormous hat on the internet broadcast your hangout to a larger audience as well as record it.
Google+ users already use Hangouts to create intimate onscreen experiences—with family members, prayer groups, even people with certain medical conditions. But sometimes you want to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator. In these cases a public broadcast is what’s needed, so today we’re introducing Hangouts On Air.
The setup is simple enough: just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re “On Air,” up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast
We’re starting with a limited number of broadcasters, but any member of the Google+ community can tune in. In fact: we’ll be hosting our very first On Air hangout with will.i.am on Wednesday night, September 21. For more information visit will.i.am’s or my profile on Google+.
This is great news!
We (Limor Fried and Adafruit) are looking for a contact at Google that can flip the switch on our account so we can do our show with the “On Air” feature.
A neat write-up about this fun little chip, written by co-designer Don Sauer:
The LM13600 was designed by Bill Gross and myself in less than 5 minutes.
At the time the Consumer Linear IC design group was training a new mask designer.
We needed something with a few transistors for her to learn how to arrange them in a
optimum circuit arrangement while using minimum silicon area.
At the time, electronic Organs were being done using analog circuitry. I had just
made a trip to one such company and of course they gave me a wish list of what
kind of circuits they would like to see. The RCA 3080 has just come out and it almost
gave the Analog Organ folks everything they wanted. They needed something for analog
variable gain. The application was to shape the attack and decay of various waveforms.
But the 3080 was a true Operational Transconductance Amplifier in that it had a
voltage input and a current source output. For most applications, an external buffer
At the time we were considering second sourcing the 3080 anyway.
Also at this very same time, the 16pin plastic dip package had just been developed.
So the development spec for the LM13600 was that it needed a schematic to train someone
in IC layout. It needed to have 16 pins. And we were going to layout the 3080 anyway.
The schematic part was easy. Just used the 3080 exactly. There were 16 pins, so we could
just mirror the layout to do a stereo. That left 3 extra pins per channel. The simplest
buffer was a darlington which needed two pins per channel. There were complaints about
high levels in input signal generated too much distortion in the 3080. That could be
addressed by connecting the left over pin to predistortion diodes.
The aren’t too many discrete OTAs left on the market, since most of the things which you’d use them for are now done with DSPs. The LM13600 & 700 are among the few designs which are still commonly available, and it’s interesting to read the history.
LeVar Burton, a children’s literacy advocate and a former star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, plans to make an ambitious comeback, giving the once-loved Reading Rainbow brand a 21st-century upgrade. Burton’s for-profit venture, RRKidz, plans to launch an educational iPad app that lets children explore topics of interest–such as, say space–in a multimedia-rich environment, with voice-over-enhanced children’s books, familiar videos of Burton at real-life places (like NASA), and, of course, games. Burton tells Fast Company he’s on a mission to “get kids hooked on books,” and says his company is “going to where kids are today; those devices that they love to spend time on.”
We’re sure there will be a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for iOS soon too
Stephen Kettle, born in Castle Bromwich Birmingham in 1966, is a British sculptor who works exclusively with slate. After leaving school, Stephen served seven years in the Royal Navy and left the service in 1989 to work in his Fathers construction business. It was during the following 15 years that Stephen honed his skills that he now employs in his sculptures, using techniques that were passed to him from his Father and a host of other tradesmen along the way.
By concentrating on planning, procedures, and performance, I have reduced mistakes dramatically. I can tell you one thing for sure: If you are quick to say “everyone makes mistakes” without analyzing whether a particular mistake could have been avoided, you are sure to have plenty of them.
In this website you will find my Master Thesis Open Source Hardware Fostering User Entrepreneurship: Empirical Evidence from Arduino Users and the abstract of a working paper I am going to present at OHS 2011: Spurring Creativity in the Marketspace: An Evolutionary Model of Social Hardware more info about OSHW Business Models coming soon