I started this experiment attempting to create a low voltage non-toxic battery that would be easy to make and carry around. I may yet do this but for now I’ve created acapacitor, which is a electrical component used to store energy in an electric field. I chose to make the housing or shell out of hard candy because sugar heated to high temperatures takes on some of the properties of glass and is an easy insulator to create cheaply.
@adafruit Video evidence of your small solenoid rocking on a junket pen plotter: http://t.co/9NQZe0jY Worked great!
Small push-pull solenoid. Solenoids are basically electromagnets: they are made of a big coil of copper wire with an armature (a slug of metal) in the middle. When the coil is energized, the slug is pulled into the center of the coil. This makes the solenoid able to pull (from one end) or push (from the other)
This solenoid in particular is fairly small, with a 30mm long body and a ‘captive’ armature with a return spring. This means that when activated with up to 24VDC, the solenoid moves and then the voltage is removed it springs back to the original position, which is quite handy. Many lower cost solenoids are only push type or only pull type and may not have a captive armature (it’ll fall out!) or don’t have a return spring. This one even has nice mounting tabs, its a great all-purpose solenoid.
The OWI Robotic Edge Arm is a cheap and terrific 5-degree-of-freedom robotic arm that just costs $37. It’s a great kit to build with a kid and won’t take more than a couple hours to finish. Out of the box, it can only be controlled manually with a remote control. You can buy a USB control interface for it, but it’s a waste of $27. It just lets you add a series of timed moves, but it’s not really scriptable, you can’t have it loop and because it just uses timing, there’s no reliable repeatability.
What you want is real computer control, with closed-loop feedback for precision. Good news: it’s super easy to connect an Arduino board to the OWI arm and let it do all the work! You won’t even have to take the OWI arm apart or damage it.
I was reading Make:’s Blog and I saw the entry on laser cutting wood to make it bendable (seeSNIJLAB). See here. I set out to see if it was possible to laser cut plexiglass in the same way. To my surprise it works pretty good! You can see for yourself the results.
I also created a 20″x3″ version in 1/8 red plexiglass. This took about 45minutes of cutting. You can see a video of how flexible it is.
Many of today’s experienced engineers got their start in electronics through amateur, or “ham,” radio. (Many theories exist over the origin of the term “ham radio,” but there is no consensus.) Over the years, however, the demands of these engineers’ work, families, and communities took precedence, and many hams lost interest and let their licenses lapse. Meanwhile, with the rise of personal communications and Internet connectivity in homes, many young engineers never needed ham radio as a way to explore electronics. They’ve missed the opportunity that this fascinating hobby presents.
The Ladyada/Adafruit tutorials are great. I have gone from never having picked up a soldering iron to this project over the course of a couple months of experimenting. This uses an LED array soldered onto a piece of project board from radio shack and has its own 12v power source made from a dc adapter from an old broken external hard drive. I’m using an Adafruit WAVE shield for the audio and a RadioShack powered speaker.
The lantern will randomly cycle through colors until the motion detector is triggered, then it will randomly speak one of a number of audio clips I recorded, the will go back and cycle through the colors.
The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. ALAC is a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file.
The Apple Lossless Audio Codec project contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format (CAF) and WAVE files. A description of a ‘magic cookie’ for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well.
The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license.
Any iDevice can play ALAC (but not FLAC) and since the codec is open and previously reverse engineered, we’ll likely see more products support playback and creation using this format. If we recall correctly, the Rockbox can play ALAC as well as many other formats…
It was already possible for students and teachers to obtain a free version of Visual Studio 2010 Professional but now this Microsoft offer has been extended to a number of other groups. One group being any individual who is thinking about becoming a web developer.
The extended Microsoft offer provides immediate download and 3 year license for a huge range of products such as Visual Studio 2010 Professional. This appears to open the door to Visual Studio to just about everyone in the arduino community.
To take advantage of the offer you will need to sign up for the free Microsoft WebSiteSpark program. Once you have signed up you will see a big button allowing you sign up for downloads. The big button actually signs you up to the microsoft developer network (msdn).
Smarter, more functional clothing incorporating electronics may be possible in the near future, according to a study co-authored by Cornell fiber scientist Juan Hinestroza.
Hinestroza, associate professor of fiber science, was part of an international team that developed transistors using natural cotton fibers.
“Creating transistors from cotton fibers brings a new perspective to the seamless integration of electronics and textiles, enabling the creation of wearable electronic devices,” Hinestroza said.
The innovation represents a significant step forward because it lays the groundwork for creating even more complex devices, such as cotton-based circuits, Hinestroza said. This would allow fabrics to sense body temperature, automatically heat up or cool down, or track heart rate or blood pressure in high-risk patients, as well as to monitor physical effort of high-performance athletes.
Perhaps one day we can even build computers out of cotton fibers in a similar way as khipus — a recording device based on knots and used by the Inca empire in Peru,” Hinestroza added.
Want a different type of computing device? There’s a knot for that…
I don’t have the convening power of a Governor Brown, but for those of us around the world who care, I hereby declare this Sunday, October 30 to be Dennis Ritchie Day! Let’s remember the contributions of this computing pioneer.
The C programming language is quite old now, but still active and still very much in use. The Unix and Linux (and Mac OS X and I think even Windows) kernels are all C programs. The web browsers and major web servers are all in C or C++, and almost all of the rest of the Internet ecosystem is in C or a C-derived language (C++, Java), or a language whose implementation is in C or a C-derived language (Python, Ruby, etc.). C is also a common implementation language for network firmware. And on and on.
And that’s just C.
Dennis was also half of the team that created Unix (the other half being Ken Thompson), which in some form or other (I include Linux) runs all the machines at Google’s data centers and probably at most other server farms. Most web servers run above Unix kernels; most non-Microsoft web browsers run above Unix kernels in some form, even in many phones.
And speaking of phones, the software that runs the phone network is largely written in C.
Justin asked us to help get the word out about WyoLum’s 2011 innovation grant to promote open-source hardware, here ya go!
WyoLum’s [http://www.wyolum.com] mission is to “Promote Open Source Hardware”. To that end, we are pleased to announce two $1000 (USD) grants to be awarded to the most qualified applicants. Entries will be evaluated on:
Planned use of funds
Timeline (Projects with goals that can be achieved within six months after the grant is awarded will score more favorably.)
Qualifying projects will be 100% open source (hardware and software) from development through to production. WyoLum team members will be available for advice and assistance throughout your project. If you have a killer idea, but have never fabricated a PCB, programmed a micro-controller or designed an enclosure, don’t let that stop you from submitting your idea. If we can’t immediately assist you, we will learn it together.
Submit completed applications to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 3, 2011. Applications will be excepted in a combination of video (encouraged), html, .odt, .doc, .docx, blogpost. We will make all reasonable efforts to receive and evaluate your application.
About us [http://wyolum.com/bio.php]
WyoLum is a team of volunteers, learners and doers, who pool our resources and skills to make cool things. Our most successful project to date is ClockTHREE, a word clock that tells time in written language, derived from Doug Jackson’s Word Clock and Evil Mad Science’s Peggy 2. We would like to support the community that has supported us. Through our successful projects we have accumulated some funds that we would like to reinvest in the community by supporting innovative ideas in open source hardware development.