It’s a “programmable disco ball,” a “cat toy for humans,” and a “personal laser light show,” all rolled into one. That’s how one Matt Leone describes his latest creation, aptly known as the Laser Ball. To realize his dream, Leone drilled a set of holes into a garden variety tennis ball, and inserted about 14 laser diodes, each with an attached strip of diffraction grating. Said diodes were then synced up with an Arduino-equipped Teensy microcontroller nestled within the ball, alongside a rechargeable battery – http://leonelabs.blogspot.com/
I’m really excited about inflatable robots… they have the potential to be low-cost, lightweight, extremely powerful, and yet “human safe” — ie. perfect for many robotics applications. With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to two new (breakout) inflatable robots: a 15-foot-long walking robot (a Pneubot named Ant-Roach) and a complete, inflatable robot arm (plus hand). Both of these robots were developed by Otherlab as part of their “pneubotics” project (in collaboration with Meka Robotics and Manu Prakash at Stanford University), with some funding from DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program. These robots use textile-based, inflatable actuators that contract upon inflation into specially-designed shapes to effect motion. Since these robots are built out of lightweight fabric-and-air structural members and powered via pneumatics or hydraulics, they exhibit large strength-to-weight ratios. For example, Ant-Roach is less than 70 lbs and can probably support up to 1000 lbs; the inflatable robot arm is less than 2 lbs and can lift a few hundred pounds at 50-60 psi. Be sure to read on for details and lots of videos!
sugru is giving away free product to educators — accepting project proposals thru December 16th! From the sugru blog:
The biggest challenge in any creative process is to embrace failure. Lots of you teachers, lecturers and group leaders want to foster a hands-on creative process in your students. You want them working fast, failing fast, and learning even faster. Improving a design or invention with constant real-life testing.
We know that sugru is a great material for prototyping ideas and testing stuff out so we thought we would set up sugru PROJECTS, it’s a simple idea where we give schools, colleges and universities free sugru to run great projects.
If you run a course just send us a project brief that uses sugru as a prototyping material and we will send you enough free sugru to run the project with your students. We’re not quite sure what’s going to happen but we know its going to be exciting.
They will select the best submissions and send out some free stuff! Entries can be from anywhere, worldwide! Go here for more info.
Overall, I think it’s a good time to have a girl in the 21st century because things are changing, with more opportunities for women. But girls are still the underdog, which means they’ll work harder, and everybody loves an underdog. The next Steve Jobs will totally be a chick, because girls are No. 2—and No. 2 always wins in America. Apple was a No. 2 company for years, and Apple embodies a lot of what have been defined as feminine traits: an emphasis on intuitive design, intellect, a strong sense of creativity, and that striving to always make the greatest version of something. Traditionally, men are more like Microsoft, where they’ll just make a fake version of what that chick made, then beat the sh*t out of her and try to intimidate everybody into using their product.
SIGN UP – Adafruit Proto Cape Kit for Beagle Bone. We have these but we’re waiting for the Beagle Bones to come in (about next week or so) before we release these. What is the Adafruit Proto Cape Kit for Beagle Bone? Add some circuitry to your Beagle Bone with our lovely Proto Cape. If you have a ‘Bone you need one of these! This PCB fits neatly on top of a BeagleBone, without getting in the way of the Ethernet jack, and provides a breakout to both 46 pin headers – with individual numbering to keep them straight. We also threw down some strips to access the 5V and 3V power supplies as well as two SMT breakouts, one for SOIC-8′s and one for SOT-23′s.
Kit comes with a double-sided FR4 PCB and 3 sticks of header. You’ll need to place the header into the BeagleBone and then solder the Proto Cape PCB in place, but its very easy and should take only 10 minutes max even for beginners. Beagle Bone is not included! We do have ‘Bones in the shop available for purchase separately.
NEW PRODUCT -Circuit board necktie Resistor – Olive with gold ink, narrow. Resistor. Super detailed resistors and capacitors oh my! How can you resist? Impress any nerdy guy or girl: computer scientist, programmer, electrician, engineer or maker. Is dad, grandpa, boyfriend or husband a tinkerer with solder and blinky things? Perfect for groomsmen and brides boys of the geeky persuasion. Nerd power!
This print extends very high up on the tie, approx. 18″ (46 cm) from the bottom point; perfect to be seen from under a vest or jacket. The tie is made of a soft microfiber, having almost the same hand as real silk and is printed with high-quality, non-toxic, water-based ink. The tie is available in narrow, 58″ long. All new materials! For reference, narrow is 2.75-3″ wide at it’s widest point.
This print extends very high up on the tie, approx. 18″ (46 cm) from the bottom point; perfect to be seen from under a vest or jacket.
It appears these were for appliance controls (particularly ovens and cook-tops) in the late-80′s. When fabricating actual circuit boards, silkscreens are used to print etch-resistant inks on to the board to protect the copper foil. Subsequent etching removes the unwanted copper and one is left with the desired copper pattern for conductivity.
LIMITED EDITION! As is the nature of vintage screens, once these screens die, that’s it.
The tie is made of a soft microfiber, having almost the same hand as real silk and is printed with high-quality, non-toxic, water-based ink. The tie is available in narrow, 58″ long. All new materials! For reference, narrow is 2.75-3″ wide at it’s widest point.
Cyberoptix only prints with high-quality water-based inks. They’re invaluable for the health of their shop, the environment, and they perform much better on delicate fabrics. Water-based inks have a much softer hand on fine fabrics and will never crack over time as Plastisol inks (the industry-standard for large-run shops). Not to worry, our water-based inks are as or more durable than harmful solvent-based inks.
Microfiber is Vegan-safe and our most common finish – why not exclusively silk? Many who choose not to consume animal products for ethical, dietary and religious reasons are concerned about the silk industry and wear nothing derived from living things. In the interest of not being exclusionary, they have decided to carry ties in synthetic microfiber. As dry cleaning is not always an option, this makes the synthetic finish far easier and more practical.
I live and work about two blocks from Wall Street in NYC, so it’s been an interesting and charged few months — even more than the usual New York City amplifier. Besides my role at MAKE, I help run an open source electronics factory, Adafruit Industries. During the 2008 financial crash, we were able to get a fairly large space when the financial folks were leaving in droves, and since then we’ve witnessed many changes in the area. Some have been good and some I’ll call challenges. Over the years, a common question I get asked is “Why New York City?” And then there’s “Why run a business there? It’s so hard/expensive/crazy/weird/intense.” Also, “Just move to Vegas — no taxes!” And that’s what this week’s Soapbox is all about: “If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere.” I’m going to talk about why I think this is the best city for me, for now, to run a business. My goal is for the maker businesses out there, from one person to many, to post up in the comments on why their city is the best city to run a maker business. Let’s get started.
It’s a Tuesday night in Philadelphia—hacker time. A small group of do-it-yourself engineers and hipster geeks gather in a cluttered space downtown. One holds a Kinect, the motion-sensing controller for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system. But he’s not playing a video game. He’s about to take the Kinect apart to see if he can get it to work with a shoot-’em-up space game for which it wasn’t intended.
It’s a typical challenge at the Hacktory, a freewheeling engineering clubhouse and just one of the many self-described “hackerspaces” popping up in cities around the world. The group takes its name from Andy Warhol’s famous 1960s hangout, the Factory, hoping to bring that sort of imaginative spirit to the technically inclined—and reclaim the word hacker. “It’s a way to take something apart and put it back together in a new way,” says Hacktory director Georgia Guthrie. “It’s a creative act, not a destructive act.”
While many people think of hacker communities as existing online, there’s also a desire to collaborate in person. “Physical hackerspaces sprang out of a need to have a sense of community and a place to hang out,” says Jonathan Lassoff, president of Noisebridge, in San Francisco, which operates out of a former sewing shop and at almost 500 square meters, is one of the larger hackerspaces around.
Hackerspaces.org, a hub for the collectives, lists dozens of groups, from Toylab in Argentina to Blind Security in Uganda. In addition to being a clearinghouse for information on the scene, the site holds a monthly call-in, which allows groups around the world to share ideas (and are kept as audio files for future reference). Hackerspaces.org also organizes hackathon events every month. A recent example, The Playing Card Box Challenge, required participants to “create a hackerspace gift that will fit inside the box from a set of playing cards and mail it to another hackerspace.”
Why is this important? Because it’s IEEE Spectrum, y’all. Every member of the IEEE gets this magazine, which means that it reaches a whole lot of very smart people. The same folks who read the Transactions on Antennas and Propagation and the Journal of Oceanic Engineering get this magazine. Now, you might think that all EE’s are automatically hackers and would already know all about hackerspaces, but you’d be wrong.
Like society at large, some electrical engineers regard what they do as a job, while others regard it as a passion (which is also a job), and there are plenty of instances in between. For every EE who loves everything about electronics and hacking, there’s another who went into the field because they were “good at math” and wanted a steady paycheck, and never thought of it as a subject around which to socialize.
The bottom line is that — again like society at large — some of them are isolated from and completely unaware of this scene. This is a shame, because these are definitely the kind of folks who can enrich a hackerspace. For me, the ultimate hackerspace is one which has a retired telecom network engineer working side-by-side with a 19-year-old PERL developer, and everything else in between. Spectrum is one of the places where you can reach that telecom engineer, along with a whole host of other amazing folks.
Here’s hoping they like what they read here and are drawn by piqued interest to their local ‘space.
So, good on ya, IEEE Spectrum and David Kushner; I look forward to seeing more articles like this in the future!
I have a tp-link 1043 router flashed with dd-wrt that runs 24/7. The Ice Tube clock is sitting infront of the router and I figured why not use the router to sync the clock since the router’s time is already ntp sync’d.
If you are a developer or existing team/startup focused on building a business that takes advantage of the Kinect and Natural User Interface technologies, then the Kinect Accelerator is where you need to be. Through this program, Microsoft is supporting entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators like you to bring to life a wide range of business ideas that leverage the limitless possibilities Kinect enables.