Little Trees air fresheners the world over owe their rearview-mirror-dangling existence to a chance encounter some 60 years ago in Watertown, N.Y. On that particular day, Julius Samann listened to a milkman complain about one of his occupational hazards, the stench of spoiled milk. It turned out he was talking to just the right guy. Samann, a German-Jewish chemist who fled the Nazis, had studied Alpine tree aromas in the forests of Canada. He was interested in the technology used to transport and disseminate them.
1. This is a neat article.
2. The NYTimes has a “Maker” section.
The pixels are connected by a 4-conductor cable. +5V (Red), Ground (Blue), Data (Yellow) and Clock (Green). Data is shifted down from one pixel to the next so that you can easily cut the strand or attach more onto the end.
Each dot is digitally controlled, with an internal 8-bit PWM LED driver (24-bit color for 16 million different shades). The pixels must be clocked by a microcontroller, we have an example code linked below that works on an Arduino, it should be simple to adapt it to any other microcontroller.
The pixels use 8mm diffused RGB LEDs, with a 120 degree beam width. The total max brightness of all LEDs is about 1600mcd but with the light more evenly distributed & mixed than a clear LED. (Please note: mcd ratings of LEDs are notoriously inflated by most LED sellers, so be extra-skeptical when reviewing LED ratings!)
This is a guest post by Harriet Green, Chief Executive of Premier Farnell. Premier Farnell is a global distributor of electronic components, including the Raspberry Pi. It is also the founder of the electronic engineering community, Element14. Few products in recent history have created the level of excitement generated by the Raspberry Pi launch last week. Demand for this new credit card-sized computer was reminiscent of the original iPhone — during peak demand, we were receiving more than 700 enquiries a second in Europe, a pattern replicated globally.
…Only by supporting projects like Raspberry Pi with the right platforms and ecosystem can the promised revolution in technology education achieve its potential output — new products and initiatives that radically change our planet forever. We need to work together to realise the power of community and make sure this renaissance happens.
Very cool to see Harriet Green guest blogging on WIRED!
NEW PRODUCT – Power Distribution Bus – 7 x 6mm diameter solid brass. Imagine terminal blocks that are cut out of one solid piece of brass, designed to distribute power. Well, that’s what we have here! These machined bus bars are for when you want to distribute power through a project, we think they are ideal for robots and LED pixel grids where you have tons of current and a lot of loose wiring to control
Each bus has 7 holes bored out of a chunk of brass. There are screws that can cinch down any number of wires. Since its meant for power distribution, the wires should be 20 AWG or larger (thinner wires will slip out). You can use any larger wire, the holes are 6mm diameter! We don’t have exact specifications for current carrying ability but we imagine they are good for 10A as its just a chunk of metal
A nice touch on these is the plastic covering which provides a little isolation from the outside world, and mounting flanges…
Inside the plastic tube is a gold plated slip ring for 6 wires. There are six color coded wire sets made of 26 AWG and no matter how you twist the assembly, they will remain in continuity. Each of the wire sets can carry up to 2A at up to 240VAC or 240VDC. There’s a 44mm (1.7″) diameter flange with mounting holes to make it easy to attach or you can cut it off with a hacksaw and drill/machine as you wish it seems to just be ABS plastic. Rated to rotate up to 300 RPM (but you can probably go faster if you don’t mind a reduced life and/or noise).
The Early Winter Night Biking Gloves consist of knitted wool gloves having conductive areas on each fingertip as well as on the palm of the hand. When forming a fist they close an electric circle, causing the LED-arrow at the back of the hand to light up. A 3V coin cell battery needed to power the LEDs is hidden in the cuff of the gloves.
Additionally to increasing the safety of cyclists, conductive areas on the fingertips also allow to use your smartphone while wearing the gloves.
UK artist Derek Kinzett crafts these amazing figurative sculptures by cutting and forming different kinds of wire. Kinzett closed a solo exhibition yesterday for The National Trust, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England but you can see much more in his portfolio.
I was given a Yashica Mat-124G camera and you cannot get batteries for the light meter, so I decided to make one. I already had the analog meter and the small box, so the two were a natural fit. I also used Adobe Illustrator to make a new paper template and scale for the meter. This needs some work and I realize this is not actual lux levels. The trick here is to come up with a scale useful to the camera I will be using it with.
I wouldn’t describe the car industry as fun. The airline industry isn’t fun either. Phone companies are far from fun. Yet these industries all started out fun. They began with tinkerers and innovators, just like, say, the Internet today…
…The Internet, with companies sniping at one another and blithely ignoring major privacy violations, is on the verge of the same fate as the true-blue American industries before it: losing its sense of fun.
…But for the technology companies that started out with this same goal to innovate and make things better for people, it seems as if the fate that befell the auto, airline and phone industries is destined to happen here, too. And that’s not much fun.
Do you know what’s still fun? Engineering A lot of EEs and programmers we know go in to banking and finance, or work for an ad-based social network/search engine, lots of cash, but they’re not having “fun”. If you’re considering any career right now, making open-source hardware, writing great code to help inspire & educate and running a business is incredibly fun. Maybe one day that will change, but for now – it’s fun
Did you know each Arduino has a unique serial number in its USB interface that you can use to distinguish one Arduino from another? If you deal with multiple Arduinos, knowing exactly which one is plugged into your computer can be a real time-saver. But actually getting at this serial number and mapping it to COM ports can be challenging. For Windows computers, here’s “listComPorts”, implemented both in GCC C code and in VBScript, both available from my usbSearch github repository.
This is really awesome, a great tool to help identify what devices are attached to the USB port, sort of like “USB prober” but for Windows. We hope this gets added to the Arduino IDE.
Sadly, We lost a big legend in the Sci-Fi concept art world yesterday. Mr. Ralph McQuarrie has passed away at the age of 82. I’ve always wanted to meet him as he was probably the most talented traditional illustrator (and matte painter) of our time. Please enjoy this compilation of Ralph’s Star Wars concept art work. May his paintings live on forever on this planet and perhaps eventually spread to galaxies far, far away. We will miss you.
My daughter and I spent the day working on her history project: “The Assembly Line: Then and Now”. It’s a big poster-board presentation comparing the manual assembly line of the 1912 Ford Model T with the robotic assembly line of the 2012 Tesla Model S (we visited the factory last year).
At left below is one part of it, a working model of one of Tesla’s KUKA robotic arms. We hacked an OWI toy robotic arm for full closed-loop autonomous control with an Arduino board and sensors added to each joint. And we designed and 3D printed the carrier frame (the green parts) on our Makerbot. The little Model S body is one that we watched them injection mold at the Tesla plant while we were there.
At the right is our model of Ford’s Highland Park Model T factory, at the same scale. Fun fact – we couldn’t find any good 3 3/4″ worker figures, so those are actually the only passable figures we could find: Dexter the serial killer from the TV show, minus the knife and bag of body parts that came in the box
It was only a matter of time, but this looks totally rad… via joystiq:
Everyone can pack up and go home, because the pinnacle of all human achievement has been reached. Mari0, that Super Mario Bros./Portal mashup we caught wind of last August, has been completed and is now available for free on PC, OSX and Linux.
Developed by Stabyourself, Mari0 is a complete recreation of the original Super Mario Bros., with one vital difference: This time, Mario is packing an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. The game features simultaneous four-player co-op, a level editor, 33 hats for Mario to wear, free DLC, a Minecraft-esque toolbar for on-the-fly block creation and a slew of other hilarious modifications.
Happy Monday — good luck getting any work done now!