"When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you"
The EL Pinwheel was a CUBICAL90 digital art project at Artisan’s Asylum by Scott Janousek. The project was inspired by Ecco Pierce who does metal sculpture and EL. The EL Pinwheel was created in the span of a few hours, in intervals, over the span of a week.
I love the new e-paper offered by Pervasive Displays and sold by Adafruit. They are a bit tricky to get started with however. By default, they only display images, no text or standard graphics calls like “line” and “circle” and each image takes a lot of memory. Too much for a stand alone Arduino UNO.
Even if you have the memory, another tricky thing about them is getting an image to look good in pure black and white (no greys).
At WyoLum, we have tackled all of these problems and figured out how to display UNICODE chars, and draw graphics (lines and circles). We’ve chosen to use an SD card as both a file source and a screen buffer. It is working well. Most of this is just in test code state, but we figure there are others out there struggling with the same issues and might find our solutions handy.
Ever since the Kindle eReader came out, we’ve been wanting a nice small graphical eInk display that is easy to use with a microcontroller. And finally our desires have been fulfilled with the rePaper 2.7″ development board from Pervasive Displays! We’re excited to offer this very interesting display breakout for hackers who want to start playing with small eInk displays.
For the compass rose, I stitched the Adafruit neopixels together and hooked them up to the Adafruit Flora. Also connected to the Flora is a magnetometer/accelerometer. The magnetometer probably gave me the most grief. It turns out that if you want to use communications protocols (like I2C) on e-textiles, make sure the connection is SOLID! I became so frustrated with the magnetometer not talking to the Flora that I just soldered some wires instead.
Despite the frustrations, I’m pretty happy with how the bag turned out. This was also the first time using the Flora and I have to say, I love it! I can certainly tell that the folks at Adafruit put A LOT of thought into it. One little detail that made me really happy was strategically placing the SDA, SCL, power and ground pads so that you wouldn’t have to have any thread/wires cross. If you’ve been working with e-textiles for a while, you’ll know exactly what I mean! Seriously, Adafruit…thank you!!!
The PANdora Box can send one of 16 messages selected by the brass knob connected to a rotary encoder in the center of the base section. The smoky plex allows the various parts within to be seen, aided by an LED strip light of variable color and intensity, and mirrors on the interior walls. Wacky button sounds are played by the Wav shield as the user rotates the brass knob through each message. Pressing the brass knob instructs an Arduino to send the selected Wav file name across the PAN to the remote listeners which then find and play the Wav file, with, or sometimes without, a preamble. The preamble can be selected from a list appropriate to the message, such as creaky doors, or impersonations. The message itself is usually something useful (but not always) like Kids, please take out the garbage.
Each month all San Francisco Fitbit employees are invited to join in a hack night project. This casual event is an opportunity for employees to tinker and participate in various fun projects. The first few hack nights focused on learning to solder using various kits from Adafruit and Sparkfun — some favorites were TV-B-Gone, MiniPOV and Electronic Dice. In another other hack night we added physical feedback to our automated build system. In the case of a failed build a robot voice speaks the engineer’s name and blinky lights are fired off.
Our most recent project was a pair of office thermometers that graph real-time temperature readings using an online data graphing service called Cosm. Indoor office temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the day. Many employees are quite vocal (even dramatic) about their temperature experience, “My blood is boiling, I’m a goner for sure” or “Brrrr, I can’t type, I’m shivering too much”. Temperatures In the mid 70s °F seem to please the most people most of the time.
To get a bit of objectivity on the temperature discussion we decided to provide a reference for each of our two San Francisco locations by having real-time temperature readings posted to a place everyone can see, a web page. If you’re interested in trying something like this yourself, just keep reading.
What is the electric imp? In essence, the Imp provides an easy, integrated way to connect almost any hardware device both to other devices and to internet services. It’s more than just a WiFi card, or even a WiFi module with processing built in – it’s an integrated platform that deals with the drudgery of connectivity, allowing you to concentrate on the application instead of the mechanics.
StockBank is a networked piggy bank with the end goal of collecting enough money to buy one share of the three technology stocks of Google, Apple, and Facebook. As someone drops a coin into the bank, the display shows the amount of the selected stock share price decreasing until it levels off at zero, which means that there is enough money inside the bank to buy one share. The bank then automatically connects to an online broker, purchases the share, and blinks the pig. When the bank is emptied, the counter resets back to another share price and begins the process over again.
The project exists as an open source, networked object that prompts users to stay connected to the current stock valuation of technology corporations and see how they change and fluctuate over time. It reinvents the classic piggy bank by instead of counting money for saving, it connects in real-time to actual stock prices and gives the user an estimate on the amount of money they need to purchase a share of the specified stock.
Coin Acceptor – Programmable 4 Coin Type – Your project may be free-as-in-speech, but that doesn’t mean it has to be free-as-in-beer. This handy coin validator/acceptor module is just like the ones you’ve seen in arcades. This model has the cool ability to accept up to 4 different coins! For example, you can program it for 4 different US coins, or European, or Japanese OR you can have it accept 4 coins from different countries – say a Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, American Quarter and European Euro. First you’ll have to program it with what coins you want it to accept. Any coin from 15mm to 29mm in diameter can be used. Each coin is assigned a number of pulses, so for example, a nickel should be 1 pulse, a dime, 2 pulses, a quarter 5 pulses and a half dollar 10 pulses. When a valid coin is inserted, the output line will pulse for 20-60ms (configurable). The acceptor looks for diameter, thickness, dropping speed, etc to determine if a coin is valid.
k6rtm tweets: “#Adafruit RGB #neopixels with photocell for sensing ambient light levels”
Flora RGB Smart Neo Pixel version 2 – Pack of 4 – What’s a wearable project without LEDs? Our favorite part of the Flora platform is these tiny smart pixels. Designed specifically for wearables, these updated Flora NeoPixels have ultra-cool technology: these ultra-bright LEDs have a constant-current driver cooked right into the LED package! The pixels are chainable – so you only need 1 pin/wire to control as many LEDs as you like. They’re easy to sew, and the chainable design means no crossed threads.
Inspired by sitcoms and cartoons. I thought it would be fun to be able to add sound effects to my own life. So I made a sound effects suit jacket. The sound samples are triggered by a control panel with 4 buttons (3 for samples, 1 for changing sound banks). And then being played from an Arduino + Wave Shield through a portable speaker. All the hardware is kept within the inner jacket pockets while in use.
Uses an Adafruit Wave Shield! Adding quality audio to an electronic project is surprisingly difficult. Here is a shield for Arduinos that solves this problem. It can play up to 22KHz, 12bit uncompressed audio files of any length. It’s low cost, available as an easy-to-make kit. It has an onboard DAC, filter and op-amp for high quality output. Audio files are read off of an SD/MMC card, which are available at nearly any store. Volume can be controlled with the onboard thumbwheel potentiometer.
You would not believe how much Fn stuff you can put inside one of these things Although, it’s fun to hang out at the customer loading area to see how people will try to jam a couch into the backseat of a convertible and drive it home.
Made of a nearly indestructible woven polypropylene fabric, this reusable tote is totally awesomesauce amazeballs. And in a pinch, can transport you through time and space.
And once you schlep your stuff to your homeworld, fend off a few Daleks, you can put your things away in the TARDIS bookcase cupboard.
It has handy side pouches for storage of small items like keys and lights up as if it were ready to dematerialise.
DISCLAIMER: The TARDDYS BJAG is a modification of an actual IKEA product. You will not find it in their stores or in the catalog. Don’t ask. Well, maybe at the Torchwood Soho branch store.
The Memento Mori installation consists of a 4 digit LED display, which is mounted between the teeth of a casted human skull and connected to a highly accurate rubidium atomic clock. The display visualizes the passage of time by repeatedly counting down one second in millisecond-steps (from 1.000 to .001).
By utilizing atomic clocks, we can determine with unimaginable accuracy how quickly the irretrievable essence of our lives is decreasing, how fast the ultimate yet unknown point in time of our death is approaching – millisecond by millisecond. This Memento Mori is not only an ironic reminder of our own mortality but a reflection of the values we are striving for. Despite all the hyper-accurate technology inhabiting our lives the haunting question of “When?” still remains unanswered.