This chart is perhaps the fastest way to decode the value of a resistor. Simply match the colors of the bands, and read off the value. After you use it for a little while, you’ll be decoding resistors with a single quick glance.
I created this to demonstrate how clever graphic design can often beat interactive software. There are a lot of resistor-decoding widgets and websites out there, and they are all incredibly tedious to use. When you’ve got your hands full of soldering equipment, the last thing you want to do is navigate through pull-down menus.
This chart requires zero interaction, zero memorization, and zero mental arithmetic. Just let your eyes do the work.
If you would like to print this out and hang it near your workbench, you can download the PDF.
I’ve been gathering the best resources to teach children & teens programming — books, environments, apps, courseware and games.
These resources are meant for teachers and parents who want to have their children fall in love with computers and see the magic of programming.
I’m staying away from philosophical debates of whether kids should learn to program, when they should start and other such topics. I know this — I fell in love with computers in 3rd grade (a beautiful ZX Spectrum), and I want to share the joy of programming with others.
I’ve chosen in this list to be quite comprehensive in listing all resources — but also choosy to restricting this to things I found useful & of high quality.
I’ve also started this list with my own opinionated picks on what kind of material from the large list of resources may be suitable for children with different interests and at different points in their learning.
Sharing this broadly, do let me know what else I can add to this list.
How does a student from a country in which a third of the population is nomadic, living in round white felt tents called gers on the vast steppe, ace an M.I.T. course even though nothing like this is typically taught in Mongolian schools? The answer has to do with Battushig’s extraordinary abilities, of course, but also with the ambitions of his high-school principal. Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin, the principal of the Sant School, was the first Mongolian to graduate from M.I.T., in 2009, and he has tried since then to bring science and technology labs to his students. “My vision,” he told me, “is to have more skilled engineers to develop Mongolia. To do that, everything has to start from the beginning.” In the past decade, Mongolia, which had limited landlines, invested heavily in its information technology infrastructure and now has an extensive 3G network. Most homes in Ulan Bator have Internet connections, and almost everyone, including nomads, has at least one cellphone. Even on the steppe, with only sheep in sight, you can get a signal.
Each new season of “Sesame Street” starts with a curriculum, drawn up by educational consultants and a research staff, laying out concepts and ideas to be taught. The show’s writers incorporate these into scripts acted out by the beloved Muppets. The science curriculum began in 2009 with new programming that tried to capitalize on children’s natural interest in the world around them, an effort inspired by Richard Louv’s 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder,” Dr. Truglio said.
Bigger words, like “pollinate,” “hibernate” and “camouflage” were added to the “Word on the Street” rotation. In one episode, Jimmy Fallon played a “wild nature survivor guy,” who found water in leaves and shunned a coat in favor of warm feathers.
Today, the TJ3Sat student satellite passed NASA’s final launch requirements and is set to blast off this November with 10 other CubeSats as part of the ELaNa IV mission.
I started this project in 2006 as the focal point for a high school course in systems engineering. Over the last 8 years, the satellite grew from a series of rather unique student ideas to what is now a fully operational picosatellite that should take the record as the first high-school designed and built satellite. As the satellite orbits the Earth it will beam back basic telemetry data (voltages, temperatures, CPU status,etc.) and host a voice synthesizer that will transmit uploaded text messages in a Steven Hawking-esk voice. The primary goal is to serve as a resource and educational outreach tool that will hopefully inspire other educational institutions to explore the wonders of Space.
This past summer the satellite went through the environmental tests at Orbital’s facilities in Dulles, VA. These tests are designed to verify the satellite is robust enough to survive storage, launch and low earth orbit. The most rigorous of these tests was the 3-axis random vibration analysis. During this test, the satellite was placed in a launch deployer simulator (PPOD) and subjected to 54g of random vibration. The following video captures the final round of 0dB random vibe.
Congratulations to the entire TJ3Sat team and the many Orbital engineers that have donated their time to make this achievement possible! Stay tuned for more information about the satellite and the upcoming launch!
THE LITTLEBITS GLOBAL MAKEATHON is the world’s largest physical and virtual littleBits workshop. We are bringing together makers from around the world for one day to bring their own cities to life. Join us, with your Bits, your crafts, and your tools and Make Something that Does Something!
HANGOUT with Bitsters from all over the world! You’ll spend a day creating and sharing projects with guidance from the littleBits team, special live demos on Google+ and short lectures to inspire you and your friends.
COMPETE to win a $1,000 littleBits library and a chance to have your project displayed at World Maker Faire New York.
Shop over 7000 ebooks and videos from top technology publishers. Ebooks and videos from oreilly.com are DRM-free. You get free lifetime access, multiple formats, and free updates. Sync with Dropbox — your files, anywhere.
Now that you have lots of tips for projects and getting them out and about, how about getting your at-home workbench up to speed? Here are some basic tools we recommend for everyone, so transportable, so best left at home:
Lady’s Ada’s Electronics Toolkit, at an even $100, is a reasonably priced kit for anyone making their first foray into the world of working with electronics. It has almost all of the basics, including (but not limited to), an adjustable temperature soldering iron with a stand, rosin-core solder, wire cutters and strippers, pliers, wire, and a breadboard.
If you’ve already been working for a little while, you might want to invest in a higher-end solder iron. The Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D is the best thing we’ve seen on the market, with faster heat-up time and a smaller footprint than its predecessor, the Hakko 936.
This pocket-sized digital multimeter is low cost and simple, and can tell you, among other things, AC/DC Voltage, current, resistance, and it can run a beeping continuity test and diode test too. If you’re new to multimeters, we have a tutorial on how to use them here.
Now that even the tools to make electronics have caught up with electronics technology, you don’t have to lug breadbox-sized and elephant-weight oscilloscopes around. This pocket sized DSO Nano v3 oscilloscope trades quickness and power for size. It does the trick for troubleshooting for beginners, and it’s much more affordable than the more heavy duty options.
Who has a workbench without a screwdriver? This 65 Piece Ratchet Screwdriver and Tool Bit Set comes (of course) with a screwdriver, but also with all kinds of bits, including torx, phillips, flathead, slot, hex square and socket in a variety of sizes. It’s a good start for getting into any machine.
Here’s a simple project to help you go back to school in littleBits style! Prank your friends by setting up this simple circuit in their locker. With some clever placement and a little bit of disguise you will be able to surprise your friends when they try and put their books back in their locker. For instructions, click here.
The Hacker Scouts understand that Congress gave the Boy Scouts the exclusive right to use the “emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases” that they adopt. 36 U.S.C § 30905. As courts have recognized, however, the word “scout” is “a word of common speech, which all are entitled prima facie to use,” and therefore “there might be some question whether the word ‘scout,’ taken by itself, [is] within the ‘words or phrases’ used by the [Boy Scouts] in carrying out [their] program.” Adolph Kastor & Bros., v. Federal Trade Commission, 138 F. 2d 824, 826 (2d Cir. 1943). Put simply, “[w]hether the statute is meant to go so far as to protect a single word broken from its context might be open to debate.” Id.
The generic nature of the word “scout” is borne out by the number of U.S. organizations using it in their names. A quick Google search reveals the Code Scouts, the Frontier Market Scouts, the Health Care Scouts, the Dog Scouts, the Madison Scouts, the Xeniascouts, the Earthscouts, the 55th Cascadia Scouts and any number of other “scout” organizations, many of which have been around for years. The Hacker Scouts would very much like to be part of that group and continue to use “scout” in its name.
Well, it’s that time again and our wicked summer is coming to an end. But don’t fret, we have a list of super cool gadgets for all you aspiring engineers that will keep your spirits high and your slide rules slidin’.
Apps for engineering: Just when you thought your smartphone couldn’t get more useful.
Mechanical Engineer, part of MultiEducator’s “Formulator” Line, is the perfect tool for any Mechanical Engineer or engineering student. Available for both iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch, our Mechnical Engineer app contains over 300 important mechanical engineering formulas, there are over 300 additional conversion formulas in the program as well as 70 area formulas. Major areas covered in the program now include: Actuators Bearings, Belts, Boiler, Brakes, Clutches, Elevators, Gears,Fluid Power, Heat Transfer,Internal Combustion, Kinetic Energy, Metalworking, Plates, Plumbs, Power Plants, Refrigeration,Shafts Springs and Vehicle Drive.
Tools for engineering: The following are tools that just about everyone should have in their backpack….or as their backpack.
When you needed to trace a diagram in your Maker’s Notebook or highlight some important points in your engineering class, these highlighters let you do it and create new shapes in the interim. They’re a happy distraction to work, maybe just when you need it most, and useful to boot!
Make your own iPod/iPhone/GPS/etc… battery-pack and recharger!
This project includes all the electronic parts necessary to build your own MintyBoost: a small & simple (but very powerful) USB charger for your iPod (or other mp3 player), camera, cell phone, and any other gadget you can plug into a USB port to charge. If you have a Nintendo DS/GBA or a PSP you can buy charger cables from us, too.
You need to charge your cell phone, iPad or Laptop and you don’t have a power outlet or even your charging cable with you … what can you do ? SOLARBAK is a cool, stylish and durable backpack with a detachable solar panel on it that will charge your devices from the SUN !!! SOLARBAK has a powerful new technology solar panel that charges a lithium-ion battery by using sunlight and even indoor light. The battery that comes with SOLARBAK will charge a dead cell phone very quickly as well as tablets, laptops and any portable electronic chargeable devices. SOLARBAK keeps you from being in a situation when you are powerless. Great for kids at school, music festivals, camping, hiking, biking, all kinds of travel as well as many other lifestyle activities. The 2 liter water bladder has a hose that reaches your mouth that can be used to hydrate you at events. SOLARBAK is made and guaranteed by VisionBay in Atlanta, Ga. … SOLARBAK … take YOUR POWER with you. Lithium-ion battery included.
This cute pocket oscilloscope is a perfect companion to your tool box. For beginners, its a good starter scope – it is not as complicated as a benchtop scope so its easy to use. For advanced EE’s, its useful as a scope-on-the-go, for field-debugging, when you don’t want to drag your scope over, or when a floating-ground is needed (it will naturally do ‘differential’ measurements as long as its not plugged into a computer USB port). It’s not a terribly fast scope, best used for signals up to 100KHz, and it is only a single channel, but we still find uses for it all the time, especially with analog projects!
Portage for your Projects! Lady Ada’s Bento Box is a crush-proof, drop-proof & water-proof prototyping kit that combines the ultra-rugged Otterbox 3000 with a storage tin and half-size (400-point) breadboard. In the middle is a spot for attaching an Arduino UNO (or any other PCB that has the same shape and mounting holes). There’s plenty of clearance for wires (even ones with plastic bits on the end such as our premium jumper wires or wire bundles) and parts on the breadboard, and the box is so sturdy you never have to worry about any delicate parts inside getting damaged. Toss it in your backpack, suitcase, duffel bag and you can be sure to work on it when you get to school, work or home.
Interfacing a new microchip can be a hassle. Breadboarding a circuit, writing code, hauling out the programmer, or maybe even prototyping a PCB. We never seem to get it right on the first try.
The ‘Bus Pirate’ is a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal, eliminating a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips. Many serial protocols are supported at 0-5.5volts, more can be added.
21st Century note taking: Below are some cutting edge note-taking (or not-note-taking) devices. I happen to be quite fond of my LiveScribe pen, as it has quickly taken the place of my tablet-pc and quad ruled notebooks.
Nexus 7 is a no compromise Android tablet that’s designed to go wherever you go. With a stunning 7” display, powerful quad-core processor and up to 8 hours of battery life during active use, Nexus 7 was built to bring you the best of Google in a slim, portable package that fits perfectly in your hand.
The best notebook on earth, The Maker’s Notebook. From the creators of Make Magazine comes the Maker’s Notebook. Put your own ideas, diagrams, calculations & notes down in these 150 pages of engineering graph paper. We’ve also included 20 bonus pages of reference material, from useful stuff like electronics symbols, resistor codes, weights and measures, basic conversions and more, to really useful stuff like the amount of caffeine in different caffeinated beverages and how to say “Hello, World!” in various computer languages. The covers of this hardcover book are printed in cyan “Maker” blue with a white grid debossed front and back. Grab one today!
This handy dandy little device is so small it makes a great keychain (it’s less than half the size of a normal Leatherman). Just be careful you don’t have your kids under 18 bring it to school, it might get them in trouble! But in robotics or maker/hacker labs anywhere, this tool will win you friends right and left (not to mention come in handy more times than you can count.
I hope everyone has had a great summer and good luck with this upcoming school year!
This is part of an on-going series of posts about littleBits. We encourage you to use the Tips & Tricks to enhance your Bit projects. littlebits is available in the Adafruit store – Starter Kit, Extended Kit and Teaser kit.
One of the best ways to bring your projects to life is to give it some eyes! Make expressive projects with glowing, spinning and light-up eyeballs! Click here for 10 different ways to make a pair of your own.
The Human Body is an app, but it was originally made the old fashioned way, with cut-out paper. Made by studio Tiny Bop, each page is interactive and visually accessible. As described on their site:
Everything, from the bones and brain to cells and veins, is animated by particle physics in this interactive playscape. Children can poke, probe, and examine the skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. Each app contains a recording tool so you and your child can ask questions, listen, and respond to each other.