We decided to structure DIY.org as a for-profit startup because we know that if we create a tool that boosts kids’ creativity, that will be of tremendous value to parents. Rather than being a non-profit and begging wealthy donors to fund us, we aim to build a great service that parents are excited to pay for. We’ll never sell information about our users to advertisers and we’ll never allow advertising on the site. Membership to DIY.org will include embroidered skill patches that come in the mail once earned, and potentially a kit service as well. Using a majority of the site’s features will remain free for non-members. Also, we use a very flexible Creative Commons license for all the content uploaded to the site, and our team releases much of DIY’s platform as open source on a nearly weekly basis.
In today’s global climate, education in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) initiatives is more important than ever. The goal of the SparkFun National Tour is to promote electronics education across the US – helping our teachers and educators make electronics part of their everyday curriculum.
This is an interesting Kickstarter, we are a backer.
The 21st century will be filled with opportunities and challenges. To seize those opportunities and meet those challenges, we need a new generation of problem solvers who are enabled with the best skills for design, prototyping, and manufacturing. These problem solvers will need to be well versed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fundamentals, with a depth of creativity enriched through knowledge of history and the humanities.
Shop classes are disappearing just when our country needs them the most. We feel that shop class has the potential to be the most relevant class in school. If we establish shop class as a place where you can design and make anything you imagine, we can resurrect this vital resource and make it part of every class in high school. Like the school library, shop class can enrich the curriculum of technical classes by enabling the construction of moving machines and models, just as it enriches art class through empowering people to create sculpture or architectural models.
Part of the Maker Education Initiative’s mission is to help spread the best practices, lessons learned, and research from maker programs around the world. We are working to build a database of maker education resources and research. If you have research, playbooks, curriculum, or other maker education resources that you would like to share, please contact us. It is our hope to launch this Maker Education Resource Database in early 2013, but we will add resources to the list of links below until then.
Joi Ito, 46-year-old director of MIT’s Media Lab since last September, has just selected the faculty’s newest outpost: the troubled streets of downtown Detroit. “I was in a rough neighbourhood there yesterday, where there are miles and miles of bombed out buildings, and it just blows your mind to see a bunch of kids building urban farms,” he says back in his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “They have no streetlights. If you connect a streetlight to the grid, it gets controlled by the city and regulated. So they’re thinking, how can we create solar-powered low-cost streetlights, as that will lower crime? They have a maker space in a church, a place where the kids can learn how to build a computer, a bike shop where they can learn how to do repairs. The kid who runs this place, Jeff Sturges, is awesome.We’re sending a bunch of Media Lab people to Detroit to work with local innovators already doing stuff on the ground.”
Welcome to Ito’s vision for opening up the 27-year-old Media Lab, one in which — for example — urban agriculture might be researched in Detroit; the arts in Chicago; coding in London; and in which any bright talent anywhere, academically qualified or not, can be part of the world’s leading “antidisciplinary” research lab. “Opening up the lab is more about expanding our reach and creating our network,” explains Ito, appointed director in April 2011.
I would like to know if it is safe to use Li-Po batteries in series in order to provide a higher operating voltage. I was reading the Adafruit Learning System write up on Li-Ion and Li-Poly batteries and I got a bit confused.
The ALS says the following about charging Li-Pos in series:
“”This is also discouraged because the battery wont be able to be charged in a balanced manner. You should purchase a lithium ion pack that is preassembled.”"
I would like to know, if it is OK to use the batteries in series and then charge them individually.
Batteries are purchased in two configurations, as individual cells (i.e. an AAA, AA, C, D, 18650, etc) or as a pack. Individual batteries do not need to be balance charged as the charger will regulate the voltage and current input to the battery and turn off when complete. The Adafruit Learning System’s statement is based on the fact that some battery chemistries do not “self-balance” when charged in series. In contrast, chemistries like NiMh and NiCd can be charged without balancing.
If you purchase a Lithium based battery pack containing 2 or more cells, it should have secondary wires that are connected to each respective cells positive and negative terminal. Each wire is shared with its neighbor, so a 2S pack would have 3 wires, a 3S pack would have 4 and so on. These taps allow for “fine tuning” the current and voltage entering the pack during charging and maintains a constant voltage over each cell. Make sure you have a battery charged that is designed to charge multiple lithium cells and that it contains this balancing capability. Below is an example of what can happen if a LiPo battery is improperly charged:
In order to prevent a disaster like this, periodically examine the physical state of your batteries. They should not feel squishy or appear ballooned and make sure you store them in a fire-proof container. I happen to use a old coffee can for mine. If you find out they are damaged, bring them to your local hobby store for recycling.
There is a great website that provides quite a bit of information regarding the proper handling of most battery chemistries.
I hope this has helped answer your question, have fun with your LiPos and be safe!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to ask a question!
I’d like to know the best circuit to drive some IR LED and get maximum distance. I watched TV B gone circuitry, but i use an arduino so I may use up to 12V..
I don’t understand why using more than one transistor I would get more current
Although your Arduino can be powered by a 12V supply, the I/O is regulated to 5V or 3.3V depending on you model. LEDs commonly operate around 1.5V (2.6V in the case of the TV-B-Gone), so some level of series resistor is required.
Let’s start by taking a look at the TV-B-Gone schematic. Specifically v1.2:
The schematic tells us that each IR-LED is driven by a companion 2N3904 NPN transistor. According to Adafruit’s datasheet on the Super-bright IR LEDs used in the kit, each LED has a forward voltage of 2.6V (max 4.0V) and a forward current of 1A max. You don’t need to current limit the LED’s with a resistor as each 2N3904 is only capable of switching up to 200mA and our supply voltage is <=3V.
We use the following to calculate the necessary current to switch the NPNs:
Ib = Ic / Hfe
Ic = 200mA //Assuming a max collector current of 200mA
Hfe = ~20 //Also assumed from the datasheet as their Hfe chart only goes to 100mA
Ib = 10mA
As the TV-B-Gone uses 4 LEDs (4 x 10mA = 40mA), you hit the 40mA limit the AVR can safely provide. This accounts for the use of the 2N2907 PNP transistor connected to each NPN's base. This transistor is then switched by setting PB0 low and the LEDs fire up!
So you see, the transistors are used to allow the AVR to safely switch on and off the high current loads required by the LEDs. Although the LEDs are capable of up to 1A of current, the 200mA allowed by the NPNs provides a significant amount of distance while ensuring a long lifespan.
If you are interested in reading more about transistors, the University of Nevada happens to have good writeup.
Good luck with your circuit and don’t blow out your LEDs!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to ask a question!
It appears that one of the deep dreams for the OLPC movement is bearing fruit — children hacking on their own! Now the OLPC team can point to real world models evoking such things as Stephenson’s Diamond Age “electronic primers.” Via Gizmodo:
The amazing One Laptop Per Child scheme has been offering up Motorola Xoom tablets to kids in developing countries for a while. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte explained how they’re rolled out, and the impact they have, while he was at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:
“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”
It’s another amazing day at the littleBits HQ as the TED Fellows program announces that Ayah is named a 2013 TED Senior Fellow! Along with 11 other thought-leaders, Ayah continues her involvement with the TED community for the next two years starting in 2013. We’re so proud of Ayah for all that she does to inspire people around the world!
Now in its fourth year, the TED Fellows program hand-picks courageous, accomplished young innovators from around the world to raise international awareness of their work, which ranges widely from open science to new media art to social entrepreneurship. By bringing Fellows to the TED stage — both literally and figuratively — the program helps amplify the impact of their initiatives and supports their quest to affect the world in the most positive way. To date, the program has honored more than 300 Fellows from more than 75 countries from thousands of applications around the world.
The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) is one of the oldest and most respected awards programs in the country. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have been continuously celebrated as the “go-to” source for parents and professionals seeking the best products for their children and families.
littleBits Starter Kit v0.2!littleBits is a system of modular electronics that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play. The littleBits starter kit is the first kit by littleBits and contains all you need to get started within seconds. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to put the power of engineers in the hands of artists, makers and children. Included in the kit are 10 color coded modules (power, input, output, and wire) that snap together magnetically to create larger circuits, guaranteed to keep kids (or you) occupied for hours. Comes packaged in an attractive case with a magnetic closure and includes an instruction sheet, 9v battery and a custom plastic screwdriver.
littleBits starter kit contents:
A quick-start instruction set
A custom-made 9V battery
A 9V battery connector
Custom plastic screwdriver
Snap and play, magnets prevent you from putting things the wrong way.
Play with light, sound, sensing and buttons without wiring, soldering or programming.
Make your own interactive objects, or combine with other construction toys.
Explain to your children the complex notions of electricity, electronics and science in a fun way!
Today we have a special edition of “According to Pete.” Back in September, a group of SparkFun employees traveled to the World Maker Faire in New York City. Pete sat down with several “friends of SparkFun” including Limor “Ladyada” Fried from Adafruit and Jessica Uelmen from Parallax.
The Khan Academy, which features 3,400 short instructional videos along with interactive quizzes and tools for teachers to chart student progress, is a nonprofit, boasting a mission of “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” There is no employee equity; there will be no IPO; funding comes from philanthropists, not venture capitalists.
“I could have started a for-profit, venture-backed business that has a good spirit, and I think there are many of them–Google for instance,” says Khan, his eyes dancing below his self-described unibrow. “Maybe I could reach a billion people. That is high impact, but what happens in 50 years?”
The Girls Who Code Inaugrual Gala was at the New York Stock Exchange was on October 22, 2012. It was in support of young women who are New York City’s future entrepreneurs and engineers, they unveiled the apps they built during the Girls Who Code program. The evening began the Social Investor Presentation where the Girls took over the NYSE Boardroom to pitch their creative technology and ability to change the future. The pitches were then followed by a networking reception and demos on the NYSE Trading Floor. Ladyada and pt stopped in and took some photos, it was PACKED! This was the first time any of the Adafruit team has visited the NYSE Trading Floor! Congrats to all the young women who are heading in to engineering because of this program!
WHO WE ARE
Girls Who Code is a new organization working to educate, inspire and equip 13- to 17-year-old girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering.
WHAT WE DO
Together with leading educators, engineers, and entrepreneurs, Girls Who Code has developed a new model for computer science education, pairing intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with high-touch mentorship led by the industry’s top female developers and entrepreneurs.
WHY WE DO IT
Today, just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders. Yet females use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts and represent the fastest growing demographic online and on mobile, creating more than two-thirds of content on social networking sites. Technology companies with more women on their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment, and companies with women on technical teams increases teams’ problem-solving ability and creativity.
The numbers speak for themselves. By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computer science-related job openings, yet U.S. universities are expected to produce enough computer science graduates to fill just 29% of these jobs. And while 57% of bachelor’s degrees are obtained by women, less than 14% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.
Host Committee – Master Gardeners
Jack Dorsey, Founder, Twitter, Square
Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
Chris Hughes, Co-founder, Facebook
Beth Comstock, CMO, General Electric
Alexis Maybank, Founder, Gilt Groupe
Marisa Ricciardi, SVP Global Marketing, NYSE Euronext
Gina Bianchini, Founder, Ning, Mightybell
Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist
Hope Taitz, Board Member, Athene, Apollo Residential Mortgage REIT
David Hirsch, Metamorphic Ventures
Sunny Bates, Sunny Bates Associates
Evan Korth, Founder, hackNY
Andrew Rasiej, Personal Democracy Media
Kelly Hoey, Founder, Women Innovate Mobile
Greg Gunn, Founder, City Light Capital
Rachel Haot (Sterne), Chief Digital Officer, NYC
Nihal Mehta, Founder, Local Response
Steve Martocci, Founder, GroupMe
Caroline Ghosn & Amanda Pouchot, Founders, LevoLeague
Susan McPherson, SVP, Fenton
Jessica Lawrence, Managing Director, New York Tech Meetup
Kathryn Minshew & Alex Cavoulacos, Co-founders, The Daily Muse
Rachel Sklar, Founder, Change the Ratio & TheLi.st
Sponsors – Cultivators
D. E. Shaw
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP