Power laces! With an Adafruit shout out at the end (we’re guessing they’re using some OSHW gear from us). On a related note, we’re at an interesting intersection of retro/pop-culture and electronics. From costuming to making “future shoes” – learning electronics allows participation in modern mythology.
This tutorial by John De Cristofaro (johngineer) aims to teach you how to take photos of your hacks and projects for sharing on the web, and perhaps even in print. It focuses on smaller items, less than 6”x6”x6” in size. Bigger projects present their own unique problems that are beyond the scope of this article. However, you can always “scale up” the methods presented here to take pictures of larger subjects, at least to a point.
I’ve divided it into two parts: The first part details how to build a small, inexpensive cyclorama (shooting platform) and the second covers setting up the lights and taking the photos. It assumes you are starting with little more than a camera and a subject to take pictures of. I’ve tried to address a number of questions I’ve received from folks regarding things that are unique to photographing electronics. These include how to photograph lit LEDs and how to make the stamped text on IC packages appear clearly in photos without being washed out.
I’m going to introduce two lighting setups. The first one uses two light sources, and the second one uses one light source and reflectors. The two-light setup is simple, and is good for things like documenting your project as you build it, time-lapse assembly stuff, and general documentation. The one-light setup is more complicated, but also more creative, and is useful for taking final project photos. It also cures baldness, makes you more attractive, and builds self-esteem. Awesome!
I will not be discussing shooting tents in this article. These are already well-documented and ubiquitous all over the web, and in my opinion they don’t teach you a great deal about creative lighting. That isn’t to say they aren’t useful, or produce bad results. They have their place, and for many things they do work amazingly well. That said, the main goal of this article to provide the reader with a basic photo skillset, and I think a shooting tent just hands you the solution instead of teaching you how to solve the problem.
Ok, now that that we’ve gotten the philosophical stuff out of the way, let’s get to work!
Recently we put together this interactive Game of Life display as an educational adjunct for a new exhibit by the San Jose Museum of Art on the works of Leo Villareal. Leo primarily works with light sculptures, and we’re very excited to see (and participate in) the exhibit, which opens this Friday.
I wanted to use an ATtiny13 microcontroller because I had ordered a half dozen a few years ago and still had most of them sitting around. This meant I would need to fit the code into less than 1024 bytes of programming space. I downloaded Alan’s code thinking it might be in C but it turned out to be BASIC so I decided to write my own from the ground up. I did start with my favorite Danni Debounce code (written by Peter Dannegger) to handle the button presses and coded a prototype using an ATmega168. Here’s how it works…
Its been a long road. Seventeen months, countless hours, multiple dead ends, hundreds of lessons learned, and one helmet made. In the past two installments I’ve discussed sculpting, resin casting, chroming and vacuum forming. This is where the magic happens though… Illumination.
Did you know you could be a rocket scientist in just one day? Well, a hobby rocket scientist anyways! The field of hobby rocketry is huge, ranging from $5 mini starters to multi-thousand dollar custom made giants that can fly thousands and thousands of feet. Today we’ll show you enough to get you up in the air and crashing in no time!
Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show – Maker Faire edition!
Dear Ladyada (Limor), Thank you soooo much for signing my autograph book. I know you were busy and had lots of things to do, but you still gave me some time! Thank you!! You are so amazing for all the cool electronic and crafty stuff you work on. It’s hard to find other girls who like electronics and robots and stuff anywhere, but your stuff helps me and dad says you’re a great role model. We bought your motor shield and the wave shield for our little robot. I helped solder both of them and maybe soon we’ll have our little bot rolling and talking!
Many users, while enjoying the SpikerBox demo’s we have done, have also expressed excited curiosity that the iPhone can be used as a portable data recorder / oscilloscope. To truly take advantage of your iPhone though, you want your signal to go directly to the line input. Though you can buy one of these cables, in the open-source spirit of Backyard Brains, here is the schematic to build your own. You need: one 4.7 kOhm resistor, one 10 uF capacitor, one 3.5 mm audio three conductor cable you cut in half, and one 3.5 mm audio four conductor cable you cut in half. Bring out your soldering iron, your wire-stripper, and your favorite beverage!
Of course, its only AC coupled, probably +-2V max and 20KHz but still handy for audio techs!
The IEEE Student Chapter at Seattle University created this terrific 5×5 Game of Life display to hang on the wall. aerohoff writes:
Fall 2009, as a senior at Seattle University, I was disapointed with the lack of soldering in my electrical engineering courses. As the co-chair of the IEEE student chapter, I organized a soldering workshop where each student got to solder together one Game of Life board. We connected all the boards together on a display board that will hopefully get put up on a wall somewhere. We got 25 of them together and into a 5×5 grid. The paper on the right explains the rules of Conway’s Game of Life and explains how the board came to be.
This radio, created in collaboration with Dana Gordon, is an experiment in the fabrication of consumer electronic products. The frame is made of press-fit, laser-cut plywood and covered with thin front and back face-plates. Any found material can be used for the fabric, which covers the top of the radio and the speaker. Here, we’ve used a souvenir from a trip to India. The electronics, including knobs and power jack, are mounted on a single circuit board at the base of the radio. The whole product is designed to be easily and quickly assembled from fabricated components.
There are numerous examples of individuals producing circuit boards or electronic kits in quantities of hundreds or thousands, but few target a general audience. By carefully designing the appearance and construction of the radio’s case as well as its electronics, we have arrived at a consumer product that can be manufactured in similar quantities. With access to a laser cutter, an individual could manufacture and sell this radio on a scale sufficient to provide significant income. We hope that this example will help inspire the creation of fabrication-based, consumer electronics small businesses.
This is Blackbird, it’s a wind-powered car designed by an aerodynamicist to end a longstanding internet debate, namely, ‘Can you go downwind faster than the wind?‘ Using high-tech designs and precise instrumentation, Blackbird proves you can.
Directly Downwind Faster Than The Wind (DDWFTTW) is a favorite topic of debate across the nerdverse for the combination non-existent answer and apparently conflicting nature of the question. “Wind only goes X-speed, how can you go faster? If you go faster don’t you violate the law of conservation of energy?” That’s usually the way the discussion goes.
Nothing Eileen Oldaker tried could calm her mother when she called from the nursing home, disoriented and distressed in what was likely the early stages of dementia. So Ms. Oldaker hung up, dialed the nurses’ station and begged them to get Paro. Styled after a baby seal, a robot that blinks and coos when petted is often therapeutic for patients with dementia.
Well today’s the day! On the eve of Canada day I have made a giant step towards a good version of the plasma speaker! After letting the magic smoke out of countless ICs and Diodes I have finally put together a working model of the plasma speaker.