Good day! In my post about the introduction to multimeters, I defined what a multimeter is, I wrote about the different types of multimeters, and I enumerated the parts of a multimeter as well as their respective functions. Today, I am going to teach you how to measure both DC and AC voltage. Also, I am going to explain how to set your multimeter properly before taking a measurement and I am also going to explain how to interpret the readings on the multimeter’s digital display.
The idea that the 1840s saw the birth of computer science as we know it today may seem like a preposterous one, but long before the Bombe, the Colossus or the Harvard Mark I, long before any computer was actually built, came a remarkable woman whose understanding of computing remained unparalleled and unappreciated for 100 years. Brought up in an era when women were routinely denied education, she saw further into the future than any of her male counterparts, and her work influenced the thinking of one of World War II’s greatest minds.
Lovelace’s ideas found their way into modern computing via Alan Turing. During WWII, as he was working at Bletchley Park on decoding German communications, Turing discovered Lovelace’s Menabrea translation and its attendant notes. They were critical documents that helped to shape his thinking.
Indeed, in his seminal paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence Turing explored the question “Can machines think?”, promptly launching the field of artificial intelligence. He also listed “contrary views” on his position that machines could at least imitate thinking, and discusses what he calls Lady Lovelace’s Objection.
Lovelace had written, “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform”, which might be taken to mean that her position was that machines could not learn, or create anything original. However, Turing points out that “the evidence available to Lady Lovelace did not encourage her to believe” that machines could be so capable.
Were Ada alive today, I think she would recognise the problems faced by her female peers. But she’d also recognise our modern computing machines as the very embodiment of her ideas, and she’d immediately set about learning how they worked and how to program them. She didn’t let the conventions of her day slow her down, and she certainly wouldn’t let modern prejudices get in the way either.
Grace Hopper is one of Adafruit’s favorite people of all time and today we celebrate what would have been her 107th birthday. Google has honored Grace as well with their homepage image. Here’s some information from her wikipedia page for those who don’t know about all of her amazing accomplishments.
Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer). Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.
David Nield reports that new Game of Thrones Video Game Series is set for release in 2014, via digitaltrends
Telltale Games, also responsible for the Walking Dead video game series, has confirmed that it will be adapting HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones from next year. The games will be released as an episodic series and HBO is partnering in their development.
“We’ll be taking advantage of all the fiction to make something great,” said Telltale CEO Dan Connors at the VGX 2013 awards show. “We’re just really getting into it right now and thinking about characters — who has the most at stake, who has the biggest impact on the world.”
We’ve seen Game of Thrones titles before. There was a so-so role-playing game released in 2012, and there’s also a free-to-play MMO in the works, but this new series of games promises to be much more ambitious…
Today marks the 248th birthday of American inventor Eli Whitney. Best known for inventing the cotton gin, Whitney was a major contributor to the Industrial Revolution. Via about.com
Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States. Prior to his invention, farming cotton required hundreds of man-hours to separate the cottonseed from the raw cotton fibers. Simple seed-removing devices have been around for centuries, however, Eli Whitney’s invention automated the seed separation process. His machine could generate up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton daily, making cotton production profitable for the southern states.
Eli Whitney failed to profit from his invention because imitations of his machine appeared and his 1794 patent for the cotton gin could not be upheld in court until 1807. Whitney could not stop others from copying and selling his cotton gin design.
The gourd-and-twine device, created 1,200 to 1,400 years ago, remains tantalizingly functional—and too fragile to test out. “This is unique,” NMAI curator Ramiro Matos, an anthropologist and archaeologist who specializes in the study of the central Andes, tells me. “Only one was ever discovered. It comes from the consciousness of an indigenous society with no written language.”
We’ll never know the trial and error that went into its creation. The marvel of acoustic engineering—cunningly constructed of two resin-coated gourd receivers, each three-and-one-half inches long; stretched-hide membranes stitched around the bases of the receivers; and cotton-twine cord extending 75 feet when pulled taut—arose out of the Chimu empire at its height. The dazzlingly innovative culture was centered in the Río Moche Valley in northern Peru, wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the western Andes. “The Chimu were a skillful, inventive people,” Matos tells me as we don sterile gloves and peer into the hollowed interiors of the gourds. The Chimu, Matos explains, were the first true engineering society in the New World, known as much for their artisanry and metalwork as for the hydraulic canal-irrigation system they introduced, transforming desert into agricultural lands.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
David Huerta has been sharing this past year about Brooklyn Museum’s exploration of 3D printing, with a focus on accessibility and new ways to share the collection with the Brooklyn Museum community. Here is one of their projects from early this month: How about a nice game of 3D printed chess?
Earlier this year, we started exploring how 3D printing could enhance the visitor experience and began by introducing it on that month’s sensory tour. In addition to tours, we also host film screenings and as my colleague Elisabeth mentioned, this Saturday, September 28th we’ll be hosting a special screening of Brooklyn Castle, a film about a local school with a talented chess team that crushed more chess championships than any other school in the US. Since the screening also includes some chess playing outside the film, we figured it would be great to tie that into the context of the museum’s collection by curating and scanning our own 3D printed chess set….
Unsung hero Delia Derbyshire was the woman behind the original Dr. Who theme song at the BBC’s Radiophonic studio. She was one of the first electronic musicians and her music was highly influential on the genre. Listening to her work now, it’s hard to believe it came out in the 1960′s.
Delia believed that the way the ear / brain perceives sound should have dominance over any basic mathematical theory, but as with most things in life it is important to know the rules in order to advantageously bend or break them.
Delia’s works from the 60s and 70s continue to be used on radio and TV some 30 years later, and her music has given her legendary status with releases in Sweden and Japan. She is also constantly mentioned, credited and covered by bands from Add n to (x) and Sonic Boom to Aphex Twin and The Chemical Brothers.
A recent Guardian article called her ‘the unsung heroine of British electronic music’, probably because of the way her infectious enthusiasm subtly cross-pollinated the minds of many creative people. She had exploratory encounters with Paul McCartney, Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Brian Jones, Anthony Newley, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson.
Check out the video below for one of my favorite Delia Derbyshire songs and read more about her incredible work here.
Circuit board business cards have been done. But since circuit boards are, literally, my business, I felt that I needed one too. Of course it also had to be special. Research and experimentation took a long time with this one and the design even sat dormant, ready, for a while before I sent it out to fab.
The concept was to have throughole components embedded within the PCB and soldered lying down. The components — two resistors, LED, NPN MOSFET, and a capacitor — form a complete circuit so that when voltage is applied, the LED turns on.
It’s meant to be an engineer’s emergency kit. When all hope is lost, the MacGuyver engineer could snap out one of the components and save the day.