LED bulbs last decades, save electricity, don’t shatter, don’t burn you, save hundreds of dollars, and now offer plummeting prices and blossoming features. What’s not to like? You’d have to be a pretty dim bulb not to realize that LED light is the future…
LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit Micro Lipo – USB LiIon/LiPoly charger. Oh so adorable, this is the tiniest little lipo charger, so handy you can keep it any project box! Its also easy to use. Simply plug in the gold plated contacts into any USB port and a 3.7V/4.2V lithium polymer or lithium ion rechargeable battery into the JST plug on the other end. There are two LEDs – one red and one green. While charging, the red LED is lit. When the battery is fully charged and ready for use, the green LED turns on. Seriously, it could not get more easy.
Charging is performed in three stages: first a preconditioning charge, then a constant-current fast charge and finally a constant-voltage trickle charge to keep the battery topped-up. The charge current is 100mA by default, so it will work with any size battery and USB port. If you want you can easily change it over to 500mA mode by soldering closed the jumper on the back, for when you’ll only be charging batteries with 500mAh size or larger.
Comes assembled and tested with a free bonus JST cable!
5V input via PCB-style USB connector
For charging single Lithium Ion/Lithium Polymer 3.7/4.2v batteries (not for older 3.6/4.1v cells)
100mA charge current, adjustable to 500mA by soldering a jumper closed
Here’s another cool project that was on display at SXSW. 2 Kinects and a projector sit above a pool table adding a graphic overlay and sound effects to your game in real-time. And the whole thing is open source!
At SXSW Interactive, I got a chance to check out Palm Top Theater’s booth where they had a couple of their devices on display. The case uses Pepper’s Ghost effect to create a 3D effect with 3 layers of video. Very cool new medium for artists- Bjork seems to be one of the first to jump on board- her music video for “Moon” was reformatted for the device.
Circuit Playground’s v1.7 update adds system level PDF support – allowing apps like Mail & Safari to send datasheets over to Circuit Playground. These imported files are automatically opened for viewing & saved to Circuit Playground’s documents folder.
Additionally the update also includes the following bugfixes & improvements:
CapCodeCalc pF label corrected (iPhone)
All OpAmp Calcs show circuit name in top bar (iPad)
Optimized standard values in LED Resistor Calc
Resistor Divider equation corrected
Differentiator Calc warnings shown with saved values (iPad)
Toolbar always visible after using Datasheet Viewer (iPhone)
What goes on, exactly, inside those AAA batteries powering your LED flashlight? The short answer is: Chemistry. Chemical reactions can encourage electrons to flow out from one terminal and back to the other, doing some useful work along the way. Meanwhile, inside the battery, positive ions, also known as electron-holes, are changing places. Eventually the chemical reactions run down, and the battery stops delivering power. If it is a rechargeable type, you can force the electrons and the positive ions to go back where they started, ready to run again.
Road? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. – Dr. Emmett Brown.
Here’s a look back at the maker world and beyond!
Way Back In Time…
The first polaroid camera was shown on February 20th, 1947. Inventor Edwin H. Land showed it off at a meeting of the Optical Society of America in New York.
Henry Grenon, an African American inventor, received American patent number 554,867 on February 18, 1896, for a Razor Stropping Device intended to help travelers carry their razors more safely in a frame to protect the blade.
Born on February 18, 1201, just before the sweeping destruction of the Mongol invasions destroyed Baghdad and the Abbasid Empire, Nasir al-Din al-Tus was a logician, astronomer, philosopher and all around great thinker and helped expand knowledge in every field in which he worked. He discovered the law of tangents for spherical tangents, described an early version of the law of conservation of mass and wrote poetry and about law and ethics.
Michael Colombo has a new Workshop Wednesday article on MAKE:
Acrylic has great potential as a building material for would-be makers. It has a very clean look, is easily cut (dremel, table saw, scroll saw, band saw, to name a few), and is durable.
When building your own creations, it’s sometimes necessary to bend the acrylic sheets themselves in order to serve your vision. This can be easily done using little more than scrap wood, a Dremel, circular saw, heat gun, and a vise.
Parallax Partners with the U.S. Army and Carnegie Mellon University to host the 2013 National microMedic Contest to Encourage Medical Innovation
Uncle Sam Wants You! Now’s your chance to change the way our country does medical simulation and battlefield care. The 2013 microMedic National Contest is calling the best and brightest, that’s you, to help invent new medical applications using microcontrollers. With over $25,000 in cash and prizes awarded to the winners, what are you waiting for? Contestants may use any microcontroller they desire in their application. Parallax is offering two flavors of the microMedic Application Idea Kit full of tons of sensors and cool parts; one kit has the multi-core Propeller chip, the other includes the Board of Education Shield (for Arduino).
In order to help you in your quest we’ve created a special discussion forum for the microMedic contest, provided a list of project ideas and created a bunch of mini-tutorials to help you get started with the kit sensors. We’re even giving away 100 free kits to the first qualified entries. This contest is open to participants of all ages with special prizes for educational and public division winners.
Hackaday featured Eyewriter, an open source eye tracking technology collective to help paralyzed graffiti artist Tony Quan make use of his eyes for movement after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
On Hack-a-Day Phil offered us some insight on how to run GPS on a Macbook. Remember those old keyboards and trackpads? And when MacBook Pros came with a disc drive? Sigh…
The recent past:
December 20th marks the anniversary of the death of Carl Sagan in 1996. Maybe he’s teleporting in the cosmos now…
HTML4 was published fifteen years ago today. It was the first standardized version of HTML, which went through four versions between 1990 and 1997 and still is widely used today. HTML5 is currently in working draft form and is slated to be released in stable form by the end of 2014.
The distant past:
…this small, sallow child, previously and subsequently named JJ Thomson, went on to discover electrons, isotopes and the mass spectrometer. If only we could invite him to help us hack!
…and with no small degree of hometown pride (is this phrase applicable to New York?), Edwin Howard Armstrong invented the feedback circuit (pictured above) and FM radio in the basement of Columbia University’s Philosophy Hall.
Our friends in Infinity Shred combined our EL panel starter pack and EL tape with skateboards and hoodies to create some really cool effects for their music video. Check out the video for their single, “Wayfinder”, above!
NEW PRODUCT – TIMESQUARE DIY Watch Kit – Red Display Matrix. Show up stylish AND on time to any event with this awesome looking DIY watch. We have a few watch kits here at Adafruit but we finally have one that looks good and fits well, even for ladies and kids and others with smaller wrists and hands. Its got a 8×8 bit matrix display and a repurposed silicone watch band for a professional look.
Engineered for greatness by PaintYourDragon, this watch squeezes 500-1000 full time displays out of a coin battery, and a up to one year ‘resting’ lifetime, so you can use this as a day-to-day time keeper.
This watch comes with a ultra bright red LED matrix and a black silicone watch band that fits all wrists from children to adult.
This is a DIY kit, and requires some basic soldering/assembly to put together. It is a beginner kit, so this is a fine project to use in learning how to solder. Tools are not included, you’ll need a soldering iron, solder and diagonal cutters as a minimum. Check the tutorial page for details on what tools and steps are required to assemble. Take about 1-2 hours to put together. Build it in the afternoon and you’ll be done in time to hit the clubs in the evening.
The Eggbot is super adjustable, and is designed to draw on all kinds of things that are normally “impossible” to print on. Not just eggs but ping pong balls, light bulbs, mini pumpkins, and even things like wine glasses– with a bit of work. See the photos above for some examples of personalized golf balls, christmas ornaments, light bulbs, and (yes) eggs.
The Eggbot chassis is made of tough fiberglass, with integrated heat sinks for the included motors. The pen and egg motors are high-torque precision stepping motors, and the pen lift mechanism is a quiet and reliable servo motor.
The Eggbot kit is easy to assemble in a couple of hours, and only requires a couple of basic tools like miniature Phillips-head and flathead screwdrivers. No soldering required. You’ll also need a recent-vintage computer with an available USB port (Mac, Windows or Linux), plus internet access to download assembly instructions and necessary software.
The standard pen holder included with the EggBot kit is designed to fit various art pens including Sharpie Ultra Fine Point pens, one pen is included. It can fit almost any pen of similar size.
New! Deluxe Edition includes precision egg coupler, 5/64″ balldriver, hex driver holster, and brass thumbscrews in place of nylon. Take your Egg-botting to the MAX!
The Eggbot is normally controlled through a set of open-source extensions to Inkscape, the excellent, popular and free vector graphics program.
Basic operation is much like that of a printer driver: you import or make a drawing in Inkscape, and use the extensions to plot your drawing onto whatever object you’ve mounted in the Eggbot. It’s all handled through an easy to use graphical user interface, and works cleanly on Mac, Windows and Linux.