Holograms suggest a depth and dimension that isn’t really there, an illusion of matter in space that can range from a low-tech flickering image in a children’s book to ghostly computer-generated projections of people on stage. No matter how simple or complex the techniques used, it’s all a trick of the light, a way of fooling our eyes – whether they’re just images painted onto layers of glass or created with three-dimensional HDTV video.
Visitors to the Singapore Art Museum found themselves surrounded by ghostly dancing figures, some playing instruments, in what seemed like a book of Japanese illustrations come to vivid, kinetic life. The maze of holograms is a digital installation by Teamlab, inviting anyone entering the darkened gallery to move within and even interact with the figures. Each figure senses the presence of the viewer and responds by playing music, creating a ripple effect in other nearby holograms.
Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it. ~Anonymous
1811 – Urbain Le Verrier, French mathematician and one of the discoverers of Neptune, is born.
Le Verrier’s most famous achievement is his prediction of the existence of the then unknown planet Neptune, using only mathematics and astronomical observations of the known planet Uranus. Encouraged by physicist Arago, Director of the Paris Observatory, Le Verrier was intensely engaged for months in complex calculations to explain small but systematic discrepancies between Uranus’s observed orbit and the one predicted from the laws of gravity of Newton. At the same time, but unknown to Le Verrier, similar calculations were made by John Couch Adams in England. Le Verrier announced his final predicted position for Uranus’s unseen perturbing planet publicly to the French Academy on 31 August 1846, two days before Adams’s final solution was privately mailed to the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Le Verrier transmitted his own prediction by 18 September in a letter to Johann Galle of the Berlin Observatory. The letter arrived five days later, and the planet was found with the Berlin Fraunhofer refractor that same evening, 23 September 1846, by Galle and Heinrich d’Arrest within 1° of the predicted location near the boundary between Capricorn and Aquarius.
1890 – Vannevar Bush, American engineer, inventor and science administrator is born.
Vannevar Bush was an American engineer, inventor, and science administrator, whose most important contribution was as head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II, through which almost all wartime military R&D was carried out, including initiation and early administration of the Manhattan Project. His office was considered one of the key factors in winning the war. He is also known in engineering for his work on analog computers, for founding Raytheon, and for the memex, an adjustable microfilm viewer with a structure analogous to that of the World Wide Web. In 1945, Bush published As We May Think in which he predicted that “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified”. The memex influenced generations of computer scientists, who drew inspiration from its vision of the future.
For his master’s thesis, Bush invented and patented a “profile tracer”, a mapping device for assisting surveyors. It was the first of a string of inventions. He joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1919, and founded the company now known as Raytheon in 1922. Starting in 1927, Bush constructed a differential analyzer, an analog computer with some digital components that could solve differential equations with as many as 18 independent variables. An offshoot of the work at MIT by Bush and others was the beginning of digital circuit design theory. Bush became Vice President of MIT and Dean of the MIT School of Engineering in 1932, and president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1938.
1915 – J.C.R. Licklider, one of the most important figures in computing history is born.
Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, known simply as J.C.R. or “Lick” was an American psychologist and computer scientist who is considered one of the most important figures in computer science and general computing history.
He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing, and its application to all manner of activities; and also as an Internet pioneer, with an early vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He did much to actually initiate all that through his funding of research which led to a great deal of it, including today’s canonical graphical user interface, and the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet.
He has been called “computing’s Johnny Appleseed”, for having planted the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC’s Computer Science Laboratory and Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center, noted that “most of the significant advances in computer technology—including the work that my group did at Xerox PARC—were simply extrapolations of Lick’s vision. They were not really new visions of their own. So he was really the father of it all”.
For people who only know today’s computerized, information-rich world, the change from what came before, and thus his impact on the world (since his ideas, and the work of people he sponsored, has led, directly and indirectly, to much of it), is probably hard to truly fathom. This quotation from the full-length biography of him called The Dream Machine, gives some sense of it:
“More than a decade will pass before personal computers emerge from the garages of Silicon Valley, and a full thirty years before the Internet explosion of the 1990s. The word computer still has an ominous tone, conjuring up the image of a huge, intimidating device hidden away in an overlit, air-conditioned basement, relentlessly processing punch cards for some large institution: them.
“Yet, sitting in a nondescript office in McNamara’s Pentagon, a quiet…civilian is already planning the revolution that will change forever the way computers are perceived. Somehow, the occupant of that office…has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just superfast calculating machines, but joyful machines: tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of online information.”
In American and Canadian football, instant replay is a method of reviewing a play using cameras at various angles to determine the accuracy of the initial call of the officials. An instant replay can take place in the event of a close or otherwise controversial call, either at the request of a team’s head coach (with limitations) or the officials themselves.
On March 11, 1997, a Celestis spacecraft — carrying portions of the cremated remains of Roddenberry, of Timothy Leary and of 22 other individuals — was launched into Earth orbit aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from near the Canary Islands. On May 20, 2002, the spacecraft’s orbit deteriorated and it disintegrated in the atmosphere. Another flight to launch more of his ashes into deep space along with those of Majel (Barrett) Roddenberry, his widow who died in 2008, is planned for launch in 2014.
Check out this throwback video from Adafruit’s younger days!
A lot of readers are likely familiar with Adafruit Industries, supplier and maker of many kits found in the Maker Shed. In addition to my role here at MAKE, as senior editor, I also work with Limor (Ladyada), helping her with the open source hardware kit business. I’ll have a few articles about general things we do around here to keep the ship afloat and charting new waters, but I thought I’d start this “Maker Business” article with an overview of how it all works and how we use many many web tools/services. One of the most asked questions I get from makers is “what shopping cart do you use?” The short answer is Zencart, and while I think it doesn’t actually matter what you use when you start out, this is what we’re using at Adafruit. A recent milestone, we just shipped our 50,000th order. We mostly create and sell open source hardware, most of the tools we use are open source — I’ve never seen an article detailing “everything” a business uses online, so here’s one. I think you’ll enjoy it. Let’s take a look…
CampStem in Tennessee is a STEM focused summer camp for kids grades K-6!
camp STEM is a Murfreesboro, Tn, based science and math camp founded on the principle that students want exciting, challenging, and life impacting summer STEM experiences. The camp is committed to demonstrating how STEM works in the real world by providing hands on activities in Earth Science, Astronomy, Aerospace, and Robotics.
camp STEM now offers 4 different themed science camps and 4 weeks of inquiry-based STEM experiences. We operate a convenient summer day camp for students in grades K-6, on the campus of MTSU, and the Global Mall at the Crossings in Antioch, Tn.
Our unique STEM programs are designed to meet the needs of children in grades K-6. Next generation science standards based lessons help engage students in observation, measurement, identification of physical and chemical properties, and experimentation involving hands on science concepts. The weekly camps are hands-on lessons that students enjoy and will genuinely learn from.
The Middle Tennessee area supports the work of camp STEM and thanks the community for its support of this critical initiative for Tennessee. The many students who experience camp STEM will receive real-world, hands on training so they can be prepared for STEM challenges.
Each Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!
This little wood automaton is meant to mimic the effect of a water drop hitting a body of water, all using concentric rings cut from wood that are manipulated by a hand crank. The piece was created by UK-based designer Dean O’Callaghan, inspired by the work of Reuben Margolin (most likely his round wave sculpture).
3D-printed mushroom roots “could be used to build houses”
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: designer Eric Klarenbeek, who displayed a chair made out of 3D-printed fungus at Dutch Design Week in October, says the technique could be used to create larger, more complex structures.
YouTube user XiongWeiLun made this really cool motion controlled targeting system.
A Beaglebone Black based system. The Beaglebone receives video feed from a simple USB camera, processes the images, finds the approximate center point and moves the laser turret servos that point.
The Beaglebone is running Ubuntu and the system was programmed in Python. The OpenCV library was used to handle the image processing. A great deal of help was received through both the OpenCV reference website and Stackoverflow.com. Excellent resources for anyone attempting image processing, especially for their first time.
Immeasurable help was received from professors and classmates at Brigham Young University – Idaho.
The Armory Show is an annual event held in New York City celebrating artists and galleries from all around the world. It’s NYC’s largest art fair and believe us, it was huge. This year there were so many amazing works of art it’s hard to pick what our favorites were! Here we’ll outline some of what we saw but we encourage all NYC locals to go take a trip out next year for a fun and interesting (and exhausting!) day with the arts.
One of our favorite booths featured works by LA based artist Channa Horwitz. Visually complex, her works are stunning once you realize the meaning behind the systematic linear code. Channa is the creator of sonakinatography a process of visualizing music into eight-to-the-inch squares of the graph paper they appear on. It was like coding as performable, musical art!
Seeking to capture time and motion—she dubbed her series of drawings initiated in the 1960s Sonakinatography to reflect her commitment to sona (sound) and kina (movement)—Horwitz lays down her drawings on graph paper, the lines and squares rendered in deep black or the colors of the spectrum to create oftentimes deliriously intricate patterns.
Neon was theme throughout the show and you know how Adafruit likes their glowy art! The lit up books above are by artist Airan Kang. Below is a piece by Den Flavin, who is known for his incredible light installations.
3D printing made an appearance as well. Artist Karin Sander is turing traditional portraiture on its head with her full body 3D scans that she then prints into miniature figurines. Using a custom made scanning system that surrounds the model with 4 full body white light 3D scanners, she is able to capture every angle with precision. She then uses a face scanner to get more detail and is able to reproduce the person in 1:5 scale. We tried to get a picture of the set up but the booth was so crowded we couldn’t get a shot! Below is one of the 4 unique figurines that were on display.
Another one of our favorites was this piece by Haroon Mirza. Haroon used a grouping of solar panels and copper tape to light up LED strips (just like the ones we sell at Adafruit).
We always enjoy works that play with form and this translated vase by Yeesookyung, was deconstructed and put back together again with surprisingly beautiful results.
The show featured a large number of well known artists as well with works by Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, and, as shown below, Nick Cave. His mixed media “soundsuits” are even shinier and more impressive in person.
There was tons more to see and we took hundreds of photographs. Here’s a little history about the show:
The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair and one of the most important annual art events in New York, takes place every March on Piers 92 & 94 in central Manhattan. The Armory Show is devoted to showcasing the most important artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries. In its fifteen years the fair has become an international institution, combining a selection of the world’s leading galleries with an exceptional program of arts events and exhibitions throughout New York during the celebrated Armory Arts Week.
In its fifteen years, The Armory Show has become an international institution, and every March, artists, galleries, collectors, critics and curators from all over the world make New York City their destination. The concept of a week of arts-related events grew organically, and was formalized with the support of the city in 2009.
Click here to read more about this year’s show and stay tuned for next week when we cover the (Un)Fair Art Show- a DIY response to the Armory show that we stumbled upon on our way home.
The HackHers Robotics team from Needham High School in Needham Massachusetts stikes their “Rosie the Riveter” pose at the Massachusetts FTC Championship Tournament. HACKHERS is an all girl team in their second year of competition. At last weekend’s tournament, they were the winners of the Promote Award for community outreach and promotion of STEM education.
The wide range of costumes inspired by World of Warcraft always impresses me. Cosplayers devote a lot of time to bringing tons of classes and races from the video game to life. Antonio Style created an impressive blood elf paladin costume with glowing additions to the armor. He used latex for the armor with what appears to be foam accents and LEDs for the lighted orbs. He painted each piece by hand, and it looks like several hours went into the project. You can visit Antonio’s Facebook page for step-by-step photos that give you an overview of the build.
Bored of the skiing down mountains? Maybe you should try skiing up them with the Uphill Racer. via Popular Mechanics
A lifelong downhill skier and industrial mechanic/Âmillwright, Jim Maidment was frustrated by the fact that he could pursue his favorite pastime only near a chair lift. “When you’re on a slope, all that energy is free–as long as you’re going in that one direction,” he says. So Maidment hacked together a 6.5-hp generator engine (bought from Costco for $125) with a small, off-the-shelf snowmobile track from Bombardier, inventing a machine he calls the Skizee. He then headed for the mountains to refine his creation, moving from Ontario to Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada’s second-loftiest city. So far, he’s decreased the size and added a variable torque converter to change the power ratio and climb hills. His latest Skizee can go 12 mph uphill and can reach 25 mph in flat powder. Maidment continues to test his invention in the snowy woods around his home, and he’s making final tweaks to the design now. One day he hopes to see the Skizee in pro shops everywhere.
I was talking about the planets with my 5-year-old daughter the other day. I was trying to explain how taking a summer vacation to Mars in the future will be a much bigger undertaking than a trip to Palm Springs (though equally as hot). I kept trying to describe the distance using metaphors like “if the earth was the size of a golf ball, then Mars would be across the soccer field” etc., but I realized I didn’t really know much about these distances, besides the fact that they were really large and hard to understand. Pictures in books, planetarium models, even telescopes are pretty misleading when it comes to judging just how big the universe can be. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring all the emptiness?
Not that pixels are any better at representing scale than golfballs, but they’re our main way of interpreting most information these days, so why not the solar system?
Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware:, pre PS/2 and definately pre-USB. That means you can’t just plug the keyboard into a PS/2 port (even though it looks similar). In fact, I have no idea what the protocol or pinout is named, so we’ll just call it “non-ADB NeXT Keyboard”
There is no existing adapter for sale, and no code out there for getting these working, so we spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between. Now this lovely black deck works like any other USB keyboard. Sure it weighs more than our Macbook, but its worth it!
Here is the official press release for the Arduino Micro in collaboration with Adafruit.
Arduino Micro in collaboration with Adafruit
Arduino Micro board – Based on the technology behind the Leonardo board, its main feature is the very small size.
The Arduino Micro packs all of the power of the Arduino Leonardo in a 48mm x 18mm module (1.9″ x 0.7″).
It makes it easier for makers to embed the Arduino technology inside their projects by providing a small and convenient module that can be either used on a breadboard or soldered to a custom designed PCB.
The Micro has been developed in collaboration with Adafruit Industries, one of the leaders of the Maker movement. Adafruit is already developing a series of accessories for the new board that will complement its power and simplicity.
Throughout the month of November the product is available exclusively from Adafruit online and Radio Shack in retail stores.
Main features of Arduino Micro:
The Arduino Micro is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32u4.
Like its brother the Leonardo board, the Arduino Micro has one microcontroller with built-in USB. Using the ATmega32U4 as its sole microcontroller allows it to be cheaper and simpler. Also, because the 32U4 is handling the USB directly, code libraries are available which allow the board to emulate a computer keyboard, mouse, and more using the USB-HID protocol.
It has 20 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a micro USB cable to get started.
This allows the Micro to appear to a connected computer as a mouse and keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port.
Operating Voltage: 5V
Input Voltage (recommended): 7-12V
Input Voltage (limits): 6-20V
Digital I/O Pins: 20
PWM Channels: 7
Analog Input Channels: 12
DC Current per I/O Pin: 40 mA
DC Current for 3.3V Pin: 50 mA
Flash Memory: 32 KB (ATmega32u4) of which 4 KB used by bootloader
SRAM: 2.5 KB (ATmega32u4)
EEPROM: 1 KB (ATmega32u4)
Clock Speed: 16 MHz
Arduino, the first widespread Open Source Hardware platform, was launched in 2005 to simplify the process of electronic prototyping. It enables everyday people with little or no technical background to build interactive products.
The Arduino ecosystem is a combination of three different elements:
A small electronic board manufactured in Italy that makes it easy and affordable to learn to program a microcontroller, a type of tiny computer found inside millions of everyday objects.
A free software application used to program the board.
A vibrant community, true expression of the enthusiasm powering the project. Every day on the www.arduino.cc website thousands of people connect with other users, ask for help, engage and contribute to the project.
About Adafruit Industries
Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. Adafruit has expanded their offerings to include tools and equipment that Limor personally selects, tests and approves. Adafruit has one of the largest collections of free electronics tutorials, open-source hardware and software to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Science Daily has this story about engineering a low cost inkjet printer to do much more than just printing ink.
Using an inexpensive inkjet printer, electrical engineers produced microscopic structures that use light in metals to carry information. This new technique, which controls electrical conductivity within such microstructures, could be used to rapidly fabricate superfast components in electronic devices, make wireless technology faster or print magnetic materials….
A recently discovered technology called plasmonics marries the best aspects of optical and electronic data transfer. By crowding light into metal structures with dimensions far smaller than its wavelength, data can be transmitted at much higher frequencies such as terahertz frequencies, which lie between microwaves and infrared light on the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that also includes everything from X-rays to visible light to gamma rays. Metals such as silver and gold are particularly promising plasmonic materials because they enhance this crowding effect. “Very little well-developed technology exists to create terahertz plasmonic devices, which have the potential to make wireless devices such as Bluetooth — which operates at 2.4 gigahertz frequency — 1,000 times faster than they are today,” says Ajay Nahata, a University of Utah professor of electrical and computer engineering and senior author of the new study.
Using a commercially available inkjet printer and two different color cartridges filled with silver and carbon ink, Nahata and his colleagues printed 10 different plasmonic structures with a periodic array of 2,500 holes with different sizes and spacing on a 2.5-inch-by-2.5 inch plastic sheet.