What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community – “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer – stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week. Previous chats can be viewed at http://www.adafruit.com/ask
And don’t forget, 30 minutes before the show we’re doing our weekly show-and-tell. If you are on Google+ and want to join, just add/follow +Adafruit’s page and post a comment so you can be added to the show and tell circle. At 9:30pm ET you will see a link to the hang out. Just keep your mics muted until we call on you and have your project ready.
For those who just want to watch, you’ll be able to watch it live on Ustream here and we usually have a recorded version posted later.
NEW PRODUCT – Breadboard-friendly RGB Smart NeoPixel – Pack of 4. This is the easiest way possible to add small, bright RGB pixels to your project. We took the same technology from our Flora NeoPixels and made them breadboard friendly, with two rows of 3 x 0.1″ spaced header on each side for easy soldering, chaining and breadboarding. These ultra-bright LEDs have a constant-current driver cooked right into the LED package! The pixels are chainable – so you only need 1 pin/wire to control as many LEDs as you like.
These pixels have full 24-bit color ability with PWM taken care of by the controller chip. Since the LED is so bright, you need less current/power to get the effects you want. The driver is constant current so its OK if your battery power changes or fluctuates a little.
Each pixel draws as much as 60mA (all three RGB LEDs on for full brightness white). An Arduino can drive up to 500 pixels at 30 FPS (it will run out of RAM after that). Using ribbon cable you can string these up to 6″ apart (after that, you might get power droops and data corruption)
Each order comes with 4 individually controllable pixels. In the photos above we show the pixels with headers soldered on, but the pixels do not come with any headers. You can pick up some in the shop if you need.
NEW PRODUCT – Hook-up Wire Spool Set – 22AWG Solid Core – 6 x 25 ft. Perfect for bread-boarding, free wiring, etc. This box contains 6 spools of solid-core wire. The wire is easy to solder to and when bent it keeps its shape pretty well. We like to have a few spools of this stuff around which is why this set is quite nice! We suggest picking up wire strippers to match. Wire gauge is 22 AWG which we’ve found is the best all-around gauge, it works best with breadboards and perfboards but also fits in terminal blocks nicely.
This box has a wooden dowel rod to hold the spools in place and let them spin, and there are little punch-outs you can pass the wire through so its it’ll stay nice organized.
NEW PRODUCT – HDMI/VGA/NTSC/PAL Display – 10.1 Diagonal – 1280×800 IPS. Yes, this is an beautiful bright 10.1″ TFT display with incredibly high resolution and great angle-visibility! We tried to get the thinnest, brightest, highest resolution display that would be good for embedded computing usage. The visible display measures 10″ diagonal and is a ‘raw’ display as is used in a tablet, ultra thin with some mounting tabs around the edge. We include a driver board with HDMI, VGA and Composite inputs. The display is very easy to use – simply connect the included 9VDC adapter to the 2.1mm center-positive DC jack, then connect a digital video source to one of the ports. Voila, a display!
There’s a little wired PCB with little buttons that let you enter a menu system for adjusting brightness, color and contrast. It tried to auto-detect which input you have and switches to that one or you can ‘select’ from the menu which to display.
To demonstrate it, we took some photos with the display connected to a Raspberry Pi, but it will also work connected to any device with HDMI, VGA or NTSC/PAL output. It will not work with a device that only outputs DVI or SECAM.
For use with a Raspberry Pi we suggest editing config.txt to set “hdmi_safe=1″ output for best results (otherwise, the Pi may not ‘recognize’ the HDMI display and revert to composite output)
Opening: Monday April 1, 2013 from 7:00pm–9:00pm Panel discussion with artists from 6:00pm–7:00pm
Organized by Eyebeam Curatorial Fellow Lindsay Howard, F.A.T. GOLD brings together an international group of twenty-five collaborators comprised of artists, hackers, engineers, musicians, and graffiti writers, many of whom have been involved with the organization as residents, fellows, or collaborators, for a week-long residency and retrospective, which will run through April 20.
BACK IN STOCK – Raspberry Pi Starter Pack – Includes a Raspberry Pi. You want to get hacking with your Pi fast, right? Get everything you need to start with the Adafruit Starter Pack for Raspberry Pi. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your new Pi, everything you need to get a distro image loaded and running. We pre-assemble the Cobbler for you, no soldering required
5V 1A power adapter – this ain’t no regular USB power plug! We had these custom made specifically for use with embedded Linux machines like the Pi. It provides clean 1A minimum with 5.25V to overcome the 0.25V drop of the USB cable
USB TTL console cable – The easiest method by far to talk to the Pi – simply connect the black, green and white wires to the GPIO header and connect using a terminal program! Connect the red wire to also provide power.
Assembled Adafruit Pi Cobbler kit with GPIO cable – We now have this part pre-assembled so you don’t have to solder it! Makes connecting to the GPIO/I2C/SPI/Power pins easy as pie, for Model B Revision 1.0
USB microSD card reader – For loading the image onto the SD card. No drivers required, works with all OS’s and is plenty fast
Large full-size breadboard – This breadboard has plenty of space for a Cobbler and your circuits, with an adhesive back you can attach it. We now ship white breadboards, not clear ones
Breadboarding wires – These flexible wires come in various colors and are easier to use than ‘cut wire’ kits
Embroidered Raspberry Pi badge – beautiful jewel-tone embroided badges are made with solar power and are iron on. Adafruit supports the Raspberry Pi foundation with donations and have permission to make these badges.
From the moment the Rogue Pi is powered up, it takes exactly 60 seconds for the device to boot-up, start the On Board System Check, and run through the tests. After the time is up, the analyst will know if the Rogue Pi has obtained Internet connectivity, pinged the default gateway, obtained an IP address, and connected back out through the reverse tunnel successfully. You can view the bootup time report at the bottom of this post. The BootChart gives a full breakdown of all the services and their respective startup times.
more people, including startups, an opening in the $1.6 billion market for drone design, which will almost double in a decade, according to the aerospace and defense consulting firm Teal Group. Online support is “quite a game-changer,” says Jeff Moe, chief executive officer of open-source 3D printer company Aleph Objects. “You have collaborative worldwide development of hardware and electronics.”
The teamwork extends from pilotless aerial vehicles that spray crops or map coral reefs to those that detect radiation. DIY Drones, an online community founded by former Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson, has more than 35,000 members and provides free access to thousands of schematics. Its pages receive more than 2 million views per month, says Anderson, whose own company, 3D Robotics, is making use of the crowd-sourced R&D. “We’ve been able to bring this huge amount of energy, ideas, and talent to bear for free that otherwise would have taken millions of dollars,” he says, citing his drone autopilot software, radios, video components, and camera controls among the designs he developed with help from DIY.
This week Hindus around the world celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a popular springtime celebration observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike as they celebrate the arrival of spring, commemorate Krishna’s pranks, and allow each other a momentary freedom — a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images of this year’s Holi festival from across India.
The Memento Mori installation consists of a 4 digit LED display, which is mounted between the teeth of a casted human skull and connected to a highly accurate rubidium atomic clock. The display visualizes the passage of time by repeatedly counting down one second in millisecond-steps (from 1.000 to .001).
By utilizing atomic clocks, we can determine with unimaginable accuracy how quickly the irretrievable essence of our lives is decreasing, how fast the ultimate yet unknown point in time of our death is approaching – millisecond by millisecond. This Memento Mori is not only an ironic reminder of our own mortality but a reflection of the values we are striving for. Despite all the hyper-accurate technology inhabiting our lives the haunting question of “When?” still remains unanswered.
PiUi makes it easy to implement a rich mobile UI directly in python code and access it from your Android or iPhone. It’s powered by ratchet.js so there are lots of UI components available to create beautiful interfaces.
All you need in addition to a Raspberry Pi is a wifi adaptor (like this one from Adafruit). Your Pi will create a wifi access point to connect your phone to, then simply navigate to http://piui/ in a browser to access your app’s UI. There’s even an Android app to make connecting easy and show useful status info plus an iPhone webapp you can save to your homescreen.
PiUi is open source – fork it on github – and is just getting started, so please use it, let me know what you think and help improve it.
Miniature WiFi (802.11b/g/n) Module: For Raspberry Pi and more – Make your Internet of Things device cable-free by adding WiFi. Take advantage of the Raspberry Pi and Beagle Bone’s USB port to add a low cost, but high-reliability wireless link. We tried half a dozen modules to find one that works well with the Pi and Bone without the need of recompiling any kernels: it’s supported by the Bone’s Angstrom installation that comes with each Bone as well as the Adafruit Occidentalis distribution. You’ll have wireless Internet in 10 minutes! Works great with 802.11b/g/n networks. (read more)
The sculpture, created by world renowned New York experimental artist Jason Hackenwerth, represents the artist’s interpretation of the legend of Aphrodite and Eros. The spiraled double helix structure has been created with more than 10,000 coloured balloons and hangs over 40 feet tall.
Jason, who was born in St Louis and now lives and works in New York and has exhibited his work around the world at galleries and museums including the Guggenheim in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and at the 51st Venice Biennale as well as in Hong Kong and Mexico. Piscesis the first artwork that he has created in Scotland.
It has taken three members of Science Festival staff six days to blow up the 10,000 balloons which have been woven into an intricate three dimensional structure by Jason and his assistant Leah Blair. It has not only proved to be backbreaking work, but Jason and his team have also to wear ear defenders to protect their hearing from the constant popping and squeaking of balloons, and protective tape on their fingers.
The sculpture will be on display in the Grand Gallery until 14th April.
Matt McCoy tweeted this shot of his Egg-Bot in action! Looking great, it’s going to be a swell Easter at the McCoy household.
The Original Egg-Bot! – Deluxe Kit! – The Eggbot is an open-source art robot that can draw on spherical or egg-shaped objects from the size of a ping pong ball to that of a small grapefruit– roughly 1.25 to 4.25 inches in diameter (3 – 10 cm).
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.