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  • Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 02:00
    ASK AN ENGINEER – LIVE electronics video show! 4/23/14 (video)

    ASK AN ENGINEER – LIVE electronics video show! 4/23/14 (video).

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 01:30
    SHOW-AND-TELL Google+ LIVE Hangout! 4/23/14 (video) #showandtell
  • Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 01:00
    Black Mirror, Black Hole: Kill Your Television

    don't waste your time TV screenWould you believe that some people think the internet is a time waster? Well, not at this particular address of course, but we can think of some other sites that are absolute rabbit holes without so much as a rousing game of croquet at the bottom. If you need help achieving what Tim Ferriss dubbed a Low Information Diet, there are browser extensions that will block your access to sites that keep you from getting things done. [Ivan's girlfriend] has taken this time management tack seriously and even created a simple web page that states “Don’t Waste Your Time!” that will show if she tries to get to Facebook.

    There’s one small problem with all this, and it’s been around for a long time. [Ivan's girlfriend] still watches TV. Out of love and respect for her goals, he decided to prank her by blocking her TV viewing. In a delightful twist, the TV will display her own web page to her after 30 seconds.

    They have digital and analog TVs, so he had to set up both in order to cover his bases. The digital TV is a monitor fed from a set-top box with HDMI out. As the STB can only be controlled via IR remote, [Ivan] used an HDMI switch to change from the STB input to a Raspi that will display the reprimanding web page and play Pink Floyd’s “Time“.

    The analog TV took  slightly more doing. He put a Raspi on the AV input, but connected it from the inside so nothing looked suspicious. The Raspi checks the TV status every second and switches to the Pi once the TV is on. Same deal: judgmental web page, Pink Floyd. The beauty part is that both of [Ivan]‘s setups also record her reaction; the digital TV uses a dash camera and the analog  uses an Android phone. Check out [Ivan]‘s tour of the analog TV Pi after the break.

    If you or [Ivan's girlfriend] need even more time management help, there’s always the roll-your-own-Pomodoro timer.


    Filed under: Raspberry Pi

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 23:00
    This Final Fantasy XIII-2 Lightning Costume Is Electric

    lightning costume

    In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning is a skilled knight. Cosplayer Lyz Brickley has done a fantastic job at re-creating the character from her long pink hair to her armor. She looks like she walked out of the game! She made her armor from craft foam, and it looks so much like metal it’s hard to believe it’s another material. Lyz helps the foam become sturdier by using cheesecloth:

    I use cheesecloth on the backside of the foam to make it sturdy. You basically glue the cloth down and then do a layer of glue over it (like how you would fiberglass something :D) Then I coat the front side with several layers of watered down mod podge, but that is more for sealing the foam. I use spray primer before I paint it too. I don’t advise fighting a battle in it, but it looks sturdy enough.

    armor in progress

    Read more and see several in-progress photos at Lyz’s Facebook page.

    via Geek x Girls, photo by Elite Cosplay

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 22:00
    Micro-Robots Are Scary Awesome


    A team of scientists at SRI international are creating real-life replicators from Star Gate SG1 — micro-robots capable of smart (and scary!) manufacturing. Thousands working in parallel will be able to achieve tasks previously unheard of, in a completely compact and integrated system.

    These tiny ant-like robot systems are magnetically controlled and can use tools, move at incredible speeds, and swarm over surfaces. SRI’s vision was “to have an army of ants under your control”. It’s actually been an ongoing project since the 1990′s — but a recent undisclosed chunk of funding from DARPA has helped accelerate the project — giving it a new title of the MicroFactory for Macro Products project.

    You have to see the video to believe it. Potential applications for these tiny swarm-bots include precise pick & place manufacturing, micro bio-technology, electronics manufacturing, and even rapid prototyping of high quality parts.

    We get shivers just watching them slide around effortlessly on almost any surface.

    [Thanks Matthew!]

    Filed under: robots hacks

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 21:33
    How Dress Forms are Made #WearableWednesday

    Cool How it’s Made video about dress forms! via eTextile Lounge

    Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.31.55 PM

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 21:00
    Five Ways to Use a Headband in Cosplay


    Headbands aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, but they’re close to being that affordable. You can get them at the dollar store, grocery and department stores, beauty supply stores, craft shops – you get the idea. They’re readily available in different colors, materials, and widths. If you’re like me, you probably already have a few that you never wear stashed in your bathroom cupboard. Besides the fact that you can use them for wig styling in cosplay, they’re great to incorporate in other pieces of your costume. Here are five suggestions on how to use a headband in a costume:

    Armor enhancement – Headbands are curved in a such a way that they fit almost perfectly on top of your shoulders. If you’re making a costume with armor, you can add plastic headbands to your base of craft foam or Worbla before you paint it. You could use one or several to add depth and texture. You could also wrap headbands around thigh or calf armor.

    geordi la forge

    Become Geordi La Forge – If you watched Star Trek: The Next Generation as a child and had access to a headband, chances are good that you put it over your eyes and pretended to be Geordi La Forge. You can take that concept to the next level and build a visor from the headband base. You’ll have to cut small slits so you can see, and you can use craft foam or even card stock to build up the rest of the accessory.

    Circlet – Thin headbands made from plastic or fabric can be turned into regal circlets with a little reshaping and paint. Don’t wear a headband around your forehead if it has teeth or is too tight though! To get a looser fit, you can cut off the ends that grip your head, drill a small hole in each end, and add ribbon so you can tie the circlet around the back of your head. Paint it with silver or gold, add faux gem or pearl cabochons, and dress it up whichever way you’d like.

    pony ears

    Image via Cookie Fairy Nerd.

    All about the ears – Many characters have ears or unicorn horns and attaching those items to a headband is one of the most secure ways to wear them. For example, if you want to be a My Little Pony, you can fashion the ears from felt and glue or sew them around a headband. It would be cute and simple to pull that costume together in a hurry. The same technique would apply if you wanted to make Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears.

    Basket handle – You can transform any small, cool container into a basket by gluing on a headband to make a handle. The bowl or dish would have to be lightweight enough for a plastic headband to stay attached, and you couldn’t fill it with heavy items. Though that sounds limiting, you could add a headband to a plastic Tupperware type container and paint it to look like metal – it could be a great base for a steampunk accessory. Alternately, you could go pastel to match an anime costume. The basket could be part of the cosplay or just a matching piece to carry some basic necessities like your ID, a card, and cash.

    How would you use a headband in cosplay?

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 20:45
    Etsy buys Grand St. #makerbusiness

    Etsy buys Grand St. @ Fortune Tech.

    Etsy, the operator of a handmade marketplaces, has acquired Grand St. Grand St., which sells indie electronics online, had raised $1.3 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Betaworks, Quotidian Ventures, Mesa+, and angel investors. Just two months ago, the company had positioned itself as the ‘Etsy for electronics.’

    Read more.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 19:28
    Arduino’s Servo Library: Angles, Microseconds, and “Optional” Command Parameters

    ToolGuyd Analysis of Arduino Servo Control Analog WidthsA closer look at Arduino's servo library and the optional parameters you should be aware of.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 19:01
    Video: Getting Your Feet Wet with Programmable System On Chip


    Ever since I received my PSOC 4 Pioneer kit from Cypress I have wanted to play with this little mixed-signal Programmable System-on-Chip (PSOC) developer board. I love developer boards, providing that they are priced in a way to entice me to not only open my wallet but also make time in a busy schedule. I think my kit was free after winning a swag bag from Adafruit that they themselves obtained at the Open Hardware Summit and gave away on their weekly streamcast. Ultimately it was the invitation to beta test datasheet.net which also was included in that pile of swag that led to my getting involved with Hackaday.

    Pioneer 4 Development Kit

    PSCO4 Development Board on Hackaday

    What is Programmable System On Chip?

    So what is a PSOC 4? A quick summary is that it’s based on an ARM Cortex reduced instruction set processor (RISC) and is somewhat capable of supporting shields based on the Arduino footprint, and it also uses a bright red PCB that I have come to associate with a Sparkfun PCB. What doesn’t show is the fact that this programmable system on chip has programmable analog function blocks in addition to programmable digital logic blocks. There is also some supporting input/output circuitry such as a multicolored LED and a capacitive touch sensor directly on the PCB.

    This is an intriguing amount of programmability, so much so that Newark/Element 14 highlighted a “100 projects in 100 days” event on it.

    Enter the IDE

    Over the years I have had to create or install many Integrated Development Environments (IDE) that linked hardware to software. Knowing that you had to, and how to, implement an IDE was part of being an engineer. Nowadays with the Arduino type environment the user has an IDE pretty much as soon as they click on the executable which I find to be one of the best aspects of the genre. It was so quick in fact that I was able to get my teenaged son into writing his first program even before he remembered to do massive eye-rolls and make sounds of utter disdain. He did give up however, just shy of learning how to have the Arduino make sounds of disdain on his behalf.

    PSCo4 Cypress Development Kit on Hackaday

    Closeup of a Programmable System on Chip Development System

    Love Your Developer Board

    So here  is why I love cheap developer boards, you have standard hardware that in theory is already working, and demonstration projects are readily available to feed the IDE. Loading untested software code into a project that probably has hardware issues can present a bit of a challenge. Starting with either hardware or software that is already known to be working is a big plus as you don’t necessarily have to troubleshoot the difference between a jump out of bounds of the memory map or a blown address line, or both.

    Setting up the IDE consists of downloading and installing PSoC Creator 3.0 from the Cypress website and clicking execute; I usually click “run as administrator” just because I can and it makes me feel superlative as if I have a role to play.


    PSOC Creator 3.0 Integrated Development Environment as shown by Bil Herd for Hackaday

    PSOC Creator 3.0 Integrated Development Environment

    As mentioned above, Newark hosted a 100 Projects event and I have decided to try circuit #2 as a way of exercising all of the steps from selection and compiling to download and use. Simply put this example changes the color of the multicolor LED based on where the user touches the capacitive sensor.

    Build and Run

    Compiling and running the example was accomplished by a rapid-fire succession of mouse clicks, with the only pause being for the “clean and build” step. A quick click on “Debug” and the “Program” completes the process and a quick test showed the color of the LED changing based on where the capsense (capacitive sense) slider gets touched. At this point both analog and digital components have been included and configured based on a one sheet schematic.

    Post-build Pinout

    Post-build Pinout of PSCO4 on Hackaday

    So why do this? What is the significance of having analog compiled along with digital when the user can just utilize an add-on solder-less breadboard? The answerer is that you absolutely could implement the same designs using external analog components, especially since not all circuits can be realized with the PSOC architecture. However if you are into having more than one screwdriver in the box you will appreciate this version of having multiple answers to a problem. You might like the fact that you can re-implement a design by just pulling it from disc and not have to rebuild the solder-less breadboard (or keep the circuit built for two months in case you might need it, which you do 3.45 months later)

    You may also appreciate the cleanliness of a design where most of the support circuitry is tucked up in the chip itself, not to mention real life issues with noise and reliability.

    Or you might like it because it is kind of cool to compile analog.

    In my case I think it’s kind of cool.

    Filed under: ARM, Featured

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 19:00
    Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 04/23/2014 – LIVE 2pm ET

    Join Becky Stern and friends every week as we delve into the wonderful world of wearables, live on YouTube. We’ll answer your questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store, and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials, tools, and projects you can build at home! Ask your wearables questions in the comments, and if your question is featured on a future episode, you’ll be entered to win the show giveaway!

    Show links:

    Subscribe to Adafruit on YouTube

    Join our weekly Show & Tell on G+ Hangouts On Air

    Watch our latest project videos

    New tutorials on the Adafruit Learning System

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 18:33
    Introducing the NERFCS Shipping System (Beta)

    The New, Expedited, Really-fast Copter Shipping (or NERFCS) program is SparkFun’s latest and greatest shipping option. This special shipping program, while in its (shall we say) “Beta” form, is a disruptive technology that will change the way you shop. See for yourself:

    Ok, maybe the program needs a bit of work before being made live. We’ll get on that. But for now, we think you can build a better autonomous vehicle and the upcoming SparkFun AVC is your proving grounds! We also have a pretty exciting incentive to get you signed up (read on for more details).

    alt text

    The SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition (or AVC) is an event where we invite robotics enthusiasts from around the globe to participate in a time-trial style race with their autonomous vehicles. Today, we want to ask - are you up to the challenge?

    If you’re not familiar with AVC, the event is taking place on June 21st, 2014 at the Boulder Reservoir. There are aerial and ground classes (and subclasses within those) that compete on a SparkFun-designed course. The bot that finishes with the fastest time in each class wins!

    alt text

    If you want to register as a competitor (or as a spectator - and, trust us, there is much to spectate), head over to the SparkFun AVC site.

    alt text

    But WAIT! There’s more…

    As an incentive to help folks new to AVC sign-up, we’ve partnered with our friends over at 3D Robotics. Right now, the next five people that sign-up will received a free 3DR Rover platform to use in the AVC. This is a pretty smoking deal! Thank you to 3DR for helping us make AVC even better!

    We hope you’ll join us at what will be the best AVC yet!

    comments | comment feed

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 18:00
    Announcing a new book – Make: Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA by Becky Stern & Tyler Cooper published by @make

    Sign up now for our new book! Make: Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA by Becky Stern & Tyler Cooper– Making Wearables with an Arduino-Compatible Electronics Platform:

    This book introduces readers to building wearable electronics projects using Adafruit’s tiny FLORA board: at 4.4 grams, and only 1.75 inches in diameter, and featuring Arduino compatibility, it’s the most beginner-friendly way to create wearable projects. This book shows you how to plan your wearable circuits, sew with electronics, and write programs that run on the FLORA to control the electronics. The FLORA family includes an assortment of sensors, as well as RGB LEDs that let you add lighting to your wearable projects.

    Written by Becky Stern & Tyler Cooper, and published by Maker Media, Inc.

    Sign up, the book is coming out soon!

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 17:08
    Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire 2014

    Adafruit 2951

    Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire 2014 is less than two weeks away!

    What: Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside

    When: Saturday, May 3rd from 10:00am-4:00pm

    Where: Carl Schurz High School

    3601 North Milwaukee Avenue

    Chicago, IL 60641

    Reserve your spot to the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Tickets are FREE to the public, but by reserving early you guarantee your spot. Now you can e-sign the media release on Eventbrite and skip the line! As always, your generous donations allow those who cannot otherwise afford Maker Faire to attend for free. Recommended donations are $10/adult, and $5/child under 12.


    Be sure to look for Craig from Chicago Electronic Distributors who will be showcasing a lot of fun stuff from Adafruit. We blogged about his project with the Adafruit Trellis yesterday here!

    Read more.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 17:00
    New Project: Computer Power Supply to Bench Power Supply Adapter

    Img_2998This design for an external adapter lets you use a computer power supply without modifying it.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 17:00
    Tech & Textile by Borre #WearableWednesday

    3-D Printed Fabrics Turn Body Suit Into a Wearable MP3 Player” on Wired.com:

    According to Dutch fashion designer Borre Akkersdijk there is no such thing as wearable technology. “Wearable technology does not exist at all,” says Akkersdijk. “It’s carry-able technology.” He believes that the current generation of pedometers, augmented glasses, and other gizmos we clip to our clothing mean to solve important problems, but he’s not sure they do so as well as they could.

    Akkersdijk is more than a critic, though, and has designed a product that attempts to illustrate his vision for what truly wearable technology should look like. His first attempt, called the BB.Suit, contains Wifi, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth components and turns wearers into walking access points to the web.

    He tested the suit at SXSW, broadcasting a model’s location on Google Maps and inviting musicians to upload their tracks to a purpose-built website that uses the suit as a walking URL.The prototype was a success and helped curate an eclectic playlist, but more importantly, it demonstrated how truly wearable tech could lead to vastly different user experiences.


  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 16:00


    3D printers are the tool of choice for all the hackerspaces we’ve been to, and laser cutters take a close second. There’s another class of plastic manipulating machines that doesn’t get enough credit with the hackerspace crowd – the vacuum thermoformer. Surprisingly, there haven’t been many – if any – vacuum formers on Kickstarter. Until now, that is.

    [Ben] and [Calvin] are the guys behind the MOFO, and built their machine around ease of use and reliability. After a few prototypes, they settled on their design of aluminum extrusion for the frame, a ceramic heating element for the heater, and an off-the-shelf PID controller for the electronics.

    The MOFO has so far been tested with polycarbonate, acrylic, PETG and styrene with good results. The Kickstarter has reward levels of $500 for a 12″x12″ work area, and $1000 for a 24″x24″ work area. That’s not too bad, and building your own similar thermoformer would probably cost just as much. Just the thing if you need to print out a few dozen sets of storm trooper armor.


    Filed under: Crowd Funding, tool hacks

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 16:00
    Growing Up with Russell the Electric Giraffe

    zolie and russellWe don't mind having a friend who happens to be a 16-foot robotic giraffe.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 16:00
    Upcycled Towel Messenger Bag with NeoMatrix #WearableWednesday

    Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 8.46.14 AM

    PicoPixie_ made a messenger bag from a towel, and embedded a NeoMatrix to scroll messages like “don’t panic.” (click through for video)

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 15:44
    Using Worbla to Make Cosplay Armor

    worbla armor tutorial_header

    Worbla is a surprisingly easy material to use. When DeviantArt user Electricalivia used Worbla for the first time, she was able to create bracers, a chest plate, and a tiara for a Wonder Woman costume. As she created the pieces, she developed a picture tutorial that illustrates the basics you need to get started with Worbla.

    Begin by cutting all your pieces out of construction paper first and then trace them onto craft foam. You want to be sure to measure several times before you trace the pattern onto Worbla. Then, basically, you shape it with a heat gun.

    See the entire tutorial over at DeviantArt.