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  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 16:00
    Watch as artist Miguel Endara “dots” a piece of art #ArtTuesday


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    The art of pointillism is creating a piece of art with only dots. Miguel Endara created Hero with approximately 3.2 million black dots using a single Sakura Pigma Micron pen. It took him 210 hours to create. via creative bloq


    Screenshot 4 2 14 11 48 AMEvery Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 15:51
    Shell Shorts: A concise history of the Eames Shell Chair and how they are made today #ArtTuesday #manufacturing


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    Herman Miller has a great write up on the history of the iconic Eames Shell Chair as well as some fun animated gifs on how they are made today. Check out the full story here.

    Below is some history of the chair written by Amber Bravo.

    The story of the Eames Plastic Shell Chair really began more than ten years prior to Charles and Ray’s 1950 debut of their now iconic design for Herman Miller. Understanding this decade-long evolution not only helps shed light on Charles’ oft-quoted—“The details are not the details. They make the design”—it says a lot about the responsibility Herman Miller and the Eames Office and family have assumed at Charles and Ray’s request, to stay true to the designers’ tireless drive to improve and refine their designs.

    The Eameses were notoriously material agnostic, and the seeds of the plastic shell we know and love today were really planted in the late ’30s, when Charles and Eero Saarinen first began exploring plywood seating in curved forms at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where Charles served as the head of the design department. Saarinen’s father, Eliel, was the head of Cranbrook and Eero was a junior partner at his father’s architecture office. It is likely that both Eames and Eero were influenced by the work of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who’d lectured at Cranbrook in the early ’30s and was well known for his bent plywood furniture. Eames and Saarinen’s first attempt at shaping plywood was realized in a chair concept for Eliel’s design for the Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY, in 1939. While that chair had two-dimensional curves, their next design, an entry for The Museum of Modern Art’s “Organic Design” competition in 1940 had three-dimensional curves. For this they won first prize, but it was only produced in very limited numbers and not anywhere near to their desired quality. By this time, Charles had met and married Ray Kaiser, a student at Cranbrook, and the two moved to Venice, California to open their eponymous office. Eero abandoned the project, but Charles and Ray were determined to figure out a completely new process for molding plywood into compound curves.

    Charles and Ray continued to experiment with their new technique for molding plywood, and their efforts yielded stretchers, lightweight, stackable leg splints (1942), and a glider seat (1943) for the U.S. Navy. When the war ended, they returned to the concept of a mass-produced chair. Despite their best efforts, they were still unable to produce a single-shell plywood form, but instead landed on a compelling alternative: a chair comprised of separate molded plywood panels for the back and seat, which would become the Eames Molded Plywood Chair (1946), which is still in production today and was subsequently named “Best Design of the Century” by Time magazine. Two years later, they produced a single form shell chair made out of stamped metal for Museum of Modern Art’s “International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design.” It took second place in the competition, but the, neoprene-coated prototype was too costly to produce, so Charles and Ray began looking into new materials like plastic reinforced with fiberglass, a material that could be molded into organic shapes and produced cost effectively, but had not yet been used in a consumer application before.

    It was this iteration—released in 1950—that went on to become the first mass-produced plastic chair, but it was not the end of the design’s evolution. Through the years, color and height options, shock mounts, base variations, and choices of upholstery have redoubled, making the chair not only easily reproducible but also highly customizable. Manufacturing processes have also been closely monitored and modified, and, in the late 1980s, almost a decade after Charles’ death in 1978, the environmental implications of fiberglass production were called into question by Ray and Herman Miller. In the early 1990s, Herman Miller ceased production. After years exploring more sustainable solutions, the company reintroduced the Molded Plastic Shell Chair in 100% recyclable polypropylene in 2004, based on prototypes in the Eames Office archives, which Charles and Ray had made with fiberglass-free plastic in the 1970. In 2013, again working with the Eames Family, Herman Miller realized Charles and Ray’s vision for the shell chair design in a new and quite appropriate material—molded wood, thanks to advancements in the 3D veneer technology, and this year, the company has reintroduced the Shell Chair in a sustainably reformulated, Greenguard Gold Certified molded fiberglass as well as in upholstery.

    Taking off where the Eames left off with their 1970 film, “The Fiberglass Chairs: Something of How They Get the Way They Are” WHY revisits the fiberglass production process in our fiberglass manufacturing facility in Ashtabula, OH and in Herman Miller’s own Greenhouse facilities in Zeeland, MI, in ten bite-sized videos, which we’ll be releasing over the course of two days on Instagram (along with some corresponding gif trailers below) and exploring the ways in which Herman Miller is honoring the Eames original design and ethos by pushing the manufacturing process and quality to be the best and most sustainable it can possibly be.

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 15:00
    Becoming Lady Skeletor


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    Skeletor is He-Man’s archenemy. He has a frightening countenance that comes through even in cosplayer’s Constantine In Tokyo’s femme adaptation of the outfit. She designed the armor using Worbla and craft foam, sometimes using the foam as template to cut Worbla. It’s clear an impressive amount of work and creativity went into building this detailed costume. Here’s how she handled creating the crossbones on the armor’s breast plate:

    - Skeletor has a pair of crossbones strapped across his chest. For my Lady Skeletor, I decided to attached the crossbones directly to the armor breast plate and forgo the straps – I don’t feel like it’s a design element that would translate well onto a (relatively) curvy lady! For my belt, I cut out a base belt from craft foam, then cut out the raised edges, glued those details onto the craft foam base, THEN covered the whole thing with ONE layer of Worbla. The process I used for creating the crossbones is identical to this. NOTE: If I had more time, I would have sculpted the crossbones out of clay, let it dry, and then attached it to the breast plate to give them even more dimension. I had 36 hours left at this point and not enough time to make that happen.

    - I drew my desired crossbone shape onto paper, then transferred it onto craft foam. Basically, I wanted a circular base, then the cross bones, then a circular ring to set the gem into. So, there are several layers of craft foam here.

    Read more in a detailed tutorial at Constantine in Tokyo’s site.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 15:00
    Immaterials: Light painting WiFi networks in urban spaces #ArtTuesday



    Very cool project from Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen. Read more about the project here and here.

    This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs.

    A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

    More here:
    nearfield.org/2011/02/wifi-light-painting
    yourban.no/2011/02/22/immaterials-light-painting-wifi/

    Behind the scenes: yourban.no/2011/03/07/making-immaterials-light-painting-wifi/

    Photos:
    flickr.com/photos/timo/sets/72157626020532597/

    In case Vimeo has video problems, there is also a Youtube version here:
    youtube.com/watch?v=cxdjfOkPu-E

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 15:00
    A Clever New Chemistry Kit Your Kid Will Actually Want to Use #makereducation


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    Bioengineer Manu Prakash is an innovator in STEM education. Earlier this year, we celebrated Prakash’s debut of his awesome paper microscope. Now, along with his graduate student George Korir, he has won first prize in the the Science, Play and Research Kit (SPARK) Competition with the development a hand-crank chemistry set for kids, from Wired.

    Prakash hopes to kindle some of the same curiosity about chemistry (minus the actual combustion) with a new hand-crank operated chemistry set for kids. A prototype of the device just won the $50,000 first prize in a contest for inspiring science toys sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Society for Science & the Public…

    The chemistry kit developed by Prakash and graduate student George Korir manages to be both cutting edge and retro at the same time. It uses microfluidic channels like those found in modern DNA chips and other molecular biology equipment to move chemicals around and mix them together. But it also uses punch cards like the ones used in 1950s era computers to control the experiments.

    As you turn the hand crank, the punch card moves through the device, and the pattern of holes punched in the paper controls which chemicals mix with which, and when. Small chips with tiny fluid reservoirs can house up to 15 different chemicals. These could either be pre-loaded or filled by a teacher or parent with an eyedropper. “It’s purely mechanical,” Prakash said. “There’s no electronics, no battery.”

    Read more.


    Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach 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!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:07
    P++CB – paper based approach to making electronic circuits by Phillip Stearns @pixelform


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    P++CB – paper based approach to making electronic circuits by Phillip Stearns.

    P++CB is a paper based approach to making electronic circuits with an emphasis on education and modular design. The core concept is inspired by the paper circuit work of Peter Blasser and the modular approach to designing expressive and expandable creative systems used by Peter Edwards, all in the spirit of the super fun LittleBits project.

    Learn more.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:00
    BeagleBone + Logibone FPGA Drive 96×64 RGB LED Matrix #BeagleBoneBlack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg



    BeagleBone + Massive Logibone FPGA Drive 96×64 RGB LED Matrix:

    I expanded the RGB LED matrix project from a single 32×32 panel to six panels to form a 24″ by 16″ matrix of 96 by 64 LEDs. That’s 6,144 RGB LEDs or 18,432 individual LED chips. The entire matrix has 12-bit color and a 200Hz refresh rate.

    The video demonstrates seamlessly looping 3D Perlin noise, an audio spectrum analyzer, a generic falling blocks video game, still images, animated GIFs, and a short video clip all running on the BeagleBone Black and being displayed on the 96×64 RGB LED matrix.

    After the demonstration, I turn the panel around and walk through some of the significant parts of the mechanical construction and electronics.

    Complete details on the project including links to the source code and mechanical design can be found on this page of my blog….

    Read More.


    BeagleBone Adafruit Industries Unique fun DIY electronics and kitsEach Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here Adafruit! What is the BeagleBone? The BeagleBones are a line of affordable single-board Linux computers (SBCs) created by Texas Instruments. New to the Bone? Grab one of our Adafruit BeagleBone Black Starter Packs and check out our extensive resources available on the Adafruit Learning System including a guide to setting up the Adafruit BeagleBone IO Python Library. We have a number of Bone accessories including add-on shields (called “capes”) and USB devices to help you do even more with your SBC. Need a nice display to go along with your Bone? Check out our fine selection of HDMI displays, we’ve tested all of them with the Beagle Bone Black!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 13:21
    Super Planet Crash – Can you feel the gravity?


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    Super Planet Crash – Can you feel the gravity?. Simple game right? Just make a solar system that lasts 500 years :)

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 13:00
    Fragile Beasts Sculpture Made From Paper #ArtTuesday


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    Fragile Beasts sculpture made from paper

    by Łódź University of Technology students. via dezeen

    Students from Łódź University of Technology in Poland built this delicate stacked sculpture to demonstrate the structural properties of curve-folded paper.

    The Fragile Beasts sculpture was designed and built by 17 undergraduate architecture students from Łódź University of Technology during a three-day workshop with Suryansh Chandra, a senior designer at Zaha Hadid Architects.

    “Curved folding isn’t just the aesthetic, it’s also the structure: it can lend substantial stiffness to fairly flimsy material,” explained Chandra.

    The sculpture was designed using digital modelling software to determine the slender polyhedra forms, which were then subjected to scripts that broke them down into shapes suitable for curved folding.

    Once the forms and net shapes of the irregular-sided polyhedra were determined, they were sent to a laser-cutting facility that transferred the design onto a series of flat cutout sheets in five hours.

    The 0.5 millimetre paper was then folded and glued into shape by the students, who had no previous experience of curved folding.

    “It never fails to amaze me how nicely this shape lends itself to fabrication and quick assembly,” said Chandra.

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    It took just five hours for the students to fabricate the components and arrange them in two stacked clusters that reach a height of 1.9 metres.

    Zaha Hadid Architects has been exploring different applications for curved folding and thin-shell structures for several years through a series of academic workshops and commissions.

    Zaha Hadid Architects has been exploring different applications for curved folding and thin-shell structures for several years through a series of academic workshops and commissions.

    Its Arum installation at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale resembled a huge pleated funnel made from folded metal, and was described by the firm as the first to combine its research into lightweight shells and tensile structures.

    NewImage

    Read more


    Screenshot 4 2 14 11 48 AMEvery Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 12:00
    Time travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world


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    Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions. ~John Randolph


    1452 – Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, and architect is born.

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    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”. Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

    Leonardo was, and is, renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings have survived, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

    Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, a tank, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. He made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

    Read more.


    1707 – Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician and physicist is born.

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    Leonhard Euler was a pioneering Swiss mathematician and physicist. He made important discoveries in fields as diverse as infinitesimal calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function. He is also renowned for his work in mechanics, fluid dynamics, optics, astronomy, and music theory.

    Euler is considered to be the pre-eminent mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest mathematicians to have ever lived. He is also one of the most prolific mathematicians; his collected works fill 60–80 quarto volumes. He spent most of his adult life in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in Berlin, Prussia.

    A statement attributed to Pierre-Simon Laplace expresses Euler’s influence on mathematics: “Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all.”

    Read more.


    1755 – Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language is published in London.

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    Published on 15 April 1755 and written by Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, sometimes published as Johnson’s Dictionary, is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language.

    There was dissatisfaction with the dictionaries of the period, so in June 1746 a group of London booksellers contracted Johnson to write a dictionary for the sum of 1,500 guineas (£1,575), equivalent to about £210,000 as of 2014. Johnson took nearly nine years to complete the work, although he had claimed he could finish it in three. Remarkably, he did so single-handedly, with only clerical assistance to copy out the illustrative quotations that he had marked in books. Johnson produced several revised editions during his life.

    Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 173 years later, Johnson’s was viewed as the pre-eminent English dictionary. According to Walter Jackson Bate, the Dictionary “easily ranks as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship, and probably the greatest ever performed by one individual who labored under anything like the disadvantages in a comparable length of time”.

    Read more.


    1865 – Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous evening by actor John Wilkes Booth.

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    Lincoln’s bodyguard, John Parker, left Ford’s Theater during intermission to join Lincoln’s coachman for drinks in the Star Saloon next door. The now unguarded President sat in his state box in the balcony. Seizing the opportunity, Booth crept up from behind and at about 10:13 pm, aimed at the back of Lincoln’s head and fired at point-blank range, mortally wounding the President. Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped.

    After being on the run for 10 days, Booth was tracked down and found on a farm in Virginia, some 70 miles (110 km) south of Washington, D.C. After a brief fight with Union troops, Booth was killed by Sergeant Boston Corbett on April 26.

    An Army surgeon, Doctor Charles Leale, was sitting nearby at the theater and immediately assisted the President. He found the President unresponsive, barely breathing and with no detectable pulse. Having determined that the President had been shot in the head, and not stabbed in the shoulder as originally thought, he made an attempt to clear the blood clot, after which the President began to breathe more naturally. The dying President was taken across the street to Petersen House. After remaining in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15. Presbyterian minister Phineas Densmore Gurley, then present, was asked to offer a prayer, after which Secretary of War Stanton saluted and said, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

    Lincoln’s flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bareheaded Union officers, while the city’s church bells rang. President Johnson was sworn in at 10:00 am, less than 3 hours after Lincoln’s death. The late President lay in state in the East Room, and then in the Capitol Rotunda from April 19 through April 21. For his final journey with his son Willie, both caskets were transported in the executive coach “United States” and for three weeks the Lincoln Special funeral train decorated in black bunting bore Lincoln’s remains on a slow circuitous waypoint journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois stopping at many cities across the North for large-scale memorials attended by hundreds of thousands, as well as many people who gathered in informal trackside tributes with bands, bonfires and hymn singing or silent reverence with hat in hand as the railway procession slowly passed by.

    Read more.


    1892 – The General Electric Company is formed.

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    General Electric, or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York, and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, in the United States. The company operates through the following segments: Energy [2013 inactive], Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance as well as Consumer and Industrial.

    General Electric was formed by the 1892 merger of Edison General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York, and Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Lynn, Massachusetts, with the help of Drexel, Morgan & Co. Both plants continue to operate under the GE banner to this day. The company was incorporated in New York, with the Schenectady plant used as headquarters for many years thereafter. Around the same time, General Electric’s Canadian counterpart, Canadian General Electric, was formed.

    Read more.


    1910 – Miguel Najdorf, Polish-Argentinian chess grandmaster is born.

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    Miguel Najdorf was a Polish-born Argentine chess grandmaster, famous for his Najdorf Variation.

    Although not a full-time chess professional (for many years he worked in the insurance business), he was one of the world’s leading chess players in the 1950s and 1960s and he excelled in playing blindfold chess: he broke the world record twice, by playing blindfold 40 games in Rosario, 1943, and 45 in São Paulo, 1947, becoming the world blindfold chess champion.

    The Najdorf Variation in the Sicilian Defense, one of the most popular openings in modern chess, is named after him.

    Read more.


    1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survive.

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    RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of more than 1,500 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time it entered service. Titanic was the second of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, and was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast with Thomas Andrews as her naval architect. Andrews was among those lost during the sinking. On her maiden voyage, she carried 2,224 passengers and crew.

    Read more.


    1923 – Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.

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    Children dying from diabetic ketoacidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death.

    In one of medicine’s more dramatic moments, Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families…

    Over the spring of 1922, Best managed to improve his techniques to the point where large quantities of insulin could be extracted on demand, but the preparation remained impure. The drug firm Eli Lilly and Company had offered assistance not long after the first publications in 1921, and they took Lilly up on the offer in April. In November, Lilly made a major breakthrough and was able to produce large quantities of highly refined insulin. Insulin was offered for sale shortly thereafter.

    Read more.


    1952 – The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress

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    The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.

    Beginning with the successful contract bid in June 1946, the B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings. The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. A veteran of several wars, the B-52 has dropped only conventional munitions in combat…

    The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955. As of 2012, 85 were in active service with nine in reserve. The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was inactivated in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC); in 2010 all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the new Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later aircraft, including the canceled Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealth B-2 Spirit. The B-52 completed fifty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2005; after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is expected to serve into the 2040s.

    Read more.


    2011 – Adafruit announces its “engineering quotes” database!

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    We are pleased to announce the Adafruit “engineering quotes” database!

    What is it?

    The Adafruit “engineering quotes” database will eventually be the largest and best collection of quotes about engineering (with some science mixed in) in the world. Over time we will allow anyone to contribute quotes wiki-style, but for now you can just use our contact form. With all your help we think this will be a fun resource to get inspired by and to contribute to.

    How does it work?

    For now we’re slowly adding quotes, each day or so (we only have a handful now). You can visit the page, subscribe to the RSS feed or just follow us on twitter, the quotes appear in all of these places in addition to being on the lower left side of the site at all times. This will also be a data-source for some future projects of ours, stay tuned – we think you’ll love it :)

    Why are we doing this?

    We can answer the “why” with one of our favorite quotes – “We are what we celebrate” -Dean Kamen (Added on:2011-04-13)

    Enjoy! A feel free to post up your favorite engineering quotes in the comment of this post too!

    Read more.


    2013 – Adafruit gets a new pick and place machine!

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    Our SAMSUNG TECHWIN SMT SM482 pick and place machine is 1 year old today!

    Adafruit’s new pick and place machine has arrived! The Samsung Techwin SMT SM482, clocking in at over 28,000 cph. Samsung here is training our team for the week, we’ll be posting up photos for our weekly feature #manufacturing and celebrating “Made in NY”. According to Samsung we are the only company in Manhattan with this pick and place machine!

    Read more!



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  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:00
    Student Honored at Local Science Fair cites Adafruit Tutorials as Helpful Resource #makereducation


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    For the second year in a row, 8th Grader Sophia Buckwalter was named junior high champion of her county science fair. Sophia reached out to Adafruit to thank us for our tutorials!

    Sophia writes:

    “I wanted to follow up with how I did at my local County Science Fair in Lancaster, PA. I was awarded Junior Champion, as a middle school student that is the highest award one can receive. I was also nominated for the Junior National Science Fair (Broadcom)…I really want to extend my gratitude for your tutorials (especially Tony DiCola’s) again, because I would not have been able to construct my STEM project and make it this far with out it.”

    Sophia’s project focused on measuring guitar notes, via lancasteronline:

    This year, Buckwalter’s project focused on the tone of notes played by a guitar, while last year she looked at how long a guitar note was sustained.

    The daughter of Kathy and Greg Buckwalter, of Manheim, Buckwalter used two methods to test the tone of different woods used in making guitars. For her project, she obtained 10 samples of exotic woods, including Sitka spruce and ovangkol, from Martin Guitar in Nazareth, Northampton County.

    She found that both methods worked to predict the tone of notes but one method, spectrogram analysis, revealed more about the piece of wood used in the guitar.

    Buckwalter plays both acoustic and electric guitar, and likes classic rock. She is partial to Les Paul, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

    For her next year’s project, she said she might actually try to make a guitar herself.

    Read more.


    Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach 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!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 10:00
    Getting Started with the Beagle Bone Black @ Ben Heck Show #BeagleBoneBlack @TXInstruments @BeagleBoardOrg



    Getting Started with the Beagle Bone Black @ Ben Heck Show:

    Ben tries out the Beagle Bone Black and shows you what he learns along the way. He shows how to get it set up, three ways to connect to it, and tries out a cool LCD cape. By the time he’s done experimenting, he’s got an idea for how he’ll use the Beagle Bone Black in a future project.

    Ben takes his use of 3D printers to the next level and tries 3D scanning. He attempts to scan a variety of objects with the Cubify Sense 3D scanner to discover how to get the most out of the device and to create the best prints possible. Ben shows you how to build a rotational device for the scanner and shares what he learns about 3D scanning along the way.

    Read More.


    BeagleBone Adafruit Industries Unique fun DIY electronics and kitsEach Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here Adafruit! What is the BeagleBone? The BeagleBones are a line of affordable single-board Linux computers (SBCs) created by Texas Instruments. New to the Bone? Grab one of our Adafruit BeagleBone Black Starter Packs and check out our extensive resources available on the Adafruit Learning System including a guide to setting up the Adafruit BeagleBone IO Python Library. We have a number of Bone accessories including add-on shields (called “capes”) and USB devices to help you do even more with your SBC. Need a nice display to go along with your Bone? Check out our fine selection of HDMI displays, we’ve tested all of them with the Beagle Bone Black!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 09:00
    DJ Spooky’s Global Show Fuses Real-Time Performances in New York and Korea #ArtTuesday



    DJ Spooky’s Global Show Fuses Real-Time Performances in New York and Korea. From FastCompany:

    “In the era of the Internet, geography doesn’t matter anymore,” says Paul Miller, a.k.a DJ Spooky. “We’ll have an orchestra playing live in Korea with a string quartet in NYC and me sampling. We’ll be responding to each other using a high-speed connection.”

    In both New York and Seoul, a thin scrim will be hung near the back of the stage. Then via super hi-def, hi-speed live video, the action in Seoul will be projected onto the scrim in New York and vice versa. There are also small monitors, so that performers in each city can see what the others are doing.

    The show is called Seoul Counterpoint and it fuses electronic and classical music, visual art, and dance. It grew out of a residency that Miller recently concluded at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. “They’ll be playing their style in Seoul and I’ll sample it and flip it around,” says Miller. “It’s a collage: how art and design and music really respond to one another in different contexts.” And, of course, in real time.

    Read More.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 08:00
    High School Students and their Robots Play Ball at FIRST Robotics Regionals 2014 #makereducation


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    Two weekends ago, High School Students from across the globe competed at the New York City FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. The students faced the challenge of creating multi-talented robot athletes that could proficiently play both volleyball and hockey, via Popular Mechanics.

    The 2014 edition of the high school robotic Olympics asked kids to build machines that could compete in a hybrid hockey/volleyball game. Box-shaped goals were positioned at each corner of the rectangular court, and high goal slots sat above each end. Each team was paired up with two other teams for the 3-on-3 matches; robots scored points for getting balls into the squares or shooting them into the higher slots. The robots had to run autonomously for the first 30 seconds of each match, after which their human operators could take over.

    The cleverly named Fe Maidens—Fe is the chemical symbol for the element iron—from the Bronx High School of Science wanted to make their robot a top-goal sniper. “We assumed it would be like a volleyball game,” Ashley Hu, 18, said. So the team went for height. The Maidens’ bot uses a ramp that descends with a roller at the top to drag a ball into the machine. Pistons and bungee cords lift the assembly back up, and another piston punches the ball out using compressed air, shooting it toward the goal.

    The Mechanical Bulls from Smithtown, on New York’s Long Island, wanted their robot to be primarily an offensive shooter, so they built in a catapult molded to fit the game ball. A single-motor winch brings the scoop back and launches the ball up to 19 feet. Brian Sheridan, 17, said that the team molded the catapult arm out of two PVC pipes, making it durable and flexible. In fact, the Mechanical Bulls are working on a patent for their model.

    Read more.


    Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach 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!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 07:30
    “Code and Canvas” unites SF startups and artists under one weird roof #ArtTuesday


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    TechCrunch has posted a great write up of San Francisco based community Code and Canvas.

    Fast-rising rent was about to force a dozen artists out of their studios in San Francisco. But it turns out all that tech money that’s gotten so much hate lately can actually do some good. Four entrepreneurs leased the whole warehouse, let the artists stay, and renovated the place. Now there’s enough room for at least five startups to move in to what the founders are calling Code And Canvas.

    This co-working and creative warehouse could create a model for how tech workers in the Bay area can take the rent crisis into their own hands.

    Restrictive zoning laws and entrenched property owners have strangled the supply of housing and working space in San Francisco. As the tech industry booms, thousands of engineers, designers, marketers, and managers have flocked to the city, exacerbating the problem. The result has been rapidly rising rent that’s forcing out long-time residents, and widespread malice towards technologists that has culminated in protests of company shuttles.

    But while there are certainly some tech workers who are happy to collect their fat checks at the expense of their new neighbors, others want the community to retain its artists, families, and heritage. Those include Code and Canvas founders Nik Ajagu of Facebook and Ecosystem Ventures, Gi Fernando of Free:Formers and Techlightenment, Jeff Miller of Punchfork and Pinterest, and John Yi of Pinterest, Facebook, and US Army Special Operations.

    Yi told me the story of how a family had owned the Code and Canvas warehouse for 30 years and was generous in keeping it affordable for the artists who worked there. Eventually, the family needed to bring the rents closer to market rate, though, which would have pushed out the artists. Luckily, a friend asked if Yi wanted to rent a desk as he’s an aspiring novelist on the side. That wouldn’t be enough to pay for the whole space, though, so Yi brought the other founders together to create Code and Canvas.

    Unlike other tech co-working dens that may be displacing local culture, Code And Canvas tries to bring it in-house. “It’s definitely industrial, but that’s part of its charm” Yi tells me. Yi says the space is designed so the artists and entrepreneurs have physical proximity and will commune around the proverbial water cooler. Also, “We’ve architected the entire space so all the walls fold over to use the main area as one massive continuous space for events that will be curated by artists, architects, and graphic designers.”

    Artists who occupy Code And Canvas include Calixto Robles, a Oaxacan-born painter (whose work is featured atop this article), and Marlene Aron (seen below), a poet and sculptor that does site-specific installations.

    Yi says the anger pointed at the tech industry and the tales of its especially insensitive members seem “a little overblown…a little anecdotal” to him. But he’s sensitive that the tech boom is causing real hardships for other people in the bay. “If even 1 or 2 or 10 people are getting moved out because of [real estate] profiteering, that sucks.”

    The city certainly doesn’t need tech workers thinking of themselves as saviors of the local artists, but that’s not how Yi came off. He seems legitimately concerned about his industry can be obsessed with “short-term quarterly revenues” instead of compassion. That’s why Code and Canvas’ principles center around craft, mastery, cross-pollination, and an endeavor to improve lives. It’s not just about tech and workers co-existing peacefully, but actively inspiring each other.

    Read more.

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  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 07:00
    BeagleBone Black plot analog sensor on #Adafruit bi-color LED matrix #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg


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    Thanks to Drew Fustini for sending in his project! Via the element 14 community.

    I’ve previously had great results connecting Adafruit 8×8 LED matrix displays to the BeagleBone Black via I2C:

    I decided to try out the Adafruit bi-color 8×8 LED matrix and hooked it up with the same I2C pins as before. You’ll need to setup the Adafruit_BBIO Python library if you haven’t already:
    https://learn.adafruit.com/setting-up-io-python-library-on-beaglebone-black/overview

    You’ll also want to grab the Adafruit Python libraries for the Raspberry Pi since they work on BeagleBone Black, too:
    https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-Raspberry-Pi-Python-Code

    Here is the BegaleBone Black running the demo program ex_8x8_color_pixels.py from the repo:
    https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-Raspberry-Pi-Python-Code

    I thought it would be interesting to plot the readings from a sensor over time on the matrix with different colors representing the magnitude of the reading:

    I hooked up a pot to the analog input to simulate a sensor. Here’s the Python script:
    https://github.com/pdp7/beaglebackpack/blob/master/plot.py

    It is Invoked by this shell script so that PYTHONPATH will be set:
    https://github.com/pdp7/beaglebackpack/blob/master/plot.sh

    Read more.


    Featured Adafruit Product!

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    Adafruit Bicolor LED Square Pixel Matrix with I2C Backpack: What’s better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! A fun way to make a small colorful display is to use a 1.2″ Bi-color 8×8 LED Matrix. Matrices like these are ‘multiplexed’ – so to control all the 128 LEDs you need 24 pins. That’s a lot of pins, and there are driver chips like the MAX7219 that can help control a matrix for you but there’s a lot of wiring to set up and they take up a ton of space. Here at Adafruit we feel your pain! After all, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could control a matrix without tons of wiring? That’s where these adorable LED matrix backpacks come in. We have them in three flavors – a mini 8×8, 1.2″ Bi-color 8×8 and a 4-digit 0.56″ 7-segment. They work perfectly with the matrices we stock in the Adafruit shop and make adding a bright little display trivial. It’s called a Bicolor LED, but you can have 3 colors total by turning on the red and green LEDs, which creates yellow. That’s 3 colors for the price of 2! Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:30
    Momentum: large format photos of chalkboards from quantum mechanics institutions by Alejandro Guijarro #ArtTuesday


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    Via Colossal.

    Momentum is a project by artist Alejandro Guijarro who spent three years traveling to the quantum mechanics departments of Cambridge, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford and elsewhere to shoot large format photographs of blackboards just after lectures. Completely removed from the context of a classroom or laboratory and displayed in a gallery, the cryptic equations from one of the most formidable branches of physics become abstract patterns of line and color. Via the artist’s statement:

    Before he walks into a lecture hall Guijarro has no idea what he will find. He begins by recording the blackboard with the minimum of interference. No detail of the lecture hall is included, the blackboard frame is removed and we are left with a surface charged with abstract equations. At this stage they are documents. However, once removed from their institutional beginnings the meaning evolves. The viewer begins to appreciate the equations for their line and form. Colour comes into play and the waves created by the blackboard eraser suggest a vast landscape or galactic setting. The formulas appear to illustrate the worlds of Quantum Mechanics. What began as a precise lecture, a description of the physicist’s thought process, is transformed into a canvas open to any number of possibilities.

    Guijarro graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 with a MA in fine art and now lives

    and works in both London and Madrid. He’ll have work later this year at PhotoEspaña

    Read more.

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  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:00
    Adafruit.com traffic March 2014 vs March 2013


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    A little late posting this up for the month ending in March 2014, thank you for visiting, a lot! YouTube views here (8m as of 4/2014).

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:00
    Earth becomes art in breathtaking satellite imagery #ArtTuesday


    Earth becomes art in breathtaking satellite imagery The Verge

    The Verge has posted a bunch of pictures from the Earth as Art collection which were taken via satellite.

    From above, the Vatnajokull Glacier is an eerie splash of blue against the florid hues of the surrounding landscape. This image of Iceland’s Skaftafell National Park was taken by a satellite miles above the Earth. It’s beautiful and also just one of the many geographical wonders showcased in the Earth as Art Collection.

    Unlike most of the satellite images captured by the Landsat 7 satellite, these were taken for their aesthetic value and not for scientific purposes. The color-enhanced photographs not only reveal a view of the planet few will ever see but also a glimpse of natural phenomenons like a giant whirlpool cloud parked above the sea between Spain and Morocco.

    The entire Earth as Art collection is free to download from Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center Image Gallery. It’s also possible to purchase printed copies of the satellite images from the US Geological Survey store.

    Read more.

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    Screenshot 4 2 14 11 48 AMEvery Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 00:00
    This knitwear designer/cardiac radiographer is turning brain scans into fashion


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    The Libertine has the story on Brooke Roberts, a knitwear designer/cardiac radiographer who’s doing some very cool things with fashion design.

    Knitwear designer Brooke Roberts is a busy woman. By day, she works as a cardiac radiographer at King’s College Hospital in South London. By night she designs knitwear based on her patients’ CT and MRI scans. Her innovative approach to design has seen her awarded 2011 Creative in Residence at London’s Hospital Club, owned by Microsoft Co-Founder Paul G Allen, and she has consulted luxury brands on their approach to knits. The link to the Hospital Club has provided additional source material; Brooke has used brain mapping images from the Allen Brain Institute in Seattle in several fabrics.

    “Being a radiographer means analysing images. It’s heavily aesthetic-based, so when I’m working as a radiographer, I’m looking at fluoroscopic x-ray images all day and I even create images through fluoroscopy and live x-rays’, she explains.

    “A fluoroscopic image is different from single shot diagnostic imagery, which produces a single image,’ she continues, ‘Fluoroscopic imagery acquires a certain number of frames-per-second, so it provides real-time moving images on the screen. The images help me with ideas about shape and form and about how to construct art works that can mould and map the body. I’m always taking ideas from what I’m seeing, whether it’s medical or non-medical and I focus on what interests me as a person.

    “My research has extended way beyond the images I create. It started at radiography and has grown as a concept which involves looking at the body broken down into images and how that can be made into fabric.’

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    Four years ago, after working with other designers, Brooke felt confident enough to go it alone. She set up Brooke Roberts Knitwear and already supplies luxury knitwear products to Browns in South Molton Street in London’s Mayfair. Her label is also stocked online at Avenue 32.

    Since her university days at Sydney, Brooke says she’s always harboured a love of science and an interest in fashion, but never thought the two careers could co-exist so harmoniously. It wasn’t until she began collaborating with another designer that she gained the relevant experience. Together they developed a tailored way of cutting knit that was like cutting cloth. It’s complex, as the level of detail in a medical image is so enormous that it makes it impossible to condense it into a knitting machine. But Brooke relishes a challenge; this turned out to be pioneering research.

    “MRI and CT scans lend themselves well to knit, she says. ‘They are digital files and at their most basic level, they are pixels and in a knitting machine a pixel is a stitch, so they’re programmable, and they do translate. But you’d need a machine that was hundreds of metres wide to cope with that level of detail!’, she laughs.

    ‘So I had to go through a process of translation. I can simplify medical images and I can enhance or reduce their definition and make the image just black or white. It’s called the ‘grey scale’ in medical terms. When I play with the image, it loses its texture and becomes flat and then I can make that translate’.

    Brooke is able to work with existing computer programmes using a mixture of sketching, Photoshop and Illustrator to develop what she imagines her garment should look like. At this point it becomes a file that will work with a digital knitting machine.

    Read more.

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