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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:00
    Use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access #makeymakey #makeymakeymonday


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    Jason Webb shared his recent tutorial detailing how to “use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access“. He also did a live Google Hangout on Air sharing more details about how one can approach the MaKey-MaKey as a tool for developing assistive technology here.

    In this Instructable we will be looking at how to use an innovative device called the MaKey MaKey to create customized, low-cost, DIY computer access interfaces for users with disabilities.

    What is a computer access interface?

    A computer access interface is anything you use to interact with your computer. Normally this is simply a keyboard or a mouse, but for some individuals these devices are impractical or difficult (perhaps even impossible) to use.

    Many commercial options exist that let people use their computer in various ways, but the vast majority of them are extremely expensive, hard to use and rely on relatively outdated technology and design principles.

    In this Instructable, I will show you how to make your own simple, transparent interfaces out of common objects like aluminum foil and cardboard and an awesome $50 piece of technology! …

    Read More.

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    Every Monday is Makey Makey™ Monday here at Adafruit! The MaKey MaKey – by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, made by JoyLabz! Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video at makeymakey.com. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between! If you have a cool project you’ve made with your Makey Makey be sure to send it in to be featured here!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:35
    Quick teardown- what’s inside a Home Depot 7in LED Easy light
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:18
    voLumen – volumetric 3D display – amazing video
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Our top 10 favorite photos from underwaterphotography.com’s annual photo contest #photography


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    Underwaterphotography.com has a yearly contest for underwater photography and the winners this year are incredible! We’ve posted 10 of our favorites here but be sure to check out the site to see all the winners and runners up. Above is the first place winner from the over/under category. It was taken in Mexico by Uwe Schmolke. Here’s some more information on the contest:

    Winning here (or even just being placed) is Underwater Photography’s most coveted accolade because it says you succeeded in the most competitive environment there is, against the top talent of the moment.

    Every year a panel of judges select the best images entered in our online photo contest from the previous year. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for the top three from each category in order of merit.

    The judges comprise of industry professionals, previous year’s World Champions, our site moderators – anyone we can rope in! They are unpaid, non-affiliated, and (of course) cannot vote for themselves.

    Here’s 9 more of our favorites!

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    This one is the first place winner from the wide angle wrecks category and was taken by Ellen Cuylaerts in the Cayman islands. It’s a, “Fly free diver at the bow of the EX-USS Kittiwake”.

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    This one is the first place winner of the wide angle – close focus category. It was taken by Helmy Hashim in the Red Sea in Egypt.

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    This super creepy photo is the second place winner of the Macro – Close-up category. Taken by Doris Vierkötter in Indonesia.

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    This one is the 3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Natural Light (no strobe) category. Taken by Shane Gross in Sri Lanka.

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    3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Marine Life category. By Valda Fraser taken in South Africa.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – not swimming category. By Ellen Cuylaerts taken in Mexico.

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    3rd place winner from the Macro- swimming category. By Uwe Schmolke taken in Indonesia.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – super macro category. Taken by Iyad Suleyman in the United Arab Emirates.

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    First place winner from the sharks category. Taken by Petteri Viljakainen in Mexico.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Symbiotic Machine: A robot that feeds on algae #robotics



    Ivan Henriques has made this strange but cool robot that feeds on algae.

    Sealed with a transparent cylinder a motor, an endless worm and a pepper grinder aligned and connected by one single axis compose the mouth/anus, like a jellyfish. This cylinder has a liquid inlet/outlet (for water and algae spirogyra) placed at the end part of the endless worm. The endless worm has an important function to pump liquid in and out and to give small propulsion for the machine. Once the motor is activated the endless worm can turn to the right or to the left. If it turns to the right it sucks liquid in. If it turns to the left it pushes liquid out. The machine is programmed to pump algae and water in and out by the information transmitted by the sensors.

    In order to “hack” the algae spirogyra photosynthesis’ and apply it as an energy source, the algae cell’s membrane has to be broken. The pepper grinder that is connected at the end of the endless worm can grind the algae breaking the membrane cell, releasing micro particles. These micro particles in naked eyes looks like a “green juice” which is flushed inside the machine: the stomach.

    A tube that comes from the end of the mouth with grinded algae goes though the stomach inside the ellipsoid of revolution. This tube is fastened on a 2-way valve placed in the center of the spherical shape.

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    Inside the ellipsoid of revolution there is another bowl, just one centimeter smaller aligned in the center. Placing this bowl inside, it creates two chambers: 1] the space between the outer skin and the bowl and 2] inside the smaller bowl. In chamber 1 the photocells are placed in parallel and in series. The photocell is composed by a plate covered with gold, a spacer in the middle covered with a copper mesh. This set up allows the “green juice” rest between the gold and copper. After the light is shed on the electrons of the grinded algae they flow to one of these metals, as a lemon battery. As all the photocells are connected, with the help from the electronic chip LTC 3108 Energy Harvester is possible to store these milivoltages in two AA rechargeable batteries.

    (A life cycle with functions was idealized in order to program the machine and activate independent mechanical parts of the stomach: it has to eat, move, sunbath, rest, search for food, wash itself, in loop)

    The 2-way valve mentioned above is connected as: valve 1 hooked up with chamber 1 and valve 2 with chamber 2. When the stomach works is sent information to the machine that the valve 1 has to be opened. The algae flow to this chamber and the machine uses a light sensor to go towards where there is more luminescence to make photosynthesis. It rests for ten minutes. After the 10 min sunbath the machine has to clean its stomach – and the photocells – to be able to eat again. Water is sucked in again with the mouth, and via the same valve from the algae, it pumps more water inside chamber 1 in order to have an overflow of this liquid in chamber 2. The liquid, which is now in chamber 2 is flushed out by the motor turning the endless worm and having the valve 2 opened.

    Fixed on the edge of the structure opposite the mouth, an underwater pump connected by a vertical axis with a servo powers the movement of the structure giving possibilities to steer 0; 45 and minus 45 degrees.

    Read more.

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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 12:00
    AMLGM Envisions Urban Alloy Tower Over Transportation Hub in NYC


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    AMLGM has developed a city redesign plan called “Urban Alloy,” which focuses on re-imagining the space around existing transportation hubs in the outer boroughs of NYC. Via designboom.

    From AMLGM:

    Living Concept:

    The combination of escalating land prices and the acceleration of city migration have made urban renewal based modes of densification unfit for the contemporary city. Urban Alloy is the symbiotic re-purposing of the air rights above transportation corridors in New York. Urbanist’s have long touted the benefits of greater housing density near public transportation hubs – Urban Alloy proposes the advancement of this idea by locating the system directly on the intersections between surface and elevated train lines. We have chosen the intersection of the LIRR and the 7 train as a test case. The paradigm of one size fits all is obsolete. Urban citizens want diverse living situations where they can work, play, eat and rest within a pedestrian zone. As technology creates the market desire and a conditioning for personalization, society is more willing to pay a premium for spaces that are tailored to their particular needs. See Program Diagram describing the wide range of living options.

    Skin Concept:

    The wide range of programmatic options inspired a blend of floor plate geometries that transition from cylindrical to triangular from the base to the top of each tower. This blend, along with constraints instilled from the site, generates a complex geometry that requires a new facade optimization paradigm. A composite or alloy of multiple flexible systems is required to optimize a skin in which every point has a unique environmental exposure. The system is deployed on a grid that follows the geometric directionality of the surface. At each intersection of the grid, the normal of the surface is analyzed against its optimal solar shading and daylight transmitting requirements. An authored algorithm then generates vertical and horizontal fin profiles that blend with the profiles at adjacent nodes. The result is an optimized system of decorative metal fins that are unique to each specific solar orientation. Based upon the tenants of current solar facade design, the algorithm utilizes deep horizontal fins along southern exposure, and deeper vertical fins alongs east and west facing surfaces. This system generates specific fin depth and orientation for every point on the surface.

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    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:00
    Dynamic LED table project – As Seen on Show & Tell!



    Rikard shared his LED table project, modifying an Ikea LACK table into a LED platform on which he can run a number of types of visualizations:

    Expensive electronics and a cheap table.

    Are you bored of LED lights? No? Me neither. Thats why i thought another 256 RGB LED’s in my living room might be a good idea.

    Read More.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 10:00
    Ariel Waldman: Let’s Imagine Greater campaign #womeninSTEM



    Great new TV spot from Ariel Waldman! Read more over at her site. Also check out the site she founded: spacehack.org

    The SyFy channel featured me in a TV spot for their Let’s Imagine Greater campaign. The campaign aims to inspire people to imagine amazing things – and hopefully go on to create them! I worked with the team at SyFy to help them engage communities online to “imagine greater” in exploring space.

    I really loved filming on a set – I hope it’ll be the first of many. The TV spot was shot on green screen and an additional interview was shot as part of an electronic press kit (EPK):

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 09:00
    The thinnest membrane technologically possible has been produced and it’s 100,000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair.


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    Science Daily has the scoop on the latest version of super thin graphene.

    A new nano-membrane made out of the ‘super material’ graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The new membrane just produced is as thin as is technologically possible.

    Researchers have produced a stable porous membrane that is thinner than a nanometre. This is a 100,000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. The membrane consists of two layers of the much exalted “super material” graphene, a two-dimensional film made of carbon atoms, on which the team of researchers, led by Professor Hyung Gyu Park at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, etched tiny pores of a precisely defined size.

    The membrane can thus permeate tiny molecules. Larger molecules or particles, on the other hand, can pass only slowly or not at all. “With a thickness of just two carbon atoms, this is the thinnest porous membrane that is technologically possible to make,” says PhD student Jakob Buchheim, one of the two lead authors of the study, which was conducted by ETH-Zurich researchers in collaboration with scientists from Empa and a research laboratory of LG Electronics. The study has just been published in journal Science.

    The ultra-thin graphene membrane may one day be used for a range of different purposes, including waterproof clothing. “Our membrane is not only very light and flexible, but it is also a thousand fold more breathable than Goretex,” says Kemal Celebi, a postdoc in Park’s laboratory and also one of the lead authors of the study. The membrane could also potentially be used to separate gaseous mixtures into their constituent parts or to filter impurities from fluids. The researchers were able to demonstrate for the first time that graphene membranes could be suitable for water filtration. The researchers also see a potential use for the membrane in devices used for the accurate measurement of gas and fluid flow rates that are crucial to unveiling the physics around mass transfer at nanoscales and separation of chemical mixtures.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 08:00
    A New Book on the 2,000-Year History of GPS Tracking


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    Bret Brownell at Mother Jones highlights some of the key moments from You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves, a new book on the history of GPS tracking by Hiawatha Bray.

    Boston Globe technology writer Hiawatha Bray recalls the moment that inspired him to write his new book, You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves. “I got a phone around 2003 or so,” he says. “And when you turned the phone on—it was a Verizon dumb phone, it wasn’t anything fancy—it said ‘GPS’. And I said, ‘GPS? There’s GPS in my phone?’” He asked around and discovered that yes, there was GPS in his phone, due to a 1994 FCC ruling. At the time, cellphone usage was increasing rapidly, but 911 and other emergency responders could only accurately track the location of land line callers. So the FCC decided that cellphone providers like Verizon must be able to give emergency responders a more accurate location of cellphone users calling 911. After discovering this, “It hit me,” Bray says. “We were about to enter a world in which…everybody had a cellphone, and that would also mean that we would know where everybody was. Somebody ought to write about that!”

    So he began researching transformative events that lead to our new ability to navigate (almost) anywhere. In addition, he discovered the military-led GPS and government-led mapping technologies that helped create new digital industries. The result of his curiosity is You Are Here, an entertaining, detailed history of how we evolved from primitive navigation tools to our current state of instant digital mapping—and, of course, governments’ subsequent ability to track us. The book was finished prior to the recent disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but Bray says gaps in navigation and communication like that are now “few and far between.”

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    1st century: The Chinese begin writing about mysterious ladles made of lodestone. The ladle handles always point south when used during future-telling rituals. In the following centuries, lodestone’s magnetic abilities lead to the development of the first compasses.

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    2nd Century: Ptolemy’s Geography is published and sets the standard for maps that use latitude and longitude.

    Read more!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 07:00
    From the Forums: 16×16 neopixel + arduino nano + eclipse plugin success #NeoPixel #arduino



    big_red_frog shared a Neopixel matrix video on the Adafruit Forums:

    This is a video of a 16 x 16 array of neopixels on a flexible substrate. Driven by an arduino nano and programmed via arduino plugin for eclipse which takes the programming environment to the next level.

    Simple bloom effect to shake out the system. Also implemented a custom 3×5 font.

    …Next phase is to convert to a flora and a beefy lipo supply…

    Read More.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:00
    First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed: It may have liquid water


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    Via Phys.org.

    The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.

    “What makes this finding particularly compelling is that this Earth-sized planet, one of five orbiting this star, which is cooler than the Sun, resides in a temperate region where water could exist in liquid form,” says Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center who led the paper published in the current issue of the journal Science. The region in which this planet orbits its star is called the habitable zone, as it is thought that life would most likely form on planets with liquid water.

    Steve Howell, Kepler’s Project Scientist and a co-author on the paper, adds that neither Kepler (nor any telescope) is currently able to directly spot an exoplanet of this size and proximity to its host star. “However, what we can do is eliminate essentially all other possibilities so that the validity of these planets is really the only viable option.”

    With such a small host star, the team employed a technique that eliminated the possibility that either a background star or a stellar companion could be mimicking what Kepler detected. To do this, the team obtained extremely high spatial resolution observations from the eight-meter Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawai`i using a technique called speckle imaging, as well as adaptive optics (AO) observations from the ten-meter Keck II telescope, Gemini’s neighbor on Mauna Kea. Together, these data allowed the team to rule out sources close enough to the star’s line-of-sight to confound the Kepler evidence, and conclude that Kepler’s detected signal has to be from a small planet transiting its host star.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:00
    MDK — Project Ara


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    MDK — Project Ara.

    The Module Developers Kit (MDK) defines the Ara platform for module developers and provides reference implementations for various design features. The Ara platform consists of an on-device packet-switched data network based on the MIPI UniPro protocol stack, a flexible power bus, and an elegant industrial design that mechanically unites the modules with an endoskeleton. Throughout 2014, the Project Ara team will be working on a series of alpha and beta MDK releases. We welcome developer input to the MDK: either through the Ara Module Developers mailing list/forum or at one of the series of Developers Conferences. Additionally, if you’d like to create a reference module design, please get in touch!

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 21:33
    EGGS
  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 21:12
    The Egg Painter



    The Easter tradition of dying eggs is practiced by people all over the world, but in Ciocanesti, a small village in Romania’s northern region of Bukovina, this tradition has evolved into an art form.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 14:58
    Co2 detecting and display in an outlet with an OLED


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    Co2 detecting and display in an outlet with an OLED. timv1 in the Adafruit customer support forums writes-

    Concerning the monitoring of the CO2 I’ll share an idea for displaying it.

    Wanted to keep it all inside an outlet that could be used to power a solenoid connected to the CO2 tank. Due to space limitations I decided on using a little OLED… A place like OshPark can make you up a board SUPER inexpensive if you’re interested in such things. Anyhow, here are some pictures of the what I did to get the little OLED into the outlet.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 14:51
    Internet of Things – When phoning home breaks everything


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    Adafruit is working on a few Internet of Things products, services and more – we’re thinking carefully about the best and open way to do this as you’d expect. We started with an Internet of Things Bill of Rights.

    We believe Internet of Things devices should all come with a well established expectation of what they will and will not do with consumer’s data. In the article we put together the start of what we hope will help this effort – Minimizing Risk Is Easy: Adopt a Bill of Rights

    • Open is better than closed; this ensures portability between Internet of Things devices.
    • Consumers, not companies, own the data collected by Internet of Things devices.
    • Internet of Things devices that collect public data must share that data.
    • Users have the right to keep their data private.
    • Users can delete or back up data collected by Internet of Things devices.

    Today we saw that Samsung’s data center caught on fire and their products check Samsung.com before being able to get online. You can see how this would usually be a good idea, if the device cannot reach Samsung.com then the device likely isn’t online… except when Samsung.com is offline, then everything breaks. Someone reverse engineered what their TV was trying to do.

    For “Internet of Things” devices and services, there should be more checks than a single point of failure.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 13:28
    Honda’s Dancing Humanoid Robot


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    Watch the Astounding Dexterity of Honda’s Dancing Humanoid Robot | Gadget Lab | WIRED.

    Even in today’s rapidly evolving world of technology, there are few things that make your jaw drop when you see them in real life. Honda’s ASIMO is one of those things.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 09:00
    Pyro Board: 2D Rubens’ Tube



    Sune Nielsen from Fysikshow Aarhus shows off the Pyro Board, which is a 2D Rubens’ Tube. These beats are on fire! via Veritasium:

    Rubens’ Tube is an awesome demo and here we take it to the next level with a two-dimensional ‘Pyro Board’. This shows unique standing wave patters of sound in the box.

    The pressure variations due to the sound waves affect the flow rate of flammable gas from the holes in the Pyro Board and therefore affect the height and colour of flames. This is interesting for visualizing standing wave patterns and simply awesome to watch when put to music. Thank you to Sune Nielsen and everyone at Aarhus for sharing this demonstration with me! And thanks for having me at your conference.

    Read more.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 08:00
    The IRS explains their use of computers, circa 1961



    Imagine the uproar when the IRS went to computers back in the 1960s. In their short film Right on the Button, the IRS tries to convince the public to get with the times. via Network World:

    From today’s National Archives blog on the topic: “When the IRS began using computers in 1961, many people were horrified. An article in Harper’s Magazine titled, “The Martinsburg Monster: A True Horror Story for Taxpayers,” described how computers limited the possibilities for refunds. A tax expert then envisioned a scenario in which erroneous notices forced people to overpay, or $100 million dollars in unwarranted refund checks were issued.

    The shift towards computer technology also made Internal Revenue Commissioner, Mortimer Caplin, a well-known and controversial figure. One reporter accused Caplin of “bringing Big Brother into everyone’s life in the form of the Martinsburg Monster.” In February 1963, Caplin was the cover story of Time magazine, in which he supported the changes made under his administration. Controversy surrounding the IRS computers was not limited to water cooler conversations, it was reflected in the mass media.”

    The National Archives says of the film: “Right on the Button attempts to combat these technology driven fears. The film highlights the benefits of a computerized system: Computers could speed up processing times, discover errors taxpayers make against themselves, and verify that all citizens pay a fair amount. Additionally, the film emphasizes the IRS employees who maintain and check the ADP system. This was likely an attempt to quell fears that computers would replace human jobs. Viewers today are more likely captivated by the refrigerator-size computers and 1960s hairdos.”

    Read more.

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