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  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 23:28
    Open source touch screens to the rescue @edncom #oshw

    Open source touch screens to the rescue @ EDN

    I bought an Arduino Mega and started putting together the custom electronics in the form of a daughter board (Arduino calls them “shields”). However, it needed to be a standalone unit, so what could I do for user interfacing to the Mega that was flexible? Touch screens.

    Learn more.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 23:00
    Add a Deku Mask Prop To Your Legend of Zelda Cosplay

    deku mask

    You can turn up the quality of any costume by adding some well-made props, and a Deku Mask would be a great addition to a Link costume. Instructables user meanlilkitty built a great version of the mask from foam and papier mache. There aren’t too many supplies, and other than investing a time and elbow grease, it’s relatively simple. I’m especially fascinated by how she made the eyes:

    The eyes I made out of yellow celluloid with orange paint to make the “glow”. Once you like the color and shape, glue into place on the inside of the mask. The leaves are silk leaves from Michaels and were a bit tricky to glue. One I found three leaves I liked that had the right color and shape, I took them off the fake plant and removed the stem backing. Now that the leaves are softer and easier to bend, I was able to glue them to the inside of the mask, then bend them while the glue dried so they could stand erect on top of the mask and not flop over.

    Read more at Instructables.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 22:17
    relax. let the music engulf you… #art

    Adafruit 2869
    relax. let the music engulf you.. Barry Martin’s Hopalong Orbits Visualizer – Created using three.js

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 22:00
    Festo Creates Bionic Kangaroo; Steve Austin Unimpressed



    [Dr. Wilfried Stoll] and a team at Festo have created an incredible robot kangaroo. Every few years the research teams at Festo release an amazing animal inspired robot. We last covered their smartbird. This year, they’ve created BionicKangaroo (pdf link). While The Six Million Dollar Man might suggest otherwise, Bionics is use of biological systems in engineering design. In this case, Festo’s engineers spent two years studying the jumping behavior of kangaroos as they perfected their creation.

    Kangaroos have some amazing evolutionary adaptations for jumping. Their powerful Achilles tendon stores energy upon landing. This allows the kangaroo to increase its speed with each successive jump. The kangaroo’s tail is essential for balancing the animal as it leaps through the air. The Festo team used a thick rubber band to replicate the action of the tendons. The tail is controlled by electric servomotors.

    Festo is known for their pneumatic components, so it’s no surprise that the kangaroo’s legs are driven by pneumatic cylinders. Pneumatics need an air supply though, so the team created two versions of the kangaroo. The first uses an on-board air compressor. The second uses a high-pressure storage tank to drive the kangaroo’s legs. An off the shelf Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) acts as BionicKangaroo’s brain. The PLC monitors balance while controlling the pneumatic leg cylinders and electric tail motors. Unfortunately, BionicKangaroo isn’t completely autonomous. The Thalmic Labs Myo makes a cameo appearance in the video. The Kangaroo’s human controller commands the robot with simple arm movements.

    While the BionicKangaroo is graceful in its jumps, it still needs a bit of help when turning and taking simple steps. Thankfully we don’t think it will be boxing anytime soon.

    Filed under: robots hacks

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 22:00
    New Project: How to Capture Breathtaking Time-lapses of the Night Sky

    Milkyway_MaineLearn how to capture the night sky — in motion! — with this complete tutorial covering camera settings, night shooting tips, image editing, and video production.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 22:00
    LEGO: Not mere child’s play, but objects of both abstract and formal perfection #ArtTuesday


    T magazine has an interesting story out today on the LEGO as it is used in art.

    When Bjarke Ingels, the visionary leader of the Danish architectural firm BIG, first heard about the competition to build the Lego House, a museum and activity center near the toy company’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark, he gathered his staff. “If there was one building that BIG was founded to build,” Ingels announced, “this is it.”

    For Ingels, Lego proportions have a mystical perfection that “borders on the Da Vinci code.” Like most enthusiasts, Ingels refers to them as “bricks,” not “Legos”; he doesn’t see them as toys, but as tools for “systematic creativity.”

    Indeed, the way he talks about the beloved project he ultimately won sounds very much like the description of a building created from Legos. “It’s like a cloud of interconnected spaces that creates public spaces — interconnected worlds that you can see as one spatial experience and as little worlds within themselves.”

    One evening at a bar in Billund, about a three-hour drive west of Copenhagen, members of the Lego House design team geek out about the aesthetic perfection of the Lego brick. “The cool thing about it is it’s simultaneously real and abstract,” Brian Yang of BIG says. “So it’s a bridge between your imagination and reality.” Alex Vlack, of New York’s Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), which is designing the exhibitions for the project, chimes in. “For me, it’s like a paper clip. There’s no way to improve it.”


    For certain creative types, the Lego brick (whose name is an abbreviation of the words for “play well” in Danish) is not a toy but the perfect object. Last year, the Cuban artist collective Los Carpinteros used the plastic bricks to construct their own versions of Soviet-era monuments at the Sean Kelly gallery in New York. “It’s such an active, creative tool, getting you to think about structure,” says Caroline Baumann, the director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. “How can it not influence you?” The designer Karl Lagerfeld even created a Lego-inspired handbag for Chanel’s spring 2013 collection. This summer, the author and artist Douglas Coupland will have an exhibition in Vancouver that will feature a suburb of 100 identical Lego houses, each one made from a 1969 kit that, he says, “pretty much single-handedly turned me on to midcentury at the age of 9.”

    Lego, in turn, has responded to this newfound appreciation among adults by coming out with the Lego Architecture Studio ($150), a smart-looking set that includes more than 1,200 white and transparent pieces and a collection of essays and how-to ideas provided by architects like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Moshe Safdie, who is best known for Habitat 67 in Montreal, a modular apartment building that looks like it came straight out of a Lego box. There’s also Lego’s Architecture series, which features models of iconic structures like Fallingwater and Villa Savoye. The series has garnered a diverse fan base, including Brad Pitt and David Beckham. When the soccer star mentioned in an interview a few years ago that he was building the Lego Taj Mahal, sales of that set reportedly went up by more than 600 percent in one day.

    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 8, 2014 - 21:30
    New Project: GoPro Swivel Camera Mount

    M38_123_JAKE-1Use a swivel caster and PVC pipe to capture awesome footage.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 21:04
    Reminder: SparkFun Live - Temperature Sensing Lunchbox

    Don’t forget - today starting at 3 p.m. MT, we are airing the latest episode of “SparkFun Live!” In today’s episode, Evan will build his temperature sensing lunchbox. Here is the preview video for more info on his build:

    If you didn’t get your parts, don’t worry - we’ll be archiving the episode so you can watch and build along at a later date. If you want to tune in today, here is the stream:

    We’ll be getting started in just a couple hours - hope you can join us!

    comments | comment feed

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 21:00
    Megan Lee Studio Rock Star Scientist series @ etsy #ArtTuesday

    Pasted Image 4 8 14 12 19 AM

    Megan Lee Studio Rock Star Scientist series @ etsy.

    Megan Lee Studio: Blending art & education into one geeky eye-pleasing mix (and home of the Rock Star Scientist posters!). I offer art prints, t-shirts, hoodies, magnets, tote bags, phone covers, postcards & stickers!

    Rock Star Scientist series:

    • James Clerk Maxwell
    • Grace Hopper
    • Richard Feynman
    • Alan Turing
    • Gregor Johann Mendel
    • Sir Isaac Newton
    • Michael Faraday
    • Marie Curie
    • Thomas Alva Edison
    • Nikola Tesla
    • print dedicated to John Bardeen
    • Albert Einstein
    • Niels Boh
    • J. Robert Oppenheimer
    • Rosalind Franklin
    • Ada Lovelace
    • Linus Pauling
    • Benoit Mandelbrot
    • Alexander Graham Bell
    • Charles Darwin

    Read More.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 20:48
    Century-Old Museum Hosts Garden State Makers

    Creativity abounds at the Newark Museum.With over 40 maker exhibits, 80 galleries full of art and natural science collections, and a full day of workshops, the Greater Newark Mini Maker Faire was a hit with attendees of all ages.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 20:00
    “Blackground” – Awesome High Speed Photographs from Alberto Seveso #arttuesday


    Check out these beautiful high speed photos from Graphic Artist Alberto Seveso.

    I was born in Milan – ITALY the 30th of May 1976. I approached, for the first time, to the world art at the beginning of 1990s.

    The passion for graphic arts started in these years because I was really fascinated from the graphic of skate decks and the cover of music CD of metal bands. From this passion I started to think about how reproduce this kind of artwork. I ever had a computer in my home, from the times of the Commodore Vic20, and I kept thinking that my computer could be useful in this way. I mean that I can use the computer to make art and not only to play!

    Now I work as a freelance in Bristol – UK my hometown, Portoscuso, Sardinia-Italy for small, medium and big agencies



    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 20:00
    5 Cool Participatory Space Projects

    Hungarian Google Lunar X-Prize Rover<br />
Puli together with Aouda.X Mars spacesuit. (c) OeWF (Katja Zanella-Kux)From discovering supermassive black holes to saving Earth from deadly asteroids, here are five ways you can make scientific discoveries and actively contribute to space exploration.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 19:30
    Tibetan book of Proportions shows precise guidelines for depicting the Buddha and Bodhisattva #ArtTuesday

    13086233095 32e18f1e88 b jpg 1 000×503 pixels

    Via The Public Domain Review.

    An eighteenth-century pattern book consisting of 36 ink drawings showing precise iconometric guidelines for depicting the Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. Written in Newari script with Tibetan numerals, the book was apparently produced in Nepal for use in Tibet. The concept of the ‘ideal image’ of the Buddha emerged during the Golden Age of Gupta rule, from the 4th to 6th century. As well as the proportions, other aspects of the depiction – such as number of teeth, colour of eyes, direction of hairs – became very important. The V&A have produced a good guide to the iconography of the Buddha, including the 32 Lakshanas or special bodily features.

    Read more.

    13086229515 7cdfa16e7e b jpg 1 000×500 pixels

    13086229165 b18d58fefa b jpg 1 000×501 pixels

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 19:00
    A Miniature of Manhattan Carved in Marble #ArtTuesday

    Little Manhattan miniature of manhattan carved in marble 2 GBlog

    Another great piece from the Armory Show this year! Check out Adafruit’s coverage of the show here. Via gBlog.

    Presented last week at the Park Avenue Armory art fair, Little Manhattan is artist Yutaka Sone’s marble rendering of the city. Sone was born in Shizuoka, Japan and is now based in Los Angeles. Although trained in architecture, he specializes in sculpture and works across disciplines in painting, drawing, photography, video, and performance. His marble vision of New York City began to take shape in the late 1990s. The artist then conducted research for nearly twenty years, using photographs, Google Earth, and helicopter rides to capture the details. Crafted from 2007-2009, the finished piece spans nine feet in length and three feet in height, with the cityscape just three centimeters tall and made to-scale. Weighing 2.5 tons, the sculpture is only “miniature” in comparison with the actual island. The commanding design perches the city on top of an abstract cliffside. Underneath the intricate surface of Manhattan, a smooth block of marble stands and curves like water at its base. Wrought in marble, the city appears at once grand and delicate, caught in limbo between its man-made wonders and the island’s natural form.

    Read more.

    Little Manhattan miniature of manhattan carved in marble 3 GBlog

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 19:00
    Zenotron: the Looks of a Kaypro II with the Soul of a Nebulophone

    This beautiful instrument of musical delight is called the Zenotron, and it was built by [Mike Walters] for his friend [Zeno] in exchange for some keyboards. The Zenotron is the latest musical hack in a long line of awesome from the same guy who built the Melloman, its successor, the Mellowman II, and Drumssette, a programmable sequencer.

    The sweet sounds of those babies all come from tape loops, but the Zenotron is voiced with a modified [Bleep Labs] Nebulophone synthesizer. Instead of the Nebulophone’s pots controlling the waveform and arpeggio, he’s wired up a 2-axis joystick. He left the LFO pot wired as-is. When it’s turned all the way down, he’s noticed that the joystick takes over control of the filter. [Mike] fed the audio through a 4017 decade counter and each of the steps lights up an array of four to five of the randomly-wired 88 LEDs.

    [Mike] made the case from the top half of a small filmstrip viewer and an old modem, which is way better than the Cool Whip container housing we made for our Nebulophone. He re-purposed a toy keyboard and made a contact board for it with small tactile switches. This results in nice clicky feedback like you get from mouse buttons.

    Of course there’s a demo video. You know the drill.



    [Thanks to Joey for sending this in]

    Filed under: musical hacks

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 18:02
    April Caption Contest

    It’s time again for your monthly caption contest! The rules are simple:

    • Leave your funniest clean caption in the comments section below. We reserve the right to delete captions that we deem inappropriate. We’re not too stingy, but try to keep it moderately PG-13.
    • Captions submitted any other way besides in the comment section will not be accepted. That means do not use the feedback form!
    • Captions will be accepted from the moment this post goes live until Friday, April 11th at 10 a.m. Mountain Time.
    • Please only one caption per person. Please!
    • A crack team of humor experts will pick the winner and we will announce it next week.

    Here is today’s photo:

    alt text

    The winner will receive $100 in SparkFun credit! Submit your captions below! Good luck!

    comments | comment feed

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 18:00
    LEGO Science: How Construction Toys Can Help Build STEM Education #makereducation


    Though Legos have always been a staple in American playtime, they are now being recognized as having a serious and fundamental educational value, via IBTimes.

    Brightly colored blocks were the toast of the box office last weekend, thanks to “LEGO: The Movie.” But our fond memories of the plastic blocks are from the playroom, not the cinema. LEGOs are also a fun way to help kids — and adults — get excited about science.

    In Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood, the elementary school students at Public School 188 are learning about science and technology with the help of LEGO blocks. The children use the blocks to build robots that can be controlled with commands through a laptop. Dinosaur-shaped robots can open and close their mouths; LEGO blocks are also used to simulate a landscape after a volcanic eruption. It’s a valuable hands-on lesson for kids at P.S. 188, where nine out of 10 live below the poverty line, and two-thirds of students don’t have computers or Internet in their homes.

    “The children are learning about different opportunities that they haven’t been privy to or even known about before,” principal Fred Tudda told the New York Daily News earlier this February. “To hear a 10-year-old young lady say she has the opportunity to become an engineer and now she’s thinking along those lines, to me that’s changing the world.”

    Wired also has a good roundup of some awesome LEGO science models, including another Curiosity rover, by chemist and prolific LEGO artist Tim Goddard (whose Flickr feed is chock full of amazing LEGO robots, spaceships and monsters).

    Studies do suggest that LEGOs and other block toys seem to have lasting benefits for children who that start playing with them early. In one study, published in 2001 in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education, a trio of researchers started following a small group of children from preschool all the way through high school. The kids that played with blocks “in a highly insightful manner” scored higher on standardized math tests starting in the seventh grade.

    You might think that the correlation between playing with block toys and higher math scores comes from something like natural smarts — the kids that are going to have some innate math ability will probably be more likely to play with blocks, right? Maybe, but the the researchers found that the benefits of blocks still held up when they controlled for the children’s IQ.

    Building with LEGOs in groups may also help build social skills in autistic children. One 2006 study found that kids who attended a group play session with LEGOs improved much more socially than kids who were coached on socializing.

    LEGO has the market pretty cornered on snap-on blocks, accounting for about 70 percent of construction toy sales. But whatever your choice of construction toys might be– LEGO, MegaBloks or Lincoln Logs — go nuts and learn!


    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 8, 2014 - 17:43
    Custom G-code Generation with Mecode

    If you've ever wanted to hard-code gcode but still retain some scripting flexibility (for art, science, or engineering), Jack Minardi just posted a custom g-code generation package he's been working on... it looks great.

    Checkout the RepRap wiki entryand
    also the github repo with instructions

    This could be a big win for 3d printing sacrificial inks like sugars and pluronics where each extruded filament position needs to be placed with precise (x,y,z) coordinates. And for arcs and meanders, there are built-in functions too! Very exciting. From the Github README:

    To use, simply instantiate the G object and use its methods to trace your desired tool path.

    from mecode import G
    g = G()
    g.move(10, 10) # move 10mm in x and 10mm in y
    g.arc(x=10, y=5, radius=20, direction='CCW') # counterclockwise arc with a radius of 5
    g.meander(5, 10, spacing=1) # trace a rectangle meander with 1mm spacing between passes
    g.abs_move(x=1, y=1) # move the tool head to position (1, 1)
    g.home() # move the tool head to the origin (0, 0)

    We got a chance to meet Jack at MRRF and everyone had a great time. Jack Minardi is currently a Research Fellow at Lewis Lab at Harvard.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 17:17
    Disk II styled USB SD Card Reader

    Il Fullxfull.584969651 Siyv
    Disk II styled USB SD Card Reader by RetroConnector on Etsy. Super cute!

    A typical USB SD card reader is boring. Why not show your retro affiliation with a Disk II styled reader? Modeled after the iconic Apple II floppy drive from 1978, the shell is 3D printed SLA, painted beige to match the original. Also available unpainted in white and black (the Bell & Howell “Darth Vader” edition).

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 17:01
    Ask your Wearables Questions! LIVE Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 4/9 2pm ET

    Screen Shot 2013 08 12 at 12 22 52 PM

    What questions do you have about wearable electronics? Ask them now, and you could win our live giveaway!

    Screen Shot 2013 08 12 at 12 22 17 PM

    All inquisitive askers whose questions are featured on this week’s LIVE Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern will be eligible for a special giveaway. Post your Qs in the comments here, on Google+, Twitter, or YouTube, and then tune in at 2pm ET on Wednesday for the answers and to see if you’ve won!