Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:00Student Honored at Local Science Fair cites Adafruit Tutorials as Helpful Resource #makereducation
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!
“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.
Each 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 - 10:00The Egg-Bot Gets A Little Wax Stabby
With Easter just around the corner, [Windell and Lenore] over at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have come out with a new upgrade for their Egg-Bot. It’s called the Electro-Kistka and it allows your Egg-Bot to do wax-resist egg dying — in the same style as Ukranian Pysanky.
This isn’t the first time someone’s strapped a kistka to an Egg-Bot, but after seeing how much fun their customers were having, [Windell and Lenore] decided to make their own. It consists of two main components, a heater assembly that attaches to the Egg-Bot’s arm, and a power control board. To apply the wax they are using a kistka tip (looks like a soldering iron tip with a hole through it) which feeds molten wax onto the egg through capillary action.
It works almost exactly the same as the regular Egg-Bot arm, but allows you to dye your eggs with a very stark contrast as the wax repels dye perfectly. Just take a look at the following intricate designs.
Still — using the EggBot kinda seems like cheating. Of course it would be fun to make a whole bunch of super intricate eggs, take them to the extended family get-together on Easter, and convince everyone you’re a master egg decorator.
Filed under: cooking hacks
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 10:00Getting Started with the Beagle Bone Black @ Ben Heck Show #BeagleBoneBlack @TXInstruments @BeagleBoardOrg
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.
Each 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 - 09:01Filed under: major
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 09:00DJ Spooky’s Global Show Fuses Real-Time Performances in New York and Korea #ArtTuesday
“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.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 08:00High School Students and their Robots Play Ball at FIRST Robotics Regionals 2014 #makereducation
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.
Each 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
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.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 07:00BeagleBone Black plot analog sensor on #Adafruit bi-color LED matrix #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg
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:
- Adafruit 8×8 LED matrix controlled by BeagleBone Black
- LED ticker: BeagleBone Black & multiple Adafruit 8×8 displays
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:
You’ll also want to grab the Adafruit Python libraries for the Raspberry Pi since they work on BeagleBone Black, too:
Here is the BegaleBone Black running the demo program ex_8x8_color_pixels.py from the repo:
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:
It is Invoked by this shell script so that PYTHONPATH will be set:
Featured Adafruit Product!
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 - 07:00Fixing Apple TV’s Terrible UI
Despite Apple’s unfailing dedication to UI, they still sometimes manage to put out some stinkers. The latest of these is the ‘keyboard’ for the search interface in the Apple TV. It’s an alphabetical keyboard, laid out in a square with the obvious frustration that goes along with that terrible idea. [Lasse] was frustrated with this design and realized searching anything with the Apple TV IR remote is a pain. His solution was to build his own version of the Apple TV remote with a web interface, powered by an Arduino.
Inspired by the Apple Remote Arduino Shield we featured a few years ago, [Lasse] stuck an IR LED int the pins of Arduino with an Ethernet shield, current limiting resistors be damned. The web UI is the innovative part of this build. He’s hosting a simple website on the Arduino that allows him to type – with a real keyboard – a search query into the website, and have the Arduino take care of moving the Apple TV cursor around to select each letter.
The web UI has all the features found on the Apple TV remote, including the swipe gestures, and has a really slick brushed metal texture to boot. You can check out the video of [Lasse]‘s project typing text into an Apple TV hilariously fast below.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:30Momentum: large format photos of chalkboards from quantum mechanics institutions by Alejandro Guijarro #ArtTuesday
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
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:00Adafruit.com traffic March 2014 vs March 2013
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:00Earth becomes art in breathtaking satellite imagery #ArtTuesday
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.
Every 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 - 04:00A 7″ Touchscreen TV Remote Control from Scratch
[Jason] always wanted a touchscreen TV remote control. He could have pressed an older Android tablet into service, but he wanted to roll his own system. [Jason] gathered the parts, and is in the process of building his own 7″ touchscreen setup. He started with a 7″ LCD capacitive touchscreen. He ordered his display from buy-display.com, a Far East vendor.
[Jason's] particular display model comes mounted on a PCB which includes controllers for the display and touchscreen, as well as some memory and glue logic. The LCD controller board has quite a few jumpers to support multiple interfaces and options. While the documentation for the display was decent, [Jason] did find a few errors. After getting in touch with tech support at buy-display, he wrote a simple application which determines which jumpers to set depending on which hardware interfaces are selected from drop down lists.
With the LCD sorted, [Jason] still needed a processor. He selected the venerable Microchip PIC32MX series. This decision allowed him to use a Fubarino for the early prototypes, before switching to his own board as the system matured. [Jason] was able to get a simple GUI up and running, with standard remote buttons to control his TV and cable box. Code is on his Github repository.
[Jason's] most recent work has centered on cutting the cord. He’s switched over from DC power to a 2600 mAh LiPo battery. Click past the break to see [Jason] test out his fully wireless work in progress.
Filed under: home entertainment hacks
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 03:20New Project: The Big Picture
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 01:00Smart Microwave Shows You How It’s Done
Do you still have technical difficulties with your microwave? Never know how long to put that half eaten hot-pocket in for? With the nextWAVE (trademark pending) you don’t need to know! Simply scan the bar code and let the nextWave do its thing — wirelessly!
[Kashev Dalmia], [Dario Aranguiz], [Brady Salz] and [Ahmed Suhyl] just competed in the HackIllinois Hackathon 2014, and their project was this awesome smart microwave. It uses a Spark Core Microcontroller to control the microwave and communicate wirelessly over Wi-Fi. They’ve developed an Android app to allow you to scan bar codes, which are then looked up in a Firebase Database to determine the optimum (crowd sourced) cook time. To make it easy for anyone to use, an app link NFC tag is placed on the microwave for easy installation.
It even automatically opens the door when it’s done — and plays Funky Town! Oh and it also has a Pebble app to show you the time remaining on your food. We think this Raspberry Pi microwave might give it a run for its money though…
Filed under: cooking hacks
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 00:00This knitwear designer/cardiac radiographer is turning brain scans into fashion
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.’
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.
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 23:35How to Remake the World by Making with Kids
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 23:14NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit LED Sequins – Rose Pink – Pack of 5
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit LED Sequins – Rose Pink – Pack of 5: Sew a little sparkle into your wearable project with an Adafruit LED Sequin. These are the kid-sister to our popular Flora NeoPixel, they only show a single color and they don’t have digital control, but that makes them smaller easier to use for many projects.
Simply connect 3 to 6VDC to the + pin and ground to the – pin, and the LED on the board will light up. You can make the LEDs fade and twinkle by using the PWM (a.k.a. analogWrite) functionality of your Gemma or Flora, or just connect directly to a digital I/O pin of a microcontroller to turn on and off. Or even skip the micro altogether, and power directly from a LiPoly or coin battery.
This order comes with 5 Rose Pink “1206 size” LEDs, matched with a 100 ohm resistor. When powered from 3.3V they draw about 5mA so you can put up to 4 or 5 in parallel on a single microcontroller pin. We also have these sequins in ruby red, emerald green, royal blue, and warm white.
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 23:11Rev C and BeagleBoard Compliant Element14 BeagleBone Black
Addressing the enormous demand for BeagleBone Blacks, BeagleBoard.org is introducing a Rev C BeagleBone Black and enabling a BeagleBoard Compliant Element14 BeagleBone Black.
Rev C increases the on-board eMMC size from 2GB of eMMC to 4GB and switches the included image from Angstrom Distribution to Debian. A slight price increase helps cover the cost for the larger eMMC and to pay to expedite production at CircuitCo.
Element14 is also coming on as a producer of BeagleBoard Compliant boards. While they are not the official BeagleBoard.org boards being quality controlled directly by Gerald, they are identical in function and built from the same design materials, confirmed to run the same software.
Both of these moves are meant to help address the large demand for boards and get them into your hands faster. Expectation is to clear existing backlog orders by mid-May. Keep tuned to Adafruit’s stock, however, as Rev B boards will continue to show up as Rev C production is ramped.
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 23:00How To Make Horns With Just Cardboard and Hot Glue
Horns are a handy cosplay accessory to have in your toolkit. They’re great for fantasy costumes you put together at the last minute and are a fit for a variety of costume situations such as the renaissance faire. If you don’t want to make horns from clay, which can be heavy, you can fashion them from cardboard and hot glue. DeviantArt user MonkeyNumber5 cut cardboard into strips, rolled them, and glued them together. Once they’re dry, you can paint them and attach them to a headband or ribbon.
See the entire tutorial at DeviantArt.