Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 07:00Giant Tetris Adds some Retro to your Room
The build makes use of a 10 x 20 grid of RGB LEDs controlled by the myRIO. It’s played by using a web interface on any device, as long as you have WebSockets support. [Sam] had originally built it using an Arduino at the heart, but wanted a stand-alone device to do everything — no extra computer or Raspberry Pi for the web interface. That’s when he discovered the myRIO — it’s a pretty cool piece of hardware that we haven’t seen too much of yet, other than the recent Picasso with a Paintball gun project…
Don’t forget to watch the following video to see the game in action!
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 07:00MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact (VIDEO) #3DThursday #3DPrinting
Here’s the launch video for the MakerBot Replicator Mini, first announced at CES 2014.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the MakerBot Digitizer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 04:00Twitch Plays Pokémon: Better than Prime Time TV
Gameplay is simple – users type their command (Up, Down, A, B) into their IRC or web client. In the original configuration, commands were processed in the order they arrived at the game. The system worked until the whole thing went viral. With thousands of people entering commands at any given time, poor “RED” would often be found spinning in place, or doing other odd things. The effect is so compelling that even [Randal Munroe] has written an XKCD entry about it. To help the players get through some of the tricky parts of the game, [TPP's creator] added a game mode selection. Users can play in “Democracy” where the system takes votes for several seconds, then issues the highest voted command. The original anything goes game mode was renamed “Anarchy”. Switching from one mode to the other is determined by the users themselves in real-time.
[Devon], one of our readers, has been busy as well. He’s written up a tutorial on turning a Raspberry Pi into a dedicated TPP viewer. We’d love to see a TPP battlestation - a Game Boy modified to display TPP, as well as send commands to the IRC servers when buttons are pressed. Who will be the first reader to knock that hack out?
Filed under: nintendo gameboy hacks
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 03:07Register Now for Getting Started with Intel Galileo Maker Sessions!
MAKE is excited to partner up with Intel for a brand new series of Maker Sessions all about Getting Started with Intel Galileo. This 3 week program will engage teams of makers around the world to participate in making using Galileo, Intel’s brand new Arduino-compatible development board featuring Intel architecture. […]
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 02:00ASK AN ENGINEER – LIVE electronics video show! 8PM ET Wednesday night!
ASK AN ENGINEER – LIVE electronics video show! 8PM ET Wednesday night! What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community — “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer — stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 01:30SHOW-AND-TELL Google+ LIVE Hangout! Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 01:00Hackaday 68k: Enclosure, Backplane, And Power
It’s about time for an update for Hackaday’s latest project – a modern retrocomputer based on the Motorola 68000 CPU. In this update, we’ll be taking a look at the enclosure, the backplane itself, and how we’re going to power this thing.
This is only an update to the project; you can check out the current status over on Hackaday Projects. It’s Hackaday’s new collaborative project hosting site where you (and your friends) can design, build, or document anything you have in mind. Request an invite for the alpha release of Hackaday Projects and you can give this project a skull! Seriously, this project is only the third ‘most skulled’ one on Hackaday Projects.
Now that the completely transparent pitch for Hackaday Projects is over with, we can get on to the update for the Hackaday 68k. Click that ‘Read More…’ link.
You don’t build a house by starting with the kitchen cabinets, and like any project this computer needs a good foundation. This means picking out a nice enclosure, figuring out some way to power the thing, and constructing the backplane that will connect all the different cards I’ll be designing and building.
Having a good-looking enclosure shouldn’t be a primary goal for what is really simply a prototype, hacked-together homebrew project, but I have a few special considerations for this project. Firstly, I’ll eventually be lugging this around to hackerspaces, meetups, and Maker Faires. It needs to be secure. Secondly, a lot of people are already following this project on Hackaday and on Hackaday Projects. It needs to look good.
The enclosure I’ve picked out is a beautiful steel instrument enclosure from Hammond. Specifically, the 1458VD4B enclosure, measuring 8x8x4 inches. I love Hammond enclosures, and when I put the top on and screw everything together, it really looks like something from the early 80s.
In the world of backplanes and retrocomputers, power supplies are a bit of a problem. There are very old S-100 bus systems that used huge linear power supplies, with transformers and caps big enough to kill an elephant. That’s not something I want – or could even fit – in an eight-inch square case. Linear supplies are old tech, though. The Apple II and the Digital VT100 terminal – contemporaries of the 68000 – had switching power supplies, but unfortunately they were also huge.
A much better option for providing power to the backplane would be to take a normal PC power supply, add a 24-pin ATX header, and plug everything in. It’s a great idea, but even the smallest computer power supply would eat up a ton of volume in my enclosure.
Here is the solution. It’s called the picoPSU, and it’s barely larger than a standard 20-pin ATX power supply connector. It’ll provide 6A of 5V, and also has 12V, 3.3V, and -12V should I need that in the future. It’ll also power a hard drive, all without requiring any load. This is, by far, the easiest and cheapest way for me to power this computer.
Now we come to the important part of this update. The backplane. The board I’m going to plug the CPU, ROM, RAM, Video, and Ethernet cards into. If the CPU is the brain of a computer, the backplane is the brainstem. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.
Next up are seven Eurocard connectors. These are 64-pin Eurocard connectors, despite there being 96 pins. Only rows A and C (row B is the middle) have pins soldered to the backplane. There’s no logic here, just simple solder traces from one pin to another. If you’re extremely clever, you might be asking yourself why not use 96-pin sockets. I’m going to answer that with another question.
That’s the problem I faced when trying to design a two-layer 96-pin backplane. Why a two layer backplane? Because it’s cheaper. I’m also pretty sure it’s mathematically impossible. Proofs are welcome.
Either way, I don’t need 96 pins on this backplane. 64 pins are enough, once you know what you can safely ignore when designing something with the 68000. I’ll get to that in the next update.
With only seven card connectors, this isn’t a very large backplane. When you consider I’m doing the CPU on one card, RAM on another, ROM on a third, two more for Ethernet and video output, I don’t have much room to work with. From everything you’ve seen so far, there’s not even space for a cool ‘switches and blinkenlights’ front panel
But Wait, There’s More
There’s the front and the back of the backplane showing off a neat little feature I snuck in. I call it a ‘frontplane’, but basically all it does is break out all the signals to a female 0.1″ header socket graciously supplied by Samtec‘s amazing sample request order form. They’re low-profile 0.1″ headers, meaning I can barely squeeze in an additional board between the backplane and the front panel of the enclosure.
What’s that green board, you ask? That’s my first attempt at making an external power switch, power LED, and reset button. Mechanically, this design did not work.The space between the backplane and the front panel of the enclosure is just too tight. This isn’t really a necessary part of the build – I have power and reset switches and buttons on the backplane and CPU board – but it does make it look nice. Right now, the ‘external’ controls for this project have been pushed back to the very end of this project. Or when I get stuck on something. I don’t know.
Other Electronic Considerations
In the first post for this project, a few people asked me how I would be terminating the backplane. Until I get the RAM and ROM working, I don’t know if I need to. I found this app note for RC terminator networks saying the 68000 usually doesn’t need termination on the data, address, or control busses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be taking a scope to this when everything is wired up, but even if I do need termination, I’ll only need a few one dollar parts. It’ll also be a great use for the frontplane.
That’s All For Now
This is the most boring part of the project, I know. Still, it needed to be documented. The next update will more than make up for it. I’ll be going over the 68000 CPU itself, showing off what you can safely ignore, and telling you why designing a computer around the 68k isn’t much more difficult than designing a computer around the old 8-bit CPUs like the 6502. Really, there’s not much to it. Also, blinking LEDs. Yeah!
Here’s the link to the entire project on Hackaday Projects. Rate, comment and subscribe, or something like that.
And yeah, that’s a silkscreen of BMO.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 23:43Meet the Woman Leading the Tech LadyMafia
Elle has a great interview with Aminatou Sow, one of the founders of Tech LadyMafia.
Meet Aminatou Sow, one of Forbes.com’s 30 under 30 in the technology sector along with her BFF and business partner Erie Meyer. The two founded the popular members only listserv, Tech LadyMafia, which allows women across the world (yes, the world!) to discuss anything and everything about what it means to be a woman working in technology. From how to negotiate your salary, to the best programming language to use for your newest project, TLM has the answer.
We chatted with one half of TLM to learn about why the listserv was born, what’s been the biggest surprise since starting, and what she thinks about female competitiveness.
A lot of people do talk about how there’s such a small percentage of women graduating with computer science degrees, and how there’s so much room to close that gap. Is there value in that conversation?
There is a ton of value to having that conversation, but when you have that conversation, you’re also making the women that are already there invisible.
What is something that surprised you when you started TLM with Erie?
I remember when we sent out our first query, like “Hey, join us!” My favorite thing that happened was that I ended up being the most unimpressive, least smart person on the listserv. And that was the best! There were these two women that were applying to be NASA astronauts! I think that it proves the power of networks. The whole point is to not be intimidated by other people. It’s to build a team and learn from each other.
Read the full interview here.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 23:00Human Version of Dumbledore’s Phoenix, Fawkes
Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, was important to the Harry Potter story. He saved the day more than once, and it’s cool to see a human take on the character. Phoenix Fawkes documented the entire process of making the mythical creature from sketches to the finished outfit. It’s interesting to flip through them to see exactly how much work and planning goes into to building a costume.
Some information on the feathers:
At first, I cut out a bunch of feathers in the wrong fabric. My plan was to add a backing to each feather. Not only did it look ugly, it was taking for freaking ever. So instead, I used those feathers at the planning stage.
As each feather was painted (so that it looked as if 12 fabrics had been used to make Fawkes, rather than 4), I needed to know which feather to paint which colour. This is the colour coding method I used.
Go check out more in progress photos!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 22:00Five Ways to Use a Picture Frame in Cosplay
If you’re like most people, you probably have some stuff around your house that you no longer want. I don’t want to encourage you to hold on to absolutely everything forever, but a surprising number of those items can be used in cosplay. From the obvious like all the extra buttons you’ve kept to the less apparent, like old picture frames. Once you carefully remove the glass (you can recycle it or safely store it for future projects), empty frames are full of potential. Here are five suggestions on what to do with the items in costumes:
Headdress – If you have an oval or circular frame that roughly fits the crown of your head, you can use it as a base for a headdress. Add padding or foam to the inner edge so it doesn’t cut into your scalp too much and build a wire frame on top of it. You can add anything light to the frame – some clay, feathers, you name it. Alternately, you can use a piece of a gilt frame to make a crown like Wendy McDermott did in the above photo (source).
Painting costume – Bear a resemblance to Vincent van Gogh or the Mona Lisa? Put together an ensemble representing anyone featured in a portrait and make the finishing touch a large and lightweight frame. You’re not just a character, you’re a piece of art. Carry around the empty frame and use it to uh, frame, your face. To really sell it, make a placard like you’d see in a museum and attach it the bottom of the frame. Make sure to include a “no flash photography” note.
Walking trivia board – Frames in the five by seven inch range are small and light enough that they could be worn around your neck. You can insert an iPad, chalkboard, or dry erase board into the screen and be the Jeopardy! board. You could even translate the concept to board games and become a walking version of Pictionary.
Texture – Empty frames don’t have to be the main portion of your costume. Since you can break square or rectangular frames apart into four pieces, you can use them as accents. For example, if you’re modifying a pair of boots for a costume, use one edge of a frame (cut to the proper length) on the outside of the boots. It creates a cool ridge that you can paint, sculpt, or place fabric over. You could apply the frame pieces to shields, shoulder pauldrons, etc. Ornate curlicue styles would work wonderfully on chest armor.
Handle of a weapon – I’ve mentioned the weapon possibility before in previous posts about everyday objects in cosplay, and I’ll keep doing so because you can use so many components to make cosplay weapons unique. Breaking down a straight-edged frame or even cutting up an oval-shaped style can give you pieces to incorporate into the handle of a weapon. This is probably more useful for cosplay of an original character.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 22:00Improving A Homebrew CT Scanner With Barium
[Peter] has been working on his homebrew CT scanner for a while, and it’s finally become something more than a spinning torus of plywood. He’s managed to image the inside of a few pieces of produce using an off-the-shelf radiation detector and a radioactive barium source
When we last saw [Peter]‘s CT scanner, he had finished the mechanical and electronic part of the Stargate-like device, but the radioactive source was still out of reach. He had initially planned on using either cadmium 109 or barium 133. Both of these presented a few problems for the CT scanner.
The sensor [Peter] is a silicon photodiode high energy particle detector from Radiation Watch this detector was calibrated for cesium with a detection threshold of around 80keV. This just wasn’t sensitive enough to detect 22keV emissions from Cd109, but a small add-on board to the sensor can recalibrate the threshold of the sensor down to the noise floor.
Still, cadmium 109 just wasn’t giving [Peter] the results he wanted, resulting in a switch to barium 133. This was a much hotter source (but still negligible in the grand scheme of radioactivity) that allowed for a much better signal to noise ratio and shorter scans.
With a good source, [Peter] started to acquire some data on the internals of some fruit around his house. It’s still a slow process with very low resolution – the avocado in the pic above has 5mm resolution with an acquisition time of over an hour – but the whole thing works, imaging the internal structure of a bell pepper surprisingly well.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 21:29Light-Activated Pixel Heart with GEMMA on Threadbanger #WearableWednesday
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 21:08Last Call for Maker Faire Bay Area Makers
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 20:30Battery Powering Your Wearable Electronics #WearableWednesday
Learn how to pick the right battery pack for your wearable electronics project in our latest #WearableWednesday video! Browse our batteries and power section for a wide range of options!
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 20:11MakerBot Retail Store | Maggie Gets Creative with the MakerBot Photo Booth
A MakerBot Operator Improves on a 3D Model
Everyone knows the MakerBot community does its research, so our MakerBot Retail Operators need to know 3D printing inside and out. It’s no surprise that Maggie Dilley from the MakerBot retail store in New York City has seen a lot of 3D prints and designs. From the functional to the downright funny, she is well versed in MakerBot Thingiverse and beyond.
We asked Maggie to give us a bit of background on herself and her favorite 3D print, made on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.
I started working at the MakerBot retail store about a year ago. I’m a visual artist at heart, and working at here allows me to express my talent through a cool new medium. I’ve been a big fan of our photo booth from the beginning; it’s such a fun feature of the store. I got the idea to print out a hollow bust of myself and insert a small LED light as a way of boosting its dramatic nature. It’s so amusing that way!
Be sure to visit Maggie at the NYC MakerBot retail store at 298 Mulberry Street. And don’t forget to peruse a seemingly endless amount of ready-to-print content at Thingiverse, the 3D design community for discovering, printing, and sharing 3D models.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 19:59The donation robot
Holger from Fablab Düsseldorf writes in about a small robot they prototyped with Arduino Uno, helping them raise some funds for their local space:
We created the idea in our non-commerical FabLab in Düsseldorf, Germany to create a small robot, who makes our vistors and guests aware of placing a small money donation. This robot was required to be transportable, robust and to draw as much attention as possible.
Thus, we included LED-Stripes, servos, sensors and sound to the project. Packed in a very old german vacuum cleaner. The work took about 1 year to construct, print and integrate all 3D-printed parts, wiring and software development with the Arduino Uno. But software development was the minor part, although parallel processing on the Arduino in order to run every component simultaneously required a small trick.
These are the components in action:
- Controller: Arduino Uno R3
- Software: Standard Processing and standard libraries
- Audio: VLSI VS1000 Audio Module incl. our own firmware that lets the Arduino control the board
- Distancesensor: HC-SR04 embedded in a modelled nose of FIMO
- 4 LED stripes (2 RGB on the backside)
- 6 power-LEDs for the top
- 1 servo for moving the top
- 1 Servo for moving the bill-mouth
- 3 distance sensors for bill and coin detection
- 1 switch for muting the audio module and 1 reset button
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 19:25New Project: Build a Raspberry Pi “Like” Tracker Kiosk
For this project I'm going to share how to build a Raspberry Pi-based kiosk that will show how many 'Likes' your Facebook page has. When you get a new Like it will show you and alert you with a sound.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 19:003D Printering: Making A Thing With Solidworks, Part II
Last week we started to Make a Thing in Solidworks. We got as far as sketching and extruding the base. This week we’ll make the back portion. We’ll use some of the same techniques in Part I and a few new features such as 3D filleting and the Hole Wizard.
As you know, this is not the first ‘Making a Thing’ tutorial. In case you missed them, the softwares previously covered in the 3D Printering series are:
- AutoCAD Part I
- AutoCAD Part II
- Blender Part I
- Blender Part II
- Autodesk 123D
- FreeCAD Part I
- FreeCAD Part II
- Solidworks Part I
Picking up where we left off, the next step is to make the back portion of the shape. To do this, start by rotating the view to see the rear face of the part. We want our sketch to be on the rear face so select the rear face by clicking on it. Once it is highlighted, select Sketch from the Sketch Tab.
A new line will show up in the Model Tree (in this case it is called Sketch2). Right click on this and click on the Normal To icon. This will rotate the view to be perpendicular to the face the sketch will be on.
Now that we are looking at the rear face of the part, we can draw the back portion, which is basically a tombstone shape with tapered sides. Start by drawing a circle. It can be any size and any location as it will be dimensioned later. Like in Part 1, I will intentionally sketch the shape out of proportion to show how the geometry will change when adding dimensions and constraints.
The tapered lines should be tangent to circle. To do this, select the Line Tool from the Sketch Tab, start the line on one of the top corners of the rear face. Then hover over the circle near the point where the line would be tangent to the circle. A yellow box with a tangent symbol will appear. Clicking at this time will make the line tangent to the circle. Do this for the other side. Then draw the last 3 lines. Hovering over the corners of the rear face will make the lines snap to those points. On the Sketch Tab, select the Trim Tool and click on the bottom portion of the circle to delete it.
From the sample drawing, we know that the center of the arc is 7/8″ above the top face of the portion we have already drawn and extruded. Use the Smart Dimension Tool to add a dimension from the center of the arc to the top face of the extruded part. Then enter “7/8″ as the desired distance and the sketch will move to satisfy that requirement. Click on the arc to specify its radius. Enter 5/8 or 0.625.
The radius is currently not centered over the rear face. To center it, left click on the top of the rear face and select the midpoint. Then hold shift and select the center of the arc. A window will pop up, select the vertical line to make the arc centered over the rear face.
The sketch is now complete. Click Exit Sketch from the Sketch Tab.
NOTE: The 7/16″ through-hole could have been drawn on the sketch and it would have created a hole when the sketch was extruded. After that, the counterbore would still have to be added. We will create both the hole and counterbore in one step later.
To extrude the part, select the sketch (Sketch2) on the Model Tree, then on the Features Tab, select Extruded Boss. In the Boss-Extrude dialog box, type in 0.5 or 1/2 to specify the length to extrude. Click the green check mark to make it happen.
To make the hole and counterbore we’ll try something new. Select the Hole Wizard from the Features Tab. This tool will allow us to make the hole and counterbore at the same time. In the Hole Specifications Dialog Box, select the following:
Hole Type: Legacy Hole
Type: Counterbored (adds a counterbore)
End Condition: Through All (makes the hole go through the entire part)
Enter the dimensions from the sample drawing for the Hole Diameter, Counterbore Diameter and Counterbore Depth.
NOTE: We can’t change the hole Depth because we specified “Through All” for the End Condition. If we selected “Blind” and added a depth of 2 inches, the hole would go into the part 2 inches deep.
Now that the hole and counterbore dimensions are specified, we need to determine where the hole will be. While still in the Hole Specifications dialog box, click on the Positions Tab. Then select the face of the part where the hole will be placed. Position does not mater right now.
A representation of the counterbored hole will be placed on the part. We know it is not in the correct spot. To make the hole concentric with the arc of the back portion of the part, click on the asterisk at the center of the previewed hole, then hold shift and click on the arc of the part. A little window will pop up. Clicking on the icon made of two circles will make the two selected features concentric with one another. Hit the green check mark to finish the operation.
Remember in Part 1, we left a couple fillets off of the drawing so that we could add them later. On the Features Tab, there is a Fillet Tool. Selecting this will open a dialog box where you can enter the desired radius of the fillet. The sample drawing stated these fillets were 1/8 inch. Enter that and click on the corners that need to be radiused. Solidworks will show a preview of the fillets. Click the green check mark to accept the preview.
That’s it! Here’s the final product:
This Hackaday Column is called 3D Printering and in order to print the part, the file must be saved in .stl format. This is as easy as File-Save As. Select .stl from the file type list.
That concludes the Solidworks ‘Making A Thing’ tutorial. Happy modeling and printing!
Filed under: Hackaday Columns
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 19:00Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 02/26/2014 – LIVE
Join Becky Stern and friends every week as we delve into the wonderful world of wearables, live on YouTube. We’ll answer your questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store, and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials, and projects you can build at home! Ask your wearables questions in the comments, and if your question is featured on a future episode, you’ll be entered to win the show giveaway!
- #WearableWednesday on the Adafruit blog
- Battery Powering your wearables
- Component of the Week: Sew-Your-Own Owl Kit
- Tools We Love: Flush diagonal cutters
Subscribe to Adafruit on YouTube
New tutorials on the Adafruit Learning System
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 18:00Tully’s LED VJ Mask #WearableWednesday
Tully writes in about his NeoPixel VJ visor:
I updated to the WS2812, got our own PCB’s printed up, and made this. There is the same amount of negative space as there is PCB, and the light only throws forwards, so you can see through it perfectly well. Also, because they PCB is mostly fibreglass, it bent into the half cylinder really easily. This thing is insanely bright. We modified the Pixel Invaders software to be able to send to the 2812 (as it has no clock pin) using a teensey using the adafruit library.