Monday, April 7, 2014 - 15:00How To Make an Amazing Spider-Man Costume
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be here soon, and if you’re thinking about making a Spidey costume of your very own, YouTuber Crazydog500 has three how-to videos to help you put one together. You have to obtain the pattern yourself and get it printed, and then Crazydog goes through the step by step of making the mask and attaching shoes for a seamless look. The end result is a costume that looks a lot like what you see on the screen, and even if you’re not planning to dress like Spider-Man, it’s a good overview for different techniques.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 14:37BREAKING NEWS! Raspberry Pi Compute Module – Pi on a DIMM! @Raspberry_Pi #raspberrypi
The compute module contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the same type of connector as used for laptop memory*). The Flash memory is connected directly to the processor on the board, but the remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins. You get the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi), and designing the module into a custom system should be relatively straightforward as we’ve put all the tricky bits onto the module itself.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 14:00The Pressure Suit Chronicles
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 14:00NeoPixel-Thermo-Hygrometer Displays A Room’s Temperature and Humidity #NeoPixel #Adafruit
Christian Bastel-Leben shared with us a unique project he built around Adafruit NeoPixel strips, saying: “I build a cool looking device that displays the temperature and humidity in a room with the help of your great NeoPixels! Thank you for the product and especially for the library!” Check out project documentation at his site here:
The NeoPixel-thermo-hygrometer is ready! Cornelius was milled with a beautiful body, the front panel is made of TrueLED Plexiglas (black). The thermo-hygrometer shows on the right scale, the temperature of 10-40 ° C and on the left the relative humidity from 0-100% of .
The respective delicate dark green dots indicate the boundaries within which the indoor climate is perceived as pleasant.
[Below] Here I sprayed the sensor with cooling spray: the center point for temperature is slumped down and then changes to blue, the point for the relative humidity is fired up and has this changed to red. The thermo-hygrometer is reminiscent of something between a DNA image and a LCARS display and looks very cool!
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 13:013D Printed Camera Arm Saves $143
Professional camera equipment is notoriously expensive, so when [Raster's] LCD camera arm for his RED ONE Digital Cinema Camera broke, he was dismayed to find out a new one would run him back $150! He decide to take matters into his own hands and make this one instead.
The original arm lasted a good 4 years before finally braking — but unfortunately, it’s not very fixable. Luckily, [Raster] has a 3D printer! The beauty with most camera gear is it’s all 1/4-20 nuts and bolts, making DIY accessories very easy to cobble together. He fired up OpenSCAD and started designing various connector blocks for the 1/4-20 hardware to connect to. His first prototype worked but there was lots of room for improvement for the second iteration. He’s continued refining it into a more durable arm seen here. For $7 of material — it’s a pretty slick system!
Between making 3D printed digital camera battery adapters, 3D printed camera mounts for aerial photography, affordable steady-cams, or even a fully 3D printed camera… getting a 3D printer if you’re a photography enthusiast seems to make a lot of sense!
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 13:00How a medieval philosopher dreamed up the ‘multiverse’
Space.com has an interesting read on how space was viewed in the Middle Ages.
The idea that our universe may be just one among many out there has intrigued modern cosmologists for some time. But it looks like this “multiverse” concept might actually have appeared, albeit unintentionally, back in the Middle Ages.
When scientists analyzed a 13th-century Latin text and applied modern mathematics to it, they found hints that the English philosopher who wrote it in 1225 was already toying with concepts similar to the multiverse…
In De Luce, Grosseteste assumed that the universe was born from an explosion that pushed everything, matter and light, out from a single point — an idea that is strikingly similar to the modern Big Bang theory.
At first, wrote the philosopher, matter and light were linked together. But the rapid expansion eventually led to a “perfect state,” with light-matter crystallizing and forming the outermost sphere — the so-called “firmament” — of the medieval cosmos.
The crystalized matter, Grosseteste assumed, also radiated a special kind of light, which he called lumen. It radiated inward, gathering up the “imperfect” matter it encountered and piling it up in front, similar to the way shock waves propagate in a supernova explosion.
This left behind “perfect” matter that crystallized into another sphere, embedded within the first and also radiating lumen. Eventually, in the center, the remaining imperfect matter formed the core of all the spheres — the Earth…
And although De Luce never mentions the term “multiverse,” Bower said that Grosseteste “seems to realize that the model does not predict a unique solution, and that there are many possible outcomes. He needs to pick out one universe from all the possibilities.”
“Robert Grosseteste works in a very similar way to a modern cosmologist, suggesting physical laws based on observations of the world around him, and he then uses these laws to understand how the universe formed,” Bower said.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:02The gloves that will “change the way we make music”
…musician Imogen Heap demonstrates the electronic gloves that allow people to interact with their computer remotely via hand gestures.
The interview was filmed at Heap’s home studio outside London, shortly before she launched her Kickstarter campaign to produce a limited production run of the open-source Mi.Mu gloves.
“These beautiful gloves help me gesturally interact with my computer,” says Heap, explaining how the wearable technology allows her to perform without having to interact with keyboards or control panels.
Pushing buttons and twiddling dials “is not very exciting for me or the audience,” she says. “[Now] I can make music on the move, in the flow and more humanly, [and] more naturally engage with my computer software and technology.”
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:00These MIT Researchers Want to Turn GIFs Into a Language
Two MIT Media Lab Grad students, Travis Rich and Kevin Hu, started GIFGIF, an interactive site that aims to measure and understand the potential of GIFs as web language. Click through to participate! via The Atlantic.
“We were talking about GIFs one day,” Hu told Quartz, “and we realized that they’re becoming more and more serious of a medium. They’re more popular, they’re used for more things.” Buzzfeed, for example, recently used GIFs to explain what was going on in Ukraine—reaching an audience that otherwise might have ignored the news. “And we realized,” Hu said, “that we could quantify this usage.”
The site, where visitors pick which of two GIFs relates better to a particular emotion, is powered by another MIT Media Lab project’s platform. Place Pulse used the multiple-choice A/B voting system to assign emotions to pictures of different cities, allowing researchers to quantify, for example, how “sad” or “unsafe” people felt when looking at pictures of Rio de Janeiro.
But Rich and Hu, who worked on separate teams but sat near each other (and the Place Pulse group) in the lab, decided to harness the system for their own purposes, to create a visual database of emotion. “It’s the same idea,” Rich said. “Taking something that’s very easy for humans to read—emotion—and translating it for computers.” While humans have no trouble deciphering what a GIF “means,” the same task is impossible for a computer.
Since launching on March 3, the site has drawn an average of 15,000 users a day who vote around 10 times per visit. “The average time is increasing already,” Hu said, “so we’re pretty optimistic for the future.” Their first goal is to build a text-to-GIF translator. “I want people to be able to put in a Shakespearian sonnet and get out a GIF set,” Hu said. But once they’ve gotten qualitative metrics for a large number of GIFs, they think the possibilities are pretty endless. “You could reverse-engineer it and use a GIF to find a movie that fits a certain mood,” Rich said.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 11:00NYC Resistor Members Collaborate with Brooklyn Ballet On Current Season #neopixel
Members of the NYC Resistor hackerspace shared with us about their latest project — which features Adafruit NeoPixels, GEMMAs, and more! — currently on view at the Brooklyn Ballet! (Grab tickets here!)
Nick and Sayaka Vermeer, Olivia Barr, and William Ward have been working hard for the past couple weeks on an exciting project with the Brooklyn Ballet. We are transforming the dancers’ costumes into interactive performance pieces. Our contribution consists of six LED snowfall tutus for the ballerinas, one Pexel shirt for Mike “Supreme” Fields and six sparkling LED hair accessories for the young ballerinas. The dancers will be performing the snow scene from the Nutcracker in the Brooklyn Ballet’s Vectors, Marys, and Snow performance from April 3rd to April 13th.
…[See the video below from their crowdfunding initiative] to watch an interview with Nick and Lynn Parkerson, founding artistic director and choreographer of Brooklyn Ballet. We’d really appreciate your donation to further our work! All our hardware designs and code are open source, and we hope to see more creative works mixing technology and dance.
Snowfall Tutus: To accomplish the snowfall/glitter efffect we’ve added LED lights, motion sensors, and custom coded/fabricated microcontrollers to the tutus. The sensor we used is called an accelerometer and its placed at the waist of the corset. It reacts with with movement of the dancer by increasing the amount and brightness of the LEDs with more vigorous movement from the dancer. Nick found a remarkably strong ultra flex 36 gauge silicone wire thats perfect for the supple construction of the tutus and its become a standard material at NYC Resistor for wearables. The wire connects 24 neopixels that are broken down into 6 strands of 4 pixels in each tutu. Special thanks to Max Henstell and Adam Mayer for helping in production. Take a look at this amazing video of our twinkling Tutu!
Pexel Shirt: Pexel Shirt is custom made for the dancer Mike “Supreme” Fields and is designed to interact with his pecks and arms. Mike is a popping artist and his dancing incorporates the flexing of muscle groups to create surface movement on his body. The shirt is activated by individual accelerometer sensors placed over his muscles that illuminate the LEDs through a Flora microcontroller. There are four sensors total, one on each peck and each wrist. When he flexes an individual peck it lights up. The lights on his arms are controlled by moving his wrists up/down or right/left. The entire piece is hand sewn including stitches in between individual pixel on the arm strands for optimum elasticity while still being secure. Watch the Mike in action here: Mike “Supreme” Fields.
Sparkle Hair Clips: To accent the young ballerina’s costume we designed an LED accent on a hair clip. The clip uses a Gemma microcontroller and a strand of neopixels. The clear acrylic beads on the clip filter the LEDs and sparkle.
Please come out and see the show at the Brooklyn Ballet April 3rd – 13th.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 10:01Hack A Day Goes Retro in a Computer Museum
Our friends over at Hack42 in the Netherlands decided to have some fun with their computer museum. So far, they’ve been able to display the Hack a Day retro site on three classic computers — including an Apple Lisa, a DEC GIGI, and a run of the mill DEC VT100. We had the opportunity to visit Hack42 last October during our Hackerspacing in Europe trip – but just as a refresher if you don’t remember, Hack42 is in Arnhem, in the Netherlands — just outside of Germany. The compound was built in 1942 as a German military base, disguised as a bunch of farmhouses. It is now home to Hack42, artist studios, and other random businesses. The neat thing is, its location is still blurred out on Google Maps! Needless to say, their hackerspace has lots of space. Seriously. So much so they have their own computer museum! Which is why they’ve decided to have some fun with them… To get Hack a Day Retro on these old computers they are using an old Debian Compaq machine as the host computer for the DECServer90m. The DECServer90m is a remote serial port server with 8 configurable serial ports. It’s used as a terminal server for VAX, nicorVAX or other similar computers. It connects using coax Ethernet to be configured. The serial ports can be setup for printers, modems, or in this case, dumb terminals like the DEC VT100, or an Apple Lisa.
The Lisa was one of the first systems to use a mouse and a graphical desktop!
The DEC GIGI VK100 is a strange beast. Even DEC did’t know what to think of it and couldn’t properly market the machine, thinking it was just a dumb terminal with color support and some extra gizmo’s like basic and graphics. It looks like a over-sized Commodore C64 but it has some nice connectors on the back, like a current-loop (for serial connections to even older computers than a VAX like a PDP8 minicomputer and three BNC connectors for component color output.)
They’re currently working on an even more complicated method to get some really old computers to display the page!
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 10:00DIY Satellites: Now and Near Future
Space is becoming increasingly accessible to more people thanks to plummeting costs, weight, and energy use of the technologies needed for freeflying satellites to sense and direct their orientation, communicate with the ground, and perform complicated computations in real time on orbit. The dawn of this new age of DIY satellite […]
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 10:00George Lucas Explains How the “Star Wars” Lightsaber Was Designed
Fast Co. Design has the story on this mini documentary that explores the creation of the iconic lightsaber from Star Wars.
In all of the annals of film and science fiction, you’d be hard pressed to find an object as singularly identifiable as the Star Wars lightsaber. Even if you don’t like science fiction, you can probably tell a lightsaber sight unseen, just by the distinctive whooshing sound it makes. That’s an impressive feat for a prop that, originally, was nothing more than a rotoscoped stick. It’s a journey that has been documented in this great 15-minute film that details the secret design history of the lightsaber.
According to George Lucas, he came up with the idea of a lightsaber for Star Wars because the film was meant to be a space-age Arthurian epic. It needed its own legendary weapon that the Jedi could use to set them apart, but it also needed to seem futuristic. Most importantly, since Jedis were supposed to be peacekeepers, Lucas wanted the weapon to be purely defensive. He finally settled on the idea of a laser sword to be his franchise’s Excalibur.
Bringing the lightsaber to life in the Star Wars films was an organic process. Originally, Lucas’s vision was that a lightsaber should be an extremely heavy weapon, at least 40 or 50 pounds, that required two-hands to lift. This is why all of the lightsaber duels in Star Wars are two-handed affairs. Over time, though, Lucas realized that he needed a way to show that Luke Skywalker was getting to be more proficient as a sword fighter, so the lightsabers became conceptually lighter, capable of being wielded with one hand.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 09:00Awesome new Jack White video shows paint reverberating inside speakers #MusicMonday
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 09:00Awesome new Jack White video shows paint reverberating inside a stack of amps #MusicMonday
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 08:00The Cumulus Parasol from toer is a Self-Inflating Solar Powered Umbrella
The Cumulus Parasol from the Dutch design firm toer is a self-inflating, solar powered umbrella. Now if only they could make a rain-activiated one!
The Cumulus Parasol is a solar powered parasol that inflates itself when the sun starts shining.
This artificial cumulus protects you from the sun. Whenever the sun comes out, this parasol inflates automatically to a cloud like shape using a solar panel at the top.
The Parasol inflates in about 20 seconds. The inflated Cumulus has a diameter of two meters. The cloud doesn’t have a metal core structure. The curved shape of the inflated cloud is aerodynamic, allowing it to withstand windy weather. The nylon surface of the Cumulus is durable, lightweight, and strong. The silicone coating makes it water proof.
Solar panels are positioned on top of the parasol. When it is sunny, these panels power a fan which inflates the body of the parasol. When the sun goes away the parasol deflates automatically. Also the parasol can be switched off using an additional switch which is integrated in the pole.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 07:00From the Forums – A NeoPixel as a PHPUnit Status Indicator! #neopixel #arduino
This is a project for any PHP developers out there using PHPUnit as a test framework. I wrote some code to hook up a PHPUnit listener to an Arduino board, which changes the color of a NeoPixel based on the result of unit tests.
Here’s the code on GitHub.
A quick demo video (above).
Featured Adafruit Product!
Flora RGB Smart NeoPixel version 2 – Pack of 4: What’s a wearable project without LEDs? Our favorite part of the Flora platform is these tiny smart pixels. Designed specifically for wearables, these updated Flora NeoPixels have ultra-cool technology: these ultra-bright LEDs have a constant-current driver cooked right into the LED package! The pixels are chainable – so you only need 1 pin/wire to control as many LEDs as you like. They’re easy to sew, and the chainable design means no crossed threads. (read more)
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 06:00Editing circuits with focused ion beams #reverseengineering
[Andrew] has been busy running a class on hardware reverse engineering this semester, and figured a great end for the class would be something extraordinarily challenging and amazingly powerful. To that end, he’s editing CPLDs in circuit, drilling down to metal layers of a CPLD and probing the signals inside. It’s the ground work for reverse engineering just about every piece of silicon ever made, and a great look into what major research labs and three-letter agencies can actually do.
The chip [Andrew] chose was a Xilinx XC2C32A, a cheap but still modern CPLD. The first step to probing the signals was decapsulating the chip from its plastic prison and finding some interesting signals on the die. After working out a reasonable functional diagram for the chip, he decided to burrow into one of the lines on the ZIA, the bus between the macrocells, GPIO pins, and function blocks.
Actually probing one of these signals first involved milling through 900 nm of silicon nitride to get to a metal layer and one of the signal lines. This hole was then filled with platinum and a large 20 μm square was laid down for a probe needle. It took a few tries, but [Andrew] was able to write a simple ‘blink a LED’ code for the chip and view the s square wave from this test point. not much, but that’s the first step to reverse engineering the crypto on a custom ASIC, reading some undocumented configuration bits, and basically doing anything you want with silicon.
This isn’t the sort of thing anyone could ever do in their home lab. It’s much more than just having an electron microscope on hand; [Andrew] easily used a few million dollars worth of tools to probe the insides of this chip. Still, it’s a very cool look into what the big boys can do with the right equipment.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 06:00Shoe factory converted into co-working space for hardware startups #makerbusiness
MakeWorks is a 10,000-square-foot, airy complex in a converted shoe factory, built into a half-height basement on Toronto’s College St. West. With desk space for 120 people, the sprawling facility looks a bit like other co-working spaces at first blush – there’s plenty of desks, along with a conference tables, and a kitchen, and an abundance of networking cable.
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 04:01Arduino-Controlled Marquee Arrow Points the Way to Whatever You Like
Reader [pscmpf] really digs the scrolling light look of old marquee signs and as soon as he saw some Christmas lights with G40 bulbs, he was on his way to creating his own vintage-look marquee arrow.
We must agree that those bulbs really do look like old marquee lights or small vanity globes. [pscmpf] started by building, varnishing, and distressing the wooden box to display the lights and house the electronics. He controls the lights with an Arduino Pro and an SSR controller board. The 24 lights are divided into ten sections; each of these has its own solid-state relay circuit built around an MC3042 as the opto-coupler, with a power supply he made from a scrap transformer.
[pscmpf] shares some but not all of his code as it is pretty long. There are five patterns that each play at three different speeds in addition to a continuous ‘on’ state. In his demonstration video after the jump, he runs through all the patterns using a momentary switch. This hack proves that Arduino-controlled Christmas lights are awesome year-round.
Filed under: Arduino Hacks
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 02:04The World’s Biggest Tetris Game (video)
The Drexel University professor Frank Lee and his team hacked into the lighting system of a 29-story skyscraper in Philadelphia to play Tetris on the building’s facade.