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  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 14:03
    Distributor spotlight – Chicago Electronic Distributors makes a Baby Monome! @chicagoedist and @CNSmakerfaire


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    Baby Monome! @ Chicago Electronic Distributors. Craig writes -

    We really like the Adafruit Trellis keypad, and realized that it would be a great Monome.  Then it occurred to me…my daughter loves blinking lights and music, how cool would it be to make her a Baby DJ Monome for playing her favorite songs!

    So we started with the Trellis keypad, then added an Adafruit Wave Shield.  We stacked it all on top of an Arduino Uno R3,  We won’t bore you with how to build these, just follow Adafruit’s excellent tutorials for the Wave Shield and Trellis.  Here is a quick video showing the innards:

    Next we 3D printed a case using Pumping Station One’s Makerbot.  Adafruit has provided a nice guide on how to print a case for these.  Ours did not turn out perfectly, but the result worked well for our initial prototype.  Note we made our case a little taller than the Adafruit example since we had to also fit a Wave Shield.

    Finally, we had to test our prototype on our favorite toddler.  Turns out she loves it!

    For the next iteration, we would like to incorporate a speaker and rechargeable batteries.  It will make it a little bigger, but anyone with kids knows that wires hanging off will only cause problems down the road!

    Adafruit 2951

    Next up, Craig will be showing off their products at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire in a few weeks, lots of Adafruit will be there!

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 14:00
    How to make a BeagleBone and an Arduino communicate #BeagleBoneBlack @TXInstruments #BeagleBoardOrg


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    How to make a Beaglebne and Arduino communicate. by chwei

    Say you’ve got this nice Ardunio project that provides serial data, but it needs a FTDI and you don’t want to tie up your BeagleBone’s (or BB) USB port or use a hub. Well, it’s not as hard as you think, and you don’t need a FTDI!

    The BB has 4 TTL serial ports available, and this how-to will show you how to use one to talk to an Arduino. I’m going to show this by using a minimal Arduino on a breadboard, but you can do this with a normal Arduino as well, just use an external power adapter and don’t plug in the USB. The “gotcha” to this is that the BB’s ports run at 3.3VDC and the Arduino runs at 5VDC. We’ll solve that using a logic level shifter.

    Things you’ll need:

    - Breadboard and some jumper wires

    - a BeagleBone (any revision including black should work the same)

    - an Ardunio

    - a Logic level shifter that supports 5v-3.3v and bi-directional on the TX line.

    See Full Tutorial


    BeagleBone Adafruit Industries Unique fun DIY electronics and kitsEach 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 22, 2014 - 13:54
    World’s Fair: Isaac Asimov’s predictions 50 years on


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    BBC News – World’s Fair: Isaac Asimov’s predictions 50 years on.

    …while some of those futuristic technologies on display never quite went mainstream – underwater housing and levitating cars, anyone? – a closer look at Asimov’s World’s Fair of 2014 reveals that his crystal ball was shockingly clear. Here’s a look at 2014, through the eyes of 1964.

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 13:42
    Fragmented Memory



    Fragmented Memory by Phillip Stearns.

    Fragmented Memory is a triptych of large woven tapestries completed in May 2013 in Tilburg, NL at the Audax Textielmuseum’s Textiellab. The project uses digital practices and processes to blur the lines between photography, data visualization, textile design, and computer science. The result are works of visual art that serve not only to render visible the invisible processes mediating everyday experience, but also to operate as distinctly tactile and lo-fi digital storage media—the process becomes a means to capture, record, and transmit data.

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 13:00
    3D Printed Borromean Rings #ArtTuesday


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    Bathsheba creates 3D sculptures using metal as her medium. Here she creates the shape of the Borromean Ring.

    This is one of a delightful class of objects known as Seifert surfaces. Every knot and link (in mathematics knots are closed loops, links are assemblages of knots) has a continuous surface which it is the edge of. An introduction to these surfaces, along with free software to generate them, are at the SeifertView site.

    These surfaces are often beautiful, especially for symmetrical knots and links, and here I’ve produced one of the sweeter ones. This surface has three edges, each a simple closed loop, which are locked together in an ancient form called the Borromean Rings. Named after its use in an Italian coat of arms, these three rings are locked together inextricably although no two of them are linked. Their Seifert surface twists through the loops smoothly and gracefully, and I’m very happy with the organic mesh. It’s wide enough to let light through, while responding sensitively to the curvature and giving a tactile texture.

    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 22, 2014 - 13:00
    Self-Learning Helicopter Uses Neural Network

    model helicopter attached to boom

    Though this project uses an RC helicopter, it’s merely a vessel to demonstrate a fascinating machine learning algorithm developed by two Cornell students – [Akshay] and [Sergio]. The learning environment is set up with the helicopter at its center, attached to a boom. The boom restricts the helicopter’s movement down to one degree of motion, so that it can only move up from the ground (not side to side or front to back).

    The goal is for the helicopter to teach itself how to get to a specific height in the quickest amount of time. A handful of IR sensors are used to tell the Atmega644 how high the helicopter is. The genius of this though, is in the firmware. [Akshay] and [Sergio] are using an evolutionary algorithm adopted from Floreano et al, a noted author on biological inspired artificial intelligences. The idea is for the helicopter to create random “runs” and then check the data. The runs that are closer to the goal get refined while the others are eliminated, thus mimicking evolutions’ natural selection.

    We’ve seen neural networks before, but nothing like this. Stay with us after the break, as we take this awesome project and narrow it down so that you too can implement this type of algorithm in your next project.

     


    chart showing different points
    Consider the image above. The goal is for the helicopter to start at Point A, go to Point C and hover. Allotted time is 10 seconds per run. It has to teach itself how to do this and do it as quickly as possible. Remember, it knows where these points are via IR sensors.  [Akshay] and [Sergio] developed an equation using a piecewise function to determine which runs were closest to Point C for the longest amount of time.

     

    fitness equation for helicopter

     

    Each of the points in the above equation is known via a voltage from the IR sensors, with Point A being 0.1 volts and Point D being 3.7 volts.  The equation is designed to give the greatest value for the longest time spent at Point C. This value is known as a Fitness Value.

    A neural network is used to determine at what level the throttle should be at to achieve the highest Fitness Value. This network is apart the Evolutionary Algorithm that runs in the firmware. Basically, it starts off with random values that generate random levels of throttle. The values that achieve the highest Fitness Value get ‘mutated’, while the others are discarded.

    The mutations in the values are done at random, and the process repeats. In the end, the firmware learns the best throttle levels to achieve the goal of being at Point C for the longest time in the allotted 10 seconds.

    Be sure to check out this linked project for full details on these mutations are carried out in the source.

    Filed under: Microcontrollers, misc hacks

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 12:10
    MakerFaire Rome: the european call for makers is online! Join us

    Maker Faire 2014

     

    It’s time to start tinkering on new projects or pimp-up some old ones because MakerFaire Rome is calling!

    Last year it was an overwhelming experience for all of us: more than 35.000 people from all over the world gathered for the first edition of the European edition of MakerFaire. Around 24o makers presented their projects ( 60% from Italy and 40% from the rest of the continent) and showed to a crowd of enthusiasts and newbies  the impact of open source community and DIY on our lives.

    If you want to join us with your project in Rome from the 3rd to the 5th of October, take a look at the Call for Makers and fill it before the 25th of May:

    The first step to participate in Maker Faire Rome as Maker is to submit an entry that tells us about yourself and your project. Entries can be submitted from individuals as well as from groups.
    Please provide a description of what you make and what you would like to bring to Maker Faire, including links to photographs and/or videos of your project. We particularly encourage exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things. Continue >>

    Here’s Arduino’s video from last year experience:

     

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 12:00
    Go to Maker Faire UK, but don’t let them crush your car

    RobohandWe're now less than a week away from the premier maker event in the UK, the Maker Faire UK which will be held at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne this weekend.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 12:00
    Time travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world


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    Time is like the wind, it lifts the light and leaves the heavy. ~Doménico Cieri Estrada


    1724 – Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, is born.

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    Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world and its laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to have a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.

    Read more.


    1889 – At high noon, thousands rush to claim land in the Land Run of 1889. Within hours the cities of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed with populations of at least 10,000.

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    The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands and included all or part of the 2013 modern day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres (8,000 km²).

    The Unassigned Lands were considered some of the best unoccupied public land in the United States. The Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889 was passed and signed into law with an amendment by Illinois Representative William McKendree Springer, that authorized President Benjamin Harrison to open the two million acres (8,000 km²) for settlement. Due to the Homestead Act of 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, legal settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres (0.65 km2) in size. Provided a settler lived on the land and improved it, the settler could then receive the title to the land.

    Read more.


    1904 – J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist, is born.

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    Julius Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is among the persons who are often called the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico; Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

    After the war he became a chief advisor to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission and used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and an arms race with the Soviet Union. After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken opinions during the Second Red Scare, he had his security clearance revoked in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence; he continued to lecture, write and work in physics. Nine years later President John F. Kennedy awarded (and Lyndon B. Johnson presented) him with the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of political rehabilitation.

    Oppenheimer’s notable achievements in physics include the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wavefunctions, work on the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process in nuclear fusion, and the first prediction of quantum tunneling. With his students he also made important contributions to the modern theory of neutron stars and black holes, as well as to quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays. As a teacher and promoter of science, he is remembered as a founding father of the American school of theoretical physics that gained world prominence in the 1930s. After World War II, he became director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

    Read more.


    1909 – Rita Levi-Montalcini, Italian neurologist and Nobel Prize laureate, is born.

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    Rita Levi-Montalcini was an Italian neurologist who, together with colleague Stanley Cohen, received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). Also, from 2001, until her death, she served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.

    Rita Levi-Montalcini had been the oldest living Nobel laureate and the first ever to reach a 100th birthday. On 22 April 2009, she was feted with a 100th birthday party at Rome’s city hall…

    Levi-Montalcini lost her assistant position in the anatomy department after a 1938 law was passed, barring Jews from university positions. During World War II, Levi-Montalcini would conduct experiments from a home laboratory, studying the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos, which laid the groundwork for much of her later research. She described this experience decades later in the science documentary film Death by Design/The Life and Times of Life and Times (1997), which also features her identical twin sister Paola, who had entered a decades-long career in the arts. Her first genetics laboratory was in her bedroom at her home. In 1943, to escape the German occupation of Italy, her family fled south to Florence, and she set up a laboratory there also, using the corner of a shared living space. During this time she also volunteered her medical expertise for the Allied health service. Her family returned to Turin in 1945.

    Read more.


    1926 – James Stirling, Scottish architect who designed the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Seeley Historical Library is born.

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    Sir James Frazer Stirling was a British architect. Among critics and architects alike he is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important and influential architects of the second half of the 20th century. His career began as one of a number of young architects who, from the 1950s onwards, questioned and subverted the compositional and theoretical precepts of the first Modern Movement. Stirling’s development of an agitated, mannered reinterpretation of those precepts – much influenced by his friend and teacher, the important architectural theorist and urbanist Colin Rowe – introduced an eclectic spirit that allowed him to plunder the whole sweep of architectural history as a source of compositional inspiration, from ancient Rome and the Baroque, to the many manifestations of the modern period, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Alvar Aalto. His success lay in his ability to incorporate these encyclopaedic references subtly, within a decisive architecture of strong, confident gestures that aimed to remake urban form. For these reasons, it can be said that in his time, Stirling’s architecture was a rebellion against conformity. He caused annoyance in conventional circles, who lost no opportunity to attack his work and led him to seek opportunities outside the UK.

    Read more.


    1964 – The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opens for its first season.

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    The 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair was the third major world’s fair to be held in New York City. Hailing itself as a “universal and international” exposition, the fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding”, dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe”; American companies dominated the exposition as exhibitors. The theme was symbolized by a 12-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere. The fair ran for two six-month seasons, April 22 – October 18, 1964 and April 21 – October 17, 1965. Admission price for adults (13 and older) was $2 in 1964 (about $15 in 2013 dollars) but $2.50 in 1965, and $1 for children (2–12) both years (about $7 in 2013 dollars).

    The fair is best remembered as a showcase of mid-20th-century American culture and technology. The nascent Space Age, with its vista of promise, was well represented. More than 51 million people attended the fair, though less than the hoped-for 70 million. It remains a touchstone for New York–area Baby Boomers, who visited the optimistic fair as children before the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, cultural changes, and increasing struggles for civil rights.

    In many ways the fair symbolized a grand consumer show covering many products produced in America at the time for transportation, living, and consumer electronic needs in a way that would never be repeated at future world’s fairs in North America. Most American companies from pen manufacturers to auto companies had a major presence. While this fair did not receive official sanctioning from the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), it did give many attendees their first interaction with computer equipment. Many corporations demonstrated the use of mainframe computers, computer terminals with keyboards and CRT displays, Teletype machines, punch cards, and telephone modems in an era when computer equipment was kept in back offices away from the public, decades before the Internet and home computers were at everyone’s disposal.

    Read more.


    1969 – British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston wins the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race and completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world.

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    The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, held in 1968–1969, and was the first round-the-world yacht race. The race was controversial due to the failure by most competitors to finish the race and because of the suicide of one entrant; however, it ultimately led to the founding of the BOC Challenge and Vendée Globe round-the-world races, both of which continue to be successful and popular.

    The race was sponsored by the British Sunday Times newspaper and was designed to capitalise on a number of individual round-the-world voyages which were already being planned by various sailors; for this reason, there were no qualification requirements, and competitors were offered the opportunity to join and permitted to start at any time between 1 June and 31 October 1968. The Golden Globe trophy was offered to the first person to complete an unassisted, non-stop single-handed circumnavigation of the world via the great capes, and a separate £5,000 prize was offered for the fastest single-handed circumnavigation.

    Nine sailors started the race; four retired before leaving the Atlantic Ocean. Of the five remaining, Chay Blyth, who had set off with absolutely no sailing experience, sailed past the Cape of Good Hope before retiring; Nigel Tetley sank with 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km) to go while leading; Donald Crowhurst, who attempted to fake a round-the-world voyage, began to show signs of mental illness, and then committed suicide; and Bernard Moitessier, who rejected the philosophy behind a commercialised competition, abandoned the race while in a strong position to win and kept sailing non-stop until he reached Tahiti after circling the globe one and a half times. Robin Knox-Johnston was the only entrant to complete the race, becoming the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world. He was awarded both prizes, and later donated the £5,000 to a fund supporting Crowhurst’s family.

    Read more.


    1970 – The first Earth Day is celebrated.

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    Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

    In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in recognition of his work. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

    Read more.


    1977 – Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.

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    An optical fiber (or optical fibre) is a flexible, transparent fiber made of high quality extruded glass (silica) or plastic, slightly thicker than a human hair. It can function as a waveguide, or “light pipe”, to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. Power over Fiber (PoF) optic cables can also work to deliver an electric current for low-power electric devices. The field of applied science and engineering concerned with the design and application of optical fibers is known as fiber optics.

    Optical fibers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than wire cables. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss and are also immune to electromagnetic interference. Fibers are also used for illumination, and are wrapped in bundles so that they may be used to carry images, thus allowing viewing in confined spaces. Specially designed fibers are used for a variety of other applications, including sensors and fiber lasers.

    Read more.


    1993 – Version 1.0 of the Mosaic web browser is released.

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    NCSA Mosaic, or simply Mosaic, is the web browser credited with popularizing the World Wide Web. It was also a client for earlier protocols such as FTP, NNTP, and gopher. The browser was named for its support of multiple internet protocols. Its intuitive interface, reliability, Windows port and simple installation all contributed to its popularity within the web, as well as on Microsoft operating systems. Mosaic was also the first browser to display images inline with text instead of displaying images in a separate window. While often described as the first graphical web browser, Mosaic was preceded by WorldWideWeb, the lesser-known Erwise and ViolaWWW.

    Mosaic was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign beginning in late 1992. NCSA released the browser in 1993, and officially discontinued development and support on January 7, 1997. However, it can still be downloaded from NCSA.

    Netscape Navigator was later developed by Netscape, which employed many of the original Mosaic authors; however, it intentionally shared no code with Mosaic. Netscape Navigator’s code descendant is Mozilla Firefox.

    Twenty years after Mosaic’s introduction, the most popular contemporary browsers, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox retain many of the characteristics of the original Mosaic graphical user interface (GUI), such as the URL bar and forward/back/reload buttons, and interactive experience.

    Read more.


    2012 – Version of 1.1Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is released – We are now on version 1.7!

    Circuit Playground on the App Store on iTunes

    Software updates that deliver new “performance optimizations”, “stability enhancements”, etc … they’re nice and all, but you know what I like – new features! Version 1.1 of Adafruit’s Circuit Playground packs in quite a few of those nice new things. Let’s have look, shall we?

    Designed to assist in the construction of 555-based oscillators and one-shot delay circuits, the 555 Timer Calc allows you to specify component values and find the resulting frequency/delay, or vise-versa. Those component values are also plugged right into the relevant schematic displayed for your referencing enjoyment.

    Similar to the 555 Calc (though a bit simpler), the RC Filter Calc expedites the design of basic cutoff filters. Did you know that both high & low pass RC filters are calculated using the same equation? You did … ah, very good then. In case you’d like to reference said equation, you can find it shown at the bottom of this calc’s display.

    Need a pinout for the ATTiny2313? Then the Microcontroller Reference module is your friend, providing zoomable vector diagrams for popular Atmel chips – courtesy of our friends at Akafugu. More pinouts to come – any in particular you’d care to see added?

    Read more and get the latest version here!


    2013 – Adafruit announces its 6 second electronics film festival!

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    The easiest way to make a 6 second video for The Adafruit 6 second electronics film festival is to use Vine. If you don’t have an iOS device, no big deal – most everything can take 6 second videos and upload. With Vine and looping a 6 second video you can make cool videos that repeat what you’ve made that’s blinking, moving or making noise – get creative, and enter as often as you’d like. Make sure you do not use any copyrighted music, video, etc. This should be your cool project you are sharing, in 6 seconds.

    Read more.


    2013 – Adafruit adds two new tutorials to the Adafruit Learning System: Internet of Things Printer for Raspberry Pi and Adafruit Data Logger Shield

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    In the future, everything will be connected to the internet. And all restaurants will be Taco Bell! The “Internet of Things” is the idea of pervasive connections between physical objects and the online world. These connected devices don’t just idly sit around waiting for commands or files…they’re active agents that anticipate your needs and can push or pull data from the internet.

    Our Internet of Things Printer is a small, internet-connected thermal printer that can have a daily weather forecast ready before you head out in the morning, a puzzle to work on while riding the subway, provide a list of “tweets” relating to your interests…or any other task you can program!

    Read more.

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    Our latest version of this popular shield has all the features of the popular original, but comes pre-assembled. You can be up and running with it in less than 15 minutes – saving data to files on any FAT16 or FAT32 formatted SD card, to be read by any plotting, spreadsheet or analysis program. This tutorial will also show you how to use two free software programs to plot your data. The included Real Time Clock timestamps all your data with the current time, so that you know precisely what happened when!

    The data logger is a reliable, well-rounded and versatile design. It is easily expanded or modified and come well supported with online documentation and libraries.

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11:00
    Moving while gaming improves learning #makereducation


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    Research from The Embodied Game for Learning Lab shows that educational gaming is most effective when movement is involved! via Wired.co.uk

    The Embodied Games for Learning (EGL) lab group transforms education through vibrant and collaborative “get out of your seat” games that empower learners to comprehend content through gesture-based learning.

    We specialize in creating and assessing the efficacy of STEM and Health Science games in formal and informal learning environments

    Games like Alien Health (see the video below) are aimed at teaching kids about nutrition and health while also engaging them in physical activity!

    A groundbreaking exer-game created to both instruct in nutrition and encourage youth to exercise. The game instructs 2nd through 10th graders about nutrition and the UDSA MyPlate icon. It gets them out of their seats and performing short exercises in order to help a foundling Alien save our planet from an asteroid. Players received practice on rapid decision making that will serve them well when they must make quick choices about which food item to grab in a cafeteria line or at a convenience store.

    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 22, 2014 - 10:00
    Aluminum LED Matrix Looks Professionally Made

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    [David Donley] has wanted to make a LED matrix for a while now, and has decided to finally pull the trigger — after all, that many LEDs certainly aren’t cheap!

    He’s using a set of 16 Adafruit 8×8 NeoPixel LED Matrices (almost $600 worth of LEDs) and a BeagleBone Black to control them. To mount the LED matrices he bought a sheet of 6061-T6 aluminum for two purposes — one to act as a giant heatsink, and two, to look cool. All he had to do was drill some holes in the sheet for the connectors, and then use 3M 300LSE double-sided adhesive to stick the NeoPixels to the surface. The result is a border-less display that looks clean and professional.

    To power the array he’s using a 5V 90A power supply — at full brightness these LEDs can consume around 325W, or 65A at 5V!  Taking notes from the opensource LEDscape code on GitHub he’s made his own software to control the display — stick around after the break to see it in action.

    A cheaper version (albeit, not full color) can be had using Chinese LED arrays for a fraction of the price – 96 x 48 resolution!

    Filed under: led hacks

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 10:00
    SDR on BBB: Software Single Side Band transmitter #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg


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    Trammell Hudson shared his SDR on BBB: Software Single Side Band transmitter project. Thanks to Drew for the tip.

    I’m working on an embedded software-defined radio for sending PSK31 telemetry data that can run in the BeagleBone Black PRU (or perhaps repurposing the LCD interface) as well as smaller devices like the Teensy 3.1 with an embedded Digital-to-analog converter. Preliminary source is available from github….

    BeagleBone Black PRU

    Using a BeagleBone Black instead of the teensy opens up more useful spectrum. The DAC on the Teensy is limited to mostly audio frequency ranges, but the PRU can easily generate a smooth 2.5 MHz carrier. A simple R2R DAC isn’t the cleanest , but generates acceptable signal that was capable of being received a few meters from the IC-7000 without any amplifier.

    Read More.

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  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 09:16
    Final Transmission

    View from inside a space ship

    Filed under: major tom

    Read the rest

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 09:00
    NASA Space Colony Artwork from the 1970s


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    NASA Space Colony Artwork from the 1970s:

    Three space colony summer studies were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. A number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made. These have been scanned and are available here as small, medium, large, and publication quality jpeg images. Scans by David Brandt-Erichsen.

    Read More. And for some amazing reinterpretations of this material, see the work of Micah Ganske.

    NASA spacestations

    NASA spacehabitats

    Spacehabitats

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 08:00
    Teach kids how colors are made with the color machine #makereducation



    The Color Machine, from the Ghidini Guerrini team, can teach your kids about RGB color coding, via the Arduino Blog

    The Color Machine (La macchina dei colori, in Italian language) is a tool to teach children about the use and the operation of RGB color coding, which is used in all digital devices (TVs, smartphones, computers, etc.). Using 3 knobs you can increase the percentages of red, green and blue separately, and the LED strip at the top of the machine lights up consistently with the color mix choosen. In this way approximately 16 million of colors can be generated.

    The Color Machine has 4 different operating modes: “let’s create colors”, “guess the color”, “the names of the colors” and “demo”. Under the guidance of a teacher, children can play and learn at the same time to recreate colors with additive synthesis. This device is currently used in the educational workshops of Musil – Museum of Industry and Labour of Rodengo Saiano (Italy).

    Cm intro big

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    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 22, 2014 - 08:00
    Bring on the Robots at USASEF Friday Sneak Peak

    SparkFun Education will be at the United States of America Science and Engineering Festival for four days of soldering, programming, video games, programmable hats, robots and e-textiles.

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    We do workshops. Sometimes we do really big workshops.

    Friday, April 25th is Sneak Peak Friday, when people are allowed to check out the exhibit floor before everything goes crazy with Science! SparkFun won’t be on the exhibitor floor Friday, but we’ll be in conference room 150B in the Walter E. Washington Conference Center. While you do need tickets to go to Sneak Peak Friday, our event is free! Our robots would like to meet your robots (provided they are not mean robots, of course). You may encounter some weird looks on your way to our event, but once you’re in room 150B no one will bat an eye, IR emitter/detector pair or other sensory circuit/organ. The only stipulation is that we ask that all robots be terrestrial robots, so no aerial robots and no marine robots. I doesn’t matter if your robot is smart or not, we’re equal opportunity robot enthusiasts. So bring on the friendly earthbound bots, check out our robots, play some video games, light up some LEDs and maybe jump on our trampoline! Ten80 Education will be there with us, we’ll also have some Cubelets and an area where you can check out some of our Open educational materials. Don’t limit the idea of robot to something with wheels or legs, either. We’d love to see your e-textile costume, video game controller or robotically-enabled George Foreman.

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    Sometimes robots look, well, not exactly like robots.

    Some come by! Bring your robots, costumes, video games and anything else you might feel comfortable walking with around the Walter E. Washington Center.

    comments | comment feed

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 08:00
    Bring on the Robots at USASEF Friday Sneak Peek

    SparkFun Education will be at the United States of America Science and Engineering Festival for four days of soldering, programming, video games, programmable hats, robots and e-textiles.

    alt text

    We do workshops. Sometimes we do really big workshops.

    Friday, April 25th is Sneak Peek Friday, when people are allowed to check out the exhibit floor before everything goes crazy with Science! SparkFun won’t be on the exhibitor floor Friday, but we’ll be in conference room 150B in the Walter E. Washington Conference Center. While you do need tickets to go to Sneak Peek Friday, our event is free! Our robots would like to meet your robots (provided they are not mean robots, of course). You may encounter some weird looks on your way to our event, but once you’re in room 150B no one will bat an eye, IR emitter/detector pair or other sensory circuit/organ. The only stipulation is that we ask that all robots be terrestrial robots, so no aerial robots and no marine robots. I doesn’t matter if your robot is smart or not, we’re equal opportunity robot enthusiasts. So bring on the friendly earthbound bots, check out our robots, play some video games, light up some LEDs and maybe jump on our trampoline! Ten80 Education will be there with us, we’ll also have some Cubelets and an area where you can check out some of our Open educational materials. Don’t limit the idea of robot to something with wheels or legs, either. We’d love to see your e-textile costume, video game controller or robotically-enabled George Foreman.

    alt text

    Sometimes robots look, well, not exactly like robots.

    Some come by! Bring your robots, costumes, video games and anything else you might feel comfortable walking with around the Walter E. Washington Center.

    comments | comment feed

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 07:30
    The Silent Shout: Mailing sounds across the globe #ArtTuesday


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    This is a really cool project from artists Bas Horsting and Luciano Foglia. Check out the trippy site they made for their project here.

    Five sounds travel across the silent path of global mail.

    Five artists send a message across the world, to be heard by those who are not allowed.

    Like an inverted envelope, this mail’s message lives on its outside, surprising accidental listeners by randomly bursting out to their unprepared ears.

    A travelling sonic graffiti, directed to no-one in particular, and somebody in particular at the same time: each artist chooses a recipient, and thereby more or less defines the path the ambulant art piece will travel, yet never knowing how and where exactly it will go before reaching its destination.

    When it is reached, each box becomes an autonomous miniature sound installation.

    We choose to provide the platform only. We do not control any content. We do not provide any artistic framework but what’s described above.

    Each box contains a speaker, a couple of batteries to make it last for at least two weeks, and a small chip, of the type usually associated with greeting cards, hacked so that it executes a custom program, containing one or various sounds, loops, random bursts, and silence.

    Within the constrained boundaries of the chip’s possibilities, each artist has total freedom to create whatever he desires: spoken word, music, abstract soundscapes, avant-garde, noise, unmusical meditation or unconscious dialogues.

    Read more.

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  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 07:00
    BeagleBrew: Brew beer with your BeagleBone Black! #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg



    Check out this cool setup from BeagleBoard Videos on YouTube.

    Trevor Hubbard of Texas Instruments talks about his latest creation with the new BeagleBone Black

    What will YOU create with BeagleBone Black?

    Read more.


    BeagleBone Adafruit Industries Unique fun DIY electronics and kits

    Each Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here at 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 22, 2014 - 07:00
    Building a Final Key

    Final Key

    Remembering passwords is a pain, and there’s a number of devices out there to make it easier. If you’re looking to roll your own, this guide to building a Final Key will walk you through the process.

    We talked about the Final Key before. It’s a one button password manager that encrypts and stores your password. It acts as a virtual serial port for configuration. When you hit the button, it becomes a keyboard and types in the correct password.

    The creator has no intentions of making this a commercial project for a number of reasons. Instead, easy build instructions are provided based on the Arduino Pro Micro. The 24LC512 EEPROM can be soldered directly to the Arduino by bending out the DIP legs. A few resistors, a button, and an LED finish off the project. The last step is to fill it with hot glue to prevent tampering.

    The Final Key firmware is available on Github, and the case can be ordered from Shapeways. If you’re interested in hardware password management, you can also check out the Mooltipass which is being developed on Hackaday.

    [Thanks to Lars for the tip!]

    Filed under: Arduino Hacks, security hacks

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