Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 10:00The FDA Just Approved a PillCam The Jetsons Predicted 50 Years Ago #SaturdayMorningCartoons
From a science fiction dream to an FDA approved reality, PillCams are now a real life technology! Via Paleofuture.
The Jetsons was one of the most important cartoons of all time, having helped shape the way that we talk about the future here in the 21st century. The show predicted many of the technologies we have today. And this week, Americans can check another crazy Jetsonian prediction off the list.
After nine long years, the FDA just recently approved the swallowable PillCam. Developed in Israel, the PillCam is used as a way to examine a patient’s colon without a colonoscopy. The patient swallows the small device and it slowly makes its way through the digestive tract in about 8 hours. The information is beamed to a receiver device carried on the patient’s waist, and a doctor can then review the results later.
The December 30, 1962 episode of The Jetsons featured a device that was strikingly similar—even if it was admittedly an over-the-top joke.
The “peek-a-boo capsule” is swallowed by George (or more accurately shot into his mouth) and starts its journey through his body. The doctor can then see what’s happening (through the cartoon logic of being able to see this capsule device by way of an invisible second camera) and communicate with the device to make a diagnosis. This being The Jetsons, everything goes wrong, and the doctor tells George he doesn’t have much time left to live.
You can watch the entire 1962 episode below, complete with cheesy Cold War jokes. Let’s hope that when the real PillCam goes into effect, it’s a little more reliable.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 07:01Two-Wheel Balancing Robot Revived from the Dead
[Jouni] built a pretty nice little two-wheeled robot a while back — but he never got it working quite right. Taking inspiration and a bit of opensource code from another hacker featured here, he’s finished the bot, and it works great!
After seeing [Jose's] 3D printed Air Hockey bot, he poked around the creator’s blog and discovered the B-Robot, a 3D printed, two-wheeled, stepper driven, balancing robot. As it turned out, it was incredibly similar to a robot [Jouni] had made himself previously!
[Jouni's] robot features two NEMA-17 steppers, a 12v 2200mAh battery pack, an Arduino Pro Mini, a MPU6050 gyro and a FrSky receiver. Lucky for him, [Jose's] B-Robot made use of the same steppers and gyro! Using some of [Jose's] code from his GitHub, [Jouni] was able to bring new life into his little robot!
We’ve included videos of both the original project, and [Jouni's] version. Aren’t opensource projects awesome?
And the original:
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 04:01Router Robot a Promising Playground for Young Hacker
[Stephen Downward] has put together a very impressive Internet controlled robot. There are so many things about his video presentation (also embedded below) which we find delightful. Notably, it’s obvious that he knows what he’s talking about when discussing everything from the electronics chosen for the project, the mechanical assembly and the issues with its current state, as well as the software backend that gives him control of the rover.
The bulk of the rover is the Linksys WRT-54G router which he picked up at a thrift shop. This has been a popular model for building rovers for quite some time. [Stephen] is not driving directly from the router’s serial port, but that could be an adventure for him down the road. For now he’s using an Arduino Mega along with an Ethernet shield to connect the motors to his network. The IP camera on the front gives him the video feed to operate this completely over the Internet using his own program written in C#. He mentions that the CD wheels he has aren’t ideal because of their thin tread area (covered in masking tape) and the inaccurate mounting which leaves one of them at an angle. He’s hoping to design and print his own. He plans rent some time on a 3D printer at the local University when their 3D printing service comes back online.
We think the hardest part with robot building is getting your first platform up and running. Now that he’s got that it’s a matter of making improvements and add-ons. Since he’s got the I/O of the Mega at his disposal we’d like to see him implement a bunch of different sensor: line following, bump sensors, distance sensor, heck… maybe someday he’ll scavenge some Lidar for it!
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 03:32Lego Fever at MAKE
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 02:23Connected Home Contest: We Have a Winner!
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 01:00Meet ‘Raspberri’, Your Personal Voice Controlled Assistant
We’ve all seen the old movie scene where the executive calls his assistant on the intercom for some task or other. [Jan] may not be an executive, and he may not have an assistant. He does have Raspberri, his voice controlled personal digital assistant. Raspberri started life as a vintage Televox intercom box. [Jan] found it at a second-hand store, and snapped it up in hopes of using it in a future project. That project eventually happened when [Jan] got a Raspberry Pi and learned how to use it. He decided to build the Televox and Pi together, creating his own electronic assistant.
[Jan] started by adding a cheap USB sound card and WiFi module to his Pi. He also added a small 3 Watt audio amp board. The Televox used a single speaker as both audio input and output. [Jan] didn’t want to make any modifications to the case, so he kept this arrangement. Using a single speaker would mean dead shorting the audio amplifier and the sound card’s microphone input. To avoid this, [Jan] added a DPDT relay controlled by the original push-to-talk button on the Televox. The relay switches between the microphone input and the audio output on the USB sound card. Everything fit nicely inside the Televox case.
With the hardware complete [Jan] turned his attention to software. He went with PiAUISuite for voice input. Voice output is handled by a simple shell script which uses google voice to convert text to speech. For intermediate processing, such as scraping a weather website for data, [Jan] created custom python scripts. The end result is pretty darn good. There is a bit of lag between saying the command and receiving an answer. This may be due to transferring the audio files over WiFi. However, [Jan] can always get away with saying his assistant was out getting him more coffee!
Filed under: Raspberry Pi
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 00:13NEW PRODUCT – Stereo 2.8W Class D Audio Amplifier – I2C Control AGC
NEW PRODUCT – Stereo 2.8W Class D Audio Amplifier – I2C Control AGC – TPA2016 – A mini class D with AGC and I2C control? Yes please! This incredibly small stereo amplifier is surprisingly powerful. It is able to deliver 2 x 2.8W channels into 4 ohm impedance speakers (@ 10% THD) and it has a i2c control interface as well as an AGC (automatic gain control) system to keep your audio from clipping or distorting.
If you don’t want to use I2C to control it, it does start up on with 6dB gain by default and the AGC set up for most music playing. We do suggest using it with a microcontroller to configure it, however, since it’s quite powerful. Settings are not stored in the chip, so you’ll need to adjust any gain & AGC amplification settings every time the amp is powered up.
Inside the miniature chip is a class D controller, able to run from 2.7V-5.5VDC. Since the amp is a class D, it’s incredibly efficient (89% efficient when driving an 8Ω speaker at 1.5 Watt) – making it perfect for portable and battery-powered projects. It has built in thermal and over-current protection but we could barely tell if it got hot. This board is a welcome upgrade to basic “LM386″ amps!
The inputs of the amplifier go through 1.0uF capacitors, so they are fully ‘differential’ – if you don’t have differential outputs, simply tie the R- and L- to ground. The outputs are “Bridge Tied” – that means they connect directly to the outputs, no connection to ground. The output is a ~300KHz square wave PWM that is then ‘averaged out’ by the speaker coil – the high frequencies are not heard. All the above means that you can’t connect the output into another amplifier, it should drive the speakers directly.
Comes with a fully assembled and tested breakout board with 1.0uF input capacitors. We also include 3.5mm screw-terminal blocks so you can easily attach/detach your speakers, and some header in case you want to plug it into a breadboard. Speakers are not included, use any 4 ohm or 8 ohm impedance speakers.
Our awesome tutorial and Arduino library will let you set the AGC configuration (you can also just turn it off), max gain, and turn on/off the left & right channels all over I2C! You will be ready to rock in 20 minutes!
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 23:28Tower To Rise At MoMA PS1, With Self-Assembling Bricks
David Benjamin’s “Hy-Fi” selected as the winning project for MoMA PS1′s annual Young Architects Program. His temporary installation is set to open in late June, via fastcodesign:
Benjamin’s bio-design concept will consist of two kinds of brick: some made out of live organic material, and some reflective bricks. For the organic bricks, chopped up corn husks are recycled to combine with mycelium, a kind of mushroom root material. The mixture is then packed into a mold. The reflective bricks, placed at the top of the tubular structure, bounce light off a daylight mirror film coating onto the organic material below, helping them self-assemble into a brick shape and solidify. The shape of the structure pushes hot air out the top, drawing in cool air below.
The outdoor installation, required by the contest rules to provide outdoor seating, shade and water, will, at the end of the summer, be disassembled with no waste. The organic bricks will be composted, and the reflective bricks returned to 3M, the company that makes the mirror film, for further research.
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 23:04Decapitated Head Wedding Cake
Infamous cake artist Natalie Sideserf made her own wedding cake featuring her husband and herself lovingly rendered as a pair of incredibly realistic decapitated heads, along with the words "Till Death Do Us Part."
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 22:56The Internet of Things: Turning Blue(tooth) at the Edges?
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 22:30Make Your Own Hylian Shield
When you’re tackling a costume, do you ever worry about not having the required skills? Everyone is a beginner at some point, and all you can do is jump in and try. Cosplayer Vy didn’t know how to work with wood or metal or painting before she made props for her Link costume, but it didn’t stop her. Vy decided she needed a Hylian shield and figured it out. She started with thin plywood and went from there – she documented the process with words and comics at her blog. Here’s how she got started:
I drew half a shield on a giant piece of paper, folded in half. Cutting it out this way will ensure that your shield is properly symmetrical!
See how the Hylian Shield has that nice silver border? After cutting the shield shape out, I hand-copied the border shape onto my stencil and cut that out as well. Keep it folded when you do so that the border is also symmetrical!
Using this stencil, I drew two shapes on my plywood: One for the shield, and one for the border.
via Cosplay Tutorial
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 22:30Mapping where people run
Nathan Yau from FlowingData created beautiful maps by using publicly accessible exercise app data:
There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, time, elevation, and location from your phone, and millions of people do this, me included. However, when we look at activity logs, whether they be our own, from our friends, or from a public timeline, the activities only appear individually.
What about all together? Not only is it fun to see, but it can be useful to the data collectors to plan future workouts or even city planners who make sure citizens have proper bike lanes and running paths.
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 22:06MakerBot Careers | Get a Job at MakerBot
We Are Hiring
Now is your chance to be part of a team that’s leading the Next Industrial Revolution. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find at makerbot.com/careers:
Development Manager for MakerBot Academy
Mission-driven strategist to develop sponsorships and fundraising efforts.
Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Technical lead to focus on process improvement, product lines, facility and equipment.
Director of Sales, Enterprise & Key Accounts
Responsible for team’s productivity and setting sales strategies.
SOX Compliance Manager
Manage company’s first year SOX 404 program to ensure regulatory compliance.
Summer Internship Program
Experience challenging work, access to leadership, exposure to company culture.
These are just a few examples of the many opportunities available right now at MakerBot. Feel free to browse our careers page or pass it on to someone you’d think would be a great fit. We can’t wait to meet you!
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 22:00Reverse Engineering A Bank’s Security Token
[Thiago]‘s bank uses a few methods besides passwords and PINs to verify accounts online and at ATMs. One of these is a ‘security card’ with 70 single use codes, while another is an Android app that generates a security token. [Thiago] changes phones and ROMs often enough that activating this app became a chore. This left only one thing to do: reverse engineer his bank’s security token and build a hardware device to replicate the app’s functionality.
After downloading the bank’s app off his phone and turning the .APK into a .JAR, [Thiago] needed to generate an authentication code for himself. He found a method that generates a timestamp which is the number of 36-second intervals since April 1st, 2007. The 36-second interval is how long each token lasts, and the 2007 date means this part of the code was probably developed in late 2007 or 2008. Reverse engineering this code allowed [Thiago] to glean the token generation process: it required a key, and the current timestamp.
[Thiago] found another class that reads his phone’s android_id, and derives the key from that. With the key and timestamp in hand, he figured out the generateToken method and found it was remarkably similar to Google Authenticator’s implementation; the only difference was the timestamp epoch and the period each token lasts.
With the generation of the security token complete, [Thiago] set out to put this code into a hardware device. He used a Stellaris Launchpad with the Criptosuite and RTClib libraries. The hardware doesn’t include a real-time clock, meaning the date and time needs to be reset at each startup. Still, with a few additions, [Thiago] can have a portable device that generates security tokens for his bank account. Great work, and great example of how seriously his bank takes account security.
Filed under: security hacks
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 21:44NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit 9-DOF IMU Breakout – L3GD20 + LSM303
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit 9-DOF IMU Breakout – L3GD20 + LSM303 – This inertial-measurement-unit combines 2 of the best quality sensors available on the market to give you 9 axes of data: 3 axes of accelerometer data, 3 axes gyroscopic, and 3 axes magnetic (compass). We tested many different ‘combination’ sensors and found these were the best value, with stable and reliable readings.
The L3DG20 gyroscope + LSM303DLHC accelerometer/compass sensors are all on one breakout here, to save you space and money. Since all of them use I2C, you can communicate with all of them using only two wires. Most customers will be pretty happy with just the plain I2C interfacing, but we also break out the ‘data ready’ and ‘interrupt’ pins, so advanced users can interface with if they choose. A 3V regulator with reverse-polarity protection means you don’t have to worry about frying the boards by accident. There’s level shifting circuitry so the IMU can be used with 3 or 5V logic boards. And check out those mounting holes! You can securely attach this board to your rocket, robot, art project.
Each order comes with one assembled and tested 9DOF breakout board and a small piece of header.
- L3GD20 3-axis gyroscope: ±250, ±500, or ±2000 degree-per-second scale
- LSM303 3-axis compass: ±1.3 to ±8.1 gauss magnetic field scale
- LSM303 3-axis accelerometer: ±2g/±4g/±8g/±16g selectable scale
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 21:31Cats of Engineering
Title: Hot off the Adafruit thermal printer press
Photo Credit: Chris
Name of Cat: Lila
The latest batch of cats are up on Cats of Engineering. If you’d like to add your cat just scroll down to the bottom and send a photo (link) in!
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 21:30Community Corner: Nerf-Friendly “Kill” Bot, Robotic Hand, Polarbots, Run of Soldering Luck, and More from this Past Week in Adafruit’s Community
Featured Adafruit Community Project
There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 74,149 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!
Catch last weeks’ Community Corner here!
Special Omnibus Edition! Last Week’s TWO Adafruit’s Electronics Show and Tell Shows!
Show and Tell 02/01/2014
Show and Tell 02/05/2014
From the Google+ Community
(Note: Google+ login required.)
chris frost shared: “My first successful arduino project! It’s a soil moisture monitor. It checks Every 5 minutes and if the level is over a specific number it turns on a green led. Indicating its wet, when it falls between a specific level the red led turns on, and its time to water. I found some of the source code on the arduino forum and then modified it a bit I’m quite proud of it. Test plant:Grey Mammoth Sunflower ” (read more)
Evan Yeh shared: “This is a video of a drawing machine I built! Feel free to check the video out and the instructable I built this off of. (i used an adafruit motor shield for this actually)” (read more)
Nanik T shared: “Thought of spending bit of time before heading to bed soldering the header pin for my ATTiny13 board, but having too much fun continued trying to program it and it worked !!. This is the first time I’ve done a project that I design, etched, soldered and programmed and works directly the first time without any hassle of unsoldering or repeating the process again. It feels like you are inside a casino with chips in your hand and you are tempted by the house to win all the time ” (read more)
Community Projects from the Adafruit Blog
The folks over at Raspberry Pi have dubbed this pan flute project “music hack of the decade”: “Panflute Hero was the result of a weekend at Way Out West Hackathon 2013. It’s a very silly panpipe version of Guitar Hero, which doesn’t use a plastic guitar controller. Instead, it’s controlled by a hand-built, bamboo set of faux panpipes (which are built according to the Golden Mean), all equipped with Arduino sound sensors that detect blowing, and controlled by a Raspberry Pi sending “blow” events to a desktop over TCP. Simulated flute noises are emitted when a “blow” is sensed, and…well, see for yourself.” (read more)
A team at Chico State University designed The Safety Attention Monitor (SAM) using a raspberry pi, leds, and more to help drivers to stay focused behind the wheel: “The team designed SAM using OpenCV to track your face in order to recognize when you aren’t watching the road. It alerts you through a variety of audible beeps and LED lights, and is programmed to only alert you after set time values — i.e. it’s not going to go off when you’re checking your blind spot, unless you’ve been checking it for over a certain length of time. It also has a silence button you can press for situations like looking around while you are parked. The proof of concept device was built using a Raspberry Pi, the PiCam, and a breadboard to accommodate some manual controls, the buzzer, and LEDs. It also continuously records video of you on a 30 second loop, and in the event of an accident, it saves all the video — perhaps proving it was your fault. Can you imagine if all cars had this installed? On the plus side you wouldn’t have to argue with insurance companies — but if it really was your fault, well then you’re straight out of luck.” (read more)
Every Chell costume needs a portal gun, and Redditor Pastlightspeed put one together on the cheap. She wanted to carry it during a 5K run, so it was also important that the weapon be lightweight. She put the gun together for less than ten dollars with cardboard. No excuses — you need one of these! (read more)
Lasercut Castell Construction Kit by vellab – Thingiverse Thing 240571: “‘Castell‘ is a human tower built traditionally in festivals at many locations within Catalonia. I’ve seen it several times in TV but watching it live in Barcelona was a totally astonishing experience. This is my version of homage to castellers.” (read more)
Sandy Noble shared a Polargraph project using an Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo shield for Arduino v2. kit! “The whole system is fairly technologically agnostic, but the current incarnation uses an Arduino microcontroller and an Adafruit Motorshield, along with a couple of stepper motors. The application that drives it from the computer is written in Processing. It decodes a bitmap and creates a map of the file using a polar coordinates system, recording pixel position, size and brightness. The hardware requests each pixel in turn, and renders it on the page using it’s own shading and movement algorithms.” (read more)
The G Ball from Argonaut Industries uses an Adafruit TRINKET, LSM303 & NeoPixels: “The G Ball is a Nerf-style soccer ball studded with lights which respond to the motion of the ball. When held in your hand, the lights are yellow on the top of the ball, green on the bottom, regardless of how you rotate the ball. When the ball is in free-fall (flying through the air, for instance), the lights turn blue. When the ball experiences a sudden acceleration (when being thrown or caught), the lights flash red.” (read more)
Customizable Super Flowers (drooloop flowers) by peetersm on Thingiverse as Thing 240158: “Make your own unique one-of-a-kind flowers with this openSCAD file! Print beautiful flowers as a gift for that special someone, or just to help decorate your world. They print fast and easy (see instructions). Get creative and incorporate flowers into other models or for fashion (see picture of the tie jewelry). The possibilities are HUGE – I have just scratched the surface and will upload my 9 favorite flowers.” (read more)
Sean Charlesworth shared his devotion to Adafruit and the Minty Boost kit through his excellent walkthrough tutorial for how he created a 3D printed enclosure for his kit: “I am a huge fan of Adafruit Industries, which was founded right here in NYC by MIT engineer, Limor ‘Ladyada’ Fried and is a supplier of great DIY electronics projects and an excellent source of information. Adafruit hand-picks quality electronic components, designs their own boards and kits and has an amazing tutorial section. I am no electronics wiz and have managed to put together some pretty cool stuff with their guidance. I love this place. One of Adafruit’s first kits was the MintyBoost USB charger which you solder together yourself, runs off of two AA batteries and fits in an Altoids mint tin. Throw one in your bag and they are super handy when you need an emergency phone charge. It’s worth the looks you get when plugging your phone into an Altoids tin. I’ve built five of these and from those builds thought of two improvements I wanted to make. The first problem was if the batteries were left in for an extended period of time they would eventually discharge to the point that they would leak and I killed two MintyBoosts this way. The second thing I wanted was enough room in the case to fit a small charge cable, so I decided to design and 3D print my own enclosure.” (read more)
Why did the Raspberry Pi click the link? To check out this detailed tutorial by mazzmn on how to make a joke machine that will leave you in stitches (ba-dum-ch): “I recently received a new Raspberry Pi and wanted to create an Intro to Raspberry Pi project. My Pi included a 16×2 LCD display and a Wi-Pi Card so I created the Wireless Raspberry Pi Powered Joke Machine. Just press the push-buttons and the machine will look up a one-liner and scroll through it. (Admission of guilt here…I originally thought it would be neat to create a desk-toy that could display inspiring and educational famous quotes…the Joke Machine can do this, but when I found I could just as easily generate one-liners, I decided that would be more fun ) This Step by Step Instructable walks you through the process of setting up a new Raspberry Pi, adding the the PiFace Control and Display LCD, the WiPi wireless and the provided python script TheQuoteMachine.py which looks up jokes and quotes on a free service called iheartquotes.com. it’ll also describe how to access your Pi without need for a keyboard or Display using VNC remote access.” (read more)
Community Corner! Sharing and celebrating the creative community: Show and tell, Ask an Engineer, mailbag, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, “Makers, hackers, artists & engineers. Sharing, learning and celebrating making!
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 21:283D Printing: Coming to a Classroom or Museum Near You
Maureen Kelleher reviews the growing trend of libraries and museums carrying and using 3D printers in educational exhibits, via remakelearning.org:
If 3D printing—which builds an object layer by layer based on precise, computer-assisted design specifications—hasn’t come to a school or museum near you yet, you can bet it’s on its way. Some industry watchers predict 2014 will be a big year for 3D in the classroom. While top-of-the-line models still cost a pretty penny, CNN has reported some smaller, stripped-down 3D printers are selling for only $200-$300.
The technology has already made quite a splash. As Pittsburgh’s own Gregg Behr, executive director of the Grable Foundation, recently pointed out in the Huffington Post, “People are already using 3D printers to make edible food and artificial body parts (what?!).” No kidding. (Read more about those body parts here.)
Since 2011, DIY-ers of all ages have flocked to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for a chance to play around with the 3D printer in its MAKESHOP. “I’m a big believer that if you provide materials for kids and if you provide them with inspiration and you provide them with mentors, they will be inspired,” Jane Werner, the museum’s executive director, told us last year.
Or animal skeletons, or archeological finds from ancient civilizations, or other replicas of artifacts students don’t normally get to touch. At New York City’s American Museum of Natural History, students explore the intersection of paleontology and technology by examining allosaurus bones and using 3D printing to make a model skeleton. “It really taught me how paleontologists reconstruct and study dinosaurs and how they deal with disarticulated bones…and broken bones,” said Jordan, an 8th-grader, in this video about the experience.
At The Browning School in New York City, kindergartners aren’t just baking cookies—they’re making the cookie cutters, too. Engineering has become part of the curriculum across the grades, from 3D-printed cookie cutters to homemade Lego-style building blocks. You can see photos and video of their work here.
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 20:48Maker Pro Newsletter – 02/06/14
“Your customers are your best investors.” From the editors of MAKE magazine, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends. Please send items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to subscribe […]
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 19:51Thingiverse | Customize a Valentine’s Gift Box
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, give a little gift to your sweetheart in a 3D printed box customized just for him or her. Simply log on to Thingiverse, open the Customizable Box in Customizer, and either opt for one of our preset shapes or draw your own. You can also adjust the size of the box to perfectly fit the gift inside.
Fair warning: these boxes may elicit more excitement than their non-3D printed contents!