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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 06:00
    Facebook to Buy Oculus VR

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    Facebook has agreed to purchase Oculus VR. The press values the deal at about $2 Billion USD in cash and stock. This is great news for Oculus’ investors. The rest of the world has a decidedly different opinion. [Notch], the outspoken creator of Minecraft, was quick to tweet that a possible rift port has now been canceled, as Facebook creeps him out. He followed this up with a blog post.

    I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

    Here at Hackaday, we’ve been waiting a long time for affordable virtual reality. We’ve followed Oculus since the early days, all the way up through the recent open source hardware release of their latency tester. Our early opinion on the buyout is not very positive. Facebook isn’t exactly known for contributions to open source software or hardware, nor are they held in high regard for standardization in their games API. Only time will tell what this deal really means for the Rift.

    The news isn’t all dark though. While Oculus VR has been a major catalyst for virtual reality displays, there are other players. We’ve got our eggs in the castAR basket. [Jeri, Rick] and the rest of the Technical Illusions crew have been producing some great demos while preparing CastAR for manufacture. Sony is also preparing Project Morpheus. The VR ball is rolling. We just hope it keeps on rolling – right into our living rooms.

    Filed under: news, Virtual Reality

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 05:00
    Barbara Layne’s interactive textiles address the social dynamics of fabric and human interaction #WearableWednesday

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    Canadian artist Barbara Layne works with textiles and LEDs to create pieces that speak to the dynamics of human interaction. Will, one of our staff members in the production department, recently got a chance to check out her work at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca and was really impressed by it. The above piece is called Jacket Antics:

    These light-emitting jackets were originally designed for the exhibition Integration, in Sydney, Australia in Spring 2007. Intimate and interactive, they rely on the act of holding hands to present a range of dynamically encoded surfaces through their scrolling LED arrays. A variety of texts and designs related to time, place, communication and technological innovation were programmed into the LED displays of the garments.

    In the first instance, the texts refer to technical innovations between Canada and Australia. When the wearers hold hands) the text message continuously scrolls from the back of one to the other…

    When separated, the garents display a variety of texts and patterns independent of the other. The coatdress lists inventions by Canadians, alternating with stylized abstractions Of Canadiana. Similarly, the man’s jacket recounts Australian innovations and images from New South Wales. The content can be reconfigured, based on location or related to individual wearers.

    The fabric is made of black linen yarns, woven in a traditional 2/2 twill pattern to give the fabrics a soft drape. Woven on a hand loom, the weave structure supports embedded Light Emitting Diodes and other electronic components. Conductive silver threads are woven alongside the linen yarns to create a flexible circuit. The fabrics are then cut and sewn to create the garments.

    See the jackets in action here.

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    Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:45
    Engineering for Real-World Problems

    Benedetta_MaraTen tips on using your maker skills for humanitarian, environmental, and social causes.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 00:36
    Bluefruit LE Connect updated to v1.3.1

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    Bluefruit LE Connect v1.3.1 is now available on the iOS App Store. Please update!

    This update fixes a bug which caused help view to sometimes display incorrectly on iPhone. That’s all for now – more to come.

    Happy Bluefruiting!

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 00:01
    Now You’re Washing with Gas

    [Michiel] likes to wash his clothes in warm water. Like a lot of machines, his draws from the cold water line and  heats it electrically. Gas is much cheaper than electricity in the Netherlands, so he wanted to be able to heat the water with gas instead. Hot-fill machines already exist, but few models are available and they’re all too expensive.  [Michiel] rolled up his sleeves and hacked his brand new washer into a hot-fill machine.

    He started out thinking that he’d just connect the hot water line instead, but that proved to be too hot. He found out it needs to be about 35°C (95°F), so he decided to mix input from the hot and cold lines. Since it’s a shiny new machine, [Michiel] wanted an externally mounted system to keep from voiding  the warranty. He got two solenoid valves from the electronic bay and used a PIC16F to make them dance. He wired up a light switch on a two-panel face and used the blank plate for power and status LEDs.

    [Michiel]‘s design works like a charm. The machine used to draw 2000W to heat the water, and peak usage now is as low as 200W. He noticed that the washer drew a lot of power in standby mode so he added a solid state relay and a bit more code. Now the electricity to the machine is cut after two hours and [Michiel] saves about €97 per year.

    Filed under: green hacks

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 23:00
    New Project: Building a Simple Arduino Robot

    Simple Arduino RobotLearn how to quickly and easily build your first Arduino-based robot!

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 22:30
    An updated version of “Voyage to the Heart of Matter: The ATLAS Experiment at CERN” is now available in English and German! #makereducation

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    A new pop-up version of Voyage to the Heart of Matter is now available in English and German.

    A new “Higgs” edition of the ATLAS pop-up book – Voyage to the Heart of Matter is published in English and German.
    This updated edition of the book contains the pop-up particle tracks resulting from the decay of a Higgs boson in the heart of ATLAS, one of the four main experiments on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Both ATLAS and the Large Hadron Collider are recreated in full 3D pop-up by paper engineer Anton Radevsky. The book contains 16 separate pop-ups that reveal the inner workings of the Large Hadron Collider and the ATLAS experiment and now also include the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    The first edition of the pop-up book was published in the UK by Papadakis in November 2009. This redesigned and updated edition (ISBN 9871906506414 in English, ISBN 9789290833888 in German) is the fourth edition of the book which also exists in French. Pop-ups and illustrations by Anton Radevsky, text by Emma Sanders.

    English and German copies of the book arrive at CERN early December. In the meantime, English language copies are available at on-line retailers and all good bookstores from November 13th.

    Pre-orders are available now from Amazon.
    Authors : Anton Radevsky & Emma Sanders

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    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, March 25, 2014 - 22:10
    Microcontrollers Explained

    make_v36_highLearn the difference between I/O pins, ports, and processors.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 22:00
    This Wolf Tail Is Powered by Arduino

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    If you’re going to dress like an animal, make it more convincing by making your tail wag! Though Instructables user Umberfur wrote her tutorial specifically for wolf tail, you can apply it to any tail. She used an Arduino Uno Microcontroller to create the animatronic tail and paired it with bicycle brake cables, Klixx, pantyhouse, paper clips, and more. Here’s part of her process for making the skeleton of the tail:

    Take your Klixx toys and pull apart all the little pieces. I like to keep my colors separated, so once you have done that, take a closer look at the inside of one of the pieces. You see the two little knubs sticking out a bit from the inside walls? Those have got to go so grab that Exacto Knife and carefully cut off those little knubs (Please if you are a wolf cub allow your parents to do this for you). After you cut off all those knubs place two pieces together and move them back and forth. Hear anything? No? Great! Now then, turn them over so that the single flat end faces you. Clamp them down tightly and drill a hole all the way through. Take the drilled out piece and place it on top of the dual end of another component. Mark where the hole is and drill through both ends. Repeat this for all the pieces you plan on using for your tail.

    Read more at Instructables.

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 21:43
    Foolin’ Around: A Call for Pranks

    cubeprank3If there's a holiday better suited to creative, homemade projects than April Fools' Day, we don't know what it is.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 21:01
    Who Wouldn’t Want 3D Printed Candles of Yourself on Your 70th Birthday?

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    [Christian Lölkes] needed a unique gift for their CEO’s 70th birthday — We mean really, what do you get someone who probably has everything? Well… you 3D scan him and make candles in his likeness of course!

    Since they have both a 3D scanner and 3D printer at work, this was the obvious choice. Instead of printing the mold out, they opted to print a high resolution figurine of their CEO, and then make a reusable silicone mold instead. When you’re designing a figurine for candle casting, it’s important to make a nice wide base, as this will make pouring the hot wax into the mold much easier.

    There are lots of different ways to make molds, but to make theirs they decided to use a toilet paper roll for convenience. After taping up the mold with the figurine inside, it’s time to fill it with silicone. Unfortunately bubbles form in silicone so you need a way to force the bubbles to rise to the top and pop — vibrating the mold is a good solution, and setting it on top of a washing machine is an easy way to accomplish it.

    Once the silicone is cast, you have to cut the mold in half carefully as to not damage your figurine. Then it’s just a matter of zip-tying the mold back together, inserting a wick and pouring wax in! Cool.

    Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 20:35
    3D Print This Car: The Rear Axle #3DPrinting #3DThursday

    More exciting updates from Michael “Skimbal” Curry on his 3D printed vehicle project in progress. Not an RC car … a vehicle Michael intends to actually ride around. This is big news folks, as in 1:1 scale. ;)

    3D Print This Car: The Rear Axle:

    An update on the development of the suspension and drivetrain, also get a look at what is hopefully the final version of the rear axle.

    Read more.

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 20:00
    Rippled Wood Boards Map The Sounds Of New York City

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    Rippled Wood Boards Map the Sounds of NYC. From psfk. And check out the video interview at bottom for some compelling questions about where this type of work is situated between art, industrial design, design for manufacture, and other points of perspective.

    Conceptual artist Erica Sellers latest work sees the perfect blend between art and technology and proves that the young, upcoming creative is definitely one to watch.

    Her new project titled The Grind comes in the form of a range of wooden boards that play host to New York City’s soundscapes through their rippled surfaces. To accomplish this, Sellers collected audio samples throughout various areas of the city over the course of a month. She then converted them into sound waves and transformed those waves into 3D surfaces using 3D modeling software. To complete the project, oscillations from the audio were ground into reclaimed local wood using CNC technology.

    Sellers explains, ‘A part of what makes New York City so astonishing is its vast variety of sounds. Sound creates vibrations which move into space and through other mediums. We cannot see or feel sound, yet we know it’s there. In an effort to combine sound with sight, and technology with biology, The Grind represents the sounds of New York City in three-dimensional form.’ …

    Read more.

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  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 19:55
    New Project: Brownie Pan LED Light Panel

    LEDPanel_final-13Roll your own photography light panel for a fraction of the cost of pro units.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 19:00
    STEM-tastic Saturday – STEM Alliance of Larchmont – Mamaroneck #makereducation

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    The STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck will hold STEM-Tastic Saturday, an interactive STEM event, on Saturday May, 4 2014.

    The STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck with generous support from the Mamaroneck Schools Foundationis launching a new, community-widecelebration of SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH (STEM)

    Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 1pm to 5pm – Hommocks Middle School

    STEM-tastic Saturday will be an event that makes all STEM disciplines accessible, interactive and fun. Our goal is to spark the youthful imagination that’s in all of us by bringing STEM alive through play, conversation and even mental fitness challenges.

    Look for on-going announcements about speakers, workshop presenters, featured STEM professionals, exhibitors, vendors and more. Consider how you can get involved in advance and contact us now.

    Screen Shot 2014 03 19 at 12 35 05 PM

    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, March 25, 2014 - 18:35
    Imogen Heap’s Glove Project Launches a Kickstarter Campaign

    c94cbb2c94f95e309ae875a7f0cb84d4_largeImogen Heap and a team of makers have been developing a pair of high-tech gloves, called the Mi.Mu, that will allow users to manipulate sounds via gestures, allowing a literally hands-on style of writing and performing.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 18:01
    Retrotechtacular: The Magic of Making Cars in the ’30s

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    We usually shy away from calling things ’magic’ in our features because, you know… science. But in the case of this Chevrolet manufacturing reel from 1936 the presentation is nothing short of an industrialized version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Well, not in the sense of mischief, but in that there is almost no explanation and the way the footage is laced together you get the strong feeling that, at the time, this type of industrialization was magic; a modern marvel. The techniques and skills of each worked passed down from a master to an apprentice but virtually unknown to the general public.

    The clip, which is also embedded below, starts off in the machine shop where mold makers are getting ready to go into assembly line production. From there it’s off to the foundry for part casting and then into the stamping plant where white-hot (perhaps red-hot, but black and white film) metal is shaped by man-mangling presses. The image above follows the cast, stamped, and machined parts onto the assembly line. We like seeing a room full of pistons being QA checked by hand using a width gauge and micrometer.  The film continues through to the finished vehicle and we think you’ll agree there’s more than enough voyeuristic video here to overcome that lack of narration.

    [Thanks Pretenda]

    Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.

    Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Retrotechtacular, transportation hacks

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 18:00
    Incredibly detailed cut paper illustrations and sculptures from French duo Zim & Zou #ArtTuesday

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    Can you imagine how long this must take? These sculptures from French duo Zim & Zou are astonishingly detailed. Via Colossal.

    It’s been over two years since we last featured the work of French duo Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann of Zim&Zou (previously here and here). The pair of graphic designers create paper sculpture, installations, and illustrations for leading luxury brands, books, magazines as well as their own edification. Collected here are a number of works from the last few years and you can explore much more over on their website and on Behance.

    Read more.

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  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 17:17
    Learning Arduino with the Adafruit Arduino Starter Pack #ArduinoD14

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    Luis from OpenSource.com spent some time tinkering with the Adafruit Arduino Starter Pack and shared his thoughts with us.

    Are you new to Arduino? Open hardware like the Arduino Starter Pack from Adafruit is a great way to start tinkering with this small computer board. It is the ideal kit for beginners to open hardware or anyone looking to start a project using the Arduino microcontroller.


    Adafruit 2797
    Adafruit 2798
    Celebrate Arduino Day 2014 with Massimo Banzi, the co-founder and CEO of Arduino and Adafruit on a special Saturday night 7pm ET March 29th, 2014 LIVE show!

    Arduino Day is a worldwide celebration of Arduino’s first 10 years. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.

    See you there!

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 17:06
    McGuckin and SparkFun Workshop This Weekend!

    This coming Saturday, SparkFun and local business McGuckin Hardware are teaming up to offer Boulder-area residents a crash-course in beginner soldering.

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    Join us on Saturday, March 29th from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at McGuckin Hardware at 2525 Arapahoe Ave. in sunny Boulder, Colorado. We’ll be working on our SparkFun Weevil Eye Kit to teach you the in’s-and-out’s of through-hole soldering.

    All are welcome and the event is free! We hope to see you there!

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