Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 08:00AVC 2014 Course Preview
Have you ever wanted to spend six months toiling over a workbench creating a robotic masterpiece only to see it explode in a ball of flames five seconds after you turn it on the day of the race? We’ve got the perfect competition for you: the SparkFun AVC! The Autonomous Vehicle Competition lets you put your autonomous vehicle through the paces with a separate ground and aerial course. The competition happens June 21st at the Boulder Reservoir. Check out the AVC site to learn more. We returned to the battlefield this week to shoot a short video detailing the course changes for this year.
As we’ve mentioned in previous AVC posts, the course will remain pretty much the same as it did last year, with a few minor tweaks. For ground, we’re adding a line (for line followers) to make it easier to enter the Micro/PBR class, which has size and cost restrictions. For the aerial entrants, we’re adding three red balloons of death that can be either obstacles or an opportunity for more points. For the full rundown of the rules, click here. Also, it might be a good idea to re-watch the course preview video from last year.
We’ve also added a bit more information regarding the obstacles you’ll encounter. We now have the paint colors for all the obstacles, as well as a link so you can purchase your very own balloons for practicing. Be sure to check out all the information provided, including GPS waypoints.
You have until May 21st to register, so head on over to the AVC site to register, read up on the rules, or check out videos or pictures from previous competitions. For anyone already registered, you have until May 21st to send us a “proof of concept.” At the end of this month, we will send out a reminder with more details. Also, the AVC is free to come and watch. So bring the friends - we’re covering the entrance fee for the reservoir for that day. See you then!
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 08:003D Printing and Chocolate Molds: Tempering and Pouring #3DxKitchen #3DThursday #3DPriting
Ed Nisley has been sharing a series of posts based on his experiments with 3D printing for mold making.
Chocolate Molds: Tempering and Pouring.
oft Solder, blog. Here are some observations about chocolate tempering:
Having experimentally determined that tempering molten chocolate is not optional (i.e., chocolate doesn’t behave just like butter), I tried a cheat discussed in the comments following that helpful post. Basically, because all retail chocolate is already tempered, you can get good results by carefully heating it to the proper temperature, then pouring it into the molds… the proper crystals remain in their places, the cooled chocolate has good snap, and you avoid a huge amount of fuffing and fawing….
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 07:00Hackaday Retro Edition: Parallel Port Ethernet
It’s time once again for a roundup of ancient hardware that has successfully loaded our retro edition. Up this time is a completely random and totally not planned roundup of parallel port to Ethernet adapters.
First up is [Tom Moss] with his IBM 5150 – the first ‘IBM Compatible’ home computer, progenitor of the i7 boxxen warming your ankles as you read this. This machine comes standard with a 4.77 MHz 8088 CPU, 8087 FPU, 512k RAM, two 360k 5.25″ floppy drives, and a few very cool additions: an ISA to CompactFlash card adapter, giving [Tom]‘s box 4GB of storage.
How is [Tom] connecting to the Internet? A Xircom PE3-10BT Network Adapter. This neat device turns any parallel port into an Ethernet. With a Telnet program, [Tom] was able to connect to a Unix system and use Lynx to browse over to the retro site. He’s yet to get a DOS browser working, but FTP is go, allowing him to download ancient software directly onto his huge CF card.
The next one isn’t exactly vintage, but it does carry the spirit of antiquated hardware onto the web. [Valentin] is using a FleaFPGA and a 186 over at OpenCores. The FPGA board gives him VGA output, an SD card, A PS/2 keyboard, but no options for networking. That’s no problem for [Valentin], as he wired up a Xircom PE3 parallel port to Ethernet adapter. Yes, the same adapter as the 5150 above. [Valentin] says his parallel port hack is a bit of a mess with non-bidirectional and no dedicated IRQ hardware support. It works, though, so we can’t fault him for that.
We’re always looking for people who have loaded our retro edition on old hardware. If you have some outdated hardware sitting in the attic, get it out, load up Hackaday Retro, and send it in.
Pics from [Tom] and [Valentin] below.
Filed under: classic hacks
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 07:00Cosmo Wenman’s Life-size 3D Printed Portrait Mashup #3DxArt #3DThursday #3DPrinting
My client asked for a life-sized 3D printed portrait of a colleague. Because the portrait was to be a surprise gift, there was no opportunity to scan the subject. The piece had to be modeled from photos of him culled from the web.
I proposed a bust, roughly from the shoulders up, with classical allusions, but I was vague about the details beyond that. The final design references the Artemision Bronze, Leighton’s An Athlete Wrestling with a Python and a few other sources.
…This is the result….” å
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 07:00From the mail bag…
I want to share my customer feedback. I believe a company that sells its own products is only as good as its customer service/support. It’s the product/customer support after the sale that keeps the customers satisfied and helps grow your future sales. I want to tell Adafruit that I am 100% satisfied with their product design/production, quality control, sales, shipping, and service/support. Adafruit has exceeded my expectations! I have never had any problem with any part of your company. I also want to give recognition Rick in the Adafruit Service Forms for his help in my posts. Thank you Rick. Thank you again Adafruit. =) I will be an Adafruit customer for life! Thank you Adafruit and Rick.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 04:00Kyub MIDI Keyboard Puts a Piano in Your Pocket
[Keith Baxter] loves making electronic instruments. His latest vision has come to life as Kyub, an open-source MIDI keyboard. [Keith] has previously graced our site and cracked Popular Science with his servoelectric guitar.
[Keith] wanted to make a completely open source instrument that’s elegant, useful, and a bit more accessible than the servoelectric guitar, so he teamed up with a hacker/electronic music expert and an industrial designer. He built the early prototypes around an Arduino Uno. The current iteration uses a Teensy 2.0 and is available in various forms through Kickstarter. [Keith] opened the Kyub up to crowd funding in an effort to obtain volume pricing on some of the parts as well as an Eagle license to make the PCB files available commercially.
The Kyub has eleven pressure-sensitive capacitive keypads on five sides of the cube. The accelerometer can be used to vary note volume, bend the pitch, or whatever else you program it to do. Of course, you’ll need a computer with a synthesizer program, but [Keith] says it is compatible with most software synth programs, some of which are free.
There’s a demo video of an early prototype after the break. Videos of the Kyub in its current form are available on the Kickstarter page.
Filed under: musical hacks
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 03:25New Project: Hippie Bike Panniers
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 02:48Humble Makers Against Crowdfunding Scams (HMACS)
What if there were a loose body of makers, with some recognizable name and "seal of non-disapproval," who take it upon themselves to vet all of the new hardware offerings posted to crowdfunding sites?
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 02:00ASK AN ENGINEER – LIVE electronics video show! 8PM ET Wednesday night!
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 01:30SHOW-AND-TELL Google+ LIVE Hangout! Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 01:00Wearable flames with fur and LED strips
[Finchronicity] over on Hackaday Projects has made a pretty awesome furry LED Vest to keep him warm and well lit at this year’s Burning Man. He is using a Teensy 3.0 that drives strips of 470 WS2811 LEDs.
The vertically aligned strips run on a continuous sequence which reaches up to 31 frames per second using precompiled animations. The effects rendered in Processing or video mapped, are captured frame by frame and stored as raw color data to an SD card. Playback uses the NeoPixel library to control the strips. The high resolution LEDs, with the video mapped fire and the long pile fur, create one of the nicest flame effects we have seen on clothing.
We’ve also seen the Teensy 3.0 and WS2811 LEDs used as a popular combination for building huge displays, a 23ft tall pyramid, and more recently in the RFID jacket at Make Fashion 2014. Have you made or seen a great Teensy/WS2811 project you would like to share with us? If so, let us know the details in the comments below.
Filed under: wearable hacks
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 23:17How to make your own Primo prototype using digital fabrication and Arduino boards
Primo‘s team sent us exciting news from their HQ about their contribution to the open source community. After the successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the wooden play-set that uses shapes, colours and spacial awareness to teach programming logic through a tactile, warm and magical learning experience, they took a step further. They released all the documentation and the instructions to produce a Primo prototype, different from the product that they make and sell.
We just finished the first edition of the Primo play-set open documentation, that includes the design files that we used to make our first prototype and a step-by-step guide to make your own version of the Primo play set. This “maker” version of our product can be assembled using rapid prototyping techniques and common tools like Arduino boards.
We recently published a preview of this documentation just for our Kickstarter backers, who already started to build their projects and to translate the document in their language. The FabLab in São Paulo for example already translated it in Brasilian Portuguese, while other languages like Dutch, Italian and Japanese are now in progress.
The whole documentation is completely transparent: it’s written in Markdown using Jekyll and GitHub pages. In this way it is very easy for creators to modify, translate and use it as a starting point for their projects.
In parallel we are developing an industrial version of our product, using manufacture-quality materials and custom Arduino-compatible electronic boards.
And if you want to read about the experience of a dad making a DIY version in 1 month and a half of work, follow this link.
Primo is an Arduino At Heart partner. If you have a great project based on Arduino and want to join the program, read the details and then get in touch with us.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 23:00How To Make Your Cosplay Props Look Like Metal
Making plastic or craft foam look like metal isn’t the easiest trick in the world, but it can be done. This is a great skill to learn to help you with cosplay props and weapons and also armor. DeviantArt user Risachantag came up with it. First, the plastic shuriken were coated with a base coat of chrome spray paint. To make it look more like worn and used metal, she used a dry brush first. After you dip your brush in black paint, do the following:
“Scrub the brush on newspaper for a bit until there’s only a little bit of paint on the brush. Putting pressure on the brush until it splays out, scratch the brush around so that the paint comes off the brush unevenly to give a rough texture.”
See the full tutorial at DeviantArt.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 22:00Re:load Pro, an Open Source Active Load
Open source test equipment has to be one of the best gifts open source hardware has given back to the community. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of [Nick's] Re:Load Pro over on Kickstarter. Unlike resistors or similar dummy loads, an active load will always draw the set amount of current regardless of voltage. Active loads are often used to test power supplies and batteries. Is that 2500 mAh LiPo battery overstating it’s capacity? Can the power supply you just designed handle 2.5A at 12V? Both of these are jobs where active loads would come in handy.
The Re:Load Pro is actually the third version of the Re:Load. [Nick] designed the original Re:Load after becoming frustrated at the lack of a cheap active load for testing a power supply. Plenty of people showed interest in the Re:Load, but they wanted more features. That’s where the Re:Load Pro comes in. More than a straight analog design, the Pro has a Cypress PSOC 4 Arm Cortex M0 processor running the system.
[Nick] and his company, Arachnid Labs, are no strangers to us here at Hackaday. When we last covered [Nick], he was asking the USB Implementers Forum about a low cost Vendor ID option for open source hardware projects. Fittingly, the Re:Load Pro is an open source project. The schematics and source code are available on Github.
Filed under: tool hacks
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 20:30CuteCircuit Twirkle Shirt Teardown #WearableWednesday
CuteCircuit designed the Twirkle Shirt so you can get your glow on in a motion-activated twinkling t-shirt. It’s the first commercially available ready-to-wear LED shirt we’ve seen, and we couldn’t wait to open it up to see how it works.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 20:01Maker Faire Shenzhen a Seminal Event for Makers in China
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 19:01“The Maker Movement”: Wall Art For Your Workbench — Prints Now Available
I’ve wanted to do a photograph which captured what I think of when I think of makers, and which makers themselves would enjoy as a work.
All of us started the same way — as curious kids (maybe big kids). At first, most of us were following in the path of someone else — along what feels like a straight, well-defined line. But there’s a point where things start to diverge, and we go off and do our own thing. That’s what making is all about, and that’s what I tried to capture here.
Symbolism aside, I just dig this image. I’d like to sell it as a print, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. What I’d like to know from you is if you’d be interested in buying such a thing. It’s always hard to judge whether or not a print will sell, especially for the artist, who is often too close to the work to be objective — that’s what galleries and curators are for. But I don’t want this to be a gallery piece. I’d like it to be an affordable work that people can hang in their homes, hackerspaces, shops, or offices and enjoy, so I’m asking you directly.
Many thanks to everyone for your compliments and support! It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here (yay!) — head on over to the SmugMug page to check it out!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 19:01Building the Internet of “Thing” at FTF2014
It’s official: all the hype around IoT is starting to get a bit annoying. Not because there’s anything wrong with building Internet-connected devices, but because so many people are trying to jump on the bandwagon with the same old “Future: brought to you by Megacorp #07″-mindset. Recycled visions of estranged professionals, with their homes, offices, business meetings and hotel rooms, all powered by the latest “one IoT platform to rule them all” – are back on. Even though the mythical “Smart” refrigerator didn’t changed the world back in 2001, I guess that there’s no harm in trying it again. After all, we have seen this working out great in software, with redos of dot-com era ideas turning into massive successes a decade later.
That’s all fine, and we wish everyone the best of luck, but the future we’re the biggest fans of is a hackable, community-built, open-hardware one. So when the guys from FTF2014 called us to host a two-day “lab” in which engineers would play around and try to come up with an interesting IoT product, we were more than happy to jump in and try to do it our way. We got roughly two dozen engineers to drop lectures and training classes and hang out with us in the lab. We got Freescale to hand out a whole bunch of FRDM-K64F boards and a couple of mbed.org guys to join us on-site and help out with the dev tools. Two days later, we had our winner – “Don’t Not Enter” by David Isbister and Ernie Aguilar. They did an amazing job, both in hacking up a great product (elaborate internet-connected cat flap door), but more importantly, in fixing a whole bunch of issues in the hardware/firmware/tools stack that we had on our hands. However, a true disruptive technology that came out of the whole event was our second-prize winner – Eli Hughes, and his project called: The Internet of “Thing”. You’ve guessed it – it’s the (Internet-connected) Thing from The Adams Family! In this ultimate display of subversive playful cleverness, Eli did more than just creating an interesting project. He called out a large audience of otherwise buttoned-up “professional” engineers to start thinking beyond RFID and obvious Smart devices and try to bring back a little bit of that wacky hacker spirit back into their work. Eli’s project is pretty interesting on the implementation side too. He did some clever surgery on Fantasma Toys Hand Runner to boost the power and created a circuit that interfaces Thing’s built-in IR remote to the WiFi. He also built a cool command line interface and a touchscreen app, which communicate with the Thing via TCP server running on K64 board with RX-XV module. This setup allows for endless hours of fun, either by controlling the Thing via touch interface, or more importantly – by scripting its movement using the DSL shell. For more details, check out his project entry at hackaday.io. Hopefully, this project will serve as a great reminder for all of us that the future is not going to be just a “photorealistic version of Second Life” and if we’re to build projects that define it, we will have to try harder and come up with some truly creative and original ideas. And make sure we’re having fun along the way.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 19:00Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 04/16/2014 – LIVE 2pm ET
Join Becky Stern and friends every week as we delve into the wonderful world of wearables, live on YouTube. We’ll answer your questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store, and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials, tools, and projects you can build at home! Ask your wearables questions in the comments, and if your question is featured on a future episode, you’ll be entered to win the show giveaway!
- #WearableWednesday on the Adafruit blog
- CuteCircuit Twirkle Shirt Teardown
- LED Stego Flex Spike Hoodie
- Material Spotlight: NinjaFlex 3D printing filament
- Component of the Week: 12mm silicone-encased LED pixels
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New tutorials on the Adafruit Learning System
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 18:37Blueprint “The First Media Brand Dedicated to Helping Hardware Startups” @shoplocket