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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 16:00
    This online test will help determine if you are tone deaf #MusicMonday


    ToneDeafTest com Find out if you are tone deaf or not

    Try it out for free here! Here’s some information from the site:

    Most people who think they are tone deaf do in fact have the pitch discrimination abilities necessary to be great musicians. It is actually a lack of musical training which is to blame for their apparent difficulty judging notes.

    This Tone Deaf Test is designed to measure your pitch sensitivity. This tests whether you have the fundamental abilities you need, which can then be developed and improved through ear training and singing practice.

    The test is divided into three stages, each of which tests a different pitch judgement skill. Your overall score is used to determine the likelihood that you are truly tone deaf. If you pass the test you can be quite confident you have the fundamental pitch abilities required to become a good musician.

    Please note that although the test has been designed by experienced music educators based on scientific research into tone deafness, it is not a clinical diagnosis. If you fail the test, this is not diagnosis of a cognitive impairment and it is possible you can still develop your ears for music.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 16:00
    Using Public Data to Make Laser Cut Maps

    laser cut maps

    If you have access to a laser cutter you’re going to want to take a look at this brilliant tutorial. [Steven Smethurst] has figured out how to extract public map data and turn it into a file ready to be laser cut onto your choice of material.

    In his example he’s using Vancouver’s Open Data Catalog to build his map using the coastal and public street data. To do this he’s using a program called TileMill which you can get for free from MapBox — it’s a great piece of software for designing your own interactive maps — and the best part is, you can import data from a wide variety of sources, such as Vancouver’s Open Data!

    You can import the shape (.SHP) files from the Open Data Catalog and add them as layers into TileMill. From there you can manipulate your map, adjust the detail, and then import as a .SVG or .DXF file ready for laser cutting.

    In addition to the Instructable on how to do this, he’s also recorded an in-depth video tutorial which you can check out after the break.

    Filed under: laser hacks

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 15:00
    James Dyson Is Designing A Giant Vacuum-On-A-Boat To Clean Ocean Trash


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    Fastcoexist has a story on James Dyson’s plans to develop a giant vacuum designed to clean up pollution in our water.

    “By skimming a highly concentrated flow of larger sized plastics in polluted rivers, the M.V. Recyclone would effectively mine a major source of the pollution before it reached the sea,” the British engineer explained in an email.

    “Large skim nets unfurl from the rollers at its stern and are anchored on each side of the river. Hydraulic winches wind them in and out. The nets face upstream and skim the surface of the river for floating debris. The plastic waste is shredded on board and then different grades of plastic are separated by a huge cyclone–very similar to the way our cyclonic vacuums work,” he said.

    Dyson first sketched out the idea for Time, but we asked him for a few more details. Originally, he thought the machine would be more like a “grid” fixed at certain strategic points of the river. But he eventually decided that wouldn’t have the scale or mobility of a boat. Hence the M.V. Recyclone barge.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:29
    From the desk of Ladayada – Cell phone module board #manufacturing


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    From the desk of Ladayada, upcoming cell phone module breakout board and more!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:07
    Cyber Spider testing



    Cyber Spider testing via MAKE.

    Initial walking tests of the Cyber Spider by Matthew Garten.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:00
    Use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access #makeymakey #makeymakeymonday


    Makeymakeyassistive

    Jason Webb shared his recent tutorial detailing how to “use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access“. He also did a live Google Hangout on Air sharing more details about how one can approach the MaKey-MaKey as a tool for developing assistive technology here.

    In this Instructable we will be looking at how to use an innovative device called the MaKey MaKey to create customized, low-cost, DIY computer access interfaces for users with disabilities.

    What is a computer access interface?

    A computer access interface is anything you use to interact with your computer. Normally this is simply a keyboard or a mouse, but for some individuals these devices are impractical or difficult (perhaps even impossible) to use.

    Many commercial options exist that let people use their computer in various ways, but the vast majority of them are extremely expensive, hard to use and rely on relatively outdated technology and design principles.

    In this Instructable, I will show you how to make your own simple, transparent interfaces out of common objects like aluminum foil and cardboard and an awesome $50 piece of technology! …

    Read More.

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    Makeysm

    Every Monday is Makey Makey™ Monday here at Adafruit! The MaKey MaKey – by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, made by JoyLabz! Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video at makeymakey.com. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between! If you have a cool project you’ve made with your Makey Makey be sure to send it in to be featured here!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:35
    Quick teardown- what’s inside a Home Depot 7in LED Easy light
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:18
    voLumen – volumetric 3D display – amazing video
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Our top 10 favorite photos from underwaterphotography.com’s annual photo contest #photography


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    Underwaterphotography.com has a yearly contest for underwater photography and the winners this year are incredible! We’ve posted 10 of our favorites here but be sure to check out the site to see all the winners and runners up. Above is the first place winner from the over/under category. It was taken in Mexico by Uwe Schmolke. Here’s some more information on the contest:

    Winning here (or even just being placed) is Underwater Photography’s most coveted accolade because it says you succeeded in the most competitive environment there is, against the top talent of the moment.

    Every year a panel of judges select the best images entered in our online photo contest from the previous year. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for the top three from each category in order of merit.

    The judges comprise of industry professionals, previous year’s World Champions, our site moderators – anyone we can rope in! They are unpaid, non-affiliated, and (of course) cannot vote for themselves.

    Here’s 9 more of our favorites!

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    This one is the first place winner from the wide angle wrecks category and was taken by Ellen Cuylaerts in the Cayman islands. It’s a, “Fly free diver at the bow of the EX-USS Kittiwake”.

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    This one is the first place winner of the wide angle – close focus category. It was taken by Helmy Hashim in the Red Sea in Egypt.

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    This super creepy photo is the second place winner of the Macro – Close-up category. Taken by Doris Vierkötter in Indonesia.

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    This one is the 3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Natural Light (no strobe) category. Taken by Shane Gross in Sri Lanka.

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    3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Marine Life category. By Valda Fraser taken in South Africa.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – not swimming category. By Ellen Cuylaerts taken in Mexico.

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    3rd place winner from the Macro- swimming category. By Uwe Schmolke taken in Indonesia.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – super macro category. Taken by Iyad Suleyman in the United Arab Emirates.

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    First place winner from the sharks category. Taken by Petteri Viljakainen in Mexico.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    What’s Inside a USB Isolator?

    Coil Die

     

    In this acid powered teardown, [Lindsay] decapped a USB isolator to take a look at how the isolation worked. The decapped part is an Analog Devices ADUM4160. Analog Devices explains that the device uses their iCoupler technology, which consists of on chip transformers.

    [Lindsay] followed [Ben Krasnow]‘s video tutorial on how to decap chips, but replaced the nitric acid with concentrated sulphuric acid, which is a bit easier to obtain. The process involves heating the chip while applying an acid. Over time, the packaging material is dissolved leaving just the silicon. Sure enough, one of the three dies consisted of five coils that make up the isolation transformers. Each transformer has 15 windings, and the traces are only 4μm thick.

    After the break, you can watch a time lapse video of the chip being eaten by hot acid. For further reading, Analog Devices has a paper on how iCoupler works [PDF warning].

    [Thanks to Chris for the tip!]

    Filed under: teardown

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Symbiotic Machine: A robot that feeds on algae #robotics



    Ivan Henriques has made this strange but cool robot that feeds on algae.

    Sealed with a transparent cylinder a motor, an endless worm and a pepper grinder aligned and connected by one single axis compose the mouth/anus, like a jellyfish. This cylinder has a liquid inlet/outlet (for water and algae spirogyra) placed at the end part of the endless worm. The endless worm has an important function to pump liquid in and out and to give small propulsion for the machine. Once the motor is activated the endless worm can turn to the right or to the left. If it turns to the right it sucks liquid in. If it turns to the left it pushes liquid out. The machine is programmed to pump algae and water in and out by the information transmitted by the sensors.

    In order to “hack” the algae spirogyra photosynthesis’ and apply it as an energy source, the algae cell’s membrane has to be broken. The pepper grinder that is connected at the end of the endless worm can grind the algae breaking the membrane cell, releasing micro particles. These micro particles in naked eyes looks like a “green juice” which is flushed inside the machine: the stomach.

    A tube that comes from the end of the mouth with grinded algae goes though the stomach inside the ellipsoid of revolution. This tube is fastened on a 2-way valve placed in the center of the spherical shape.

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    Inside the ellipsoid of revolution there is another bowl, just one centimeter smaller aligned in the center. Placing this bowl inside, it creates two chambers: 1] the space between the outer skin and the bowl and 2] inside the smaller bowl. In chamber 1 the photocells are placed in parallel and in series. The photocell is composed by a plate covered with gold, a spacer in the middle covered with a copper mesh. This set up allows the “green juice” rest between the gold and copper. After the light is shed on the electrons of the grinded algae they flow to one of these metals, as a lemon battery. As all the photocells are connected, with the help from the electronic chip LTC 3108 Energy Harvester is possible to store these milivoltages in two AA rechargeable batteries.

    (A life cycle with functions was idealized in order to program the machine and activate independent mechanical parts of the stomach: it has to eat, move, sunbath, rest, search for food, wash itself, in loop)

    The 2-way valve mentioned above is connected as: valve 1 hooked up with chamber 1 and valve 2 with chamber 2. When the stomach works is sent information to the machine that the valve 1 has to be opened. The algae flow to this chamber and the machine uses a light sensor to go towards where there is more luminescence to make photosynthesis. It rests for ten minutes. After the 10 min sunbath the machine has to clean its stomach – and the photocells – to be able to eat again. Water is sucked in again with the mouth, and via the same valve from the algae, it pumps more water inside chamber 1 in order to have an overflow of this liquid in chamber 2. The liquid, which is now in chamber 2 is flushed out by the motor turning the endless worm and having the valve 2 opened.

    Fixed on the edge of the structure opposite the mouth, an underwater pump connected by a vertical axis with a servo powers the movement of the structure giving possibilities to steer 0; 45 and minus 45 degrees.

    Read more.

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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 12:00
    AMLGM Envisions Urban Alloy Tower Over Transportation Hub in NYC


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    AMLGM has developed a city redesign plan called “Urban Alloy,” which focuses on re-imagining the space around existing transportation hubs in the outer boroughs of NYC. Via designboom.

    From AMLGM:

    Living Concept:

    The combination of escalating land prices and the acceleration of city migration have made urban renewal based modes of densification unfit for the contemporary city. Urban Alloy is the symbiotic re-purposing of the air rights above transportation corridors in New York. Urbanist’s have long touted the benefits of greater housing density near public transportation hubs – Urban Alloy proposes the advancement of this idea by locating the system directly on the intersections between surface and elevated train lines. We have chosen the intersection of the LIRR and the 7 train as a test case. The paradigm of one size fits all is obsolete. Urban citizens want diverse living situations where they can work, play, eat and rest within a pedestrian zone. As technology creates the market desire and a conditioning for personalization, society is more willing to pay a premium for spaces that are tailored to their particular needs. See Program Diagram describing the wide range of living options.

    Skin Concept:

    The wide range of programmatic options inspired a blend of floor plate geometries that transition from cylindrical to triangular from the base to the top of each tower. This blend, along with constraints instilled from the site, generates a complex geometry that requires a new facade optimization paradigm. A composite or alloy of multiple flexible systems is required to optimize a skin in which every point has a unique environmental exposure. The system is deployed on a grid that follows the geometric directionality of the surface. At each intersection of the grid, the normal of the surface is analyzed against its optimal solar shading and daylight transmitting requirements. An authored algorithm then generates vertical and horizontal fin profiles that blend with the profiles at adjacent nodes. The result is an optimized system of decorative metal fins that are unique to each specific solar orientation. Based upon the tenants of current solar facade design, the algorithm utilizes deep horizontal fins along southern exposure, and deeper vertical fins alongs east and west facing surfaces. This system generates specific fin depth and orientation for every point on the surface.

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    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 12:00
    “Technology Will Save Us” Goes to Rio

    The 36 Rio based designers, engineers, makers, and thinkers along with our crew.If you were tasked to solve an everyday problem in 72 hours with DIY technology, what problem would you solve? We asked 36 Rio based designers, engineers, makers and thinkers just that question.

    Read more on MAKE


  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:00
    Dynamic LED table project – As Seen on Show & Tell!



    Rikard shared his LED table project, modifying an Ikea LACK table into a LED platform on which he can run a number of types of visualizations:

    Expensive electronics and a cheap table.

    Are you bored of LED lights? No? Me neither. Thats why i thought another 256 RGB LED’s in my living room might be a good idea.

    Read More.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 10:00
    Ariel Waldman: Let’s Imagine Greater campaign #womeninSTEM



    Great new TV spot from Ariel Waldman! Read more over at her site. Also check out the site she founded: spacehack.org

    The SyFy channel featured me in a TV spot for their Let’s Imagine Greater campaign. The campaign aims to inspire people to imagine amazing things – and hopefully go on to create them! I worked with the team at SyFy to help them engage communities online to “imagine greater” in exploring space.

    I really loved filming on a set – I hope it’ll be the first of many. The TV spot was shot on green screen and an additional interview was shot as part of an electronic press kit (EPK):

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 10:00
    VoLumen — The Most Advanced Persistence of Vision Display Yet

    volumetric

    Whoa. We’re just blown away by this new project by [Maximilian Mali] and [Sebastian Haushofer]. It’s a stacked Persistance of Vision display, with 9 layers — effectively creating a Volumetric 3D POV Display.

    We recently shared one of [Maximilian's] other projects, The Ripper CNC Machine. As it turns out, the reason he built The Ripper was to aid in the manufacture of his VoLumen project. He’s been designing these Volumetric 3D displays for about 3 years now, with the first iteration called the viSio, capable of 40 fps 3D video without the need for any 3D glasses.

    The new and improved VoLumen features 34 micro-controllers, each with 512MB flash memory for storing animation data. In total there are 1024 high power RGB LEDs, which draw a whopping 200W at full load, making it bright, crisp and visible even in direct sunlight. It’s an incredible project that [Maximilian] started when he was only 16 years old.

    You have to see the video of this thing in action.

    Today, [Maximillian] and [Sebastian] are finishing up a mechatronic engineering degree in Vienna, and are hoping to receive a grant to continue their studies abroad. So if there are any university coordinators in our midst — let’s get these guys some support!

    Filed under: led hacks

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 09:00
    The thinnest membrane technologically possible has been produced and it’s 100,000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair.


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    Science Daily has the scoop on the latest version of super thin graphene.

    A new nano-membrane made out of the ‘super material’ graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The new membrane just produced is as thin as is technologically possible.

    Researchers have produced a stable porous membrane that is thinner than a nanometre. This is a 100,000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. The membrane consists of two layers of the much exalted “super material” graphene, a two-dimensional film made of carbon atoms, on which the team of researchers, led by Professor Hyung Gyu Park at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, etched tiny pores of a precisely defined size.

    The membrane can thus permeate tiny molecules. Larger molecules or particles, on the other hand, can pass only slowly or not at all. “With a thickness of just two carbon atoms, this is the thinnest porous membrane that is technologically possible to make,” says PhD student Jakob Buchheim, one of the two lead authors of the study, which was conducted by ETH-Zurich researchers in collaboration with scientists from Empa and a research laboratory of LG Electronics. The study has just been published in journal Science.

    The ultra-thin graphene membrane may one day be used for a range of different purposes, including waterproof clothing. “Our membrane is not only very light and flexible, but it is also a thousand fold more breathable than Goretex,” says Kemal Celebi, a postdoc in Park’s laboratory and also one of the lead authors of the study. The membrane could also potentially be used to separate gaseous mixtures into their constituent parts or to filter impurities from fluids. The researchers were able to demonstrate for the first time that graphene membranes could be suitable for water filtration. The researchers also see a potential use for the membrane in devices used for the accurate measurement of gas and fluid flow rates that are crucial to unveiling the physics around mass transfer at nanoscales and separation of chemical mixtures.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 08:00
    A New Book on the 2,000-Year History of GPS Tracking


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    Bret Brownell at Mother Jones highlights some of the key moments from You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves, a new book on the history of GPS tracking by Hiawatha Bray.

    Boston Globe technology writer Hiawatha Bray recalls the moment that inspired him to write his new book, You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves. “I got a phone around 2003 or so,” he says. “And when you turned the phone on—it was a Verizon dumb phone, it wasn’t anything fancy—it said ‘GPS’. And I said, ‘GPS? There’s GPS in my phone?’” He asked around and discovered that yes, there was GPS in his phone, due to a 1994 FCC ruling. At the time, cellphone usage was increasing rapidly, but 911 and other emergency responders could only accurately track the location of land line callers. So the FCC decided that cellphone providers like Verizon must be able to give emergency responders a more accurate location of cellphone users calling 911. After discovering this, “It hit me,” Bray says. “We were about to enter a world in which…everybody had a cellphone, and that would also mean that we would know where everybody was. Somebody ought to write about that!”

    So he began researching transformative events that lead to our new ability to navigate (almost) anywhere. In addition, he discovered the military-led GPS and government-led mapping technologies that helped create new digital industries. The result of his curiosity is You Are Here, an entertaining, detailed history of how we evolved from primitive navigation tools to our current state of instant digital mapping—and, of course, governments’ subsequent ability to track us. The book was finished prior to the recent disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but Bray says gaps in navigation and communication like that are now “few and far between.”

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    1st century: The Chinese begin writing about mysterious ladles made of lodestone. The ladle handles always point south when used during future-telling rituals. In the following centuries, lodestone’s magnetic abilities lead to the development of the first compasses.

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    2nd Century: Ptolemy’s Geography is published and sets the standard for maps that use latitude and longitude.

    Read more!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 07:00
    From the Forums: 16×16 neopixel + arduino nano + eclipse plugin success #NeoPixel #arduino



    big_red_frog shared a Neopixel matrix video on the Adafruit Forums:

    This is a video of a 16 x 16 array of neopixels on a flexible substrate. Driven by an arduino nano and programmed via arduino plugin for eclipse which takes the programming environment to the next level.

    Simple bloom effect to shake out the system. Also implemented a custom 3×5 font.

    …Next phase is to convert to a flora and a beefy lipo supply…

    Read More.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 07:00
    Sublime Text as an Arduino IDE

    Stino IDE

    If you’ve played with an Arduino, you’ve probably been frustrated by the IDE. It works, but it’s not the best editor. It’s especially painful for bigger files and larger projects. The Stino plugin for Sublime Text aims to solve this issue by bringing the full functionality of the Arduino IDE to the Sublime Text editor.

    Sublime Text is a powerful text editor with support for most programming languages. What it’s missing is support for compiling and uploading code to an Arduino. Stino bridges that gap. Sublime is a commercial product, and retails for $70 USD. However Sublime does have an indefinite trial period, so Stino can be evaluated for free. Stino itself is an open source plugin written in Python, and you can contribute to the project on Github.

    After installing Sublime and Stino, you point the plugin at an Arduino install folder. It then allows you to build and flash directly from the editor. For anyone who’s been frustrated with the Arduino IDE, this looks like a slick solution.

    [Thanks to Matt for the tip!]

    Filed under: Arduino Hacks

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