• Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 10:00
    Reverse Engineering Programmable Logic


    Despite what the cool kids are doing over on Hackaday Projects, the vast majority of vintage computers used some form of programmable logic for memory control, address decoding, and all that other stuff that can be done with just a few logic chips. It’s a great way to design a product for production, but what happens when the programmable chips go bad after 30 years?

    [Clockmeister] got his hands on a Dick Smith VZ300 computer (a clone of the VTech Laser 310) with two broken 40-pin custom chips. After going through the schematics and theory of operation for this compy, he recreated the custom chips in 74 series logic.

    The Dick Smith VZ300 is a fairly standard piece of equipment from 1985 – a Z80 CPU, 16k RAM, upgradable to 64k, a tape drive, and 32×16 character, 8 color display. Inside this computer are two 40-pin chips that are responsable for video buffering and VRAM control, keyboard and cassette I/O, video timing, and the monophonic speaker decoding. Both of these chips failed, and spares are unavailable, apart from scavenging them from another working unit.

    After careful study, [Clockmeister] recreated the circuits inside these chip with 74 series logic chips. The new circuit was built on a board that plugs directly into the empty 40-pin sockets. Everything in this rehabbed computer works, so we’re just chalking this up as another reason why designing new retrocomputers with programmable logic is a dumb idea. Great for a product, but not for a one-off.

    Image source


    Filed under: classic hacks

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 10:00
    Wearable electronics are driving battery revenue growth #WearableWednesday


    EE Times has an interesting piece on the growth of the battery industry thanks to the influx of wearable electronics.

    With wearable electronics quickly becoming the fashion these days, demand for batteries to power smart watches, wearable health monitors, and smart glasses will increase tenfold over the next four years, according to an IHS report.

    Worldwide revenue for wearable electronics batteries is expected to jump from $6 million in 2014 to $77 million in 2018. Revenue growth will be buoyed by annual shipments for wearable electronic devices, which will reach 56 million units by 2018, according to the IHS Power & Energy report (subscription required).

    “Wearable electronics will be the key to sustaining the current very-high-growth levels of battery revenue in consumer electronics,” Thomas McAlpine, a power supply and storage component analyst for IHS, said in a press release. He predicted a boost in shipments for “products geared toward an active lifestyle combining advanced technological trends in miniature computing with newly smart consumer imperatives in fitness and fashion,” including smart watches and smart glass products, such as Google Glass, slated for release this year.

    OEMs tend to prefer lithium polymer batteries over lithium ion batteries, since they are lighter and can be designed into a wider range of applications. As a result, lithium polymer batteries will account for 73% of worldwide revenue of wearable electronics batteries in 2018, the report says.

    Read more and pick up one of Adafruit’s lithium ion batteries here.

    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!

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 09:00
    Hey, that Sock Monkey Hat Blinked #WearableWednesday


    This tres adorable hat was recently created by Niki Selken and Annelie Koller. They were intrigued by 8×8 LED matrices (aren’t we all?), so they decided to work on a project that would imitate eyes.  They were thinking about using some cheap glasses, but then fell in love with this hat. We think they made an excellent choice!  Here’s their first prototype; you can see the Arduino in the background.

    The duo did face one challenge — synching.

    Our major hurdle was getting the eyes to blink at the same time. We eventually had to add in the delays to make that work. We then embedded the Arduino and breadboard into the hat with a battery pack attached.

    Check out their finished hat.  It probably gets some street stares, but we think it could get even more if  they hook up an EEG headband and allow thoughts to change the eyes for passers-by.

    Yeah, yeah, we know you already have ideas for what you would do with our 8×8 matrix. They come in plenty of fresh flavors for whatever project you have in mind. You can get started with one of our faves — a Space Invaders Necklace. It’s a great way to blink with a single matrix and it will prep you for blinking with two.


    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!

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 08:00
    Alexander Wang’s beautiful color-changing heat activated garments #WearbleWednesday


    The folks over at Fashiongtech have posted about Alexander Wang’s beautiful laser cut color-changing garments. We’d love to get our hands on some of these pieces!

    For his Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, Alexander Wang built a collection using heat sensitive fabrics that were laser cut, knit and woven. In the hands of a clever artist, even color-changing inks that often fall prey to gimmickry, were transformed into subtle, sophisticated details that made the clothes seem like they were living.

    Read more.


    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!

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 07:01
    Unlocking your Computer with a Leonardo and an NFC Shield

    Manually typing your login password every time you need to login on your computer can get annoying, especially if it is long and complex. To tackle this problem [Lewis] assembled an NFC computer unlocker by using an Arduino Leonardo together with an NFC shield. As the latter doesn’t come with its headers soldered, a little bit of handy work was required.

    A custom enclosure was printed in order to house the two boards together and discretely mount them under a desk for easy use. Luckily enough very few code was needed as [Lewis] used the Adafruit NFC library. The main program basically scans for nearby NFC cards, compares their (big-endianned) UIDs against a memory stored-one and enters a stored password upon match. We think it is a nice first project for the new generation of hobbyists out there. This is along the same lines as the project we saw in September.

    (You’ll notice I made this post without mentioning the you-know-what project!)

    Filed under: Arduino Hacks, radio hacks

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 07:00
    Making Crazy LED Cuffs in Canada #WearableWednesday

    Best Cuff

    Makers in Canada recently tried their hands at e-textiles at UnLondon’s UnLab. The project of the day was to create an LED cuff using fun fabrics like paisley felt (yes, there is such a thing!) and fake fur. Led by Leslie Birch, makers learned about conductive thread, blinking LEDs and sewable battery holders, using our Beginner LED Sewing Kit. They also were introduced to the idea of microcontrollers like FLORA, for controlling LEDs and sensors for soft circuit projects. The class was a mix of ages and backgrounds, including library sci, sewing, electronics, fashion design, jewelry and even toy making. For some, it was the first time touching electronics, but once LEDs started to glow, everyone was excited.

    Class Cuffs

    Some were very inspired by the faux fur and created “Ewok” style cuffs. Leslie was excited by the fabric choices because they were fun, but practical for beginners.

    Fur, like felt, is a nice choice for this project because it doesn’t fray much. It will shed a bit when first cut, but then it settles. It works best making the stitches on the wrong side, so you can clearly see where things are going. Most beginners in soft circuits don’t want to spend time turning edges under on fabrics like cotton; they want to get straight to the design process and get their electronics up and running. These fabrics are perfect for that, and smiles are pretty instantaneous.

    Ewok Cuff

    Titus Cuff

    Discussion of snaps, zippers and other fasteners used as switches opened up the door for some participants. One of the more advanced sewers, Sarah, was already inspired to do another project.

    I am going to use the second half of the kit to add an LED into an UnLab Hoodie. I am going to applique the logo onto the back with UnLab, and Unlondon.ca underneath it. I am going to use the LED as the “.” in the “.ca” . My plan is to make a switch circuit using snaps, so that the LED is completely removable for washing. I’ll make some sort of pocket at that spot and have the LED push through a stitched hole in the back. Then, once it snaps into place, the LED will come on.

    Sarah was also dreaming up ways to use fusible webbing to make iron-on circuits for clothing. She envisioned not having to stitch the conductive thread in place, but merely have it lay on the fabric — pretty creative stuff!

    Stitch Cuff

    Every class has someone that wants to go rogue, and this one was no exception. One maker, Fred, wanted to have a retro style t-shirt glow. However, t-shirts present special issues according to Leslie.

    T-shirt fabric is stretchable, especially when pulling it over your head. The neckline band is ribbed to allow that movement. However, conductive thread doesn’t have this mobility. So, stitches on this fabric tend to pucker and can possibly break. What was cool about Fred, is that he dove right in to create a work-around. He cut the image off of the t-shirt and created a patch to go behind it with the LEDs. With some simple basting stitches he can attach this image and patch to the back of a jacket. There you have it, cool geek wear.

    Rogue Shirt

    Everyone was encouraged to continue the experimentation and to document their future work. So, we are expecting to see some pretty cool projects in the future for our blog. What about you?  Do these pics have you soft circuit curious yet? Get started with our awesome tutorial for sewing LEDs and stitch your own blinky stuff — like these cool hair bows.

    Hair Bows

    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!

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 06:00
    This uniform makes soldiers’ body heat invisible to enemies #WearableWednesday


    Mashable has the story on this interesting new development in thermal camouflage.

    American soldiers may soon be able to hide their body heat from any enemy who uses a thermal imaging device to find them. A new turkey suit breaks up heat waves that wash off a person’s body so the pattern of those waves blend in with the heat waves of the surrounding environment.

    It’s thermal camouflage.

    Tracking body heat requires a thermal imaging sensor, a gadget that can take the form of a range of devices, including binoculars. The ability especially comes in handy at night when conventional eyesight is poor in the dark. Thermal imaging has traditionally given the United States military a huge advantage in the dark, largely because most opposing forces couldn’t afford the technology.

    But now, any ragtag group of insurgents can purchase a heat sensor online for cheap or just download a thermal imaging app. This is why the new uniforms, called Nemesis turkey suits, might become important tools for any soldiers that takes part in night operations.

    People emanate warm waves in the shape of their bodies, so it’s easy for a person with proper equipment to identify a person in a forest or brush.

    An average thermal sensor can detect body heat around 5,000 feet away, or from a distance of about 16.5 football fields. But if someone is shrouded in the turkey suit, the sensor won’t pick up anything, said Margaret Kearney, the manager of government and military products for garment manufacturer Raven Aerostar, the company behind the turkey suit. “[The suit] dramatically reduces that 5,000 foot range,” she added.

    Though anyone can buy a suit directly through Raven Aerostar or the U.S. General Services Administration, the military is only in the early stages of testing them. Raven Aerostar hopes the suits become a common fixture among U.S. soldiers within five years, but an army spokesperson told Mashable the two organizations haven’t agreed to a contract yet.

    Read more.


    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!

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 04:34
    One Family’s Adventures at Maker Faire Bay Area

    maker-faire-2013-62Last year our family had the pleasure of attending Maker Faire Bay Area for the first time. We all had such a blast, I'd love to share our experience with you.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 04:00
    AWD Motorcycle Drives Over Anything, Fits into Dufflebag

    awd bike

    This has got to be one of the strangest motorcycles we’ve ever seen. It has huge tires, both wheels are chain driven, and it only weighs 100lbs or so — did we mention it also comes apart and fits into a dufflebag?

    It’s what appears to be a home-made Russian bike of some sort, in fact, the YouTube title when translated is “ATV Suitcase” and they aren’t wrong… Anyway, it appears to be designed off of the American-made Rokon Trailbreaker, which is another AWD motorcycle with giant tires, huge ground clearance and extremely versatile — except this one Russian one is either really light, or the rider is ridiculously strong the way he throws the bike around.

    In the following video the owner shows off the bike’s prowess climbing stairs, mountains, floating in water, and even uses it as a ladder to climb up a rock face — and then drags the bike up after him.

    Plus he can disassemble it in a matter of minutes and fit it in a car smaller than a Fiat.

    We’ve actually seen a dirt bike variant of the Rokon Trailbreaker as well, which is quite formidable with its AWD.

    [via Jalopnik]

    Filed under: transportation hacks

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 01:01
    Low-cost Solar Panels are Easy to Make and Reconfigure


    What’s the size of a deck of playing cards and can pump out enough power to charge your cellphone? These awesome little home-made magnetic solar panels!

    [Christian Pedersen] has just published a guide on how to make these handy little solar panels, and they only cost about $1.25 each! They are capable of providing between 0 – 0.5V at 400-1000mA depending on the light available and load being driven.

    All you need to make them is some multicrystalline solar cells, copper tape, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA — a film used to protect solar panels) and Polycarbonate sheet for the external hard case. You can then assemble them in a matter of minutes, and laminate for a permanently sealed panel. He’s also added thin neodymium  magnets so the panels stick together when you arrange them in a line! Perhaps a future version could have the copper strips going in both directions to allow for larger arrays to be made.

    He also has a complete BOM on his GitHub, and if you happen to be at the Maker Faire in San Mateo in May, he’ll be showing you how — in person!

    [via Instructables]


    Filed under: solar hacks

  • Mercredi, Avril 2, 2014 - 01:00
    New Project: R/C Remote Drop Mechanism

    1H1A0400_jbr2-towelCarry a toy (or pizza) high in the air and drop it from your R/C plane or copter!

    Read more on MAKE

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 23:31
    Carnegie Mellon Student Gives a Lift to Lessig’s Ideas

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.32.04 AMLawrence Lessig is one of the most astute systems thinkers on the planet. Carnegie Mellon student Jordan Harrison decided to help bring Lessig's ideas alive visually, with this video.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 23:04
    Growing your veggies with a smart greenhouse called MEG

    MEG presented at PopupMakers

    MEG is the world’s first social and automated greenhouse, part machine and part community, now on Kickstarter. Carlo D’Alesio and Piero Santoro, the designer duo based in Milan presented the prototype  at Maker Faire Rome and also at a PopupMakers event last year.

    MEG means Micro Experimental Growing system, runs on an Arduino MEGA 2560 which controls an automated “light engine,” water and nutrient tank, fans and sensors monitoring humidity, temperature, and pH. It’s smart because if you are not really good with growing plants, you can crowdsource parameters from other gardeners: your neighbour’s tomatoes won’t be more red than yours!


    Last saturday they celebrated Arduino Day in Milan and launched the campaign right there with us, where I took a couple of pictures of the prototype!



  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 23:00
    Cool Down with This Mortal Kombat Sub-Zero Costume

    subzero mortal kombat cosplay

    Many of Mortal Kombat’s characters are memorable and popular, and Sub-Zero is no exception. He’s got a cool look and chilly powers. Cosplayer Lady Annaka has always wanted to portray a character from the game, and Sub-Zero has been her lifelong favorite. She adapted his ensemble beautifully and even though special effects made the photos look wicked, the costume also looks cool without any manipulations. Annaka told Geek x Girls the following about making the costume:

    I made the whole costume myself, except for the leotard I got off of Amazon. It took me a month to create the whole costume, including the mask, and all of the armor with Worbla and Eva foam. I couldn’t be Sub-Zero without his epic fatality move, so of course I added a skull with the spinal cord prop I found on Amazon, and just painted red for the blood and I even made a little Scorpion mask for it as well! I also made a really cool ice ball prop with LED lights image to look cool on pictures as well to have fun with. This is by far one of my favorite cosplays I have done and made.

    via Geek x Girls, photo by Adam Samaz

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 21:54
    NEW PRODUCT – Panel Mount RCA (Composite Video, Audio) Cable

    1729 LRG

    NEW PRODUCT – Panel Mount RCA (Composite Video, Audio) Cable: This handy Panel Mount RCA Cable is perfect for component/composite video and audio and perfect for connecting our Raspberry Pi to RCA component/composite screens.

    This cable comes with two nice RCA connectors and has two mounting screws 20mm apart.

    The cable is 264mm / 10.4″ long.

    In stock and shipping now!

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 21:00
    BeagleBone Black GPIO interactive map #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg

    Pasted Image 3 31 14 8 41 PM

    BeagleBone Black GPIO interactive map from Le blog d’Eskimon.

    Read More.

    BeagleBone Adafruit Industries Unique fun DIY electronics and kitsEach Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here Adafruit! What is the BeagleBone? The BeagleBones are a line of affordable single-board Linux computers (SBCs) created by Texas Instruments. New to the Bone? Grab one of our Adafruit BeagleBone Black Starter Packs and check out our extensive resources available on the Adafruit Learning System including a guide to setting up the Adafruit BeagleBone IO Python Library. We have a number of Bone accessories including add-on shields (called “capes”) and USB devices to help you do even more with your SBC. Need a nice display to go along with your Bone? Check out our fine selection of HDMI displays, we’ve tested all of them with the Beagle Bone Black!

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 20:32
    MakerBot Events | THIS FRIDAY 4/4! Francis Bitonti at the MakerBot Retail Store, NYC


    Meet the Designer
    Come by the MakerBot Retail Store in New York City this Friday, April 4th from 8–10pm to meet acclaimed designer, Francis Bitonti. He will be speaking about his studio’s new 3D printed Bristle Dress, and discuss their expansion into cloud manufacturing with the Cloud Collection. The Bristle Dress will be on display along with 3D printed pieces from the Cloud Collection.

    The MakerBot Retail Store is located at 298 Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Click here to register. Space will be limited!

    If you can’t make it Friday, come see Francis and the collection at our Greenwich store at 72 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT on Tuesday, April 15th from 6:30-8:30pm.

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 20:00
    This Light Installation from United Visual Artists is their Most Dazzling Work Yet #arttuesday

    Momentum, a new exhibit from UVA, alters your perception of time and space by working with light and sound, from wired.

    Manipulating light and sound is typically a job for physicists, but every so often it’s best left to artists. To be fair, what United Visual Artists does isn’t physics exactly, but it’s pretty damn close. You can think of the London-based design collective’s work as artistic manifestation of all those brainy principles you learned back in high school. There are no head-scratching equations and formulas involved–at least none that are outwardly visible–but it’s not hard to see that UVA is adept at bending space and time.

    Walk into the Curve Gallery at the Barbican in London, and you’ll see how. Behind the museum’s concert hall is a narrow, curved room about 90 meters long. For its most recent exhibition, Momentum, UVA has transformed the space into an alternate universe where the normal rules of light and sound don’t apply.

    “With Momentum, what we’re really trying to achieve is to make you feel a different way,” explains Matt Clark, one of UVA’s founders. The sensation is created by 12 mechanical pendulums that swing down from the ceiling. These mechanisms move in four different patterns, casting hypnotizing lights and shadows through the gallery and emitting strange sounds from their built-in speakers.

    UVA BARBICAN PRESS 140212 9807 660x495

    Read more.

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 19:19
    Knowable: Collaboration for Hardware Engineers

    simon1How can people come together to make a hardware product? Knowable.org is trying to answer that.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Mardi, Avril 1, 2014 - 19:00
    This rare book opens 6 different ways to reveal 6 different books #ArtTuesday

    6 way book

    This is one of the coolest versions of book binding that we’ve ever seen! Via Visual News.

    Book binding has seen many variations, from the iconic Penguin paperbacks to highly unusual examples like this from late 16th century Germany. It’s a variation on the dos-à-dos binding format (from the French meaning “back-to-back”). Here however, the book opens six different directions, each way revealing a different book. It seems that everyone has a tablet or a Kindle tucked away in their bag (even my 90 year old grandma), and so it sometimes comes as a surprise to remember the craftsmanship that once went along with reading.

    The book, which comes from the Rogge Library in Strängnäs, features devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s (including Martin Luther’s Der kleine Catechismus). Each of the books is held closed with its own ornate metal clasp, and was probably far more decorative than useful. Just imagine finding where you left off! See more images of this book and other rare examples on the National Library of Sweden’s Flickr page.

    Read more.