Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 10:00STEM: the curriculum integration approach #makereducation
As opposed to pushing traditional science, math, technology, and engineering courses, some educators in the UK see subject integration as a viable strategy to increase the number of college graduates proficient in STEM fields, from telegraph.co.uk.
How do we address the lack of STEM graduates and get more girls into STEM subjects? This is a question that provokes continued debate both in the UK and on a global stage.
This Sunday the question was taken up by a panel at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, where “starting early at primary school” was the main argument to emerge.
Speaking at the forum, Sir Michael Tomlinson, former chief inspector of schools for Ofsted called for “more and better physics teachers” and “improved advice and encouragement for pupils.”
A recent report from the Institute of Physics found that, currently, four times as many boys are studying physics at A level than girls.
During the discussion, Sir Michael highlighted the need for people with STEM skills in the UK, adding that there’s a “shortage of high quality subject teachers in these areas.”
He said that starting STEM development in early years at primary school would help to challenge the current belief among schoolchildren that these subjects were difficult and only led down a specific career path such as “being a scientist”, when actually STEM subjects “open up a variety of career options.”
Amanda Jenkins, advisory board member for the Varkey GEMS Foundation supported this statement saying: “This is a lifelong journey, which starts with parents then schools and universities, we have to work together.
Each 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!
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 09:003D Printed… Measuring Tape?
Here’s a new one to push the envelope… How about a 3D printed measuring tape?
This unique 3D printed tool was designed and printed in a single job. [Angry Monk] has been challenging himself lately with these intricate designs, having recently finished a completely 3D printed set of dial calipers, which is impressive in its own right.
Looking for his latest challenge he pondered what it would take to make this 3D printed tape measure. As he continued to think about it he realized how complex it would actually be to pull off. After designing and printing a few of the basic parts to help him solidify his ideas, he set to work. This tape measure has 114 individual parts. It includes 52″ of tape links with 1″ divisions and markings down to the 1/8th of an inch. It even features a hand crank (sorry no spring return) to roll up the tape.
Now as you can imagine, a complex assembly like this is a bit out of the realm of possibility for regular hobby 3D printers — a UV resin printer might be able to do it, but [Angry Monk] used a commercial Objet Eden 3D printer. Still though — it’s an impressive display of design, check out the following video and see for yourself.
[Thanks for the tip, Tony!]
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 09:00“Simple Parts” – hacking generative design #arttuesday
“Simple Parts,” a seminar conducted at the University of Calgary, encouraged students to experiment with self-generating design forms, via unlvmake..
Self-organizing and self-assembling systems are trending topics in design, notable for their capacity to use simple parts and interactions to generate complex organizations. This seminar, conducted at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design allowed us to experiment with creating such systems in order to create forms and effects that are responsive and adaptable. We embarked on our experiments with the following framework:
Creating fabrication and material studies to define basic components.
Investigating relational interactions and systemic disturbances while prototyping with simple electrical and magnetic components.
Generating organization from disorder through repetition.
Examining scalar relationships between parts and aggregations, and between local and global behaviors.
This was an opportunity for students to conduct bottom-up, generative design experiments and to develop a hands-on ethic of tinkering or hacking. The seminar culminated with the production of exhibited installations in the Kasian Gallery on the campus of the University of Calgary. The exhibition runs from 10 February – 7 March.
Joshua Vermillion was the 2014 Visiting Taylor Seminar Lecturer at the University of Calgary. The seminar is directed and coordinated by Jason Johnson, assistant professor at Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design.
Seminar Students: Mehrdad Amjadi, Michael Chu, Nic Dykstra, Meysam Ehsanian, Daniel Farid, Alyssa Haas, Kendra Kusick, Joanna Long-Tieu, Matt Marrotto, Jamie Lynne McFadyen, MacKenzie Nixon, Obinna Martins, Shane Oleksiuk, Sadaf Rabbani, Matt Stewart, Sabrina Vastag
Prototyping in advance of seminar performed in collaboration with Ludwing Vaca, Graduate Assistant and MArch Candidate at UNLV’s School of Architecture.
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 09:00Roll Your Own Beaglebone Black NAS #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg
For some time I’ve wanted a NAS, but not just a regular one. I wanted something that I could configure to do exactly what I could with like a normal server, just without the massive power consumption.
Besides the obvious function of a NAS I primarily wanted it to able to use ruTorrent via rTorrent to download torrents. Secondarily I wanted to setup a SQL server to use with XBMC’s media library across my home network.
I looked at the Raspberry Pi, and seen a lot of people use it this way, for some time and was ready to give it a try until I noticed the release of the Beaglebone Black.
The specs for the Beaglebone Black, as I see it anyway, was all superior with the exception of video decoding and media outlets, which is irrelevant for my use. So I went with the BBB.
As far as the storage for the NAS, I used an old external hard drive I had laying around. But the external hard drive’s power supply outputted 12 volts and the BBB only could handle 5 volts input. I examined the power supply of the external hard drive and concluded it could supply more than enough power to the hard drive as well as the BBB, so I bought a step-down converter (£2.90 on eBay), then I wouldn’t have to use two power supply’s.
Since this was a low cost project (still studying) I found an aluminum box in a second hand store and used as a case.
I think it worked out all right, but I’m thinking about making some sort of nice wooden box for it. But we’ll see if that ever happens…
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 08:00De Graaf’s “Species of Illumination” robotic lamps follow humans and find darkness (VIDEO) #robotics
De Graaf‘s interactive lights, collectively called Species of Illumination, were given the ability to act like creatures via a series of sensors, motors and stretchable cables that allow them to freely determine their actions.
The series consists of two lights. Wallace uses sensors to go in search of the darkest spot in a room and bring light to it. Once it has done that, the lamp works out where the next darkest point is and moves on to repeat the process.
Wallace is affixed to the ceiling at one end and has three pieces of wire that support a head on the end of a long electrical cable, which is encircled by a series of rings with copper wire threaded through each one.
Darwin, meanwhile, is a desk lamp that uses solar power to generate its electricity. During the day it trundles around on wheels seeking out sunlight to charge its battery, but in the evening it wonders around the house looking for movement and accompanying people with its beam of light.
Sensors in Darwin’s head allow people to interact with it. When a hand is held directly in front of the light, it tracks the movement and follows. Take the hand away and the light stops moving.
Darwin features two wheels made from tightly coiled wire, a black body with a solar panel on its back and a bulbous white head.
“The interaction and emotional relationship Wallace and Darwin bring contribute to people’s wellbeing, in the same way that pets do,” explained de Graaf. “The movement of living creatures triggers sensations, emotions and communication.”
“I think my lights are very much animate objects,” he continued. “At this point I’m still pretty sure they are not alive, but I think there will be a moment where the boundaries become more blurred.” …
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 06:00Interview with Jason Kridner, co-founder of BeagleBoard.org #beagleboneblack @TXInstruments @beagleboardorg
Jason Kridner is the co-founder of BeagleBoard.org, where he has helped create open source development tools such as BeagleBone Black, BeagleBone, BeagleBoard, and BeagleBoard-xM. Kridner is also a software architecture manager for embedded processors at Texas Instruments (TI).
During his 20-year tenure with TI, Kridner has become an active leader in the open source community. He has engaged audiences at a variety of industry and hardware and software developer shows, including Maker Faire, Embedded Linux Conference, Android Builders Summit, OSCON, CES, Design West and Linux Collaboration Summit.
The goal for BeagleBoard.org is to inspire anyone—from kindergarteners to Kickstarter developers—to learn about how computers can be used in an everyday ways to remove barriers to learning, prototyping, and production. Success is when even a child can plug in the board, intuit what he or she can build with it, and share his or her designs with the world.
What are some of your best sellers?
Thanks to the low retail sales price of $45, the BeagleBone Black is the best-selling board design from BeagleBoard.org. All boards continue to be available and continue to be sold every day, thanks greatly to the amount of educational materials built around them. Some people are particularly interested in the DSP capabilities and additional USB host ports of the BeagleBoard-xM. Some people are interested in the built-in low-level debug capabilities of the original BeagleBone. Still, BeagleBone Black has now outsold all of the other designs combined.
What’s in store for BeagleBoard.org in 2014? What’s in store for open hardware in 2014?
As I mentioned, I believe the trend toward more compelling online trainings for hardware development will accelerate in 2014. The snowball effect means that many people will be getting more than a superficial introduction to advancing the state of open hardware for all of us…
For BeagleBoard.org and BeagleBone Black in particular, we are shifting the Linux distribution included on the board to Debian and upgrading our to version 3 of the Cloud9 IDE, which I see as a significant improvement with Python support, better shell capabilities, and improved debugging. We are also starting to include other libraries to program the board’s physical I/Os in Python, C/C++ and sketches. Upping board capacity and improving the software experience will be major focus items that our community of users should notice and help direct. Among the most visible and interesting development activities will be happening as part of the 2014 Google Summer of Code, for which the BeagleBoard.org Foundation is an approved mentoring organization and for which some number of students will get paid for their open source software development work. With at least half a dozen Beagle-related books coming out and popularity at an all-time high, 2014 could easily shape up to be the most exciting year for BeagleBoard.org yet!
Each Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here at 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, Mars 25, 2014 - 06:00First Stab at Motion Sensor to Disconnect a Car Charger
[Pixel] just sent in this automotive hack which disconnects his car charger when the vehicle stops moving for at least 10 minutes. Why would you need such a thing? The 12V outlet in his vehicle isn’t disconnected when the ignition is turned off. If he leaves a charger plugged in when parking the car, he often returns to a drained battery.
The fritzing diagram tells the story of this hack. He’s using a 7805 to power the Arduino mini. This monitors an ADXL362 accelerometer, starting the countdown when motion is no longer sensed by that chip. At the 10-minute mark the N-channel MOSFET kills the ground side of the outlet. Good for [Pixel] for including a resetable fuse on the hot side. But it was the diode all the way to the left that caught our eye. Turns out this is part of a filtering circuit recommended in a forum post. It’s a Zener that serves as a Transient-Voltage-Suppression diode.
Another comment on that thread brings up the issue we also noticed. The 7805 linear regulator is constantly powered. Do you think putting the uC into sleep and leaving the linear regulator connected is an adequate solution? If not, what would you do differently?
Filed under: transportation hacks
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 05:07Hanging with Frank Gehry: Seattle Mini Maker Faire 2014
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 05:00PYRAD: LED “Infinity” panels inspired by Enter the Void #ArtTuesday
Check out this sweet LED installation from gmunk, inspired by the film Enter the Void.
The main inspiration for the creative came from the DMT-Delicious moments in the super-favorite film Enter the Void… Munko has been on a tunnel infinite-void kick for some years now and wanted to build a practical, LED installation driven by graphic sequencing, utilizing the techniques learned from the FOTB Titles and applying them into a more densely packed setup called the PYRADICAL… Once the Pyrad was constructed, the aim was to capture the visuals with both high-resolution Film and Still cameras, which would generate a vast library of content to pull from to produce the artwork for the Conference Package..
He tapped super-friend and lighting genius Michael Fullman to help him execute the concept, which was to construct a triangular volume out of three LED panels, flanked on either end by a trio of Light Tubes that would complete the design. Once Munk and and Michael had the concept and build nailed down, he tapped frequent collaborators Kevin Gosselin and John Nguyen to capture the installation on the Arri Alexa and Nikon D800.
In building the actual structure for the Pyrad there were some pretty unique challenges to attain the desired aesthetic. We needed to not only communicate forward and backward motion but also communicate negative space and scale.
The structure itself is made up of two main elements. The LED Panels and the LED tubes. 3 LED panels were used to make up the walls, all controlled by video content from a control computer. This allowed us to have open ended control over the motion, color, and effects that were applied to the video content. In addition to the 3 LED panels, 6 LED tubes were used to border the structure at both the front and the back opening. These tubes were also controlled by a mapped video signal that corresponded with the content playing on the main panels. That way we could accomplish moments of punch and exclamation as the content traveled both toward and away from the camera. They also provided a really nice frame for the shot, showing us the beginning of the space and the end.
The real challenge was to trick the viewer into not realizing the scale of the actual structure. Which is really about the camera position, lensing, and light control in the structure, using both the presence and absence of light.
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 03:01Bookworm Playing Bot Tests Programmer’s OCR Skills
Check out this brainy bot with [Jari] whipped up to dominate the Bookworm Deluxe scoreboard. The bot runs on top of a win32 machine, pulling screenshots to see the game board and simulating mouse clicks to play. The video after the jump shows that it plays like a champ, but it took some doing to get this far and [Jari] took the time to share all of the development details.
The hardest part of writing these types of bots is recognizing the game pieces. Check out all of the animation that’s going on in the still shot above… a lot of the tiles are obscured, there are different colors, and the tiles themselves shift as the bot spells and submits each word.
After some trial and error [Jari] settled on an image pre-processor which multiplies pixel values by themselves four times, then looks at each pixel with a 1/6 threshold to produce a black and white face for each tile. From there a bit of Optical Character Recognition compares each tile to a set of known examples. This works remarkably well, leading into the logic and dictionary part of the programming challenge.
Do you think this was easier or harder than the Bejeweled Blitz bot. That one was looking for specific pixel regions, this one is basically a focused roll-your-own OCR script.
Filed under: video hacks
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 02:38Hot Off the Press: MAKE Volume 38, Our High-Tech DIY Issue
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 00:33Enter to Win the Maker Faire Rome Arduino Challenge
Mardi, Mars 25, 2014 - 00:01Rebuilding A 50,000 Volt Power Supply
The theory behind building power supplies is relatively easy, but putting it into practice and building a multi-kilovolt supply is hard. A big transformer in air will simply spark to itself, turning what could be something very cool into something you just don’t want to be around. [glasslinger] over on YouTube is an expert at this sort of thing, as shown in his 50,000 Volt power supply build. That’s a 55 minute long video, and trust us: it’s worth every minute of your time.
[glasslinger] began his build by taking an old 15,000 Volt neon sign transformer and repurposing the coils and cores for his gigantic 50,000 volt transformer. There was a small problem with this little bit of recycling: the neon sign transformer was potted with tar that needed to be removed.
To de-pot the transformer, [glasslinger] made a small oven from a helium tank, melting all the goo out with an old school gasoline torch. From there, hours and hours of cleaning ensued.
The transformer cores were cleaned up and cut down, and a new primary wound. A small-scale test (shown above) using the old secondaries resulted in a proof of concept with some very large sparks. The next step was putting the entire transformer in a box and filling it with transformer oil.
The money shot for this build comes when [glasslinger] assembles his transformer, rectifier, and all the other electronics into a single, surprisingly compact unit and turns standard wall power into a 50,000 Volt spark. You can literally smell the ozone from the video.
Filed under: misc hacks
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 23:50Playing chiptunes with Arduino Micro #arduinomicromonday
If you look closely, you will see that I added a yellow wire going from the TXLED to the empty hole that was drilled over by the reset button. I added a single pin though this hole and epoxied the plastic in place to give myself another bread-boardable pin that has access to the PD5 signal which was not broken out. Simple mod really.
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 22:00Making Majora’s Mask
Majora’s Mask is one of the most recognizable things in all of the Legend of Zelda games. Instructables user magicman391 built one, and he began by making a computer model of the mask in Rhino just to get the placement of each section down. He did a clever thing and split the mask into three segments in Rhino so he could print a top view of each piece and put it on layers of pink foam. This allowed him to easily get the right shape. Here’s how he proceeded from there:
Now most people know pink foam is good for doing rough shapes and has no real permanence especially with the introduction of solvents sooooooo I coated the foam with a layer of my favorite material of all time… epoxy putty, specifically in this case I used Apoxie Sculpt.
Next came the fun part (I jest since bondoing and sanding takes a long time and is very repetitive) I apply a layer of bondo to the surface to even it out, followed by immense amounts of sanding, then repeated this process several times. I followed the final sanding step of bondo with spot putty to fill in the small gaps, then of course sanded that smooth.
Read more at Instructables.
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 22:00New Project: KegDuino – Arduino meets Kegerator
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 22:00Turn Your Phone Into A Photo Projector On The Cheap
How to turn your phone into a DIY photo projector. via photojojo
A phone based projector is a great way to show off your mobile photos and your phone hack savvy. Just picture laying in bed browsing your feed or watching a movie on a ginormous screen.A projector provides a new way of looking at your shots, and for $1, who can afford not to try this project?
Magnifying glass (get it for $1 at Dollar Tree), or a large aperture lens
X-acto knife or similar
Electrical or black duct tape
Optional: Matte black spray paint or black paper
STEP 1: TRACE A HOLE ON THE BOX
A shoebox or similar will work great for your new projector.If the inside walls of your box are a bright color, you may want to spray paint them black or tape up some black paper for best image quality.Once your box is ready, trace the outer edge of your lens or magnifying glass onto one of the short sides of the box.
STEP 2: CUT A HOLE IN THAT BOX
Cut out the inside of the circle you just traced. You don’t want light leaking around your lens so try not to cut too much. At the back of your box, cut a small hole for your phone’s power cord.
STEP 3: ATTACH YOUR LENS
Now you’ve got a porthole cut in your shoebox its time to stick on that lens. If your magnifying glass has a handle, you may want to remove it first. Line up your lens with the hole and apply tape around the entire edge of your lens. Make sure your lens is held securely and there are no holes between the tape for light to escape.
STEP 4: TAKE A STAND
We used this very helpful tutorial to make a stand for our phone out of a paper clip. Other stand ideas include this ultra-portable Tiltpod, this hand dandy Gorillapod, or this super creative lego stand from this cool tutorial.
STEP 5: FLIP YOUR SCREEN
When light passes though a lens (including the lenses in your eyes), it gets flipped, which means the picture from your projector will come out upside down. No fear though, we have a fix! For the iPhone go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on AssistiveTouch. Once activated, a little white orb will pop that you can drag around the screen. Click on the orb and go to Device > Rotate Screen. This will allow you to flip applications like the Photos app which would normally rotate itself right side up. Andriod users can download the app Ultimate Rotation Control. Or if all else fails you can just stand on your head.
STEP 6: FINDING FOCUS
If your walls are plastered with pics you will need to clear out a little space for your projection. For a screen you could use a white bed sheet, turn a poster around, project onto a shower or window curtain, or just use the bare wall. Without a focus ring on your magnifying glass you’re going to have to foot focus. Position your phone in its stand near the back of the box and walk forwards or backwards until your image starts to come into focus. Once you’ve found a good range you can fine tune focus by moving your phone forwards or backwards in the box. If you used a camera lens for your projector, you get the bonus of a focus ring that gives you some extra flexibility in terms of screen size and focus distance.
STEP 7: DON’T FIGHT THE LIGHT
It’s not the power of your projector. It’s how you use it! For best viewing, turn the screen brightness of your phone all the way up and turn the room lights down. Set your phone’s photo app to slide show mode for a hands free experience. Your power cord can go through the hole you cut in the back of the box and a little tape will seal the deal.
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 21:00GLIMPSE360: NASA’s Spitzer telescope lets you see a 360-degree view of the Milky Way
Ever wanted to catch a 360 degree glimpse of the Milky Way? Well now you can using this incredible online viewer from NASA’s Spitzer telescope. Check it out here.
Welcome home! This is our Milky Way galaxy as you’ve never seen it before. Ten years in the making, this is the clearest infrared panorama of our galactic home ever made, courtesy of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
The star-studded panorama of our galaxy is constructed from more than 2 million infrared snapshots taken over the past 10 years by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
“If we actually printed this out, we’d need a billboard as big as the Rose Bowl Stadium to display it,” said Robert Hurt, an imaging specialist at NASA’s Spitzer Space Science Center in Pasadena, Calif. “Instead, we’ve created a digital viewer that anyone, even astronomers, can use.”
The 20-gigapixel mosaic uses Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope visualization platform. It captures about three percent of our sky, but because it focuses on a band around Earth where the plane of the Milky Way lies, it shows more than half of all the galaxy’s stars.
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 21:00Soft Robotics, Silicone Rubber, And Amazing Castings
Most of the robotics projects we see around here are heavy, metallic machines that move with exacting precision with steppers, servos, motors, and electronics. [Matthew] is another breed of roboticist, and created a quadruped robot with no hard moving parts.
[Matthew] calls his creation the Glaucus, after the blue sea slug Glaucus atlanticus. Inside this silicone rubber blob are a series of voids, allowing compressed air to expand the legs, gently inching Glaucus across a table under manual or automatic control.
Even though no one seems to do it, making a few molds for casting on a 3D printer is actually pretty easy. [Matthew] is taking this technique to an extreme, though: First, a mold for the interior pressure bladders are printed, then a positive of this print made in silicone rubber. These silicone molds – four of them, for the left, right, top and bottom – are then filled with wax, and the wax parts reassembled inside the final ‘body’ mold. It’s an amazing amount of work to make just one of these soft robots, but once the molds and masters are made, [Matthew] can pop out a soft robot every few hours or so.
There’s a lot more info on Glaucus over on the official site for the build, and a somewhat simpler ‘compressed air and silicone rubber’ tentacle [Matthew] built showing off the mechanics. Video below.
Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 20:00Arduino Helper Functions