Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 22:01Java Grinder Spits Out dsPIC and MSP430 Assembly Code
[Michael Kohn] sent in a link to the set of projects he’s been working on lately. The Java Grinder is a project that converts Java code for use on microcontrollers. This actually started back in 2009, when he mentioned that the project was worthless because there were already a ton of Java virtual machines out there. But if he had really thought that he’d never learn anything. We’re glad [Michael] picked this back up and made something out of it.
The image above shows the proof of concept. It’s a box bouncing around the Nokia 6100 screen. He wrote the animation in Java, and used his grinder to turn the code into dsPIC assembly, which was then compiled and flashed onto the microcontroller. That’s not all, he’s also coded a Mandelbrot set generator or the same hardware. As it stands he can also produce assembly code for use on MSP430 chips.
This kind of exploration is great for the brain. We see it as a natural extension of the learning you acquire from Nand2Tetris which walks through the essential text The Elements of Computing Systems. If you’re not familiar, that’s a trip from building your first logic gate, which you plunk together with others to build an ALU, then start coding all the way up to a virtual machine to run on your simulated hardware.
Video of the bouncing box and Mandelbrot set is below.
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 22:00Manufacturing in Africa: An Awakening Giant #Manufacturing Monday
Via The Economist.
Those who cast doubt on Africa’s rise often point to the continent’s lack of manufacturing. Few countries, they argue, have escaped poverty without putting a lot of workers through factory gates. Rick Rowden, a sceptical development pundit, says, “Apart from a few tax havens, there is no country that has attained a high standard of living on the basis of services alone.”
Yet a quiet boom in manufacturing in Africa is already taking place. Farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, but new industries are emerging in a lot of African countries.
Thandika Mkandawire, a Malawi-born expert, and Dani Rodrik, a Princeton economist, argue that growth is bound to fizzle because of a dearth of factories. But they may be too pessimistic. Manufacturing’s share of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa has held steady at 10-14% in recent years. Industrial output in what is now the world’s fastest-growing continent is expanding as quickly as the rest of the economy. The evidence, big and small, is everywhere.
H&M, a multinational Swedish retail-clothing firm, and Primark, an Ireland-based one, source a lot of material from Ethiopia. General Electric, an American conglomerate, is building a $250m plant in Nigeria to make electrical gear. Madecasse, a New York-based chocolatier, is looking for new hires to add to its 650 workers in Madagascar already turning raw cocoa into expensively wrapped milky and nutty bars. Mobius Motors, a Kenyan firm started a few years ago by Joel Jackson, a Briton, is building a cheap, durable car for rough roads.
Domestically owned manufacturing is growing, too. Seemhale Telecoms of South Africa is planning to make cheap mobile phones for the African market. Angola says it is to build its own arms industry, with help from Brazil. African craftsmen are making inroads in fashion. Ali Lamu makes handbags from recycled dhow sails on the Kenyan coast and sells them on Western websites.
Many of these businesses are beneficiaries of growth outside the manufacturing sector. The spread of big retail shops encourages light industry. In Zambia a surprising number of goods in South African-owned supermarkets are made locally; it is often too expensive to transport bulky stuff across borders.
A construction boom is fostering access to high-voltage power. The spread of mobile telephony, including mobile banking, helps small suppliers struggling with overheads. IBM, an American computer giant with an eye on Africa, goes so far as to say that “software is the manufacturing of the future”. Consumers will still want to buy hardware, but growing local demand is creating a market for African app and software developers.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 21:33Inside 3d Printing Conference & Expo in Berlin
Inside 3d Printing: Conference & Expo in Berlin
WHERE: BERLIN, GERMANY
WHEN: MARCH 10 – 11, 2014
Join Inside 3D Printing in Berlin
3D printing is revolutionising manufacturing, enabling new products, and impacting business processes. Germany’s pre-eminence in sophisticated manufacturing technology, processes, and products, will allow for 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, to make a large impression. Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo, the leading B2B tradeshow for the 3D printing industry, will continue its world tour in Berlin on March 10-11, 2014. The conference, programmed by Dr.-Ing. Eric Klemp, Geschäftsführer of the DMRC Direct Manufacturing Research Center at the University of Paderborn, will feature two full days of conference sessions over two tracks. Interest in this emerging field is at an all-time high, with the inaugural New York City event attracting more than 3,000 attendees. Top exhibitors are to exhibit in Berlin and showcase their services. Discover what investment opportunities exist and create your product roadmap for a 3D printing enabled world. Inside 3D Printing brings together leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, educators and professionals to prepare you for the 3D printing boom.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 21:00GPS Powered LED Speedometer #ArduinoMicroMonday @arduino #arduino
Arduino Micro in collaboration with Adafruit
Arduino Micro board – Based on the technology behind the Leonardo board, its main feature is the very small size.
The Arduino Micro packs all of the power of the Arduino Leonardo in a 48mm x 18mm module (1.9″ x 0.7″).
It makes it easier for makers to embed the Arduino technology inside their projects by providing a small and convenient module that can be either used on a breadboard or soldered to a custom designed PCB.
The Micro has been developed in collaboration with Adafruit Industries, one of the leaders of the Maker movement. Adafruit is already developing a series of accessories for the new board that will complement its power and simplicity.
Throughout the month of November the product is available exclusively from Adafruit online and Radio Shack in retail stores.
Main features of Arduino Micro:
- The Arduino Micro is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32u4.
- Like its brother the Leonardo board, the Arduino Micro has one microcontroller with built-in USB. Using the ATmega32U4 as its sole microcontroller allows it to be cheaper and simpler. Also, because the 32U4 is handling the USB directly, code libraries are available which allow the board to emulate a computer keyboard, mouse, and more using the USB-HID protocol.
- It has 20 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a micro USB cable to get started.
- This allows the Micro to appear to a connected computer as a mouse and keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port.
- Microcontroller: ATmega32u4
- Operating Voltage: 5V
- Input Voltage (recommended): 7-12V
- Input Voltage (limits): 6-20V
- Digital I/O Pins: 20
- PWM Channels: 7
- Analog Input Channels: 12
- DC Current per I/O Pin: 40 mA
- DC Current for 3.3V Pin: 50 mA
- Flash Memory: 32 KB (ATmega32u4) of which 4 KB used by bootloader
- SRAM: 2.5 KB (ATmega32u4)
- EEPROM: 1 KB (ATmega32u4)
- Clock Speed: 16 MHz
Arduino, the first widespread Open Source Hardware platform, was launched in 2005 to simplify the process of electronic prototyping. It enables everyday people with little or no technical background to build interactive products.
The Arduino ecosystem is a combination of three different elements:
- A small electronic board manufactured in Italy that makes it easy and affordable to learn to program a microcontroller, a type of tiny computer found inside millions of everyday objects.
- A free software application used to program the board.
- A vibrant community, true expression of the enthusiasm powering the project. Every day on the www.arduino.cc website thousands of people connect with other users, ask for help, engage and contribute to the project.
About Adafruit Industries
Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. Adafruit has expanded their offerings to include tools and equipment that Limor personally selects, tests and approves. Adafruit has one of the largest collections of free electronics tutorials, open-source hardware and software to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 20:00Video takes a look at Issac Newton’s first telescope
There’s an interesting post via Geek.com about Sir Isaac Newton’s first telescope.
For more than 300 years, the Royal Society in London has watched over the device you see above. It’s Sir Isaac Newton’s first telescope, which he built around 1668.
That was about 60 years after German spectacle maker Hans Lipperhey patented his original design. Lipperhey’s invention was a refracting telescope. Newton’s, on the other hand, was a reflector and it used a convex mirror made of a very special alloy to refocus light.
That metal is speculum, so called because it’s the Latin word for mirror. It was a good choice for making mirrors in the 17th century, though it’s a bit heavy by today’s standards. Speculum is a mixture of (roughly) two parts copper and one part tin — both very dense metals.
There are a couple other problems with speculum, too. It tends to tarnish rather easily, and it only reflects about two thirds of the light that hits it. Still, it provided a serviceable component that allowed Newton to begin exploring his theories.
It’s the speculum mirror that interests University of Nottingham chemistry professor Martyn Poliakoff most. He notes that there’s a particular “sweet spot” that has to be found when making the alloy. Too much copper in the mix imparts a red tinge; too much tin and it goes blue.
A pinch of arsenic is added to ensure that the finished surface accurately reproduces the colors it’s reflecting. That’s actually what Newton was hoping to investigate — he wasn’t specifically preparing to gaze at the heavens. He believed that refracting telescopes like Lipperhey’s distorted the colors of objects because they didn’t focus the light they captured precisely enough.
As Poliakoff enthusiastically notes, it’s very cool that at the heart of Newton’s telescope — an instrument that proved important to the future of physics — was a little bit of chemistry.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 19:0480s Typography in CSS
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 19:00Controlling Motors Without A Microcontroller
Think you need a microcontroller or a proper motor driver to control a motor? Not really. Because RS-232 serial ports are a hack in and of themselves, you can control two motors with only a serial port and a bridge driver.
Instead of using the data pins on the serial port, this circuit works on with the DTR and RTS control signals of an RS-232 interface. Unlike the data lines of a serial port, these control signals are high when they’re enabled and can also provide a small amount of current – enough to control a pair of pins on a TA7291P bridge driver.
The rest of the circuit consists of a few resistors and a pair of motors, and the software simply turns the DTR and RTS lines on and off. It’s enough for a small robot to waddle across a table, and given the correct driver is simple enough to mash together out of parts from a junk drawer.
Filed under: robots hacks
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 19:00Shannon Lucid Added to Astronaut Hall of Fame
Shannon Lucid’s upcoming induction to the Astronaut Hall of Fame will make her the 7th female astronaut to achieve this honorguardianlv.
Shannon Lucid Added to Astronaut Hall of Fame
Added by Lian Morrison on February 9, 2014.
Saved under Lian Morrison, NASA, Science
Tags: shannon lucid
It was announced this week that Shannon Lucid will be inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2014, along with former NASA member, Jerry Ross. This will increase the number of inductees to 87, seven of which are women. It is also a major step forward for women astronauts, as they are severely underrepresented in the space industry.
Shannon Lucid, with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, has completed five space missions, and in 1996 received the Space Medal of Honor for her work on the Russian space station, Mir. She was the first woman in history to achieve this award and remains the only woman to have ever worked on Mir. Lucid worked 188 days on Mir as Board Engineer 2 on life and physical science experiments.
During her career, Lucid became Chief Scientist at NASA headquarters. Afterward she served as a CAPCOM in Mission Control, communicating with a team of astronauts in space and aiding them in their missions. Lucid retired from NASA after a life filled with accomplishments in January 2012.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 18:43Maker to Entrepreneur: Pianocade
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 18:23ElectriCute - Elastolite Tattoo
If you’re looking to start working with Elastolite - our flexible, waterproof EL material - this is a great video to get your started. If you’re looking for the parts used in this specific video, check out this wishlist.
Check out the video and feel free to leave any questions or comments below! Special thanks to SparkFun Engineer Toni for graciously offering to model the tattoo!
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 18:19Woman Engineer at the center of India’s space mission
BBC News Asia has a great profile on Minal Sampath, an engineer working on India’s mission to Mars.
For two years, Minal Sampath, a systems engineer working on India’s mission to Mars, worked flat out in a windowless room, often for 18 hours a day, to be ready for the country’s most ambitious space project to date.
“We had a great team and there [was] an understanding between us that we [had] to get the work done to meet the deadline,” she says. “The launch date [was] fixed and we could not miss it.
That day finally came on 5 November last year when the Mars Orbiter Mission took off at 09:08 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the east coast of India.
It also marked the moment that India joined the short list of nations capable of launching such a mission…
Ms Sampath is one of the few women working at the Indian equivalent of Nasa.
Despite that, she says she has never felt that she is treated any differently.
“I forget I am a woman sometimes, working in such an organisation,” she says.
“Maybe it’s because we spend a lot of time working in clean rooms with full suits on, so you can’t tell who is male or female,” she says, laughing.
But as only one in 10 of the scientists is female, Ms Sampath says this is something she wants to change. “I want women to imagine that they can do this.”
With her work firmly supported by the traditional extended Indian family structure, the prospect of much higher wages abroad has no appeal for her.
“I want to become the first woman director of a space centre,” Ms Sampath says, and she would love to go into space herself, although she says she is likely to leave that to the next generation.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 18:11NEW PRODUCT – Sparki – The Easy Robot for Everyone
NEW PRODUCT – Sparki – The Easy Robot for Everyone – Sparki by Arcbotics is a new affordable, easy to use, and fun intro to programming, electronics, and robotics. It is geared towards kids elementary-age and above, educators looking for an easy intro to robotics, parents eager to find something affordable but educational and fun, DIY enthusiasts, and more. It is simple enough for beginners, while being feature-packed enough to be a must-have for pro-users. Sparki is your chance to have your very own robot, completely open source and available to do your bidding. Watch the ArcBotics video demoing Sparki.
Sparki is ArcBotics’ answer to robotics in education. After ArcBotics’ first successful Kickstarter for Hexy the Hexapod, a low-cost open-source Arduino robot designed to be an intro to advanced robotics, ArcBotics were approached by many who asked,”Is there anything for beginners?” When they looked around, they saw that other educational robots were mostly expensive, difficult to use, lacked features, or had closed designs. However, ArcBotics know that the interest in programming and robotics from people of all ages is enormous. So they thought, “why not design an adorable new robot that lets people of all ages enjoy robotics, while offering them a wide range of possibilities, and is – most of all – fun?”
Sparki works out of the box with its remote control. To write your own programs, just plug it in via USB, install the custom-enhanced Arduino software and try any of the dozens of example programs. ArcBotics have programs for every sensor and actuator on Sparki:
- 1x Ultrasonic distance sensor (get distance from Sparki to walls/objects)
- 1x 3-Axis Accelerometer (pick-up detection, fall detection, hill climbing)
- 1x 3-Axis Magnetometer (sense the magnetic field around Sparki, coordinate with accelerometer to detect compass heading)
- 3x Light-sensing phototransistors (light following, darkness seeking)
- 5x Line-following and edge detection sensors (mazes, line follow, sumo)
- 1x 128×64 Graphic LCD
- 1x RGB LED (RGB = generate any color!)
- 1x Buzzer (beeping, booping, and musical tones!)
- 1x IR Transmitter (like your TV remote control)
- 1x IR Receiver (like your TV)
- 1x IR Remote control (lots of buttons to control Sparki with)
- 1x TTL Serial port for expansion (talk to an Arduino/Raspberry Pi)
- 1x Port for Bluetooth Serial Module
- Powered by 4xAA batteries (rechargeable or alkaline)
- 2x Geared stepper motors (precise, measured movement down to millimeters/ sub-degrees)
- Marker holder for drawing
- And textured ABS plastic shell for your choice of decoration
Here are some of the things you’ll learn how to do with Sparki:
- Edge avoidance
- Line following
- Maze solving
- Wall avoidance
- Room navigation
- Object retrieval
- Follow/hide from light sources
- Shape drawing
- Computer input (make a keyboard/mouse using sensors)
- Games with other Sparkis
And more advanced concepts:
- PID Loops
- Pathfinding algorithms
- Signal Filtering
Sparki’s code is available as Arduino code. All code is made for free to users and open-source. Check out the tutorials here before purchasing.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 18:00Paperduino 2.0 with Circuit Scribe – Paper Arduino! #arduino #conductiveink
Paperduino 2.0 with Circuit Scribe – Paper Arduino, on Instructables. Thanks to Philip Brechler for sending in this tip!
What if making an Arduino, or wiring up an Arduino was as easy as printing one out? In this tutorial we printed our own Arduino Pro Mini board using a pen plotter and the Electroninks Circuit Scribe (a rollerball pen with highly conductive ink). Within 15 minutes we printed the board, placed components down with glue or tape, and uploaded a sketch.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 17:29“Reel Time” Clock by David Henshaw
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 17:007 Foot-long Halo Ship Made of out of LEGOs
It is truly incredible what people have been able to build with LEGOs. The latest mind-blowing project is a 7-foot long replica of a ship from Halo. Via technabob.
Some of the LEGO creations that we see just blow my mind. I can’t wrap my head around the many hours of planning and building that it takes to make some of these structures, like this massive build. This is a LEGO model of the Halo UNSC Spirit of Fire colony ship, and it is a whopping 7 feet-long.
How long do you think this beast of bricks took to build? Two weeks? Four months? Try over four years. It was built by Mark Kelso, who got the ship’s specifications from designer Heikki Anttila, who worked on the original 3D modeling for the ship. That is why it looks so impressive and imposing.
And that is why the details are off the charts. He even removed all the LEGO studs to make the ship look more realistic. Four years is a nice chunk of time and I’m sure he is very proud of his creation.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 16:08Hardwired NYC Feb 17. Speakers from 3D Hubs, Makie, Quirky, Tindie, Electric Imp #makerbusiness
Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky (crowdsources unique physical products)
Hugo Fiennes, founder and CEO of Electric Imp (hardware and software connectivity platform for the IoT)
Emile Petrone, founder and CEO of Tindie (marketplace for hardware and “indie tech”)
Alice Taylor, founder and CEO of Makie (custom 3D printed dolls)
Bram de Zwart, co-founder, 3D Hubs: 3D Hubs is world’s largest platform connecting 3D printer owners with people who want to print. We are on a mission to make 3D printing truly local and accessible.
This is the first Meetup we’ve seen that also agreeing to an NDA when you click “Join Us!”….
By selecting the Join Us! icon for this Meetup event you are agreeing to the Quirky Non-Disclosure Agreement… http://www.quirky.com/quirky_nda.html.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 16:04Air Hockey Robot (a 3D printer hack) #robotics #3Dprinting
Jose Julio made this awesome project and featured it on his blog with all the details.
Everything started when I built my 3D printer. First, the posibility to design and build my own parts and second, how could I hack the components of a 3D printer to make something different?
I have seen several interesting projects of robots that paint or manufacture PCBs, etc … but I was looking for something different…
My daughter loves the Air Hockey game and I love robotics so one day an idea born in my mind… can I construct…??… Mmmmm …. it seemed very complicated and with many unresolved questions (puck detection??, robot speed??), but that is also part of the fun…
Based on the idea of use standard RepRap 3D printer parts : NEMA17 stepper motors, drivers, Arduino Mega, RAMPS, belts , bearings, rods, printed pieces … I started to develop the project. The main advantage of use these parts is that they are cheap and easily available. First I started with the construction of the air hockey table. I choose a medium size (my house is small, ) I wanted something easily transportable but comfortable to play. The final dimensions are 100x60cm.
I Bought some wood boards and wood slats and began to mount the table. First I started to build and airless version but it really lacks the feeling so I decided to make a table with air. I tried different possibilities until I test a very simple combination with 2 old PC fans that works very well. I made the table holes (it seemed a hard work but it was not so hard) and I now I had a fully playable Air Hockey table! Time to enjoy it an play!!
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 16:00Quantum Internet: First Teleportation to a Solid-State Quantum Memory
Quantum teleportation is the ability to transmit from one location to another without traveling through the space in between. Matter itself doesn’t make this journey, only the information that describes it. This is transmitted to a new body that takes on the identity of the original.
But while science fiction fans have focused on body involved, quantum physicists are more interested in the information. For them, teleportation is the enabling technology behind a new generation of information processing technologies including a quantum Internet that allows information to be transmitted with perfect security.
One of the building blocks of the quantum Internet will be quantum routers that can receive quantum information from location and route it on to another without destroying it. So the race is on to demonstrate this kind of technology, which has the potential to revolutionize communications.
Today, Felix Bussières at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and a few pals say they’ve taken an important step towards this. These guys have teleported quantum information to a crystal doped with rare-earth ions—a kind of quantum memory. But crucially they’ve done it for the first time over the kind of ordinary optical fiber that telecommunications that are in use all over the world.
One of the main requirements for widespread teleportation is entangled photons with a wavelength compatible with telecom fiber. That’s not so easy to produce since the entangled photons must be compatible with the discrete energy jumps in the quantum memory. “This wavelength is typically far away from the low-loss region of standard optical fiber,” say Bussières and co.
So the trick these guys have perfected is to generate entangled pairs of photons with different wavelengths. The first has a wavelength of 883nm (near-infrared), which is compatible with a type of quantum memory made of neodymium-doped yttrium orthosilicate crystals. The second has a wavelength of 1338nm (mid infrared), which passes easily through telecoms optical fiber.
The quantum state to be teleported is the polarization of a 1338nm photon. So these guys send the 883nm signal to the quantum memory where it is stored while transmitting the 1338 signal through a 12 km fiber to another apparatus that prepares a third photon (also at 1338 nm) with the polarization to be teleported.
This is when the teleportation takes place. When these two 1338nm photons are made to interact in a certain way, the polarization is teleported to the quantum memory at the other end of the experiment.
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 16:00The Two Component Random Number Generator
[Karl] was in need of a hardware random number generator, but is needs had a few caveats: it needed to be cheap, and sufficiently random. Random number generation can get quite crazy with Geiger tubes, lava lamps, and radioactive decay, but a much smaller solution was found in an 8 pin AVR microcontroller.
The solution uses AVRentropy, a library that uses the watchdog timer’s jitter in AVR microcontrollers to provide cryptographically secure random numbers. Setting up the circuit was easy – an ATtiny45 microcontroller was connected to a cheap chinese USB to serial converter. Three wires, and the circuit is complete. The code was simple as well; it’s just a call to initialize the entropy and write the bits to the serial port.
There are a few drawbacks to this build. Because the entropy library must wait until enough entropy is gathered, it can only produce about two 32-bit numbers per second. That’s all [Karl] needed for his application, though, and with an enclosure made from a wine cork and marble, he has the prettiest and smallest random number generator around.
Filed under: ATtiny Hacks
Lundi, Février 10, 2014 - 16:00How to compose classical music with your brainwaves
This new project from Professor Eduardo Miranda allows you to compose music with your brainwaves, from bbc.
Joel told me the main electrode at the back of my head would pick out brainwaves from my visual cortex while the other electrodes would essentially help to cancel out any background noise.
Operating the device requires the user to concentrate on one of four chequered patterns. These all flicker at different rates and each pattern makes the visual part of the brain create a sympathetic electrical signal.
The signal gets picked up by the brain cap and sent to the computer. The device works best when the rest of the brain is relaxed, so “clearing your mind” is encouraged.
The brain’s electrical signals are amplified then sent to a laptop.
Joel encouraged me to stare at the pattern in a very particular way, a bit like focusing and defocusing. Sometimes I’d have to look away from the screen and look back to refresh my brain.