• Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 17:45
    REMINDER – Show and tell is now WEDNESDAY NIGHTS at 7:30pm ET / ASK AN ENGINEER is now WEDNESDAY NIGHTS 8pm ET !

    Moving Combo 1240X698

    Ladyada has been doing our live electronic show, “ASK AN ENGINEER” for over 4 years, every Saturday night. As far as we know it’s the longest running live electronics show on the net. Later we added SHOW AND TELL and that’s been going on for the last 2+ years on Google+ Hangouts On Air, it’s our favorite 30 minutes of the week when makers around of the world share their projects. We’ve moved the shows to Wednesday nights, TUNE IN! The new times are:

    Moving Showtell 1240X698
    SHOW AND TELL – Wednesday nights, 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts OnAir (playlist here).

    Moving Askengineer 1240X698
    ASK AN ENGINEER – Wednesday nights, 8pm ET on YouTube LIVE and Ustream (playlist here).

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 17:44
    MakerBot Studio | Chunky Trains Pull into the Station


    Next Stop: Your 3D Printer

    Something big is chugging its way toward the MakerBot Digital Store.

    New Chunky Trains interlock with each other thanks to a common base piece that can sport any of seven train topper designs. Try it with the Lucky Locomotive, the mighty head engine, and the Crafty Crane, which can pivot 360 degrees to scoop up a load.

    These hard-hauling railroad cars are some of the most interactive designs we’ve seen from the MakerBot Studio so far. Studio Director Lane Feuer can’t wait to hear how kids play with them.

    “This set, along with our original Chunky Trucks line, is the perfect addition to any sandbox,” said Feuer. truck-2

    Top and Go

    Feuer is proud of how easy it to customize a Chunky Trains base with any of the seven new designs.

    “Pop the base of the train car off of the build plate and slide it into the bottom of the train car topper,” advises Feuer. “It snaps into place and your train is ready for its first adventure.”

    Download Chunky Trains from the MakerBot Digital Studio, and add some serious locomotion to your collection of 3D printable digital designs.


  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 16:45
    Driving Big Stepper Motors with Arduino

    http---makeagif.com--media-3-19-2014-SPDIwfJohn Saunders of NYC CNC gives two video tutorials on controlling large stepper motors with an Arduino, a 24V power supply, and an ST-M5045 microstepping driver.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 16:36
    Support Open Source Beehives and help promoting international bee recovery

    Open Source Beehive

    Recent declines in honey bee populations raised attention of many scientists and now makers started activating swell.

    The Open Source Beehives (OSBH) project is a collaborative response to the threat faced by Bee populations in industrialised nations around the world.
    They’ve just launched a campaign on Indiegogo and are waiting for your contribution.

    The campaign will help to build new sensors to understand the behaviour of the bees and the pollutants that are killing them. Also the production of the hives relies on the Fab Lab Network, which makes it able to be produced anywhere in the world. The project is proudly powered by the Arduino At Heart Smart Citizen Kit.

    Jonathan Minchin, the bee-man in the lab ;) , told us:

    The development team is made up of makers, technologists, entomologists and is being led by a wide ranging community of beekeepers. The OSBH team came together in 2013 from the Fab Lab Barcelona, OKNO in Brussels and the Open Tech Collaborative in Denver with the shared objective of designing hives that can support Bee colonies in a sustainable way. To monitor and track the health and behaviour of a colony as it develops and to engage an active and diverse community to respond to the threats faced by Bees.

    Work began to design our Internet-connected beehives and to put them into backyards everywhere. The aim is to grow a citizen-led beehive network that both strengthens bee populations and generates insightful hive data, ultimately we want to help discover what is causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The Smart Citizen platform and (SCK) sensor kit with Arduino at heart provides a perfect fit with the aims of the project in that it allows us to quickly and efficiently develop a powerful and specialised sensor shield adapted for use within a Beehive. The data we produce can also be published openly to the Smart Citizen online platform and shared with the community.

    Open source beehive

    The data from the hives will help beekeepers and scientists monitor the temperature, humidity and relevant sound frequencies coming from within the hives in a non-intrusive way. This data helps them to understand what the colony is doing and how it reacts to environmental changes. We are also working with sensors that can measure the weight of the hive and monitor air born pollutants that might affect the bees. The data collected from each hive is published together with geolocations, allowing for a further comparison and analysis between the hives.

    These sensor enhanced hive designs as well as the electronic schematics are being published openly and can be downloaded and made locally at a Fab Labs or any other maker space. The hives along with different options to support the project can be ordered through our current crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

    Now watch the video to look at some visual details and meet the other collaborators:


  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 15:01
    Mug Music Is Good to the Last Drop

    [Bonnie] is majoring in CS at Princeton and minoring in Awesome. She is taking an electronic music class and had to produce a digital instrument for her midterm project. She and her friend [Harvest] came up with Mug Music, which turns a ceramic mug of water into an instrument.

    The circuit is very easy to replicate with an Arduino, a coil, and a few resistors and capacitors. [Bonnie] wanted to experiment with Disney Research Lab’s Touché method of touch detection, and Mug Music is based on this Touché for Arduino Instructable. The inputs are turned into MIDI notes with ChucK, a real-time sound synthesis language developed at Princeton.

    As you may have guessed and will see in the demonstration video after the jump, you aren’t limited to touching the water. The entire mug will produce sounds as well. [Bonnie] says you can trigger a thunderclap if you touch the water and a grounded surface simultaneously.

    This would be a great project to explore with kids, especially as a music therapy vehicle for kids on the autism spectrum. It isn’t as physical as these portable musical stairs, but it may draw less attention from lawyers.

    Filed under: Arduino Hacks, musical hacks

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 15:00
    NeoPixels in London Fashion Shoot #WearableWednesday

    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, Mars 19, 2014 - 14:00
    Look Out for This Big Daddy Costume

    big daddy costume

    BioShock was too scary for me to play, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the fantastic character designs in the game. Big Daddy made an impression, and Instructables user mikoto made the costume for a convention. She sourced supplies from stuff she found in the garage and Home Depot. Some of the materials include insulation, cardboard, jersey sheets, and a beach ball. It sounds like a game show challenge: “Using these random materials, build an impressive Big Daddy” costume. Well, mikoto would win because the finished build looks amazing.

    She began by making the internal skeleton:

    I started by cutting the R-Matte (RM) board into 3 – 3 ft sections. I then took and cut it into the rough cut=away shape. Also from the remaining R-matte board make a shoulder portion, a 3Ft circle for the front access port of the dome and then 2- 10″ circles for the arms.

    After I had the rough shape I cut 5″in wide pieces of cardboard to tape in-between the RM board.

    As I placed the cardboard I tried to form the end shape of the body. your best bet is to cut you form down to a more permanent size at this point, so that there is only about a 2 -3″ depth at the most from the cardboard to the top edge so that you don’t go through as much expandable foam as I did.

    Leave about a 2ft x 3ft opening on the bottom for access. You will need this for entering the Cosplay and it leaves and opening so the you can set it up on a stand and work easier.

    After this item is taped securely and is sturdy enough. cut out the inside so that you can insert a stand or support . I used the electric knife to cut out the inside. . Cut out just enough for your stand to fit in. if you try to hollow it out it will be unstable and collapse in on itself, this would also make it impossible to work with as it will move too much when cutting and shaping.

    Also make the arm area with the 5″ cardboard pieces to make about a 10″ circle that will be the arm hole. Then fill the hole so to stabilizes it from collapsing.

    big daddy costume in progress

    Read more at Instructables.

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 13:32
    BFI now Accepting Applications: Fuller Challenge Cycle Open Now! $100,000 Prize

    Omnioculi sky

    Applications now open for the Fuller Challenge from The BFI:


    The Buckminster Fuller Institute formally announces the Call for Proposals to the 2014 Fuller Challenge. Recognized as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Challenge invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, students and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy. Entries will be accepted until April 11, 2014.


    Buckminster Fuller called for a design revolution to “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”

    Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about.

    Winning entries for the last six years have applied a rare combination of pragmatic, visionary, comprehensive and anticipatory thinking to tackling issues as broad as urban mobility, coastal restoration and innovation in biomaterials packaging. BFI has created an application process for entry to the Fuller Challenge in which global changemakers grapple deeply with a unique set of criteria. Internationally renowned jurors and reviewers look for whole systems strategies that integrate effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors impacting each design solution.


    “The Challenge program has defined an emerging field of practice – the whole systems approach to understanding and solving the interrelated crises facing us. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges,” said Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director of The Buckminster Fuller Institute. “We are committed to further supporting this emergent field through our Catalyst Program, which provides much needed additional support to select initiatives: mentoring, pro-bono legal services, consideration for fiscal sponsorship, international press coverage, special invitations to present at conferences and exhibitions, and more! We partnered with Interface in 2013 to launch this program, and we could not be more gratified that we are able to continue its development in 2014.”

    Challenge timecycle white

    Read more.

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 13:00
    Anti-Surveillance Hair & Makeup Party #WearableWednesday
  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 12:00
    GEVCU – an Open Generalized Electric Vehicle Control Unit

    At Hackaday we’re very happy to see the increasing number of open hardware devices that appear everyday on the internet, and we’re also quite thrilled about open-source electric cars. Pictured above is the GEVCU, an open source electric vehicle control unit (or ECU). It is in charge of processing different inputs (throttle position, brake pressure, vehicle sensors) then send the appropriate control commands to electric motor controllers (aka inverters) via CAN bus messages or digital / PWM signals.

    The project started back in December 2012 and was originally based on an Arduino Due. Since then, the GEVCU went through several revisions and ultimately a complete custom board was produced, while still keeping the Cortex M3 ATSAM3X8E from the Due. As you may have guessed, the board also includes a Wifi transceiver so users may adjust the ECU parameters via a web based platform. All resources may be downloaded from the official GitHub.

    Filed under: Arduino Hacks, ARM, hardware

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 12:00
    FastCo Story on CuteCircuit #WearableWednesday


    Geek Gets Chic With CuteCircuit’s High-Tech Fashion @FastCo Design:

    The problem with wearable tech is that all too often it simply isn’t wearable. Some designs are so aggressively nerdy-looking that the fashion-conscious won’t even think about donning them.

    London-based company CuteCircuit is trying to change that. Designers Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz marry high fashion and high tech on the runway, making clothes that are as breathtaking as they are sophisticated.

    CuteCircuit’s newest collection recently debuted in a sci-fi fantasy of a runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It featured glittering garments equipped with LED lights and models who used a smartphone app to make their outfits change color, glow in the dark, and play video loops.

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 11:30
    From Jawbone to GoPro, Venture Money Flows Into Hardware #WearableWednesday

    From Jawbone to GoPro, Venture Money Flows Into Hardware @ WSJ.com.

    A hardware startup is still hard, but it is getting a little easier. The growing availability of 3-D printers and starter kits with easy-to-program circuit boards makes it simpler and cheaper to produce prototypes. Contract manufacturers stand ready to handle mass production and unravel supply-chain tangles. New fundraising techniques help entrepreneurs get started and test demand.

    The result: U.S. venture capitalists completed a record 31 fundraising deals for consumer-electronics makers last year, eclipsing the previous high of 29 in 1999, according to DJX VentureSource. They pumped $848 million into hardware startups, nearly twice the prior record of $442 million set in 2012.

    The flurry of deals included new funding for Jawbone, which makes wireless audio equipment and an activity-tracking wristband, set-top-box manufacturer Roku Inc. and camera startup Lytro Inc.

    “It’s definitely the dawn of a golden age of hardware,” said Scott Miller, chief executive of Cambridge, Mass.-based Dragon Innovation Inc., which advises hardware startups and helps them raise money.

    Read more.

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 11:00
    MakeFashion on Solarbotics Flickr #WearableWednesday


    There’s not much info to accompany these fantastic photos of what is only called “MakeFashion” on Solarbotics’ Flickr stream. Outrageously awesome! If you’ve got more info, post up in the comments.


  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 10:00
    Buckle up Tron Style #WearableWednesday


    Being visible at night is always a concern, whether you are riding your bike or just walking your dog. This LED belt spotted on Design You Trust is designed to keep you seen. There are some pretty gnarly statistics concerning pedestrians killed by autos, to the tune of 275K per year. So, this Halo Belt 2.0 is on a mission to protect anyone on the road. Think of all the potential users, including cops, joggers, children, military, roadside workers, and cyclists. That’s a lot of potential users.

    Apparently the company got its original start in 2012 on Kickstarter. So, they know how this belt thing works. Their site tells the story.

    We have utilized the feedback of early supporters and Kickstarter backers to create our new Halo Belt. The Halo Belt 2.0 has been redesigned to be brighter and rechargeable. We have also integrated our custom designed LED fiber optic system and 3M reflective elastic onto the belt that can be adjusted to the desired size and length to accommodate most users.

    Usually when you think of protective gear, the first thing that comes to mind is those reflective vests. Apparently they don’t hold up to a Halo.

    Since reflective jackets are only visible when a light source is projected onto it, it would be impossible to spot someone in the dark. We have designed the Halo Belt 2.0 to have a combination of high quality 3M reflectives as well as our illuminating LED fiber optic technology. This helps the user stay visible when he or she may not be in direct headlight projection.

    Considering most drivers are looking at their phones, that means less reaction time. So, better to go with the glow and hope that you are seen a few seconds in advance. Speaking of glow, check out our kit to make your own LED Belt.


    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, Mars 19, 2014 - 09:00
    This shirt will let you feel what players experience on the field #WearableWednesday

    Wearable Tech Insider posted this awesome video of a shirt that lets viewers experience the sensation of what players feel on the field.

    It’s the ultimate insider’s sport fan gear. Imagine wearing your favorite player’s jersey, but clothes being tricked out to receive sensations of what the player is feeling as he’s on the field.

    They’re trying it out in Australia. Foxtel and the agency CHE Proximity worked with three Australian Rules Football players – Scott Pendlebury, Luke Hodge and Trent Cotchin. The three donned sensors and “recorded” what it felt like to get tackled, to kick a ball, to score. During broadcasts, fans who wear shirts equipped with the proper technology — Bluetooth, haptic sensors — will be sent appropriate sensations in real time. See the tackle, feel the tackle.

    One presumes the sensations will be a little tamped down; having a couch potato experience an actual tackle might be a little … intense.

    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, Mars 19, 2014 - 09:00
    3D Printers Can Only Make Trinkets — What About Kayaks?


    Wow. [Jim Smith] of Grass Roots Engineering has just put the finishing touches on his entirely 3D printed kayak. And it floats.

    The individual parts were printed on [Jim's] massive home-made 3D printer, which is loosely based off a RepRap — except that its maximum build volume is a whopping 403 x 403 x 322.7mm.

    The kayak itself is made of 28 printed sections, and to hold it all together, he has installed brass threaded thermoplastic inserts, which then allow the pieces to be bolted together. Silicone caulking is applied before assembly to ensure a watertight seal.

    It was originally based off of a Siskiwit Bay kayak by [Bryan Hansel] but [Jim] has heavily modified it to suit 3D printing. It was printed at a layer height of 0.65mm to reduce print time, which still ended up being over 1000 hours! He even optimized the design to improve performance based on his own height and weight.

    The hull is 6mm thick, with a custom rib structure to increase strength — you can also see the method of fastening the sections together in the following image:


    In total it weighs around 65lbs, with 58lbs of that being ABS plastic — it used 7lbs of screws and brass inserts — wow! Oh and since the whole thing was 3D printed, [Jim] also added some handy features like camera mounts on the bow and stern. Talk about a big project!

    Have you seen anything else this big printed on a hobby 3D printer? Our first thought is the Replica DB4 project by [Ivan Sentch] — He’s building an Aston Martin DB4 using a donor car… and a lot of 3D printed parts.


    Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, transportation hacks

  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 08:00
    Finger Commands with Ring #WearableWednesday


    You’ve always dreamed of waving your hand around like Minority Report and now you’ve got your chance, according to the International Business Times. This new ring, which recently got funded on Kickstarter, allows the user to use small finger gestures to command things like text messages, paying bills and even controlling appliances. Looks like fun, right? It’s called the obvious — Ring.

    If a you want to send a text message, just draw the shape of an envelope in the air. Want to take a photograph? Just draw the shape of a camera and Ring will take a picture with the camera on your phone. In order to actually type a message using Ring, you would have to spell out words by drawing them in the air with your finger, which could be useful if you just want to reply “OK” or “5mins” but could become troublesome for longer sentences.

    You are probably thinking the same thing we are, “what if you are a sloppy writer?” Luckily there is an app that has you covered. It allows you to alter the pattern to make it easier for Ring to understand you. Check out the video that shows the font and functionality (love the lamp dimming).

    Logbar Inc., the creators, have covered all bases, with Ring working on iOS and Android phones, tablets, PCs, Google Glass, and some smartwatches. They’ve also made it social media and smarthome device friendly. What’s really exciting is that it represents one of the smaller and smarter wearable tech products we’ve seen. It takes its cue from the natural human behavior of pointing, which means it will be easier to adopt.

    Although uses so far suggest the practical, it would be interesting to see an interactive art piece conducted by this ring. Perhaps we will witness a new way to spin tunes — in the air. Ring has made their app open source for developers, so you can join in on the fun. Not quite there yet, but attracted to devices that react to movement? You should check out our guide to Motion Sensors; it’s a good place to start.

    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, Mars 19, 2014 - 07:00
    Scough is a stylish scarf that filters out germs and pollution #WearableWednesday


    CrunchWear has posted about this fun new scarf that will let you walk fearlessly through the dirty streets of your city.

    The cold weather may be abating somewhat but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in for any more chilly days, particularly in the early parts of spring(not to mention next winter, and the eternal winter after that which is our souls.) One of the best, and easiest, accessories for avoiding winter chill is the humble scarf…

    Introducing the Scough, a scarf that filters out pollution and germs with the best of them, all the while remaining as stylish as anything else in your wardrobe. The secret here is an activated carbon filter that also contains a slight layer of silver. The end result is maximization of germ and pollution fighting power. Staying healthy is always a good thing, particularly if a zombie apocalypse-inducing germ is floating around like on the TV.

    The Scough comes in a variety of hip styles. After all, it was designed in Brooklyn(slight sarcasm intended, even though I do live there.) You can head on over to their website and pick one up for around $39. Happy scarf hunting!

    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, Mars 19, 2014 - 07:00
    Fluke, we love you but you're killing us.

    Today (March 20, 2014), Fluke reached out to us. Here is what they had to say. SparkFun has officially accepted their offer and will be donating the Fluke multimeters to several educational institutions and schools.

    Part of SparkFun’s business model is to find really cool items that every hacker and DIY electronics person needs. A digital multimeter is one of those “must-haves.” We started sourcing a really great high-quality $15 multimeter back in 2008. This price-point enables countless beginners to get their feet wet in electronics.

    Fast forward six years and many thousands of multimeters sold. On March 7th, we were notified by the Department of Homeland Security/US Customs and Border Protection that our latest shipment of 2,000 multimeters was being inspected:

    Fluke SparkFun Homeland Security Letter

    This is to advise you that the following articles have been excluded from entry into the United States pursuant to US International Trade Commission Exclusion Order 337-TA-588.

    Uh-oh. Ok. 337-TA-588 is formally titled: “Certain Digital Multimeters, and Products with Multimeter Functionality.” You can grab the large 20.7MB PDF here. This is 162 pages of companies (Velleman, Harbor Freight, Elenco, Electronic Express, and Jameco to name a few) that have been brought under scrutiny by the US International Trade Commission because these companies were selling:

    digital multimeters and products with multimeter functionality that have a contrasting color combination of a dark-colored body or face and a contrasting yellow border, frame, molding, overlay, holster or perimeter.

    What do our multimeters have to do with this? Turns out Fluke filed for a trademark in 2000 and received it in late 2003. Fluke’s trademark number is 2796480 (thanks larrys on ycombinator). The USPTO website doesn’t like hard links so here’s another site that has their trademark info. The multimeters we sell have a yellow-ish border (it’s more like macaroni and cheese really) so we may be violating Fluke’s trademark. From Fluke’s Trademark filing:

    Rough sketch of Fluke DMM

    Fluke Coporation’s rough sketch of a digital multimeter

    Indication of Colors claimed: Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark.

    Description of Mark: The mark consists of the colors dark gray and yellow as applied to the goods. The dotted outline of the goods is intended to show the position of the mark and is not a part of the mark.

    Wow. I feel for the US Customs and Border Protection agents who have to interpret this. I don’t fully understand it but it sounds like any measurement device with a yellow border is now under the domain of Fluke’s branding.

    SparkFun Digital Multimeter

    According to Pete: “They’re destroying the meters because they’re yellow? That’s silly.”

    Yellow is awfully broad: In my mind, multimeters have always been yellow. I’ve never had the opportunity to own a Fluke-branded DMM so I’m not sure where my brain picked up this association. I can respect trademarks and company branding and I respect Fluke’s reputation for high-quality multimeters. If Fluke wants to own a color I would expect the USPTO to require them to assign an exact color just like Tiffany’s did with Tiffany Blue. But allowing a company to trademark ‘yellow’ seems broad.

    Wicked burden on small business: Trademark law is heavily skewed towards large business. Small business does not have the resources to stay abreast of all trademarks for all the products they don’t carry. If you’re going to put the onus on the little guy to avoid infringing IP then you shouldn’t need an army of consultants or attorneys to find this information. We will lose $30,000 on this shipment. But the cost of the legal legwork and manpower to make sure we don’t violate a future color seems unreasonable and simply not feasible.

    No recourse: Our multimeters are actually kind of orange, not Fluke yellow. The document from the Department of Homeland Security is matter of fact. Where is the opportunity for recourse? What is the appeals process? Because of a $150 per day warehousing fee we are forced to decide quickly with limited legal guidance and mounting penalty costs.

    Decide between bad and worse: So we really only have two options, ship them back or have them destroyed. Having them destroyed costs $150 per hour with no indication of how much time it will take to destroy 2,000 units. Returning them has been ruled out by the manufacturer in China because the import taxes in China are so steep (yay free trade) that bringing them back into the country to have them modified would be more expensive than paying for the return shipping and taxes. Between bad and worse, we have to have them destroyed. Sorry Earth.

    A message to Fluke: You’re cool! We like Fluke. We didn’t know about your trademark on yellow framed multimeters and we agree to change our colors. Perhaps we can be granted a 60-day license? There’s probably not enough time (the DMMs will be destroyed in a few days) but perhaps there’s a chance. We’d be happy to donate them to the cause of your choice.

    Things you don't know you don't know

    Image credit: jangosteve.com

    So where does this leave us? The stuff you don’t know you don’t know hurts the most. We were out of stock before this seizure happened so, sorry folks, we’ll be out of stock for a bit longer. We’ll change the DMMs from yellow to red. We’ll eat the $30,000 financial loss and 2,000 multimeters will be destroyed somewhere in Los Angeles. We learned a little more about trademarks. If you’re a business, watch out for yellow multimeters. If you’re a user, enjoy the glory of the Fluke yellow.

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  • Mercredi, Mars 19, 2014 - 06:01
    Prophet 600: A Classic Synthesizer Gets Processor Upgrade


    We love classic synthesizers here at Hackaday. So does [gligli], but he didn’t like the processor limitations of the Prophet 600. That’s why he’s given it a new brain in the form of a Teensy++. The Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 was a big deal when it was released back in 1982/1983. The 600 was the first commercially available synthesizer to include a MIDI interface. The original design of the 600 could be called a hybrid. A Zilog Z80 microprocessor controlled modular analog voice chips. The Z80 was a bit stressed in this configuration though, and a few limitations were evident. An 8 bit processor just wasn’t quite enough for software driven envelopes and a Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) control. This was further exacerbated by the fact that everything was driven through a 14 bit DAC.

    [gligli] discovered most of the limitations in the 600 were due to the processor. By beefing up the processing power he could really unlock the potential within 600. Since he didn’t actually have a Prophet 600, he started with the schematic. [gligli] created a PC based emulator for the digital circuits, learning the whole system as he worked. With that phase complete, [gligli] bought a used Prophet and started hacking. The Teensy++ required a few hardware mods to fill the Z80′s shoes, including cutting off a pin and adding a few jumper wires. We really like the fact that no changes to the Prophet 600 itself are required. Pull out the Teensy++, drop in the Z80, and you’re ready to party like it’s 1982 again.

    The new processor interfaces directly with the Z80′s 8 bit bus. Since the AVR on the Teensy has built-in RAM and ROM, it simply ignores the ROM and RAM address spaces of the original system. Interfacing a fast micro with older parts like an 8253 timer and a 68B50 UART does have its pitfalls though. The system bus had to run slow enough to not violate timing requirements of the various peripheral chips. To handle this, [gligli] added a number of wait statements in his firmware. Once the system was working, [gligli] was free to start adding new features. He began by smoothing out the stepped envelope and filter generators, as well as adding new exponential modes. From there he added new keyboard polyphony modes as well as pitch and mod wheel changes. The full lineup of new features are listed in the instruction manual (PDF link). Since this is an open source project, adding a feature is as simple as cracking open your favorite editor and writing it up.

    [Thanks Kiss]

    Filed under: musical hacks