Apparently I have a thing for testing. I rather love to run experiments, even when there’s no immediate need for the results. I guess I just enjoy trying stuff, and hey, maybe even learning a thing or two.
So last weekend I was doing a bit of tinkering and got to wondering about the performance of different heatsinks. Now just intuitively, I know that larger heat sinks tend to dissipate more heat than smaller ones – particularly if they have larger surface areas. But just how much better is a tall, finned heatsink than a small, clip-on device? This is what I wanted to find out. So I gathered up five sinks of varying sizes and started to design my test.
Compares the performance of several different heatsinks - [Link]
Camelpunch: The Brushduino. Steve writes… [via]
Ever have an idea that people tell you “you should TOTALLY patent that!” Well, I did, and they did, and I thought about it… but instead I decided to open source the whole thing. It seemed like kind of an obvious idea to me and going after a patent made me feel kind of greedy. Besides, all of my prototyping was done with open source tools!
Anyways, I hope someone can improve upon this. I think it’s a useful thing.
My daughters don’t brush their teeth long enough, if left to their own devices. When my wife or I brush their teeth, we do a nice thorough job that takes a little while but when the girls do it themselves, they tend to cut it short. Timing them doesn’t help, as they just stand there and chit-chat until the timer goes off. It’s not that they don’t brush their teeth LONG enough, it’s that they don’t brush their teeth WELL enough.
It occurred to me that if could make something that monitored how WELL they brush their teeth—and maybe even guided them through the process a little—then they’d eventually establish better habits for the future. I started thinking about what I could build that would help them and settled on the notion that an accelerometer was the perfect sort of thing to keep tabs on what constitutes a brush “stroke” while they’re in there brushing their teeth. All I’d need to do is come up with a little hardware and software to make it happen.
The Brushduino – Helps kids brush their teeth better… - [Link]
Conductive Silver Ink from a Ballpoint Pen via BB… [via]
Materials researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have developed a highly conductive silver ink. In this video, Analisa Russo, a graduate student in the research group of Professor Jennifer Lewis shows exactly how to make this amazing ink, which could be used for a wide variety of hobby projects and in advanced electronics hardware.
Conductive Silver Ink from a Ballpoint Pen - [Link]
BBC News – Steve Wozniak’s tribute. – [via]
The co-founder of Apple says he will remember Steve Jobs for his “very quick mind” and “knowing what made sense in a product”. Steve Wozniak, who met Mr Jobs at school and was in a computer club with him before starting the company, said: “How many things do you own in the world… that are ‘I just have to have this… I actually enjoy doing my work on this product’? That’s what Apple brought to so many people.”
“We went into the garage when we were two young people with no money. You have to work out of your home. We had jobs on the side. We had nobody that could loan us money. We had no business experience. We were like a million young people who are so excited about the future they may have some day, in business, making something just out of their ideas. That’s what we were.” — Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak’s tribute - [Link]
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…” – Steve Jobs
This is a project I did a couple of years back for a business friend of mine to automatically log all his phone calls into his computer. The hardware (pictured above) uses an microprocessor to monitor the phone calls (incoming and outgoing) and send the data out the serial port to be read by the computer.
The hardware is controlled by an Atmel AVR ATmega32 microprocessor. The processor uses optoisolators to see if the phone is off-hook and to check if the incoming line is ringing. If the phone is off-hook a DTMF decoding chip CM8870CP is used to decode the number that is dialed. If it is an incoming call an FSK decoding chip XR2211 is used to decode the Caller ID data.
Phone Call Logging Project - [Link]
Block Diagram (SBD) – Tablet – TI.com. [via]
Texas Instruments (TI) offers a variety of semiconductor solutions for tablets and eBooks. The OMAPTM processor shown in the system diagram perfectly balances power and performance to give designers and end users an optimal multimedia solution. Also represented is an extensive array of solutions for tablets and eBooks that support wireless connectivity, video, audio and power management. The selection guide on the following page is a sampling of TI devices available to streamline your design process.
Tablet and eBook System Diagram from TI - [Link]
A word about open source hardware @ The Custom Geek… [via]
So, what is open source hardware and why should I be interested in it? Open source hardware is simply hardware that is released in the wild along with CAD files (PCB layout data), documentation, and hopefully a tutorial on how it is set up and works…
Now, I was skeptical about this when I first heard about it because I thought,”If I want to sell my stuff, why give away the information I worked on?” I mean after all, aren’t we supposed to design something, then patent, copyright, trademark, and lock it in a safe? Thats the way to keep it ours right? After all, I worked on it, and I should get all the credit and all the profit right? I’m not giving my stuff away! But then I started thinking…
Read more, great post!
A word about open source hardware - [Link]