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24 Jul 2011

Fermilab experiment discovers a heavy relative of the neutron…  [via]

Scientists of the CDF collaboration at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the observation of a new particle, the neutral Xi-sub-b (Ξb0). This particle contains three quarks: a strange quark, an up quark and a bottom quark (s-u-b). While its existence was predicted by the Standard Model, the observation of the neutral Xi-sub-b is significant because it strengthens our understanding of how quarks form matter. Fermilab physicist Pat Lukens, a member of the CDF collaboration, presented the discovery at Fermilab on Wednesday, July 20.

The neutral Xi-sub-b is the latest entry in the periodic table of baryons. Baryons are particles formed of three quarks, the most common examples being the proton (two up quarks and a down quark) and the neutron (two down quarks and an up quark). The neutral Xi-sub-b belongs to the family of bottom baryons, which are about six times heavier than the proton and neutron because they all contain a heavy bottom quark. The particles are produced only in high-energy collisions, and are rare and very difficult to observe.

Fermilab experiment discovers a heavy relative of the neutron – [Link]

24 Jul 2011

Most of us simply can’t afford an industrial reflow oven and this pain was also felt by the folks over at Rocket Scream Electronics. So armed with an idea and some help from the Adafruit Reflowduino sample code, the Reflow Oven Controller Shield was born. The shield is based off the familiar MAX6675 Thermocouple Amplifier and the PID library written by Brett Beauregard.

Toss in a few solid sate relays (SSR) and a K-Type Thermocouple, like the ones Adafruit has here, and your good to go. I like the idea of a standalone PID controller as it’s one less PC controlled device to worry about. [via]

Reflow Oven Controller Shield – [Link]

24 Jul 2011

adafruit.com writes:

Gerber Viewers. Nothing makes an engineer more nervous than a “tape-out” – that moment you send files off to a manufacturing house for PCBs (or chips). Will the returned product be correct, letting you continue onto manufacture? Or will there be a (dumb) mistake, setting you back 3 weeks and hundreds to thousands of dollars? Even the best engineers I know still get antsy and nervous in the lead up to a release!

That’s why its so important to do everything you can to avoid problems. Now, there’s not one engineer out there who has done nothing but fab perfect designs each time. Heck, even Microsoft had XBox manufacturing problems, they happen! But every step you take to avoid an easily-fixable problem is worth your attention.

Before we send of PCBs, of course we do a ERC/DFM check inside the software but even then, we always take a look at the final GERBER files before they are zipped up and sent off to the fab house.

Gerber Viewers – [Link]

24 Jul 2011

(un)stable from Gaelen Sayres on Vimeo.

wow — this piece by artist Gaelen Sayres is quite chilling and effective: [via]

I have created a system that reads real time earthquake updates from around the world and depending on the magnitude it receives, disrupts and shakes a set of Japanese tableware by use of solenoid. While artists such as Susy Bielak, in her work “Quake/Temblor”, have previously explored the relationship between humans and geographic disaster, my motivation ultimately comes from my own first hand experience of Japan’s recent large March 11th earthquake.

While I got off relatively easy (knowing I had a home and family outside of Japan that I could “return” to) my Japanese friends and family did not. A week of aftershocks and lack of news coverage was more than enough to leave me wondering how much control I had over my life and to realize that even the common act of sharing a family meal without fear of disruption should not be taken for granted. That said, the choice of Japanese dinnerware will hopefully work as a metaphor for the stability of shelter and family ties (namely in Japan) being broken in some way with each new earthquake being recorded. Ultimately, it is not the tangible rattling of plates that I am hoping to capture on the plinth, but the knowledge of disruption and unease that is happening somewhere in the world outside of the viewer’s “stable” gallery.

(un)stable – An Art Installation That Reacts to Earthquakes – [Link]

24 Jul 2011

Shawon Shahryiar (from Bangladesh) describes in this project about the HSM-20G sensor and its interfacing with the Atmega8 for measuring the ambient temperature and relative humidity. HSM-20G is an analog sensor that converts the ambient temperature and relative humidity into standard output voltages which can be measured through the ADC channels of Atmega8. With the use of the calibration curve provided in the datasheet, these analog voltages can be converted back to the temperature and relative humidity.

Atmega8 + HSM-20G to measure the relative humidity and temperature – [Link]

24 Jul 2011

Nowadays is so easy to build precision digital LC meter with LCD display and microcontrollers. But, what about 1997? There is my first very precision ANALOG LC METER. Look at this, but do not fall in love in retro princess from past!! The analog LC-meter project (AP-LC1) have more then 3% accuracy. Really! There is no balanced bridge, or very expensive components inside.

We read the value on 100mikroA DC instruments with accuracy scale of 2%. It is very simple, only one integer circuit (HEF40106BP). I used 5 from 6 Hex Schmitt Trigger organized like a independent oscillators: 10Hz, 100Hz, 1KHz, 10KHz i 100KHz. If we want to use a higher frequency (1MHz) we must find original transistor BSX20 instead BF198.

Analog LC Meter, back to the past 1996 – [Link]

22 Jul 2011

A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan.

Dr Dan Li, of the Monash University Department of Materials Engineering, and his research team have been working with a material called graphene, which could form the basis of the next generation of ultrafast energy storage systems.

“Once we can properly manipulate this material, your iPhone, for example, could charge in a few seconds, or possibly faster.” said Dr Li. [via]

Graphite + water = the future of energy storage – [Link]

22 Jul 2011

Imec, the Holst Centre and TNO, in collaboration with Polymer Vision, have demonstrated the world’s first working 8-bit organic microprocessor, fabricated by depositing 4,000 organic transistors directly on a flexible plastic film. Using an inexpensive organic (plastic) material instead of expensive silicon opens the door to new niche applications that need inexpensive processing power, such as smart packaging that can be discarded after use, and flexible applications such as roll-up display screens and smart fabrics. [via]

World’s first fully organic microprocessor demonstrated – [Link]

22 Jul 2011

Semiconductor manufacturer NXP is mighty proud of its new high-power transistor, called BLF578XR, which is good for 1.2 kilowatts of RF power output. The device is suitable for use in RF amplifiers operating within the in the 10 to 500 MHz frequency range and has proved it’s up against extremely adverse operating conditions. [via]

The first indestructible transistor? – [Link]

22 Jul 2011

Interrupts are powerful concept in embedded systems for controlling events in a time-critical environment. Many emergent events, such as power failure and process control, require the CPU to take action immediately. The interrupt mechanism provides a way to force the CPU to divert from normal program execution and take immediate actions.This tutorial first describes the interrupt system in general and then illustrates how it is handled in PIC micrcontrollers.

Interrupts in PIC micrcontrollers – [Link]





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