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17 May 2011

dangerousprototypes.com writes:

Minibloq is a graphical programming environment for Arduino and other physical computing devices, such as DuinoBot or Maple. One of its main goals is to bring closer Arduino, Multiplo and other platforms to primary schools, kids and beginners. It’s currently under development, and they are conducting a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of finishing the software and making it available to everyone.

This is a work in progress, and they are asking for our help.

Minibloq: developing a graphical programming environment for Arduino – [Link]

17 May 2011

Matt writes in about RTS/CTS handshaking and waveforms…

I recently had the need to add RTS/CTS handshaking to the serial connection between my PC and my ATMega. I struggled with it for a time due to some misunderstandings on my part, and because I couldn’t find a writeup which described how the handshaking is supposed to work, and (more importantly for me) how it’s supposed to look. I eventually got it to work, and wrote it up in a way that would’ve been useful for me when I was trying to figure out how to make it work.

RTS/CTS handshaking and waveforms – [Link]

17 May 2011

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have developed a really small 3D printer. From PhysOrg: [via]

The basic principle of the 3D-printer is quite simple: The desired object is printed in a small tub filled with synthetic resin. The resin has a very special property: It hardens precisely where it is illuminated with intense beams of light. Layer for layer, the synthetic resin is irradiated at exactly the right spots. When one layer hardens, the next layer can be attached to it, until the object is completed. This method is called “additive manufacturing technology”. “This way, we can even produce complicated geometrical objects with an intricate inner structure, which could never be made using casting techniques”, Klaus Stadlmann explains. He developed the prototype together with Markus Hatzenbichler.

This method is not designed for large-scale production of bulk articles – for that, there are cheaper alternatives. The great advantage of additive manufacturing is the fact that is offers the possibility to produce taylor-made, individually adjusted items. The prototype of the printer is no bigger than a carton of milk, it weighs 1.5 kilograms, and at just 1200 Euros, it was remarkably cheap. “We will continue to reduce the size of the printer, and the price will definitely decrease too, if it is produced in large quantities”, Klaus Stadlmann believes.

The World’s Smallest 3D Printer – [Link]

17 May 2011

neufeld.newton.ks.us writes:

Hey, real EE types out there, is there any reason I can’t monitor 12V battery voltage using a simple voltage divider into an A/D input of a microcontroller that’s powered by a voltage regulator on that same battery?

Monitoring Battery Voltage – [Link]

17 May 2011

“follower” wrote in with yet another cool project for the Android Open Accessory SDK. This time, you don’t even need to do any Android programming; your Arduino Sketch tells follower’s Android app what to do and what to display on the screen: [via]

Handbag makes it possible to create Arduino-based accessories for Android devices without creating an Android app. You both define the Android application user interface and implement the behaviour in your Arduino sketch.

Here’s an example of how you would (currently) create an interface with a label, some space and a single button:

configureWidget(UI_WIDGET_LABEL, ID_NONE, “Example Handbag Android Accessory”);
configureWidget(UI_WIDGET_LABEL, ID_NONE, “”);
configureWidget(UI_WIDGET_BUTTON, ID_B1, “Toggle Digital Pin 4″);

Use Android Open Accessory Without Android Programming – [Link]

17 May 2011

The final voyage of the Space Shuttle Endeavour was caught on camera by a student-built high-altitude balloon that was launched earlier in the day. From space.com: [via]

The balloon was built and flown by students as part of a venture conducted by Quest for Stars, a non-profit educational organization, in coordination with the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and the Coalition for Space Exploration.

The intent of the balloon flight is to bring together students and citizens from across a broad range of backgrounds who would not normally have contact with a mission to the edge of space, organization officials said in a statement.

The payload of this balloon, Senatobia-1, takes its name from the city of Senatobia, Miss., which has long shared a special connection with Endeavour. Senatobia was one of two communities that originally suggested the name “Endeavour” as a possible name for NASA’s youngest space shuttle, which was built as a replacement after Challenger was tragically lost in 1986.

In addition to carrying a still and video camera, a GPS and radio tracking devices, the balloon also toted signatures gathered from a large number of students in Senatobia wishing a speedy recovery for wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, wife of Endeavour’s STS-134 commander Mark Kelly. Giffords (D-Ariz.) suffered a gunshot wound to the head in a failed assassination attempt at a January constituent meeting in Tucson.

The balloon burst at high altitude and drifted back down to Earth as planned today, its mission complete. Recovery personnel grabbed it and reported that everything had apparently worked well.

Student Balloon Captures Photo of Shuttle Launch – [Link]

16 May 2011

Fileark writes:

I decided it would be easiter to explain AC and DC current if the user already knew how to use and oscilloscope. Explaining how to use an oscilloscope is easy if the user already knows what DC and AC current is. I think the video worked out as a fast paced tutorial for both subjects.

AC vs DC Explained and How to Use an Oscilloscope – [Link]

16 May 2011

Lewis02 writes:

Hello there. You’ve probably found this Instructable to gather ideas about making a portable solar power supply yourself. I’ve always been interested in electronics with this project being my latest idea to come wandering out of my head, why not make a portable box on wheels, that I can plug basically anything into, thats powered by the sun? So therefore I thought I’d share this Instructable with the rest of the world.

Portable Solar Power Supply – [Link]

16 May 2011

hackaweek.com writes:

I love the LM386. It’s a complete amplifier in an 8 pin DIP chip! All that is needed to build an audio amp are a few external components most of which are decoupling capacitors. It is well suited to low power applications and runs just fine on a 9 volt battery or any voltage supply from 4-12 volts. It has a low quiescent current drain of only 4mA so it won’t kill a battery right away if you leave it on and idle. The gain is internally set to 20 but the addition of an external resistor and capacitor between pins 1 and 8 will increase the gain to any value from 20 to 200. An increase in bass frequency can be facilitated by adding a 10K resistor and .033 uf capacitor in series between pins 1 and 5.

The 1/2 watt LM386 Audio Amplifier – [Link]

16 May 2011

Cornell undergraduates Brian Harding and Cat Jubinski built a portable face recognition system for their capstone ECE 4760 project:

Our design consists of an Atmel ATmega644 8-bit microcontroller, a C3088 camera module with an OmniVision OV6620 CMOS image sensor, Atmel’s AT45DB321D Serial Dataflash, a Varitronix MDLS16264 LCD module for output, a 9-volt battery, and a small wooden structure for chin support.

The system is hooked up to a computer to train the pattern-recognition algorithm, but from then on it can enroll new users, delete old users, and recognize up to 20 enrolled users as a standalone system. Their very detailed report claims “an 88% successful login rate with no false positives” and includes testing data, schematics, source code, a priced parts list, and some ideas for improvement in the next prototype. [via]

$30 Face Recognition System – [Link]





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