Open Radiation Detector

Quickly identify radioactive materials with a pocket-sized ion chamber. Built from standard parts for easy manufacture and low cost. by Carlos Garcia Saura:

Radioactivity is invisible and can be harmful to life. The goal of this project is to provide a simple device that could prevent cases of radiation poisoning. Professional radiation meters can be very accurate, but are also expensive, complex and fragile (most use vacuum discharge tubes made of glass). However in many occasions we only want to determine whether an object is radioactive or not.

Open Radiation Detector – [Link]

Da Vinci Color, The First Full Color 3D Printer

3D Printing became an important process in prototyping, and sometimes in manufacturing. But till now, the filament types available in the market are limiting printing colors. Although there are many multi color printers, printing a design in full color is still a dream.

XYZprinting has announced its da Vinci Color printer, the world’s first full color 3D printer. In fact, the printer combines inkjet techniques with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). It uses ink cartridges to drop pigment onto each layer of plastic filament as it prints.

da Vinci Color Specification

  • Build volume: 200 x 200 x 150 mm
  • Layer resolution: 100-400 microns (0.1-0.4 mm)
  • Filament material: 3D Color-inkjet PLA / PLA / Tough PLA / PETG
  • Ink type: Separate ink cartridge (CMYK)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Print bed: EZ-removable print bed (non-heated)
  • Print bed leveling: Auto-leveling
  • XYZ position precision: X/Y 12.5 micron, Z 4 micron
  • Build speed: Average: 30-60 mm/sec, Max: 120mm /sec
  • Print head travel speed: 30 – 300 mm/s
  • Host software: XYZmaker
  • File type: AMF, PLY, OBJ, STL, 3CP
  • Power requirements: 100-240 V, 50-60 HZ
  • Connectivity: WiFi, USB 2.0 port
  • Operating temperature: 15-30℃

Fortunately, the printing base area of ​​20 x 20 x 15 cm provides a large build volume in a relatively small housing. The machine prints at an average resolution of 100-400 microns, so the lines where two colors meet can get a little blurry when viewed up close, but the output is generally pretty impressive. It’s basically an ink jet printer that outputs in 3D, so the results aren’t quite as sharp as a professional production job.

In addition, the software is easy to use and supports most common 3D file formats, amf, ply, obj, stl, and 3cp. Users of any age can download designs and add colors, or create their own colored prototypes from scratch. Thus, with an embedded color touch screen, users can control the printer and do some setting easily, such as connecting to the home wireless network. Also, da Vinci Color has many sensors that indicate broken material during the printing process, allowing users to save time and filament.

Applications of da Vinci Color printer

This types of 3D printer may have a several areas of applications, some of them according to the manufacturer are:

  • Animation and film: Enables production of prototypes in color that can be used immediately after printing
  • Architects and designers: The production of solid models, miniatures and prototypes provides customers with a better appreciation of design concepts.
  • Small businesses: The 3D printer helps to create your own company models and products with 3D full-color printing. Color printing reduces costs and speeds up production. The use of PLA filaments ensures that time and money is not wasted on post-processing.
  • Schools: Enables color printing by students in 3D, let their creativity run wild.
  • Model makers and collectors: All types of model figures and accessories can be produced including comic book figures rendered in authentic colors. You can also print the original designs.

The printer price is $3,500. But it is available now for pre-ordering for only $3,000 on XYZ official store, with estimated shipping date at the end of November. Beyond that, you have to buy four ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) for $65 each, and you need a special filament that works with the ink, which costs $35 per roll.

Making AI Projects Become Easier With NVIDIA Jetson

Hardware development boards became a key enabler for many of recent hardware projects. Such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, these boards are great for beginners and hobbyists to kick start and bring ideas to reality.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are the technologies of the future. So it is important to know how the process goes, and what type of hardware to use. But with the limited computing capabilities of current boards, developers need a powerful and easy to use tools.

Nvidia provides a good solution with its Jetson boards, which are siblings to NVIDIA’s Drive PX boards for autonomous driving. The first board TX1 was released in November, 2015, and now Nvidia has just released the more powerful and power-efficient Jetson TX2 board.

Image credit: Android central

The TX2 is a complete supercomputer. It is a development tool and a field-ready module to power any AI-based equipment. Developers can use it to build equipment around, and also use it itself to run demos and simulations.

Jetson TX2 comes with NVIDIA’s Pascal™ architecture, which boasts 150 billion transistors built on 16 nanometer FinFET fabrication technology.

Some of technical specifications

  • NVIDIA Parker series Tegra X2: 256-core Pascal GPU and two 64-bit Denver CPU cores paired with four Cortex-A57 CPUs in an HMP configuration
  • 8GB of 128-bit LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32GB eMMC 5.1 onboard storage
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • SD card slot for external storage
  • SATA 2.0
  • Complete multi-channel PMIC
  • 400 pin high-speed and low-speed industry standard I/O connector
Nvidia Jetson TX1 and TX2 comparision

TX2 has two performance operating modes: Max-Q and Max-P. Max-Q is the TX2’s energy efficiency mode, at 7.5W, this mode clocks the Parker SoC for efficiency over performance (essentially placing it right before the bend in the power/performance curve) with NVIDIA claiming that this mode offers 2x the energy efficiency of the Jetson TX1. In this mode, TX2 should have similar performance to TX1 in the latter’s max performance mode.

Meanwhile the board’s Max-P mode is its maximum performance mode. In this mode NVIDIA sets the board TDP to 15W, allowing the TX2 to hit higher performance at the cost of some energy efficiency. NVIDIA claims that Max-P offers up to 2x the performance of the Jetson TX1, though as GPU clock speeds aren’t double TX1’s, it’s going to be a bit more sensitive on an application-by-application basis.

Image credit: anandtech

Devices such as robots, drones, 360 cameras, medical, etc., can use Jetson for “edge” machine learning. The ability to process data locally and with limited power is useful when connectivity bandwidth is limited or spotty (like in remote locations), latency is critical (real-time control), or where privacy and security is a concern.

Jetson TX2 is available as a developer kit for $500 at In fact, this kit comes with design guides and documentation, and is pre-flashed with a Linux development environment. It also supports the NVIDIA Jetpack SDK, which includes the BSP, libraries for deep learning, computer vision, GPU computing, multimedia processing, and more.

Finally, this video compares Jetson TX1 and TX2 boards:

Node-RED with Raspberry Pi Camera

In this project we’re going to take photos with Node-RED using the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2. We’re using this application to monitor our 3D printer. You can edit the flow and the template to use the camera in your own projects whether you want to monitor your lab, door or 3D printer.

Node-RED with Raspberry Pi Camera – [Link]

MappyDot – Micro Smart LiDAR Sensor

Blecky @

MappyDot is a smart ranging sensor which provides system designers with the ability to measure accurate distances on drones and robotic platforms for collision avoidance, area mapping, distance measurement, gesture recognition and motion sensing. The MappyDot uses the VL53L0X laser time-of-flight ranging sensor from STMicroelectronics, which is a tried and tested 940nm Class 1 laser sensor in use in millions of devices worldwide.

MappyDot – Micro Smart LiDAR Sensor – [Link]

24-48V to 5V – 3A DC-DC Converter

24-48V input voltage range 3A output current DC-DC Converter using BD9G341AEFJ IC from ROHM semiconductor. This IC is ideal for high voltage to low voltage converter with 3A output current. Pin configuration of the board with 3 Pin horizontal mounting of the regulator is similar to LM7805 LDO regulator and is suitable to use this IC as replacement which can provide more current and take high voltage input.

Different voltage output are possible by changing few components. Refer to datasheet for the same. Example circuit can provide 5.1V/3A with input supply range 24-48V DC and operating frequency 200 KHz.

24-48V to 5V – 3A DC-DC Converter – Link

OwnCloud on Raspberry Pi

Install OwnCloud on Raspberry Pi And make your own cloud server.

OwnCloud set on Raspberry Pi can be a good example of smart cloud storage. A cloud storage is a cloud computing model in which the data is stored on remote servers and maintained by a cloud storage service provider. This allows users to customize their data and share it with friends and business partners over the Internet.

OwnCloud as cloud storage server is a great opportunity, especially for those who would like to use OwnCloud on Raspberry Pi (or any other ARM device).

OwnCloud on Raspberry Pi – [Link]

Researchers Developed New Efficient, Thin, and Flexible Cooling Device

Engineers and scientists from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International, California, have created a thin flexible device that could keep smartphones and laptop computers cool and prevent overheating. The component is based on the electrocaloric effect – a phenomenon where the temperature of material changes when an electric field is applied to it. The research has been published in Science.

Thin, flexible cooling device
Thin, flexible cooling device

The system’s flexibility also allows it to be used in wearable electronics, robotic systems, and new types of personalized cooling systems. It is the first demonstration of a solid-state cooling device based on the electrocaloric effect. The method devised by UCLA and SRI researchers is very energy-efficient. It uses a thin polymer film that transfers heat from the heat source – a battery or a processor – to a heat sink, and alternates contact between the two by switching on and off the electric voltage.

Because the polymer film is very flexible, the system can be used in devices with complex shapes or moving surfaces. Body tracking wearable devices can easily accommodate this flexible cooling device. Such cooling pad could keep a person comfortable in a hot office and thus lower the electricity consumption for air conditioning. Or it could be placed in a shoe to keep a runner comfortable while running in the sun. It’s like a personal air conditioner.

The tendency of flexible electronics to overheat remains a major challenge for engineers. The cooling systems in larger devices like air conditioners and refrigerators, which use vapor compression, are just too large for mobile electronics. The new cooling device produces a specific cooling power of 2.8 watts per gram and a COP of 13. This is more efficient and compact than the existing surface-mountable solid-state cooling technologies, opening a path to using the technology for a variety of practical applications.

Roy Kornbluh, an SRI research engineer, said,

The development of practical efficient cooling systems that do not use chemical coolants that are potent greenhouse gases is becoming even more important as developing nations increase their use of air conditioning.

Arduino Two-Way Bluetooth Communication Tutorial

Welcome to another Arduino Tutorial! Today we are going to learn how to use Bluetooth to exchange data between two Arduino boards! As a demonstration project, we are going to build a simple weather station. There is a lot to cover so let’s get started!

Arduino Two-Way Bluetooth Communication Tutorial – [Link]

Design and Implementation of a 12 Lead Portable ECG

Alex Lao and his team at McMaster University have developed a compact, battery powered, 12-lead electro-cardiogram:

During the academic year of 2016-2017 at McMaster University, in conjunction with Dr. DeBruin, Christina Riczu, Thomas Phan and Emilie Corcoran, we developed a compact, battery powered, 12-lead electro-cardiogram. The project won 1st place in the biomedical category at the ECE Capstone Poster Day.

Design and Implementation of a 12 Lead Portable ECG – [Link]