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Showing posts from April, 2019

Playful Pressure Sensitive Pads (for Digital Playgrounds - and More) via Instructables

Building your own physical parts for your electronic projects is part of the fun. Even better, these pressure pads can be used in many different projects so it is great skill to acquire for future learning. Dig in! — Douglas This is an Instructable to show you how to make a pressure-sensitive pad - which can be used to create digital toys or games. It can be used as a large scale force sensitive resistor, and although playful, it could be used for more serious projects to explore smaller user-interfaces of all kind which require a light touch from the hand, to the force of a body sitting down, to a stop from your feet! It could create anything from a burglar alarm to a dancing game! The tech: Velostat and Metal Foil are combined to make a thin pad which changes resistance upon pressure. What you do with it is up to you! Read Playful Pressure Sensitive Pads (for Digital Playgrounds - and More) via Instructables * A portion of each sale from directly supports our bl

Historical Technology Books: Commodore C64 Manual: Commodore 64 Users Guide (1982) - 15 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas Historical Technology Books: Commodore C64 Manual: Commodore 64 Users Guide (1982) - 15 in a series   My son has been getting deeply into retro computers and gaming consoles lately, so I have been revisiting the systems which I used early in my career with computers. I was an Apple II user, but even then I still spent some time on friends Commodore 64s and

I used facial recognition technology on birds via The Next Web

Way cool! I have several similar projects I would love to move forward, so I am reading deeply to see what they have accomplished. As a birder, I had heard that if you paid careful attention to the head feathers on the downy woodpeckers that visited your bird feeders, you could begin to recognize individual birds. This intrigued me. I even went so far as to try sketching birds at my own feeders and had found this to be true, up to a point. In the meantime, in my day job as a computer scientist, I knew that other researchers had used  machine learning techniques  to recognize individual faces in digital images with a high degree of accuracy. These projects got me thinking about ways to combine my hobby with my day job. Would it be possible to apply those techniques to identify individual birds? Read I used facial recognition technology on birds via The Next Web An interesting link found among my daily reading

Raspberry Pi smart garden monitor via Geeky Gadgets

I am always looking for ways to automate sections of my garden, especially for watering. While this is for indoor plants, it has some great info that can be applied outdoors, too. — Douglas A new project has been published to the website providing a complete tutorial on how to build your very own Raspberry Pi smart garden complete with an Arduino connection to help monitor sensors and relay your plants environment and moisture content. Created using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B together with an Arduino Uno and Genuino development Board the project is capable of monitoring temperature, humidity, light levels and soil moisture. it is also equipped with an automated system that can water the plant if the soil is too dry and switches on a light when the environment is too dark for the plant. “This maintains an ideal and consistent soil condition for the plant, and makes it convenient for those who tend to forget to water their plants regularly. Also, the plant can continuously

Stringent, the $15 Wall Plotter via Arduino Project Hub

An amazingly detailed story about this Arduino project including multiple generations of the device and what they learned with each iteration. — Douglas High accuracy wall plotting at minimal cost, enrich all the whiteboards around you with surprising artwork!  Background  I don't quite remember when it started, but I think around 1999 or so. Me and a friend that was into everything robotics and electronics was discussing building a robot for drawing on whiteboards. Of course we never had time to do anything serious back then, the ecosystem for hobbyist micro controllers was not what it is today.  In 2002 my friend showed me the awesome work of Jürg Lehni and Uli Franke - Hektor. I was very pleased to see something similar to what we had been dreaming to build actually be constructed and shared with the world! I was at peace.  Some time later I remember showing the Hektor project website to someone presenting how fantastic I thought it was. This time though I started

Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources via Raspberry Pi

Scratch is a graphic programming language that can be used to teach kids or adults about programming. It is great to see this impressive resource still growing after all these years. — Douglas Scratch 3 is here We love Scratch — it’s the perfect starting point for young people who want to try coding, and we’re offering a huge variety of free Scratch project guides for all interests and coding abilities. Scratch 3 introduces a brand-new look and feel. The most obvious change is that the stage is now on the right-hand side; there are new paint and sound editing tools; new types of code blocks; and the blocks are now larger and easier to read. Read Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources via Raspberry Pi An interesting link found among my daily reading

Pocket Sized Arduino Calculator Makes a Great First Project via Hackaday

This is a fairly complicated project but so much to learn here - -from soldering to perfboard, to button placement, to Arduino programming and beyond. If you or your students are looking for something a bit more complicated than the typical Arduino weather station, this could be just the thing! — Douglas We’ve all got calculators on our phones, in our web browsers, and even in the home “assistant” that’s listening in on your conversations all day on the off chance you blurt out a math question is can solve for you. The most hardcore among us might even still have a real calculator kicking around. So in that light, building your own DIY calculator might not seem too exciting. But we can’t deny this Arduino calculator project by [Danko Bertović] would look good sitting on the bench. In the video after the break, [Danko] walks us through the creation of the calculator, from placing all the through-hole components to writing the code that pulls it all together. Special attention is giv

Reading The Game: Walden via

USC’s Game Innovation Lab created a new twist on video games based on Thoreau’s Walden. Find the story of their journey in the article below. — Douglas For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective. In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line. That's the writer Henry David Thoreau — not my favorite line from his memoir Walden, but perhaps the most apt for what we're doing here, which is talking about the meeting point of past and future. Read Reading The Game: Walden via Find more of Thoreau's Boo

Pi Zero Gives Amateur Astronomer Affordable Control Of Telescope via Hackaday

Raspberry Pi computers are getting so small you can include them inside of existing equipment and expand them with a large number of new abilities. This particular project looks so clean that you can’t even tell the RasPi was added at all. — Douglas Like many other hobbies, astronomy can be pursued on many levels, with equipment costs ranging from the affordable to the – well, astronomical. Thankfully, there are lots of entry-level telescopes on the market, some that even come with mounts that automatically find and track heavenly bodies. Finding a feature is as easy as aligning to a few known stars and looking up the object in the database embedded in the remote. Few of the affordable mounts are WiFi-accessible, though, which is a gap [Dane Gardner]’s Raspberry Pi interface for Celestron telescopes aims to fill. For the price of a $10 Pi Zero W and a little know-how, [Dane] was able to gain full control over his ‘scope. His instrument is a Celestron NexStar, a Schmidt-Cassegrain r