cyberpunk stuff

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Really there's not enough time to update this site!   image:Jeremiah Willams

Thanks to Caty Mcarthy for the nice write-up here!

As mentioned, a live twitter stream is overlaid onto the screen.  The idea came from the AOL days, when MTV used to place live chatrooms onscreen!  

The program itself polls twitter via PHP authentication, pulls the string and parses it with jq--a streamlined json processor.  The string is then further tweaked with SED + unix and banged out to VLC.  Though not super well detailed, VLC's marquee function is able to poll a text file--If it changes, it updates!


Eel Redux

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cute, but never in focus...

Electric eels are famous for their electricity, but they are also just plain cute!  When seen from above, they appear to be smiling!  Nevertheless, their attraction packs 600v of AC power!  

Wild Kratts asked if we could power a lightbulb with the Steinhart Aquarium's eel duo Stella and Stan.  The internet is a litter with museums that have eel powered exhibits.  But in nearly every case, the eel is simply acting as a trigger voltage and not as a voltage source.  

To harvest our eelectricity we did some empirical tests, but ended up with the following solution:  aluminum bar electrodes, a bridge rectifier and an LED.  Even though the eel can put out 600v, the peak voltage burst spans a few milliseconds.  Their "runtime" voltage is more like 10 volts @ 25hz.  On top of this, the water adds resistance, severely limiting how much wattage you can harvest.  An "optimized" solution with large aluminum plates (increasing the surface area), and a severely reduced the tank size (limiting the amount of water) would produce more electricity.  Of course the eels would probably not be too happy about this.

In the end, Stella and Stan got our LEDs blinking, and Wild Kratts was able to film for their show.  You can always do like the Moody Institute below, but it's not recommended :)


...prototypes at nightlife

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silicon valley robot block party 2014

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sunshine + robots!

Jon and I will be down south for the day--displaying a ruby programmed mini shaketable, which demonstrates the principles of our larger shake house exhibit at the academy.  The mini mars rover will also make an appearance.  Both of these units can be potentially programmed by students.  

gorillas in ABS midst

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tiny joe young

This is a test 3D print of an actual 3D scanned specimen!  It's been scaled down :)

tablet time

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switching it up.

Powering up the new lightning solution!  Requirements:  clear mount [check], no dock connector[check], powered by 12 volt rails [check]!

"hard pressed..."

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photo by Liz Hafalia for the SF chronicle

Julian Guthrie wrote a very nice chronicle article about my role within the CAS avee department, and more specifically, my involvement in the snow machine automation.
Here's a PDF as well:  snow_article_tosh.pdf

Cycling '74 (creators of max/msp) asked for a bit more here, and here is the original imlichent post!
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all five of them!

This is a quickie post.  The rovers are named for Carl Sagan, Timothy Hunkin, Claude Shannon, Nikolai Tesla and Alan Turing!

details to follow.

busy bee with boards.

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reflow toasted and all!

These "rover" boards contain an atmel 328, an xbee socket, a TI SN754410 motor controller, a RHT03 temperature & humidity sensor, and lastly, a simple photoresistor for light sensitivity.  They are based on open source designs and will be open hardware as well.  The original piecemeal prototype was exhibited at the 2013 Robot Block Party @ Stanford.

Here's the controller board and display:

The board on the left shows the backside, where the NES styled membrane buttons will trigger input.  Minus the motor controller & sensor, its essentially the same design as the rover board.  You may notice that the mcu chipset is socketed instead of SMT.  This was done just in case the boards get more hands-on use with children.  For that matter, all of the i/o are still available and configurable.

Here's my fancy lack of style/technique in applying solder paste:

The stencils were acquired via and worked out really well.  The paste is chipquik NO CLEAN Sn63Pb37 (63/37), which is pretty similiar to the kester variety, but cheap and sold in quantities of 1!  This is important since most jars of solderpaste are sold in quantities of 10 or more!

Lastly, here's an early boot screen, destined to change:

more soon!  This instructables covers the prototype version.
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artpad sf

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yup, their filling a hotel with art.

i just wanna hold your hand  will be holding down the lobby/bar thanks to gaffta!

Here's a link to the ijwhyh instructables!

EDIT:  video from opening night!