Monthly Archives: August 2022

Dahl Winters Named OSHWA Trailblazer Fellow

via Open Source Hardware Association

Dahl Winters is presently CEO and Co-Founder of TerraNexum Inc. Her company’s goal is to provide a platform for optimizing cleantech/clean energy investment opportunities to enable rapid, profitable GHG drawdown at global scale.

Previously, Dahl was CEO/CTO of DeepScience Ltd for 7 years, leading a R&D consulting business that also built systems for science and sustainability in partnership with major corporations and research organizations. Her work there mostly focused on carbon dioxide removal and direct air carbon capture systems, as well as the analytics for scaling up those systems. One of these projects was registered as open-source hardware with OSHWA with the help of the OpenAir Collective, an all-volunteer group focused on advancing direct air carbon capture. This project grew into the focus of OpenAir’s Cyan/Carbon Forming mission which has helped many throughout the world to improve their knowledge of technical climate solutions.

Dahl is currently on the last year of her Ph.D in Systems Engineering at Colorado State University, within the Simske Lab. Her research has focused on how improvements to the carbon storage capacity and compressive strength of biochar-concrete composites can be engineered and how such a system can be successfully scaled to meet global needs for carbon sequestration and construction. Through the help of OSHWA’s Trailblazer Fellowship, Dahl can now also apply model-based systems engineering strategies to test how related, open-source hardware systems might also be successfully scaled within academia.

Prior to her recent work in carbon removal, Dahl also served as a consulting Geospatial Big Data Architect at a Fortune 500 company. There, she designed and built processing pipelines at scale to facilitate big data solutions and new tools for land cover monitoring. Before that, Dahl was a Staff R&D Scientist at DigitalGlobe, now Maxar Technologies, where she specialized in geospatial big data analytics and designed cloud-based and on-premises systems for ingesting, processing, and analyzing large quantities of geospatial data. Prior to this, she was an Environmental Scientist for Research Triangle Institute (RTI International), where she provided technical support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division (CCD) under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).

In her free time, Dahl enjoys catching up on the latest scientific discoveries within physics and quantum computing, going on hikes near her home in Evergreen, Colorado, examining the local wildflowers and birds, and doing nature photography with her husband Loren Winters.

PhD Student Shanel Wu Named OSHWA Trailblazer’s Fellow

via Open Source Hardware Association

Shanel Wu, also known as S, is currently a PhD student at the University of Colorado Boulder in the ATLAS Institute, which is an interdisciplinary engineering program for “creative technology design”.

S is very passionate about: making things that are both useful and beautiful, and exploring technical complexities through handcraft. Their research focuses on designing e-textiles (or “smart” textiles) and wearables, technologies that combine fabric and other squishy, fluffy materials with electronics. They received their bachelors in physics from Harvey Mudd College, where S self-learned how to knit to pick up a relaxing hobby. Textiles and craft gradually took over their life as a secondary field of study, until they ended up in their current position – part self-taught fiber artist and knitwear designer, part design researcher, part engineer. In addition to owning many esoteric weaving tools, S is also a proud co-parent to a flock of chickens and ducks.

Their open hardware project is the Loom Pedals, an embedded interface to a computerized Jacquard loom, the TC2 by Tronrud Engineering. It started as a hack to make sampling and prototyping their woven designs faster. As a member of the Unstable Design Lab, S connected with a community of experimental weavers who also tinker with their tools and practice open-source sharing. The actual Loom Pedals are a system of modular foot pedals (expanding on the TC2’s existing single foot pedal) that give the weaver options for editing and improvising on a design, without having to step away from the loom and revise files in CAD. This project was always intended to be open-source, like many other projects from the lab. After all, the modern craft renaissance wouldn’t be possible without free resources like YouTube, and perhaps most importantly, textiles wouldn’t be one of humanity’s fundamental technologies without people sharing their techniques and knowledge with each other for millenia.

As an OSHWA fellow, S aspires to explore ways to do both open source hardware projects and PhD research. S firmly believes in sharing knowledge outside of traditional institutions as widely as possible, and that their work will be more impactful if it is openly available. They encourage fellow students to open source their research hardware. Much of the time and effort spent developing clear instructions and maintaining repositories will be well worth the community that is gained, when research is often a solitary activity.

Museduino Creator Miriam Langer Named OSHWA Trailblazer Fellow

via Open Source Hardware Association

Museduino Creator Miriam Langer Named OSHWA Trailblazer Fellow

The idea of the Museduino was born in early 2015. The Cultural Technology Development Lab (CTDL), an ad-hoc team of faculty and students in the Media Arts and Technology at New Mexico Highlands University had been grappling with the role of supporting the development of responsive exhibits for museums, historic sites, and traveling exhibits. The team found they were repeatedly making versions of the same thing – different sensors (proximity, capacitive touch, buttons) and actuators – lights, audio, motor movement, video – similar processes with different inputs/outputs. The challenge was often the maintenance, cost, and the footprint size (ie- sensor in a doorway, actuator across a gallery space). So, after lots of discussions and proof-of-concept work, Stan, Rianne, Miles, and Miriam developed the Museduino.


In the summer of 2015, Rianne Trujillo and Miles Tokunow, then graduate assistants leading the project, shipped version 2.0 (1.0 was internal) to some friends who had agreed to try it out. After receiving feedback the team built some “first one is free!” demos for their cultural partners, and continued to develop and refine a modular, open-source Arduino shield with external boards that could respond with no detectable delays using CAT5 cable at distances of up to 100 feet from the central microcontroller.

The team led Museduino workshops at ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) in 2015, Museums and the Web in 2016, and INST-INT in 2017. Since the CTDL was something all members squeezed into their full-time academic schedules, they posted documentation and tutorials as they could, but finding the time to fully document both the technical iterations, code examples, and project demos/tutorials was difficult. The OSHWA Trailblazers Fellowship will be dynamic resource to revitalize the project after 18 months of being away from the lab due to COVID restrictions of state museums being closed.

The OSHWA Trailblazers fellowship will allow the current team, Rianne Trujillo (research/technical lead), Miriam Langer (PI, researcher) and Becca Sharp (graduate assistant, technical assistant, exhibit designer) to update the online documentation (museduino.org and GitHub repository) including tutorials, schematics, soldering instructions, and project examples. Along with this, each team member will be writing a textbook – with case studies from our various projects with museums, national parks, historic sites and installation artists, addressing issues around design, installation, and example applications. This document will be posted on the Museduino site, and distributed through OSHWA, along with partners at a few other universities and organizations.

Like most OSH projects, Musedino’s work would benefit from a larger community of users/practitioners who could modify the work, make changes specific to their needs, and share back to GitHub or another shared repository.

Internally at NMHU, they are working with faculty in the Forestry Institute to help their students work with sensors spread out over a large area (where wireless communication is impractical). It may seem that running CAT5/6 cables is impractical, but it does take some uncertainty out of the hardware setup, and Museduino easily accommodates 50+ meter runs in four directions from the central microcontroller (operating on battery or w/ solar).


Primarily many may think of Museduino as an OSH tool for arts/culture/exhibits – as they say, “The street finds its own uses for things”, or in this case, the forest does (apologies to William Gibson).

About the team:

Miriam Langer (she/her) is a professor of media arts/cultural technology at New Mexico Highlands University, an Hispanic Serving public institution in northeastern New Mexico. Miriam has been a professor of multimedia & interactivity with a focus on cultural technology at NMHU since 2001. In 2005, she initiated a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and has since worked with cultural institutions (museums, historic sites, national parks and libraries) around New Mexico (and elsewhere) to use emerging technology and open source solutions for these organizations. Since 2005, 268 projects have been completed at 62 cultural institutions. She is one of the founders of the Museduino, along with Rianne Trujillo, Miles Tokunow, and Stan Cohen – an open hardware platform for responsive exhibits and installation art. Her partners for this fellowship are Rianne Trujillo, instructor of software design and co-developer of the Museduino and Becca Sharp, an MFA student in Cultural Technology.Museduino.org, cctnewmexico.org

Rianne Trujillo is a professor of Software Systems Design at New Mexico Highlands University where she teaches web programming languages, experimental interfaces, physical computing/ internet of things. As the lead developer of the NMHU Cultural Technology Development Lab, Rianne has worked on Museduino and several exhibits for cultural institutions using open source software and hardware.

Becca Sharp (she/her) is a physical computing and fabrication artist with different focuses such as conservation and technology as well as technology and mental health. She has created projects using recycled materials, reused electronics and information about climate change, and is currently focused on mental health. During her undergraduate studies she had her first gallery showing and was in multiple art shows. She strives to create her work based around empathy and understanding. Her work often places one in “another’s shoes” to help spread information about current matters that need attention. She works primarily with 3D modeling, video game design, generative art through coding, soldering and physical computing. She has worked with museums and visitor centers around New Mexico including Bradbury Science Museum (2017), Meow Wolf (2018), Jemez Historic Site Visitor Center (2019), and New Mexico Museum of Art (2020). She is currently working on her MFA with mental health and technology as the center of her thesis, she is also teaching a course in her program using open-source softwares Unity 3D and Blender.

Playful Learning Lab Director AnnMarie Thomas Named Trailblazer Fellow

via Open Source Hardware Association

Playful Learning Lab Director AnnMarie Thomas Named Trailblazer Fellow

AnnMarie Thomas, the founder/director of the Playful Learning Lab (PLL) at the University of St. Thomas was awarded the OSHWA Trailblazer’s Fellowship.

The PLL is an undergraduate research lab that focuses on the intersection of Art, Technology, and PK-12 Education. I’m fortunate to work with faculty colleagues from other departments such as Music Education, Physics, and Emerging Media. Over the years some of our projects/collaborations have included:

  • Partnering with OK Go to develop OK Go Sandbox (the band’s videos and lesson plans for educators),
  • A nearly decade-long partnership with Metro Deaf School developing STEAM classes, camps, and programs for their students (who are Deaf and DeafBlind) (such as the afterschool program shown here
  • The development of engineering classes and demonstrations that use Flying Trapeze (and other circus arts) to explore physics

Most relevant to her work with open source hardware, though, is the Squishy Circuits project. Over a decade ago, Annmarie was wanting a way to teach young daughters about circuits, and with the help of an amazing first-year undergraduate engineering student, Sam Johnson, we created a method for building simple circuits that relied on two recipes for homemade sculpting dough; one that was very salty (and conductive) and one that was not salty (and worked as an insulator for electricity.) We decided to share all of our recipes and parts lists on line, and the team was amazed by how quickly the idea was embraced by teachers and parents around the world. This was the Playful Learning Lab’s first foray into open source hardware (or as we preferred, “open source squishy ware.”) This work led to the creation of a company, that is run by a former PLL member.

Annmare was an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at the time her team developed Squishy Circuits, that project played an important role in my tenure portfolio. Happily, I received tenure, and have gone on to become the rank of Full Professor, in both the School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Opus College of Business School of Entrepreneurship. She also teaches in the university’s School of Education, in both the Engineering Education program (which she co-founded) and the Education Leadership department.

The focus of the yearlong trailblazer’s project for her will be examining the what and the where of Open Source Hardware in PK-12 Education. Her team of undergraduate researchers, overseen by Annmarie and my PLL faculty colleagues (Douglas Orzolek, Jeff Jalkio, and John Keston) are undertaking a large-scale literature review process to see where PK-12 usage of Open Source Hardware is showing up in scholarly peer-reviewed publications. They will also be compiling in-depth case studies on how some of these projects were developed in academic settings (by faculty and graduate/undergraduate students.) PLL are also aware that many of the teachers and extracurricular programs that use open source hardware are not publishing this information, so PLL will also be developing and distributing surveys to educators in hopes of getting a fuller picture of the ways in which they use open source hardware, and why.

This program gives opportunities for talented undergraduate students to actively learn about open-source hardware.

Dr. Kevin Eliceiri named Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellow

via Open Source Hardware Association

Dr. Kevin Eliceiri named Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellow

UW-Madison

Innovation in scientific instrumentation is an important aspect of research at
UW–Madison, in part due to efforts of researchers such as Kevin Eliceiri, professor of
medical physics and biomedical engineering.
Eliceiri, who is also an investigator for the Morgridge Institute for Research,
member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, associate director of the McPherson Eye
Research Institute and director of the Center for Quantitative Cell Imaging, was recently
named an Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellow by the Open Source Hardware
Association (OSHWA).
Open hardware refers to the physical tools used to conduct research such as
microscopes, and like open software, helps to ensure that scientific knowledge is not
just found in research settings, but that it supports the public use of science as is the
mission of The Wisconsin Idea.
“Kevin Eliceiri is a pioneer in open source hardware and software design that
allow for richer data collection than traditional methods and support innovative research
on campus and around the world,” says Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research
and graduate education. “Open hardware allows for interdisciplinary collaboration and
for a research enterprise to start small and then scale up to meet their needs. Open
source hardware is a good investment and holds promise for accelerating innovation.”

The OSHWA fellowship program seeks to raise the profile of existing open hardware
work within academia, and encourages research that is accessible, collaborative and
respects user freedom.
The one year fellowship, funded by the Open Source Hardware Association, 

provides $50,000 and $100,000 grants to individuals like Eliceiri who will then document
their experience of making open source hardware to create a library of resources for
others to follow. The fellows were chosen by the program’s mentors and an OSHWA
board selection committee. 

Eliceiri says “ There is already widespread community support for making the
protocols for any published scientific study open and carefully documented but the
hardware used for most experiments whether homebuilt or commercial can often be
effectively a black box. In this age of the quest for reproducible quantitative science the
open source concept should be applied to the complete system including hardware, not
just the software used to analyze the resulting data.

Universities often try to recover the costs associated with developing new
scientific instrumentation through patenting, commercialization and startups. This
process works well at times. But for some highly specialized instrumentation, the
traditional model can be too time consuming and costly. Thus, some highly useful
innovations never reach other labs.

Open hardware and sharing designs for instruments without patenting — as an
alternative to the traditional model — is growing in popularity. Three open hardware journals have come of age in the past five years, offering venues to share how to build
research instrumentation that can be tweaked for a specific use, instead of starting from
scratch

With open hardware, anyone can replicate or reuse hardware design files for free
and this increases the accessibility of hardware tools such as specialized microscopes.

The infrastructure of desktop 3D printers is another example of how open
hardware can accelerate and broaden scientific research. The National Institute of
Health (NIH)’s 3D Print Exchange is a library designed to advance biomedical research
by allowing a researcher to print hardware on site. With local production, there is a
reduction in cost and supply chain vulnerabilities.

Since 2000, Eliceiri has been lead investigator of his lab known as the Laboratory
for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI), with a research focus developing
novel optical imaging methods for investigating cell signaling and cancer progression,
and the development of software for multidimensional image analysis. LOCI has been
contributing lead developers to several open-source imaging software packages
including FIJI, ImageJ2 and μManager. His open hardware instrumentation efforts
involve novel forms of polarization, laser scanning and multiscale imaging.

Using the open hardware laser scanning platform known as OpenScan Elicieri
plans to evaluate what are the most relevant best practices from open source software
that can be applied to hardware and what are unique open hardware criterion needs
that have to be implemented for successful sharing of open hardware.

Eliceiri, a highly cited researcher, has authored more than 260 scientific papers
on various aspects of optical imaging, image analysis, cancer and live cell imaging.

New products: Motoron dual high-power motor controllers

via Pololu Blog

We’ve expanded our Motoron series of motor controllers with some dual high-power motor controllers: the Motoron M2S family for Arduino and Motoron M2H family for Raspberry Pi! These new Motorons have the same I²C interface as the M3S256 and M3H256, and though they only have two channels instead of the three on their smaller counterparts, they can drive much more powerful motors with up to 20 A of current at 30 V or 16 A at 40 V. There are four combinations of voltage and current ranges, available in versions designed to work as Arduino shields and as Raspberry Pi expansions.

Using a Motoron M2S Dual High-Power Motor Controller Shield with an Arduino.

Using the Motoron M2H Dual High-Power Motor Controller with a Raspberry Pi.

These eight additions bring the Motoron family up to a total of ten members overall:

Motoron Motor Controllers

M3S256



M3H256

M2S24v14



M2H24v14

M2S24v16



M2H24v16

M2S18v18



M2H18v18

M2S18v20



M2H18v20
Motor channels: triple (3) dual (2)
Max
input voltage:
48 V 40 V1 30 V1
Max nominal
battery voltage:
36 V 28 V 18 V
Max continuous
current per channel:
2 A 14 A 16 A 18 A 20 A
Available versions
for Arduino:
M3S256 M2S24v14 M2S24v16 M2S18v18 M2S18v20
Available versions
for Raspberry Pi:
M3H256 M2H24v14 M2H24v16 M2H18v18 M2H18v20
1 Absolute maximum.

As with the smaller Motorons, the high-power versions can also be stacked and their addresses configured to allow many motors to be controlled with only one I²C bus. For a stack of M2S boards on an Arduino, we recommend soldering thick wires to the kit or board-only version because 5mm terminal blocks are tall enough that they would cause short circuits within the stack. However, the M2H boards can be set up to stack safely by trimming the terminal block leads and adding extra nuts to the standoffs for additional spacing.

Three Motoron M2S dual high-power motor controller shields being controlled by an Arduino Leonardo.

Two Motoron M2H boards with terminal blocks can be stacked if you trim the leads on the terminal blocks and space out each board using hex nuts in addition to the 11mm standoffs.

It’s also possible to stack different kinds of Motoron controllers so you can control different kinds of motors:

A Motoron M2H and a Motoron M3H256 being controlled by a Raspberry Pi, allowing for independent control of five motors.

Unfortunately, the current state of the electronics supply chain is affecting how we’re making and selling these Motorons. In the past, when we released boards in multiple versions that have different MOSFET footprints, it was primarily to get us different power levels. Typically, we would make a less expensive one with smaller, lower-power MOSFETs and a more expensive one with bigger, higher-power MOSFETs. While we’re still doing this kind of thing with the M2S and M2H Motorons (the 24v14 and 18v18 use smaller MOSFETs and the 24v16 and 18v20 use bigger ones), in this case, it’s largely about maximizing parts options.

When we don’t know how many months (or years!) it will take for us to get more of a MOSFET, it’s hard to offer a product line where each model is totally dependent on one specific part. So we’ve chosen to make the different Motoron versions less distinct; the specified performance and prices are not as different between the small- and big-MOSFET versions since we want them to be viewed more interchangeably. Their performance specifications are also a little on the conservative side to give us more room to use different MOSFETs.

Even with those considerations, we still haven’t been able to get the parts to make as many of these new high-power Motorons as we want to. That’s why they are listed with a “Rationed” status in our store, with lower stock and higher pricing than we’d like. But we hope that as parts availability improves, we will eventually be able to ease up on those restrictions.

In fact, that just happened with the smaller M3S256 and M3H256: we received some long-awaited critical components that will let us make a lot more of those, so you should see more in stock soon, and we’ve already removed their Rationed status and lowered their prices!