Author Archives: Priya Kuber

Fake bathroom window using Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Virtual bathroom window

Are you a student living in a closed dorm? Ever wished for a window on a blank wall but maybe the house owners would not allow you to build? All of you would have seen tutorial about moodlamp with RGB LED strips and Arduino. This seems to be the perfect application for it.

For this tutorial the maker used Superlight LEDs and an Arduino  which provides an effect directly corresponding to the preset daytime light outside.

Arduino time library is the core of the project.

For a very detailed tutorial on how to make it by yourself at home, head here!

Meet the Maker: Jody Culkin

via Arduino Blog

Jody Culkin

Imagine being an artist with an insane desire to learn the tools that would set your art apart, that would inspire you to create something closest to your imagination. Imagine a burning desire improve the lives of others with all the skills that you have. Imagine, being Jody Culkin.

Jody started her career with Technical Photography at the Medical Department of New York University, an art form that is long lost in today’s world of Instagram and digital photography. A course taken on Physical Computing in 1998 at the age of 45 at ITP, NYU to learn electronics and coding, pushed her to be the maker that she is today. She is currently teaching a course in a Community college in New York. She is also an avid sculptor, an artist, a comics maker, a welder and many more things that marks a true maker. An exclusive interview with her here would take you closer to the world of makers.

Priya: What is your oldest memory as a geek and a maker? Also what were the first experiments that got you started in electronics?

Jody: I remember my junior high school days when we were taught about computers yet never got to work on one. Me and my friend used to exchange notes in ASCII art with pencil on paper. Also I had been making small functional objects like a table and lamps.

The first circuits were really simple with a play of many switches. I loved to use switches for so many different things.

Priya: How was the transition from being an artist to an electronics maker? Which, according to you, is the better way to go?
Jody: I think ideas need to be more clearer than only electronics, for that you need to be a designer. Otherwise I see a lot of designers getting help for electronics in the art world.

Priya: I am a huge fan of the Arduino comic strip that you did years back for arduino. What inspired you to do that? Are you working on more such comics?

Jody: Back in 2009, during a summer camp at ITP, I wanted to express whatever I had understood very clearly. So I decided to document it using a comic strip for others too. What you might observe in the comic, is that there is a central character telling the story, it is not only electronics and wires, which is an essential part to make it appealing in any comic.

Yes, I did some work for a breadboard workshop organized by Make. I would also like to do some work on CSS and JavaScript.

Priya: Wait wait.. You code JavaScript?

Jody: Yes, I started with Code Academy, they have some really great lessons to get you started with.

Priya: Impressive! What are the tools, might you suggest to be the essentials for any designer aspiring to add electronics to the art?

Jody: The tools I would suggest are Arduino, Processing, JS, also I liked MAXmsp interface, other random stuff like Digital multimeter, screw driver, basic sensors etc.

Priya: As an artist what are your most commonly used sensors? Also do you have to use general purpose PCBs or get it custom made?

Jody: I use photocells a lot. I also like IR sensors and Force sensitive Resistors, as they are pretty easy to interface. Regarding PCBs, I have always used breadboards. For some reason, they have always held up pretty strong.

Priya: What drives you? And what advice do you have to make it big in the world of Interactive Designs?

Jody: Curiosity drives me. I love putting different stuff together and observing the final results. Like one of my installations is a self turning-pages book, an added functionality of turning the pages via web was interesting.

To be a designer, one should learn to express things in a simple way. A majority of time should be spent working. Apart from that, networking is a must. Try to hang out with the designers whose work you get inspired by. People like to see works of different designers under the same roof. So try to improve your work to get in the grove with them.

Priya: Very insightful. What are your latest works that you would like to talk about these days?

Jody: There was a show at Florida, at the Boca Raton Museum of Art – I had some displays on fashion there. Also had a presentation on the way comics can be used to explain technology. I was working on a Lasersaur build with Eric Hagan, which is an open source laser cutter project started by Nortd labs at ITP at NYU.

Priya: Lastly, how does it feel to be a woman in tech doing electronics and art together? How did it feel back at the university? What is your current passion?

Jody: It feels great and empowering. T, The strength in the university was 50-50 for men and women. However, I observed that the men were putting in more efforts to learn in Physical Computing, whereas the women were more into web development. I wished women participated more. Tom, really supported and guided me well.

Currently, my passion is to teach the diverse students attending the Community College. Yes, some are very well prepared, some are not, but then, that is where a teacher’s true test of creativity lies.

Thank you for your time Jody!

(All of her work has been documented here.)

Prusa Brothers at Officine Arduino Torino

via Arduino Blog

Prusa brothers

The feeling of pure joy that is felt when the first object is printed on the Prusa Mendel i3 is a priceless and a compulsary experience for any maker. The super-simple yet sturdy design of the printer is coupled with the easy to use and well maintained software crafted for the purpose of 3D printing Slic3r by Alessandro Ranellucci. The interview with them later that day was interesing too. A lot has been written about Josef Prusa he also has a TEDx talk to his name. His youtube channel has a lot of 3D printing related information. Make magazine recognizes him too! A lot can be found out about him, and google tracks his transition from the time that he was a very young enthusiastic maker to the current open source 3D printing guru. For the newbies, a single line definition of a 3D printer could be, that it is a printer which prints the uploaded 3D file, layer by layer, through an extruder, with a material mostly looking like pastic Eg ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Here is the exclusive interview with the DJ-ing, electronics hacking, Chicken Tikka masala loving Prusa Brothers :

Priya: It was lovely attending your workshop, I see that you are really passionate about 3D printing. If there was another topic that you could talk to me about apart from 3D printing, what would be that?

Michal Pruša: It would definitely be music, Techno and minimal to be preicise. I sometimes perform as DJ too.
Josef Pruša: For me, it would be tinkering in general.

P: How is it Michal, to work with your brother and what are the other interesting things that you have done with electronics?

M: Oh! we have a lot of incomplete projects. I designed an RFID access system for the fablab at home, been doing DIY PCBs for almost 5 years now. Back in high school, since I was not wanting to take exams, I requested the teacher to transfer the exam credits into a project. I successfully built a method of teaching router encoders for school students. The most memorable moment was me wanting to build my own laser cutting machine at home, and trying to import the tubes from china 3 years back, and getting it all broken through the customs. Local access to materials is important! Especially for someone who loves building things.

J: He wants to build everything from scratch, I am more of a person who spends more time in improving stuff and not reinventing the wheel. Michal, lets do one thing, lets start mining tin. (Laughs)

P: What is a regular work schedule for you people is like? All the time on 3D printers? Also what is your favourite tool around the lab?

J: I am mostly working on 3D printing, while he just assists me on workshops. As far as his individual work is concerned, there is loads of electronics, DJ-ing, organising events and of course there is college. We are fuelled by Coke and Pizza on gaming nights. We are big time into playing minecraft as it is exciting to build new stuff. We use an extension called Tekkit which is a very good modpack.
M: Favourite tool, should definitely be the glue gun and hot air solder gun.

P: Josef, what was your first project and did you publish it? Did you both start tinkering around the same time?

J: Michal has been tinkering with electronics since the time he was very young, I started only at the end of high school. But, I was into programing with php and python. My first project was using an Arduino and MaxMSP. MaxMSP talks to the arduino and an iphone. I controlled a remote RC car. (Smiles) I wrote to the local Czech magazine, nobody bothered locally, then I submitted the same to the english magazine, gizmodo and wired covered it. That was in the year 2009. The most recent coverage of that project was when Damien Stolarz of O’Reilly wanted me to write a chapeter in his book of iPhone hacks on the same hack.

M: The first time that I used a multimeter was when I was 9. I have made many projects but I am too lazy to document anything. (I catch a sneaky side glare from the older brother here.)

P: Who do you look up to in the field of technology? Which is the one city that beckons you to live in?

J: I used to look upto Bre Pettis before makerbot became closed source. Massimo Banzi, for of course Arduino and a good sense of humour. I would like to live in NewYork someday.

M: We both grew up watching Mythbusters hence Adam Savage I guess tops the list for us having this innate passion to create stuff.

P: What is the one thing that scares you?

J: Media scares me. The ability of the media to make anyone an overnight star, has lead to a bunch of people 3D printing guns. Which, as I can see, is not good for the 3D printing industry, it might bring a very bad name to all of us who are trying to do good with the same technology.

P: One last question, I saw your TEDx Talk dating 3 years back, your english then to the english now is very different, I see that now you can think in English. Whats the secret?

J: (Smiles) Good question and please do quote me on this. I learnt engish by chatting a lot on IRC channel #reprap on freenode, for the diction I watched a lot of english TV series. That TEDx talk was my first ever public speech at a large platform.

It was indeed a pleasure talking to them. They can be contacted here.
His book: Getting started with RepRap.

 

Arduino in action from Memphis, Tennessee

via Arduino Blog

decor_by_arduino

This is a submission about an Arduino in Action from Memphis, Tennnessee by Guy Cobb.

Here is what he posted:

Hello from Memphis, Tennessee. I wanted to send all of you at the
Arduino headquarters this photo of my office with my Arduino
“wallpaper” and Arduino earthquake detector. My Arduino project
incorporates a Mega, Uno, and Duemilanove with a cell phone shield for
remote control.

Do you have an arduino-in-action in your office too? Do send us pictures with interesting stories behind it.

Theatrical electronics hero: Ben Peoples

via Arduino Blog

Ben_Working[2]

Ever wondered about the extent of diversity in electronics? Been to a theatre and wondered at the sophistication of the live stage set? Welcome to the world of theatrical electronics. An exclusive inteview with this engineer in Arts – Ben Peoples

Priya: What is theatrical electronics? I always thought that theatres bought standard stuff off the shelves.
Ben: Theatrical electonics is a field of science where we try to rapid prototype electronic items on the stage to make things appear more real. Of course, it is a huge field. With 25 different theatres around the place where I live, my plates are generally full!

P: Interesting! How long have you been associated with electronics to capture such prototyping skills? What are the general tools that you use?
B: I have been prototyping electronics for over 20 years. I have been an ardent user of Arduino for the past 6. I loved the community so much that I even teach it to other people.

P: Oh teach too? Like classes for theatre prototyping? I would like more details on that.

B: (Smiles) Well not much, they are just getting started on how to rapidly put things together and program it using an Arduino to give it an “appearence” of more complex stuff like Time machine on stage.

P: Sounds fun. What are the theatre-specific whacky things that you teach them to build in the workshop? What are the general tools needed to attend your class?
B: I teach them to build Reed-candles, an elevator, wireless fireplace, wireless-dimmer, using Xbee radios for the lighting console and more things like that. I typically teach them inside a theatre wherein they need to bring their own laptops and software. They are seated inside a rehersal space so that they get the exact feel of designing things for a theatre. Other than that, its the usual arduino boards, gear motors, LEDs and of course, loads and loads of scotch tape! (Laughs)

P: Woah! How long does it take for you to teach them these?
B: 2-3 hours to teach math and the basics, 5 hours to explain the basic expriments and seeing them prototype their first objects. So yes, in total, 8 hours.

P: What according to you, is the advantage to pick electronic skill in the field of theatre?
B: There is theatre in colleges, the person could rise up to be a technical director, there is huge demand for lighting design, scenery design and of course in this age of television and movies, every drama theatre wants to stand out and do something extra. I see a huge future for it!

P: Okay one question that intrigues me after all this conversation is how different is theatre electronics from electronic arts?

B: Interesting question! For starters, Electronic Arts is very finished and polished. Theatrical electronics is well.. more raw and duct-taped at the back. They are two entirely different industries.

P: What are the things that interest you other than prototyping and what would be your ideal birthday present?

B: I love Ariel photography. Ideal birthday present is anything photography related. For work, I have to shoot digital, but for art I shoot 100% film, and just love it.

P: Any advice for youngsters?
B: Don’t be afraid to try anything new. Ship early, ship often.

(Ben can be contacted from his blog here. Also he is the author of a very cool book speaking on the same topic and yes, I contacted him via reddit. :P )

MakerLab reviews the Arduino Starter Kit

via Arduino Blog

When we released the Arduino Kit, we knew that we are equiping the closet-wannabe-makers to start planning for world domination. Now it has the stamp of approval from MakerLab too!

Make Noise With The New Arduino Kit is a project by Alessandro Contini (@CNTLSN) and Alberto Massa (@nkint)

The above video explores the basic components of the kit and things that a new-maker would want to start with, including a light controlled theramin, and by theramin, I really mean exploring every possibe way to make impressive noises from one simple experiment.

Sounds fun? Do write to us, what you made out of your starter kit. We may feature you next ;)

Via:[MakerLab]

Exceptionally Hard and Soft meeting at Berlin 28-30 December 2012 (Part2)

via Arduino Blog

Arduino at EHSM 2012

Arduino at EHSM 2012

We mentioned earlier about the very special geek way of entering new year 2013. So here is a first hand, un-altered account of Tricia Blickfeldt who participated in the Arduino workshop for kids held there. We now are richer by one more arduino user! Yay! :)

“Before I tell you about the conference, I have to say that I work in Special Education at an elementary school. I am surrounded by children all day every day. Many of them with disabilities. I am not an engineer. I am not a hacker. My gifts do not include technical things. I came to the conference as a friend of one of the presenters. Many of the presentations were foreign to me. I felt very welcomed though and learned a lot. The staff were all very helpful and kind.

I was excited and nervous to participate in the arduino workshop. My friend told me that the class was created for kids with no experience. This was comforting. Kid things are right up my alley. And I certainly had no experience. There had been some last minute changes in teachers for the class, but I was very impressed with the guys who presented the workshop. It was clear that they knew and were very experienced in what they were teaching. When we arrived and there were no kids and, much to my dismay, they changed up what/how they were going to teach. I was soon put at ease though as they began at the beginning and explained what arduino is, what it does, and why it is so amazing and useful. They adjusted to their audience without making it more complicated.

I got really anxious again as they started handing out several little parts for us to build on the arduino board. The directions however were clear and precise. Illustrations were shown and questions were welcomed and answered. I set up an LED light and programmed it to go! The programming was not difficult because we just had to look up the codes for the task we wanted and apply them to what built. To do this we had to name the light in the program so it knew where to apply the command.

Then we added a button and programmed that to make the light go when we pushed it! We had to make some modifications to the code to add the button. I was so excited. We had some time to add more lights and see what we could make them do. I lined them up and programmed them to flash in a row and then back! This was a little trickier to program because we had to name each light individually and tell it to go in sequence. Who knew that I was capable of that?

Finally, we added a knob to control the speed of the blinking. This was definitely the hardest for me to understand. We had to set a delay that corresponded to the position of the knob. I was so excited that I took pictures and videos to prove that I really did it and that it really worked!

I was very impressed at how professional the presentation was. It was given in a way that created meaning and understanding without being overwhelming. It allowed me to create things that I hadn’t ever imagined myself doing. I am motivated now to find a project to work on using what I learned in the arduino workshop.

The entire conference seemed to be a lot like the workshop. It was very pleasant and friendly to all who were there regardless of background or expertise. It was professional and the presenters were all very knowledgeable. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time at the conference.”

PS: Many many thanks Tomek and his friend, for filling in the last minute!

Project feature: Accessing YQL from Arduino

via Arduino Blog

The ethernet shield opens up lot of possibilities for Arduino. One of which has been explored by Sudar. He has found a way to make YQL calls and even parse the JSON response using Arduino and Ethernet shield.

So what is YQL?

YQL stands for Yahoo Query Language. It is an expressive SQL-like language that lets you query, filter, and join data across Web services. You can read more about YQL from the Yahoo Developer network page.

Checkout the tutorial and the source code at his blog hardwarefun.com.

He is a Research Engineer at Yahoo Research Labs India, by profession, and a hardware hacker by passion. More of his projects can be found here.

Exceptionally Hard and Soft meeting at Berlin 28-30 December 2012 (Part1)

via Arduino Blog

Ever wished for a really geeky end of the year? Wondering where to get all the latest awesomeness in the hardware world and get to see the people behind it? Reach out for Exceptionally Hard and Soft Meeting (EHSM) 2012 in the beautiful city of Berlin.

Here is a list of confirmed speakers to give you an insight into why you must attend:

The keynote speaker is Will Jack a 17 year old who apart from building a nuclear fusion reactor, recently built a writing pen for himself because he wanted one.

ICs are really small and badass but you can learn the technique of Reverse engineering it from John McMaster. His work can be seen on siliconpr0n.org.

Wires are the veins of an electrical circuit and Adrian Lelong would teach you wire characterization and diagnosis using various methods which is essential for the critical applications.

What new can be innovated in the technology behind music? Kaspar Emanuel would share his experiences behind a startup AlphaSphere doing the exact same job. AlphaSphere is a new musical instrument designed exclusively for electronic music. He would talk about the approach of open Innovation behind it.

If film deposition, plasma etching, linear particle accelerator, electron beam microscope, electron beam welding, molecular beam epitaxy are your favorite words, then you would surely enjoy the talk by Sylvain Radix and David Rochelet where they describe their success and failures in electrolab while building high-end vacuum systems the step 1 for various purposes stated above.

Coding and debugging without Java? Yes, using the web browser, also you would learn to tweak the CPU with Yann Guidon and Laura Bécognée and demoing YASEP.

A talk by by Stefan Sydow and Sebastian Koch would be on software defined radio with aircraft radio transponders head to metafly to see its live application.

Don’t have a complete idea on all the above technologies? Want your child over 7 years of age to start with her first tech at the conference? Your beloved arduino might be there too, to take a workshop on ‘Getting started with arduino’ for children and beginners.

Head over here to read about more amazing people or wait for part 2 for more announcements on the speakers.

Heard enough already? Head here to book tickets now!