In the middle of the Sparkfun video about Maker Faire, I learned about the Makey Makey. It’s stuff like this that made me want to be an engineer as a kid. It’s just fricking amazing (in my best attempt at a US accent). I’ll be ordering one as soon as they are available.
After reading tons of posts and watching lots of videos of the most recent Maker Faire in San Mateo in the US, I wondered if anyone had ever organised one here. So I was more than a little happy to see there is a mini-one happening in Dublin in 3 weeks time. If you don’t know what a Maker Faire is, watch this:
I might see you there. Some day I need to get to one in the US.
This evening, I had another go. This time it was worse. Anything I tried on the data feed resulted in both Chrome and Firefox hanging. I decided to bite the bullet and figure out how to post data directly rather than having them poll. Turns out it’s pretty easy.
Realtime it ain’t! But it’s a river so that speed of reporting should be fine.
I’m still waiting for someone to do a mashup with that data, rainfall data at Cork Airport and tidal data. I would but I’m having too much fun playing with Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Eventually I may join the dots and create a little Arduino+RPi weather station out in the garden which reports directly to Cosm using wifi to my house.
As part of the kids and I playing around with Arduino, Sibéal thought that we should try and find an alarm clock project for her to build. I’ve found some amazing ones with features like Vacuum Flourescent Tubes but they are a very pricey and the mechanical learning ones on Amazon don’t really keep time
Then today I found this, The Acoustic Alarm. I have no idea how the designer made it but it’s just beautiful. I think we would just need to add a real-time clock to our basic Arduino kit with the servo to do the movement piece. Then Sibéal could throw her 8 y/o artistic brain at doing the physical casing etc. If we make any progress I’ll let you know.
I sat down with 8 y/o daughter and 10 y/o son this afternoon to try out our ARDX starter kit for Arduino. The first tutorial is a simple single LED which you flash on/off in software. But I was horrified to find myself stumped!
Yes, I may have a Masters in Electronic Engineering from UCD but, as anyone who did Electronics there prior to the mid-90s knows, a certain lecturer ensured that we all left completely clueless in basic circuit cop-on.
The ARDX kit on the surface has a lovely introductory booklet but it really misses the mark on practical instructions. So they tell you what every component does which is good but nowhere does it explain how the holes in a breadboard are connected. Are they long columns of commonality or short rows? Do the power lines go from top to bottom or only in small blocks? Kind of important information!
Add to that a completely indecipheral diagram for where the components should go plus several connections which were totally unnecessary and I ended up totally flustered with the two kids getting bored.
Finally I threw away the instructions, thought about it for a second and realised it was dead easy. Some trial/error figured out the breadboard layout and hurrah, a blinking LED! We played a bit with on/off timings and we were immediately ready for more.
This time we did 8 LEDs which worked right first time and we loved the default on/off pattern. One thing we realised was that a magnifying glass is a big help when trying to see the individual breadboard holes.
And that’s as far as we got. They both want to try some more interesting LED patterns and then move on to the motors, servos and sensors. The long term plan is to build something “robotic”.
More on that next weekend.
Then of course I found this site called DIYDrones about UAVs………
This simple Tweetdeck filter is doing a pretty decent job so far. No need for dilithium crystals. I’ll tweak it as the volume increases over the next few days. But at this stage I don’t even know if the thing has started yet or not.
If I had any interest I’d probably look up what coybig means. Is it pornographic?
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