Still amazing to me that I can get the latest Arduino board at a suburban NJ Radio Shack. Now to spend some hours trying it out. Right out of the box it should work as a game controller for Unity - the joystick is putting out up down left right arrows, the right button is a space, other buttons N, V, and B.
Like other newer Arduino boards, the Esplora is a USB HID device. There is a page of instructions on the Arduino site about using the library for this:
And in the last day or so, +Jeremy Shore has released code that lets the Esplora work as a controller for a number of game emulators, including Snes9X and JNES.
For me, this board is a way to grab the attention of our girls, age 11 to 16, who will be the core of a Space Girls project that includes running programs on ArduSat, the Arduino based orbital satellite that we backed in a Kickstarter campaign last summer. We will have to move on from this board eventually - it does not expose the pins for I2C that are used in ArduSat - but this looks like fun for all of us.
Just working out the best layout for desks in my future office and in the dome control room and "space center". For the first time I can sit in the place that has been 3 years under construction. A folding table for now, but it's still a thrill.
Contrast with Carter Emmart's office in the American Museum of Natural History, where he is director of astrovisualization. His place shows a quirky 15-year accumulation of space toys and souvenirs of his travels. Mine will get some character over time but I doubt I will ever match his. Who could?
After 18 months protected from the construction around it, the 1958 Airstream trailer is almost ready to uncover. Ceilings have the final paint coat, and the walls are rolled, not sprayed, so I pulled back the tarp to take a look.
In the summer of 2011, my son Will and I spent weeks polishing and preparing the trailer to be hoisted in. That fall it was hoisted into the building.
The big box for the planetarium is complete except for final spackling and painting. Two out of four walls are double thickness with up to 5 layers of sheetrock for soundproofing. I did some sheetrocking in my day but these guys are amazing.
Today was the first day I could sit down in the space. In my chair. With our first FIOS connection. In the new building.
I'm reposting a 360 panorama of the pouring of the basement slab on the site, when we were just getting out of the ground. That was around 2 years ago. And I just took the shot of my chair, in the temporary base camp we are setting up to manage the fit-out of the building. By summer the chair will be in the production room of the planetarium. We're close.
Reshared text: Is internet access in the US a luxury or a utility?
"In Hong Kong, you can get a 500Mbt symmetric connection for about $25/ month..."
Susan Crawford on Why U.S. Internet Access is Slow, Costly and Unfair
Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, joins Bill to discuss how our government has allowed a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the public interest — rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling competition. As a result, Crawford says, all of us are at the mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the first Gilded Age a hundred years ago.
Following in the footsteps of +Mike Barela I have connected the Esplora to the Electric Imp and sent serial communications to a remote Imp by way of the Imp servers. Photos below.
I used the physical setup that Mike devised, connecting the Imp to pins 7 and 8 of the Esplora expansion headers (D0 and D1 of the Arduino) which are RX and TX respectively. I used an +Adafruit Industries April Impee board and a Sparkfun logic level converter to shift the Arduino's 5V signals to 3.3V for the Imp.
I arrived too late this morning to see the last piece go into place. But there's plenty of work left to turn Area 51 into a digital dome theater. And there will never again be this much light blasting the dome.
A couple of hours of cleanup, then a possible quick run up to the American Museum of Natural History, to see the Hayden planetarium. The blokes (John, Dino, and Mike) fly out to London at 6pm. Then Colombia, Czechoslovakia, and other destinations. Wherever a dome needs building. But now that they've had a taste of the East Village, they'll be back.
For those of you who have been following our saga, constructing a community science and art center in lower Manhattan, here's some news.
After an extended period of high anxiety, this morning we passed the walkthrough inspection for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy from the New York Department of Buildings. TCO is all we have obsessed about for weeks. This is some kind of financial milestone for our builder/partners, but for us it means we can proceed with our fit out, building the planetarium, the Airstream recording studio, storage, ramps, platforms, risers, office partitions, etc.
Here's a photo of the 1958 Airstream framed in its second floor facade. How did they do that? Exactly.
The Unity demo that came with the Leap SDK was pretty simple - move one cube around on a grid - so I started playing with it. First physics, pulling things around that had drag and mass, and hitting a ball across a plane. Then to get +Laura Lynn Gonzalez 's attention I added some protein models and played with grabbing and rotating them.
I also showed the controller to the Beatniks class at the Girls Club today. That's a STEM class masquerading as just having fun with anything we have on hand. They loved it, but we have to take it to the next level. Quick.
That's me, 1968, just below the sign. With my Musser marimba. And I just found out that Clair O. Musser, whose company made that marimba, was a meteor (actually meteorite) collector who built a xylophone out of meteorites (see my last post). Go figure.
The protective plywood box has been removed from the '58 Airstream and it has taken its place by the window on Ave D. Today Will and I removed the casters and set the trailer in the spot it will sit until some future Philistine saws it into pieces - it is not rolling anywhere from this second floor perch. Planning now for the conversion to recording studio, center piece of the Radio Lounge.
Simple and effective demonstration. Worth hours of time management nattering. Att: +Ted Ewen
Reshared text: Parable of Time Management
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes." The time management expert replied, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?" One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!" "No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is, "If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all. What are the 'big rocks' in your life, time with loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question, "What are the 'big rocks' in my life?" Then, put those in your jar first. If this inspired you, share with others so they can benefit!
We had a great visit this week from the Neurodome folks, who are launching a production of a brain science dome show. Here's Jonathan, Titi, and friend Judith who got us together, in the room that shall be dome. Next time we hope +Jeanne Garbarino, +Carter Emmart and other pals and colleagues will come visit.
See the last chart - Samsung spent nearly $12 billion in 2012 on sales and marketing, Apple around $1 billion. Samsung's expenses include massive incentives to carriers and stores to push their products.
And Apple haters still say Apple's success is just in the marketing!
So I'm making my way through the wireless alternatives for Arduino. I've tried Xbees. They're fun. Tried Bluetooth LE. Nice to control the Arduino with an iPhone but the next step is a big one.
Now the Electric Imp. Looks like a nice system. I could probably learn enough of their Squirrel language to use it. Lots of web-based support and graphic configuration between Imps in the field. This could be really useful.
Our team of itinerant English planetarium installers (John, Dino, Mike) have finished the frame install and bracing. They're getting ready to install the screen panels, which involves carefully fine tuning and machining them to achieve the "nanoseam" join that they are famous for. Seriously.
Today they cleaned up the room and set up their shop, and tried a first pair of panels to see how close they are. Looking good. But they will spend the next two weeks hand fitting every panel.
After they left I spent some hours hanging lapendary panels (acoustic absorption) behind and above the dome. The panels arrived a little late but soon enough to get the most inaccessible ones up before the screen panels make it impossible. I had to do the work when no one else was around so they would not see me clambering on the frame. Not many panels in place so far, but the reverberation time has already dropped from 6 seconds to about 3. More, better looking, fabric-covered panels on the walls under the springline and I'll have a nice sounding dome room.
A quick walk around town today, shooting while I did last errands before we go back to New York. First time I have made a large album, but not the first time I've thought about a collection of these doors. iPhone, on the run.
Reshared text: The Most Beautiful Wisteria Tree in the World
In the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi, Japan sits an incredibly gorgeous wisteria tree that's often referred to as the most beautiful in the whole world. The largest and oldest in Japan, the tree is the main attraction at the flower park as visitors flock to see it in full bloom. Dating back to approximately 1870, the 143-year-old tree has branches that are supported by beams, which creates a a stunning flower umbrella.
NEW PRODUCT – WiFi Portable Microscope – Usable With Android/iPad/iPhone – As electronics get smaller and smaller, you’ll need a hand examining PCBs and this little USB microscope is the perfect tool. Its smaller and lighter than a large optical microscope but packs quite a bit of power in its little body. There’s a high quality 640×480 camera sensor inside and an optical magnifier that can adjust from 5x (for basic PCB inspection) to 200x (for detailed inspection). Eight mini white LEDs are angled right onto whatever you’re examining so you get enough lighting to see, and are smoothly adjustable via a dial on the side.
Unlike our USB microscopes, this ‘scope is WiFi based. This means that instead of having a cable or wireless-usb-dongle type connection, there’s a WiFi access point inside the camera enclosure. When you turn it on, it will create a new hotspot just for the camera, so that any tablet or smartphone (such as an iPad/iPhone/Android/etc) can connect to the camera and view the microscope’s video output. This isn’t possible with a USB microscope as many tablets and phones don’t have a USB port and even if they did, there wouldn’t necessarily be drivers available for the camera.
Comes with the microphone, charging cable, CD with software and manual. A stand is not included, the photo above shows it with our articulated aluminum stand (which works great). While this camera is more expensive than a wired-variety, there’s nothing like it for when you want to view the output on a smartphone or tablet!
Reshared text: NEW! Elly the Elephant, Geno the Giraffe, Geno the Giraffe - Kinetic Creatures!
These are walking cardboard animal sculptures that you assemble from pre-cut and scored cardboard pieces, made in the USA by Kinetic Creatures. Each walks when you turn the included wire handle, or they can walk with mechanical and electrical additions, such as Lego motors or the Kinetic Creatures Motor Kit.
Motor Kit for Kinetic Creatures Motor Kit for Kinetic Creatures This kit replaces the wire turn-handle in your Kinetic Creature with an electric motor to let your creation walk on it’s own! One size fits all animals. Some glue is required superglue works great! https://www.adafruit.com/products/1117
Reshared text: The geometry of music revealed! The red lines connect notes that are a major third apart. The green lines connect notes that are a minor third apart. The blue lines connect notes that are a perfect fifth apart.
Each triangle is a chord with three notes, called a triad. These are the most basic chords in Western music. There are two kinds:
A major triad sounds happy. The major triads are the triangles whose edges go red-green-blue as you go around clockwise.
A minor triad sounds sad. The minor triads are the triangles whose edges go green-red-blue as you go around clockwise.
This pattern is called a tone net, and this one was created by David W. Bulger. There's a lot more to say about it, and you can read more in this Wikipedia article:
http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/51830-Unity-Arduino-labyrinth Someone who hacked an Arduino, accelerometer, and Unity together, without OSC. There is a note of a bug on the Mac at the bottom of the thread, and a link to a supposed solution that is interesting but really another OSC hack (and only uses a pressure sensor). The bug may be as simple as removing ".Ports" from the Unity script "using System.IO.Ports;" - I remember running into that when I hacked my first OSC script. I'll try and see. If this can be adapted, it is a simpler, serial based accelerometer to Unity hack. I love OSC but it may not be necessary for this.
RESHARE: Somewhere there are two kittens named Marconi who just perked up at the same time.
Reshared text: We finally have our new paper, Quantum tele-amplification with a continuous variable superposition state, on the arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.6634
We teleported the quantum state (coherent state) of a laser beam from one part of the lab to another, while at the same time amplifying or de-amplifying it. We did this by taking advantage of an entangled kitten state, which is a superposition of two coherent states - essentially a weak laser beam that is occurring simultaneously with two different phases. These cat or kitten states were generated in 1996 by this year's two Nobel prize winners: David Wineland's group in Boulder, Colorado made a superposition of two motional states of a trapped ion, while Serge Haroche's group in Paris did it with two states of a microwave cavity field. Kittens on a travelling light beam were first demonstrated 10 years later, in 2006 by a different Parisian group (Grangier's) and by my group at the time in Copenhagen. The new experiment that we did at NICT in Tokyo with collaborators from Seoul National University is the first (I believe!) to use these cats/kittens for a practical purpose. If you can call quantum teleportation practical, that is...
They're working their way around and up. They'll finish this weekend.
In other news, computer floors in control and production rooms are scheduled for install next week, custom cove lighting review on Friday, ramps under construction, cabling and IT install starting soon, AC ductwork for Airstream spec'd, painters wrapping up third floor, electricians installing power and ethernet boxes for video room, cafe/kitchen tiling in progress, dozens of adjustments and corrections... No time for future shock, every day is a tsunami. In a good way.
"Want to know what really protects your freedoms? The right to vote. A good system of democracy. Ironically, the same people that are creating memes like the one seen above are the same that are voting Republicans into office that have engaged in a war on democracy–voter suppression. Voter suppression, you see, is an act of war on democracy itself."
Reshared text: I keep telling people, we have militarized police, and the biggest, baddest, best armed army in the world, and a very sneaky slate of security agencies that jump on hotspots before they're even warm.
Your stash won't let you go play Wolverines! and fight the bad guys. That's just another form of military reenacting...playing soldier. If you get too good at it, the ATF and FBI swoop in and come and take your toys away and cart your butt off to jail.
Reshared text: White's proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work.
The below image of a Vulcan command ship features a warp engine similar to an Alcubierre Drive.
Actually, the state of the dome installation at end of day today. I had to leave early for the Beatniks class (girl iPad orchestra) so I went back this evening to see how the team had done. They may actually close up tomorrow. Next step, risers. Then projection and server.
Reshared text: The Little Robots of Brian Marshall
Found object assemblage artist Brian Marshall is dedicated to helping bots find new homes! His work is unique and inventive. It shows a great deal of humor ... and humanity. Strikingly original and fun!
Some shots to follow up on my interiors from today. +Davide Coppola and other folks wanted to see more. I'll keep updating interiors but here are the best shots of the three building facades that I have (it's a big T-shaped lot). The City demanded that we build mixed income housing when we got the go ahead, which is how a community art and science center became a 12 story building.
Long story. Partners, lawyers, politicians, consultants, and 100 guys kept employed for 2 years. A feel good movie for real estate fanatics.
Not bad as far as it goes. But I'm not sure why it had no luck with the back of the doll. I shot 38 photos going all around the model. Maybe lighting issues? Does anyone have any experience with this to share?
Here's a screen snap of a Robert Hodgin Processing sketch, running a Syphon server (top right), received by a Syphon script in Unity (top left) and sent from the main camera in Unity to a Syphon client (bottom right). In the sketch, there are 450 instances of a live webcam, shooting a pink hard hat that I'm waving in front of the camera - and we still get 60fps at the end of the chain, on a MacBook. Syphon is amazing. http://syphon.v002.info/
Still some tweaks to go (mainly around alpha channels in Unity/Syphon) but this is the key to projecting Processing in the East Village Dome next year. The final Syphon client in the chain will be the high resolution output to the projector.
You'll have to mute this post or you'll fall into a trance.
Reshared text: +Vladimir Bulatov does it again! At each moment, this movie shows you a tiling of the hyperbolic plane by pentagons, four meeting at each corner, mapped onto a disc with four slits cut out. This mapping is conformal, meaning that it preserves angles. As time passes, the hyperbolic plane rotates and we see this crazy movie.
Here's the short version: there's a way to measure distances on a disk that makes it into a model of the hyperbolic plane. There are actually a number of way, but Bulatov - and Escher - use the Poincare disk model, because in this model straight lines look like portions of circles: very pretty. Then, according to the Riemann mapping theorem you can map this disk in a conformal way onto a disk with 4 slits cut out. The hard part is finding a formula for how to do it, and then implementing it on a computer.
I cabled up two of the 5 speakers in the dome and inaugurated the sound system with Bill Frisell, John Coltrane, and Also Sprach Zarathustra. The Meyer speakers are amazing. It's the best sounding stereo system I've ever had, and soon to be 5.1 surround. Happy guy.
For those following along at home - this is my last week to get everything ready that will be forever behind the dome in a few weeks. First, a shot of the whole dome room with ceiling lights on. These fixtures have white plastic covers that would have reflected light back through the perforated metal of the dome screen. Last night I got up on a lift and spray painted them, leaving a finish that is black when they are off, and still lets through some light when on. I'm also touching up all work to make sure the entire ceiling is matte black. You can see one fixture after painting, in the second photo.
Rolling tower scaffold for the dome installers arrived today. They will come Monday at the same time as a forklift and a tractor trailer with all the parts of the dome. More photos next week as we go through the process.
Reshared text: This is the alarm jellyfish (Atolla Wyvillei) - and it has a rather unique defence mechanism. When the alarm jellyfish is attacked, it flashes brightly using bioluminescence in an attempt to attract other animals. The idea is to encourage confusion and fights between predators, while the jellyfish can swim away.
Reshared text: "The Unity 3D game engine will now include a check box that a developer can click in order to make a Unity-based game run on the Chrome browser. That’s pretty darn simple. It means developers don’t have to waste a lot of time rewriting games and other apps for the web, only to see them crawl in slow motion. Besides games, photo and video apps will also benefit from the native client technology."