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.
Reshared text: Autodesk Partners with Circuits.io to Create Free Electronics Design Tool
Autodesk today expanded its suite of free 3D tools by partnering with Circuits.io to launch an electronics design tool: 123D Circuits.
The program allows users to create virtual breadboard-based designs to build and experiment with circuits. A virtual Arduino board can be added to the design, and the code can be edited in a browser window and simulated. The code can also be edited collaboratively (“a Google Doc for electronics” Autodesk claims).
The program also provides hooks that allow users to have the virtual boards professionally manufactured.
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.
Work proceeds on the Airstream recording studio in the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
All under floor work (power, ducts, conduits) is done and subfloor, iso layer, and finish floor installed. Now it gets covered to complete the interior. Framing is for the wall between the booth and the mixing and engineering console, at the far end.
Our new crew started yesterday, in a process to build the recording studio in the 1958 Airstream, on the second floor of the new facility.
I had stripped the bottom half of the interior panels before it was transported and hoisted into the second floor of the building 2 years ago. We've been busy with other things, like the planetarium, cafe and bakery, offices, but it's time for the Airstream.
The last half of the 50 year-old fiberglass insulation, riddled with field mouse burrows, has remained hidden. The crew came in and carefully removed it all, then cleaned up the evidence. Bravo!
Now for the wiring, re-insulation for acoustic requirements, re-skinning with perforated aluminum. Stay tuned.
For those following the building saga: we received our TCO (temporary certificate of occupancy) today, after 3 years of construction (17 years of planning) and major delays along the way. Kitchen gas, ansul system, chimney and ventilation slowed us down, as did poor advice from our builder/partners, whom we kicked out in January.
But that's all behind us now. Up until today, it was Occupy Girls Club. Now that we are legal with the Department of Buildings, we move ahead. The fun begins.
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.
Reshared text: ESO telescopes create the best 3D map yet of central bulge of the Milky Way
Two groups of astronomers have used data from ESO telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance from some angles. This odd shape was mapped by using public data from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope along with measurements of the motions of hundreds of very faint stars in the central bulge.
Two nights ago, at the end of a spectacular opening night in our new facility, +Carter Emmart connected from Bangkok, controlling our dome and giving a few of our friends a tour of the surface of Mars. Carter helped create the Uniview software that makes this possible, and he has moved us faster than I believed we could, to make this happen.
Here is a view of the "Hanging Cliffs" of Valles Marineris from that session. It was a thrilling milestone in our plans to use the dome for international connection and in Google Hangouts on Air.
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.
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.
Roopa Vasudevan, +Andres Colubri and +Daniel T Shiffman looking at +Marius Watz 's Rotating Arcs sketch in the East Village Planetarium last week. Preparing for a full day workshop and followup show with students from NYU ITP. My plan is working.
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.
Instructions for v3 are not on his site yet, but you can ask for the 2.2 version or puzzle out the differences, which aren't major, other than handling more power and more LEDs.
Cove lighting will also help people find their seats. I started with that but then realized that the steps were a priority, as people including myself were stumbling on the way in. A temporary little spotlight helped, but these LED strips can be dimmed once people are in place. They can also be controlled over OSC and Processing, on an iPhone.
Another for +Jaime Martorano Click and drag to navigate. NOTE: Just realized I uploaded directly from my computer. Google compresses large photos when you do this. I'll upload a second version from Google Drive, which keeps it high resolution.
Jaime - Driving east from Tampa on Rte 4, this is on the right side. Less than a mile later is Bates RV. If you stop there, they give you a little map to drive back to the Airstream Ranch. Definitely a great stop, and they are friendly and chatty. We barely made it before closing time at the RV dealership. You'd be hard pressed to figure out how to get to Airstream Ranch without their guidance.
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.
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!
Reshared text: River history as glowing landscape - "...dynamic movements the river has made in recent millennia...LiDAR-derived digital elevation model" LiDAR is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light.
This lidar-derived digital elevation model of the Willamette River displays a 50-foot elevation range, from low elevations (displayed in white) fading to higher elevations (displayed in dark blue). This visually replaces the relatively flat landscape of the valley floor with vivid historical channels, showing the dynamic movements the river has made in recent millennia. This segment of the Willamette River flows past Albany near the bottom of the image northward to the communities of Monmouth and Independence at the top. Near the center, the Luckiamute River flows into the Willamette from the left, and the Santiam River flows in from the right. Lidar imagery by Daniel E. Coe.
The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has been collecting lidar data in Oregon since 2006. The goal is to cover the entire state as funding for data collection becomes available. You can learn more about lidar and view lidar images of other parts of Oregon at www.OregonGeology.org.
Lidar is popularly used as a technology used to make high resolution maps, with applications in geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, remote sensing, atmospheric physics, airborne laser swath mapping, laser altimetry, and contour mapping.
Temari spheres are beautifully crafted balls created from a combination of silk remnants and embroidery. The history of the balls start in ancient China and moved to Japan. In the 1960′s, NanaAkua’s grandmother learned to make these decorative balls and has continued with her passion for almost 50 years. Over those years, this artistic grandmother has created over 500 unique Temari balls and continues to produce them today at 92 years old. What makes this even more incredible is the necessity for finger dexterity, control, and good vision to make these decorative orbs, an amazing feat for a 92-year old.
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.
I've been playing videos in the dome for hours, trying the things I've stashed away for this day. One of the great ones is Vortex by +Aaron Bradbury of NSC Creative. Short and punchy. Great sound, though I don't have my 5.1 hooked up yet.
Reshared text: Angela Palmer's 3D glass sculptures will get inside your head
How’s your head this morning? Angela Palmer could tell you – and she’d do it in the form of a painstakingly etched glass image of your brain. Inspired by the process of visualising and mapping natural forms, Angela takes details from MRI and CT scans and engraves them onto sheets of glass, which she then layers one on top of the other to recreate the human form and images of the brain. The result of such a process is an eerily elusive sculpture; from the front the viewer sees a full depiction of the interior architecture of the head in all of its three-dimensional glory, but from the side and the top it becomes completely invisible. Talk about mind-blowing (sorry).
RESHARE: Our girls in the Girls Club have been preparing for this moment. They have had an after school class this fall with Emily Conrad, learning Arduino programming and sensors so they can run code on the ArduSat satellite for 3 days, and take photos of the earth with its camera.
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.
We spent the day yesterday kicking it off, with an introduction by Dan and myself, a visit from +Andres Colubri who has created the dome projection code library, and initial Processing sketches from the students. They will return next week to show the results of their work in the dome.
Actually, a 3rd try after some fails. Had to get the line size right for the printer. This and my fossils are my contribution to Maker Faire tomorrow.
Incised bone, circa 8th century AD Maya, Tikal, Guatemala, drawn by Linda Schele and first published in 1986, posted to the Schele Archives online by Justin Kerr, downloaded and converted to SVG and STL. Detail from the complete drawing.
With office and kitchen finishing, planetarium building, organization packing and moving, IT and phone installation, it's been a full summer. The Airstream recording studio has waited until now, when the duct silencers have arrived. They are the metal boxes on the left. AC supply and return will come down the wall, across that back alley floor, into the bottom of the trailer. Then cable ducts and power can be installed under the floor frame, floors and new interior sound baffles and perforated metal skin can be installed. And we are on our way.
RESHARE: This looks like the start of a good series.
Reshared text: The Way the Universe Changed
At the end of the 1800s we finally knew how the universe worked. Newton’s laws of motion and gravity had been studied for 200 years, and had become the pinnacle of scientific precision. James Clerk Maxwell had unified the electricity, magnetism and light into a single elegant theory, and Darwin’s theory of evolution explained how living things were connected. There were still mysteries to be explored, but it seemed the grand structure of the universe was now known. We lived in a clockwork universe, where cause led to effect, where simple laws governed complex mechanisms. It was a proven world, as I’ve written about in an earlier series of posts (http://goo.gl/6MVg0).
At the time it was generally thought that the nagging mysteries such as the structure of atoms and the structure of the universe would eventually come into the Newtonian fold. But they didn’t. Instead, small mysteries became large ones. The physical laws we thought we understood didn’t always apply. Understanding atoms and light would require a radically new way of looking at the universe. Some of the most cherished scientific ideas of precision and determinism would have to be discarded or revised. Science would undergo a quantum revolution.
Between 1900 and 1950 our understanding of the universe underwent a fundamental shift from a classical, clockwork universe to a quantum universe of probabilities and interactions. It was a shift that revealed a universe that was larger, younger and more profoundly complex than we had imagined.
This shift can be summarized in six simple equations shown below. Each one was a step toward modern quantum theory.
1. The more you have, the faster it is gone. 2. Sometimes you have to make a quantum leap. 3. Every temperature has a color. 4. Light is a wave, except when it’s not. 5. What you observe depends on how you observe it. 6. There are some things you can never know.
So this week we’ll look at each of these equations, how we came to understand them, and how they changed our view of the universe forever. We’ll start with the first one tomorrow. It describes radioactive decay, and it was the first clue that certain effects don’t have a mechanical cause.
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!