Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world


1801 – French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons makes his first comet discovery. In the next 27 years he discovers another 36 comets, more than any other person in history.


Pons made his first comet discovery, jointly attributed to Charles Messier, on 11 July 1801. He appears to have used telescopes and lenses of his own design; his “Grand Chercheur” (“Great Seeker”) seems to have been an instrument with large aperture and short focal length, similar to a “comet seeker”. However, he was not an especially diligent recorder of his observations, and his notes were often extremely vague.

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1881 – Isabel Martin Lewis, American astronomer and author is born.


Isabel Martin Lewis was an American astronomer who was the first woman hired by the United States Naval Observatory as assistant astronomer. In 1918, Lewis was elected a member of the American Astronomical Society. She was also a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

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1895 – Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière demonstrate movie film technology to scientists.


The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean were among the first filmmakers in history. They patented an improved cinematograph, which in contrast to Thomas Edison’s “peepshow” kinetoscope allowed simultaneous viewing by multiple parties.

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1918 – Venetia Burney, English educator, who named Pluto is born.


Venetia Katharine Douglas Phair, née Burney was an English woman known for being the first person to suggest the name Pluto for the planet discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. At the time, she was 11 years old and lived in Oxford, England. As an adult she worked as an accountant and a teacher…

…On 14 March 1930, Falconer Madan read the story of the new planet’s discovery in The Times, and mentioned it to his granddaughter Venetia. She suggested the name Pluto – the Roman God of the Underworld who was able to make himself invisible − and Falconer Madan forwarded the suggestion to astronomer Herbert Hall Turner, who cabled his American colleagues at Lowell Observatory. Clyde Tombaugh liked the proposal because it started with the initials of Percival Lowell who had predicted the existence of Planet X, which they thought was Pluto because it was coincidentally in that position in space. On 1 May 1930, the name Pluto was formally adopted for the new celestial body.

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1927 – Theodore Maiman, American-Canadian physicist and engineer is born.


Theodore Harold “Ted” Maiman was an American engineer and physicist credited with the invention of the first working laser. Maiman’s laser led to the subsequent development of many other types of lasers. The laser was successfully fired on May 16, 1960. In a July 7, 1960 press conference in Manhattan, Maiman and his employer, Hughes Aircraft Company, announced the laser to the world. Maiman was granted a patent for his invention, and he received many awards and honors for his work. Maiman’s experiences in developing the first laser and subsequent related events are described in his book, The Laser Odyssey.

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1962 – First transatlantic satellite television transmission.


The first public satellite television signals from Europe to North America were relayed via the Telstar satellite over the Atlantic ocean on 23 July 1962, although a test broadcast had taken place almost two weeks earlier on 11 July. The signals were received and broadcast in North American and European countries and watched by over 100 million.

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1972 – The first game of the World Chess Championship 1972 between challenger Bobby Fischer and defending champion Boris Spassky starts.


The World Chess Championship 1972 was a match for the World Chess Championship between challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. The match took place in the Laugardalshöll arena in Reykjavík, Iceland, and has been dubbed the Match of the Century. Fischer became the first American born in the United States to win the world title, and the second American overall (Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, became a naturalized American citizen in 1888). Fischer’s win also ended, for a short time, 24 years of Soviet domination of the World Championship.

The first game was played on July 11, 1972. The last game (the 21st) began on August 31, was adjourned after 40 moves, and Spassky resigned the next day without resuming play. Fischer won the match 12½–8½, becoming the eleventh undisputed World Champion.

In 2016, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov commented on the global significance of the match, saying:

I think the reason you look at these matches probably was not so much the chess factor but to the political element, which was inevitable because in the Soviet Union, chess was treated by the Soviet authorities as a very important and useful ideological tool to demonstrate the intellectual superiority of the Soviet communist regime over the decadent West. That’s why the Spassky defeat […] was treated by people on both sides of the Atlantic as a crushing moment in the midst of the Cold War.

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2013 – The Gadget I Love: Limor ‘LadyAda’ Fried & The Samsung Techwin SMT SM482 Pick & Place Machine


The Gadget I Love: Limor ‘LadyAda’ Fried & The Samsung Techwin SMT SM482 Pick & Place Machine — People & Gadgets @ Medium. Our Ladyada was asked what her favorite gadget was for an article on Medium, she picked her pick and place ?

The founder of Adafruit talks about her latest gadget that builds gadgets. When you think about open source, software is the thing that springs to mind. But the open source movement is not all about software: there is open source hardware as well, where the designer releases all of the plans of the device so anyone can build their own. Limor Fried is one of the leading lights of this movement.

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2016 – How Limor Fried Built a DIY Tech Empire #WomenInSTEM


Nice write up on Limor from DreamHost Blog!

The first female engineer to ever grace the cover of Wired magazine, Limor Fried catapulted onto the tech and DIY scene in 2005 when she founded Adafruit, an open-source hardware company. A maverick with an unconventional management style and a bright pink coif, Fried has made it her mission to educate others — especially young people and women — about the endless possibilities of DIY electronics. She has also become a role model for female entrepreneurs looking to smash through the tech world’s glass ceiling.

When Fried, also known by her online nickname “Ladyada,” founded Adafruit, she was still a graduate student at MIT. The name of the company came out of her online moniker and is also a tribute to Ada Lovelace, the 19th century female mathematician who is considered the world’s first computer programmer. Today, the company employs over 75 people and boasts annual revenues of around $40 million.

How did she do it? For one, over the course of her 10-year career, Fried has never taken outside funding; she owns all of Adafruit herself. That independence has helped Fried keep the company’s mission rooted in empowerment and education more than in turning large profits. “We didn’t create the community and open source hardware to make money,” Fried said in that Wired cover story in 2011. “We do video shows and tutorials and teach people, and then there’s a gift shop at the end.”

Those shows and tutorials take many forms, but all showcase cool ways to use Adafruit products. Adafruit hosts a weekly “show and tell” via Google Hangouts, where makers can show off electronics DIYs from cosplay costumes to simple robots and toys, giving fans the chance to share their creations with the whole Adafruit community. The company’s YouTube channel is home to popular weekly shows like Collin’s Lab, in which Adafruit engineer Collin Cunningham explains technologies like the Arduino and the oscilloscope. For young kids, there is Circuit Playground, another YouTube show starring the company mascot, Adabot, and Fried herself teaching computer-generated robot engineering basics.

But what about women who aren’t interested in building circuits, but their own companies? Surprisingly, Fried’s advice to them doesn’t have much to do with engineering or code. “Publish. Every single day,” she told The Blueprint in 2014. “Write a blog post, make a short video, tweet, take a photo of what you’re working on or making—share your insights and tell your story every day.”

The advice makes sense when you consider that Adafruit itself started as a kind of blog post. As a procrastinating grad student, Fried posted plans an open-source MP3 player and other electronic projects on her MIT webpage. The plans became so popular, she started making kits and selling them. “I added a Paypal button, and that’s how Adafruit got started,” she told Blueprint.

Many startups struggle to maintain their culture after they scale up. Fried has found a unique solution to the issue: she lives in the same 25,000-square-foot New York City warehouse that houses Adafruit’s offices. Fried contends that proximity to her business is paramount to its success. As she explained in a Q&A with Lifehacker in 2012, “Commuting can take days and weeks away from productive time or rest time. I happen to live and work in the same place, but if that ever changes, I’ll always be walking distance away.”

Having a CEO who literally lives at the office isn’t just efficient — it gives the whole company a family atmosphere. Building community, whether among employees or users, has always been a priority at Adafruit. “When you take good care of the people around you, it permeates in all you do and people notice,” Fried told Entrepreneur last fall. “What you give is what you get back.” That community spirit jibes perfectly with the hands-on nature of the DIY movement, and is key to Adafruit’s lasting success.

So what’s ahead for Limor Fried? Right now, she seems particularly excited about wearables — specifically, how accessible they are to tech newbies. “More people in the world can sew and do crafts than electronics,” she told Embedded Computing Design magazine in 2014. Today Adafruit offers two wearable platforms FLORA and GEMMA, and features interesting applications for both in a blog series, #WearableWednesday. But who knows what else Fried has in store? The world will just have to wait and see.

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

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