science – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! https://blog.adafruit.com electronics, open source hardware, hacking and more... Wed, 24 May 2017 09:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 This Innovative Hair Clip May One Day Help Deaf People #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/24/this-innovative-hair-clip-may-one-day-help-deaf-people-wearablewednesday/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/24/this-innovative-hair-clip-may-one-day-help-deaf-people-wearablewednesday/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 07:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242705

Ontenna CU

The last time I got excited about a wearable for accessibility it was Dot—a Braille smartwatch. However, thanks to a lead from Wired UK I’ve got a new project to appreciate, Ontenna, a vibrating hairclip. Haptic devices can be helpful for notifications, but some deaf people find them a bit overwhelming on a wristband or clothing. That’s why Fujitsu has embraced the hairclip, which actually got its start a few years ago according to the company.

A prototype of Ontenna was first shown in 2016, though the technology started as a university research project by current Fujitsu user interface designer Tatuya Honda.

There’s some biomimicry going on here with the hairclip sending vibrations through hair, much like whiskers on a cat. Currently the model can create vibrations based on intervals of sound, but the hope is to develop a product that can differentiate tones. The idea is simple, but it could add a lot of value to someone who is deaf. Imagine events happening behind you that you are unaware of, but suddenly through some minor buzzing you realize there is a reason to look. Not only is it handy, but it may add safety.

One of the things that stands out on the company’s site is the detail given on the first prototype—it was an Arduino. You know I’m a lover of microcontrollers, so I was psyched that they were willing to share the origins of the product. How many Arduinos grow up to be custom wearable tech devices? How many finished products remain Arduino? Where is the survey for this info? Anyway, the point is that Arduino is a great prototyping tool.

Arduino Beginnings

I’m definitely going to follow this project, which is close to completion, and I hope you will check out the details on Wired UK. If you have an urge to make your own haptic device, you should start with our Buzzing Mindfulness Bracelet learning guide. A simple buzz at your wrist can remind you to take a break, meditate or just be in the moment; it all happens with our GEMMA microcontroller. Have fun making and let us know if you are working on a project that helps accessibility.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-200/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-200/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 10:00:42 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242457

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1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist is born.

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Carl Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known by the epithet “father of modern taxonomy”. Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus (after 1761 Carolus a Linné).

Linnaeus was born in the countryside of Småland, in southern Sweden. He received most of his higher education at Uppsala University, and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and 1738, where he studied and also published a first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden, where he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 1760s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants, and minerals, and published several volumes. At the time of his death, he was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: “Tell him I know no greater man on earth.” The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly.” Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: “Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist”. Among other compliments, Linnaeus has been called Princeps botanicorum (Prince of Botanists), “The Pliny of the North,” and “The Second Adam”. He is also considered as one of the founders of modern ecology.

In botany, the author abbreviation used to indicate Linnaeus as the authority for species’ names is L. In older publications, sometimes the abbreviation “Linn.” is found (for instance in: Cheeseman, T.F. (1906) – Manual of the New Zealand Flora). Linnaeus’ remains comprise the type specimen for the species Homo sapiens, following the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, since the sole specimen he is known to have examined when writing the species description was himself.

Read more.


1911 – The New York Public Library is dedicated.

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The New York Public Library (NYPL) is a public library system in New York City. With nearly 53 million items, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the United States (behind the Library of Congress), and fourth largest in the world. It is a private, non-governmental, independently managed, nonprofit corporation operating with both private and public financing. The library has branches in the boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island, and affiliations with academic and professional libraries in the metropolitan area of New York State. The City of New York’s other two boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, are served by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library, respectively. The branch libraries are open to the general public and consist of circulating libraries. The New York Public Library also has four research libraries which are open to the general public as well.

The library, officially chartered as The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, was developed in the 19th century, founded from an amalgamation of grass-roots libraries, and social libraries of bibliophiles and the wealthy, aided by the philanthropy of the wealthiest Americans of their age.

Read more.


1908 – John Bardeen, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate

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John Bardeen was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory.

The transistor revolutionized the electronics industry, allowing the Information Age to occur, and made possible the development of almost every modern electronic device, from telephones to computers to missiles. Bardeen’s developments in superconductivity, which won him his second Nobel, are used in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) or its medical sub-tool magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In 1990, John Bardeen appeared on LIFE Magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential Americans of the Century.”

Read more.


1934 – Robert Moog, American businessman, invented the Moog synthesizer, is born.

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Robert Arthur “Bob” Moog, founder of Moog Music, was an American engineer and pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

During his lifetime, Moog founded two companies for manufacturing electronic musical instruments. Moog’s innovative electronic design is employed in numerous synthesizers including the Minimoog Model D, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, Sub 37, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, Moog Minitaur, and the Moogerfooger line of effects pedals.

Read more.


1995 – The first version of the Java programming language is released.

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James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton initiated the Java language project in June 1991. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it was too advanced for the digital cable television industry at the time. The language was initially called Oak after an oak tree that stood outside Gosling’s office. Later the project went by the name Green and was finally renamed Java, from Java coffee. Gosling designed Java with a C/C++-style syntax that system and application programmers would find familiar.

Sun Microsystems released the first public implementation as Java 1.0 in 1995. It promised “Write Once, Run Anywhere” (WORA), providing no-cost run-times on popular platforms. Fairly secure and featuring configurable security, it allowed network- and file-access restrictions. Major web browsers soon incorporated the ability to run Java applets within web pages, and Java quickly became popular. The Java 1.0 compiler was re-written in Java by Arthur van Hoff to comply strictly with the Java 1.0 language specification. With the advent of Java 2 (released initially as J2SE 1.2 in December 1998 – 1999), new versions had multiple configurations built for different types of platforms. J2EE included technologies and APIs for enterprise applications typically run in server environments, while J2ME featured APIs optimized for mobile applications. The desktop version was renamed J2SE. In 2006, for marketing purposes, Sun renamed new J2 versions as Java EE, Java ME, and Java SE, respectively.

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2012 – VOTE! “LEGO for girls, this time hardware-hacker style” – Will LEGO produce a hardware hacker’s idea of a set for girls?

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Lego for girls, this time hardware-hacker style @ Tech Culture – CNET News.

One hacker has her own idea of what a Lego set for girls should be. If 10,000 people agree with her, the toymaker could find itself producing her hacker-focused design.

This week, Fried and business partner Phillip Torrone unveiled Ladyada’s Workshop, a Lego set they designed that features Ladyada (Fried’s hacker alter ego, wearing her work outfit) in her comfort zone: a workshop with a pick-and-place machine, a laser cutter, a sewing machine, a soldering station, a computer, a microscope, and shelves of parts and packages. And for good measure, her cat, Mosfet, looks on admiringly.

Read more.

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Brenda Milner, Eminent Brain Scientist, Is ‘Still Nosy’ at 98 #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/brenda-milner-eminent-brain-scientist-is-still-nosy-at-98-makereducation/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/brenda-milner-eminent-brain-scientist-is-still-nosy-at-98-makereducation/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 09:00:46 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241850

16 MILNER master768 v2

Inspiring profile of 98-year-old scientist Brenda Milder from the The New York Times.

Dr. Milner, a professor of psychology in the department of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal, is best known for discovering the seat of memory in the brain, the foundational finding of cognitive neuroscience. But she also has a knack for picking up on subtle quirks of human behavior and linking them to brain function — in the same way she had her own, during the driving test.

At 98, Dr. Milner is not letting up in a nearly 70-year career to clarify the function of many brain regions — frontal lobes, and temporal; vision centers and tactile; the left hemisphere and the right — usually by painstakingly testing people with brain lesions, often from surgery. Her prominence long ago transcended gender, and she is impatient with those who expect her to be a social activist. It’s science first with Dr. Milner, say close colleagues, in her lab and her life.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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What is entropy? #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/what-is-entropy-makereducation/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/what-is-entropy-makereducation/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 06:00:03 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241838

New video from Jeff Phillips up on TED-Ed.

There’s a concept that’s crucial to chemistry and physics. It helps explain why physical processes go one way and not the other: why ice melts, why cream spreads in coffee, why air leaks out of a punctured tire. It’s entropy, and it’s notoriously difficult to wrap our heads around. Jeff Phillips gives a crash course on entropy.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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How to Discover Fascinating Supernovae and Help Science #CitizenScience #citsci #space #STEM https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/how-to-discover-fascinating-supernovae-and-help-science-citizenscience/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/how-to-discover-fascinating-supernovae-and-help-science-citizenscience/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 05:30:32 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242578

Supernova Sighting

If you love stars, you are in for another treat from Zooniverse—Supernova Sighting. This new citizen science project encourages viewers to identify exploding stars using images from the Skymapper Telescope in Australia. A user is given three images where the first two compare the location over time; the last image subtracts to show what is different. The object is to examine the photos for a white object in the crosshairs of the first and third image, which could indicate a candidate. Apparently a supernova can outshine other stars during its event; check out the bright blue dot shown in this galaxy pic.

Supernova in Galaxy

Besides bringing a light show, supernovae have a special use for scientists studying cosmology.

In particular, we are interested in type Ia supernovae which tend to all behave in a similar way, shining very brightly to a known luminosity and then fading away. They are known as ‘standard candles’ because we know how intrinsically bright they should be, allowing us to calculate their distance based on how bright they appear to us here on Earth.

The real excitement comes from the discovery of transients, which leads to bragging rights. Those that marked the image of the supernova correctly have their user name included with the official name given by the Transient Name Server—like AT 2017dxh. Needless to say, people are excited and the project is getting plenty of viewers. In fact, the images are getting classified so quickly that people have to wait for more telescope images to be uploaded. The images are processed daily, but if there are a few nights with cloudy weather, best to watch a rerun of Star Trek. What I like about this project is that it is so easy to go through a bunch of images on a break. It’s also appropriate for STEM education and I expect students will be thrilled since they can get involved so quickly. Score another point for Zooniverse! If you would like to surround yourself with stars, check out our Pinhole Planetarium Kit. Designed by Gakken, this little beauty will have you dreaming of space travel with pinpoints of light representing the Northern Hemisphere. Make science a bigger part of your life.

Adafruit Pinhole Planetarium

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Anatomy of a Super Storm #satellites https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/22/anatomy-of-a-super-storm-satellites/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/22/anatomy-of-a-super-storm-satellites/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 14:00:11 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242227

Via SciShow

On the weekend of April 29th and 30th this year, a series of thunderstorms slammed the southern and midwestern US. SciShow News takes a look at those deadly storms using the latest, high-resolution data from the NOAA’s GOES-16 weather satellite.

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Science Celebrities: Where Are the Women? #WomenInSTEM https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/22/science-celebrities-where-are-the-women-womeninstem/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/22/science-celebrities-where-are-the-women-womeninstem/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 11:00:27 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242225

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Via TheScientist

At the end of April, Netflix released the latest program to tap into the nostalgia of its largely millennial user base: Bill Nye Saves the World. Even before his new show aired, Nye had cemented his membership in a fraternity of science communicators that neatly package science for popular consumption. These days you don’t have to be a hard-core nerd to recognize of the names and faces of Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Attenborough, or Brian Greene. The thing is, there’s one conspicuous characteristic shared by each one of these household-name science celebrities. They’re all men.

According to Emily Calandrelli, host of the Fox show Xploration Outer Space and correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, “when I go into interviews to be on TV shows, it’s never to be the host of a show,” she said. She only landed the job at Fox because her executive producer specifically sought out a woman. “I got really lucky.”

Calandrelli represents an exceptionally small group of female science celebrities on television. And while there has been little indication this is bound to change dramatically, a number of women are paving their own way. That means casting aside the expectations that their success will hinge on how pretty they are or if their show has a male co-star. And it also means gaining sizeable followings using the democratizing force of other non-televised traditional outlets to make themselves into a household names.

Read more.

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Belgian scientists turn polluted air into hydrogen fuel https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/21/belgian-scientists-turn-polluted-air-into-hydrogen-fuel/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/21/belgian-scientists-turn-polluted-air-into-hydrogen-fuel/#comments Sun, 21 May 2017 10:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242058

Dims

Via Engadget:

To save the environment, humanity needs to do two things: reduce harmful gases and produce more energy from “green” energy sources. While plenty of research projects have tried to tackle these independently, few do both at the same time. Scientists from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven) in Belgium are developing a device that cleans up the air and generates power at the same time. It relies on a process called ‘heterogeneous photocatalysis,’ which uses light and a special catalyst (typically a semiconductor) to trigger a chemical reaction.

Heterogeneous photocatalysis has been used before to siphon hydrogen from water and nullify gas-based pollutants. Rarely are the two used in combination, however. The research team has solved this with a “photoelectrochemical cell,” which uses a solar cell to produce hydrogen in a similar manner to electrolysis water-splitting. It has two “rooms,” according to Professor Sammy Verbruggen, separated by a membrane to isolate the two processes. Air is purified on one side with a photoanode, while the hydrogen is generated from “a part of the degradation process” with a cathode tucked behind the solid electrolyte membrane.

See More

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A Brief History of Weather, Forecasting and WWI https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/21/a-brief-history-of-weather-forecasting-and-wwi/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/21/a-brief-history-of-weather-forecasting-and-wwi/#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 06:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242265

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From The Conversation via Smithsonian:

Culture has rarely tired of speaking about the weather. Pastoral poems detail the seasonal variations in weather ad nauseam, while the term “pathetic fallacy” is often taken to refer to a Romantic poet’s wilful translation of external phenomena – sun, rain, snow – into aspects of his own mind. Victorian novels, too, use weather as a device to convey a sense of time, place and mood: the fog in Dickens’s Bleak House (1853), for example, or the wind that sweeps through Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847).

And yet the same old conversations fundamentally changed tense during World War I. Because during the war, weather forecasting turned from a practice based on looking for repeated patterns in the past, to a mathematical model that looked towards an open future.

Needless to say, a lot relied on accurate weather forecasting in wartime: aeronautics, ballistics, the drift of poison gas. But forecasts at this time were in no way reliable. Although meteorology had developed throughout the Victorian era to produce same-day weather maps and daily weather warnings (based on a telegram service that could literally move faster than the wind), the practice of forecasting the weather as it evolved and changed over time remained notoriously inadequate.

Read more

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Kalpana Chawla #AsianPacificAmericanHeritageMonth https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/18/kalpana-chawla-asianpacificamericanheritagemonth/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/18/kalpana-chawla-asianpacificamericanheritagemonth/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 06:30:30 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242000

Chawla kalpana

Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin in space, Via Wikipedia

Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) was an Indian American astronaut and the first woman of Indian origin in space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster [6] when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Chawla is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Kalpana Chawla was born on March 17, 1962. Her official date of birth was altered to 1 July 1961 to allow her to join school underage. While other girls of her age played with dolls, Kalpana liked to draw pictures of airplanes. She was not always the top student in her class but had a very inquisitive mind. After getting a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, she moved to the United States in 1982 where she obtained the Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984. Determined to become an astronaut even in the face of the Challenger disaster, Chawla went on to earn a second Masters in 1986 and a PhD[10] in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Career
In 1988, she began working at NASA, where she did Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing concepts. In 1993, she joined Overset Methods, Inc. as Vice President and Research Scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. Chawla held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders. Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps. She joined the Corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1996. She spoke the following words while traveling in the weightlessness of space, “You are just your intelligence”. She traveled 10.67 million km, as many as 252 times around the Earth.

First space mission
Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space, following cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma who flew in 1984 on the Soyuz T-11. On her first mission, Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours in space.[11] During STS-87, she was responsible for deploying the Spartan satellite which malfunctioned, necessitating a spacewalk by Winston Scott and Takao Doi to capture the satellite. A five-month NASA investigation fully exonerated Chawla by identifying errors in software interfaces and the defined procedures of flight crew and ground control. After the completion of STS-87 post-flight activities, Chawla was assigned to technical positions in the astronaut office to work on the space station. 123

Second space mission
In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. This mission was repeatedly delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems such as the July 2002 discovery of cracks in the shuttle engine flow liners. On January 16, 2003, Chawla finally returned to space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on the ill-fated STS-107 mission.included the microgravity experiments, for which the crew conducted nearly 80 experiments studying earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety. During the launch of STS-107, Columbia’s 28th mission, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the left wing of the orbiter. A few previous shuttle launches had seen minor damage from foam shedding,[13] but some engineers suspected that the damage to Columbia was more serious. NASA managers limited the investigation, reasoning that the crew could not have fixed the problem if it had been confirmed. When Columbia re-entered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and slowly break apart. After the disaster, Space Shuttle flight operations were suspended for more than two years, similar to the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. Construction of the International Space Station (ISS) was put on hold; the station relied entirely on the Russian Roscosmos State Corporation for resupply for 29 months until Shuttle flights resumed with STS-114 and 41 months for crew rotation.

Death

Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which occurred on February 1, 2003 when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, with the death of all of seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.

Chawla’s remains were identified along with the rest of the crew members and returned to her family in India for cremation in a traditional Hindu ceremony.

See more!

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Community Compare-and-Contrast Chart of Open Source ‘Inexpensive Data Loggers’ | #CitizenScience https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/community-compare-and-contrast-chart-of-open-source-inexpensive-data-loggers-citizenscience/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/community-compare-and-contrast-chart-of-open-source-inexpensive-data-loggers-citizenscience/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 13:10:12 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241259

Spotted this handy logger comparison chart over in a post at PublicLab about ‘inexpensive data logging‘ devices – cool!

Digital logging of environmental data requires a device that can gather data from sensors and store it. Arduino microcontrollers are well suited for this task when a few components are added

Enterprising technologists have built custom printed circuit boards (Riffle, Mayfly logger) that combine an Arduino compatible chip with an RTC and a slot for a microSD card. These elegant solutions sell for many times the price of a basic Arduino (e.g., $60.00 compared to $6.00).

See the chart here.


Featured Adafruit Products!

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Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto – ATSAMD21 Cortex M0: At the Feather M0’s heart is an ATSAMD21G18 ARM Cortex M0 processor, clocked at 48 MHz and at 3.3V logic, the same one used in the new Arduino Zero. This chip has a whopping 256K of FLASH (8x more than the Atmega328 or 32u4) and 32K of RAM (16x as much)! This chip comes with built in USB so it has USB-to-Serial program & debug capability built in with no need for an FTDI-like chip. Read more.

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How to Make Crazy Wearable Game Controllers #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino @vizlabTAMU https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/how-to-make-crazy-wearable-game-controllers-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-arduino-vizlabtamu/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/how-to-make-crazy-wearable-game-controllers-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-arduino-vizlabtamu/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 09:00:43 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241971

Wearable Game Controllers

If you are sick of the plastic push-button controller from your game box, you are going to love this mashup of projects from Texas A&M. Students from the Visual Studio 305 class were asked to design wearable controllers for two games—Drop Alive or The Plan. The results included steerable sweaters, calming yoga robes, conductive gloves, swaying shoes and LED foot wraps. Many of the techniques rely on conductive thread, but there are also some flex sensors and pressure sensors in the mix. You can see there is a playfulness that comes from using wearables that typical handheld devices lack. The demos show more of a full body experience and there are certainly some great facial expressions.

If you are looking for a great workshop for your school or hackerspace, then definitely consider a shortened version of this class. A good microcontroller to consider would be our Circuit Playground. It has a variety of sensors already built in for movement, as well as a circle of cheery neopixels. It is perfect for wearables since it can be soldered or stitched, and the large pads allow for easy testing with alligator clips. So, get out of the box and add another dimension to gaming with soft circuits. Make sure to show us what you make!

Adafruit Circuit Playground


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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How to Make a Dress That Will Help Introverts #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino #DIY https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/how-to-make-a-dress-that-will-help-introverts-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-arduino-diy/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/17/how-to-make-a-dress-that-will-help-introverts-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-arduino-diy/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 07:00:53 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241964

Being an introvert can be quite frustrating, especially in group situations. It’s hard to feel comfortable and trying to make conversation can be challenging. That’s precisely why fashion design student Michal Stern created the Extrovert Dress; the dress is able to communicate even if the wearer can not.

I chose to create an extrovert dress that will help the introvert wearer to socialize with others. By being an introvert person myself, I found that the lack of direct eye contact within the conversation makes it harder for people to relate and understand me.

Typical body language of someone who is uncomfortable is to have hands in pockets. Michal used an Arduino to sense this gesture and trigger LEDs in the garment to signal distress. In order to solve the problem of eye contact, small eyeballs were placed around the neckline attached to servos. Using a microphone as a sensor, the dress can respond to sound with the eyes moving directionally. Although this may seem like a stretch for fashion, it makes sense as an educational device for people with Autism or Social Anxiety Disorder. Fashion is an interesting way to explore problems and I hope Michal does more work in this area. If you would like to create fashion that tackles an issue, you should definitely read up on our FLORA Microcontroller. With its selection of modular sensors and the ability to be sewn with conductive thread, there are many directions to explore. What will you have your clothing do?

Adafruit Flora


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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National Geographic on the Incredible Nodosaur Find https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/national-geographic-on-the-incredible-nodosaur-find/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/national-geographic-on-the-incredible-nodosaur-find/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 20:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241847

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Great read from National Geographic:

Nearly six years later, I’m visiting the fossil prep lab at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in the windswept badlands of Alberta. The cavernous warehouse swells with the hum of ventilation and the buzz of technicians scraping rock from bone with needle-tipped tools resembling miniature jackhammers. But my focus rests on a 2,500-pound mass of stone in the corner.

At first glance the reassembled gray blocks look like a nine-foot-long sculpture of a dinosaur. A bony mosaic of armor coats its neck and back, and gray circles outline individual scales. Its neck gracefully curves to the left, as if reaching toward some tasty plant. But this is no lifelike sculpture. It’s an actual dinosaur, petrified from the snout to the hips.

Read more

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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-199/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-199/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 10:00:30 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241630

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1718 – Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Italian mathematician and philosopher is born.

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Maria Gaetana Agnesi was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian and humanitarian. She was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a Mathematics Professor at a university.

She is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus and was a member of the faculty at the University of Bologna, although she never served.

She devoted the last four decades of her life to studying theology (especially patristics) and to charitable work and serving the poor. This extended to helping the sick by allowing them entrance into her home where she set up a hospital. She was a devout Catholic and wrote extensively on the marriage between intellectual pursuit and mystical contemplation, most notably in her essay Il cielo mistico (The Mystic Heaven). She saw the rational contemplation of God as a complement to prayer and contemplation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Read more.


1804 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, American educator who founded the first U.S. kindergarten is born.

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Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was an American educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children’s play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.

Peabody also served as the translator for the first English version of a Buddhist scripture which was published in 1844.

Read more.


1831 – David Edward Hughes, Welsh-American physicist, co-invented the microphone, is born.

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David Edward Hughes, was a British-American inventor, practical experimenter, and professor of music known for his work on the printing telegraph and the microphone. He is generally considered to have been born in London but his family moved around that time so he may have been born in Corwen, Wales. His family moved to the U.S. while he was a child and he became a professor of music in Kentucky. In 1855 he patented a printing telegraph. He moved back to London in 1857 and further pursued experimentation and invention, coming up with an improved carbon microphone in 1878. In 1879 he identified what seemed to be a new phenomenon during his experiments: sparking in one device could be heard in a separate portable microphone apparatus he had set up. It was most probably radio transmissions but this was nine years before electromagnetic radiation was a proven concept and Hughes was convinced by others that his discovery was simply electromagnetic induction.

Read more.


1888 – Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.

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In 1887, Tesla developed an induction motor that ran on alternating current, a power system format that was rapidly expanding in Europe and the United States because of its advantages in long-distance, high-voltage transmission. The motor used polyphase current, which generated a rotating magnetic field to turn the motor (a principle that Tesla claimed to have conceived in 1882). This innovative electric motor, patented in May 1888, was a simple self-starting design that did not need a commutator, thus avoiding sparking and the high maintenance of constantly servicing and replacing mechanical brushes.

Along with getting the motor patented, Peck and Brown arranged to get the motor publicized, starting with independent testing to verify it was a functional improvement, followed by press releases sent to technical publications for articles to run concurrent with the issue of the patent. Physicist William Arnold Anthony (who tested the motor) and Electrical World magazine editor Thomas Commerford Martin arranged for Tesla to demonstrate his alternating current motor on 16 May 1888 at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Engineers working for the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company reported to George Westinghouse that Tesla had a viable AC motor and related power system — something Westinghouse needed for the alternating current system he was already marketing. Westinghouse looked into getting a patent on a similar commutator-less, rotating magnetic field-based induction motor developed in 1885 and presented in a paper in March 1888 by Italian physicist Galileo Ferraris, but decided that Tesla’s patent would probably control the market.

Read more.


1891 – The International Electrotechnical Exhibition opens in Frankfurt, Germany, and will feature the world’s first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electric current (the most common form today).

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Prompted by the Paris “Exposition Universelle” (World Fair) of 1889, Leopold Sonnemann, publisher of the Frankfurter Zeitung newspaper, interested the Electrotechnical Society in the idea of an exhibition. The Society expressed an interest and started preparations in the same year. However, there was another consideration apart from the setting up of an international exhibition – Frankfurt had an urgent problem to solve. The construction of a central power station had been under discussion in the city’s political and technical committees since 1886. However, agreement had still to be reached over the type of current, and opinions were divided between direct current, alternating current and three-phase current. It fell to the exhibition to demonstrate a commercially viable method for the transmission of electricity. Three-phase current with a minimal loss of 25% would be transmitted at high voltage from Lauffen am Neckar to Frankfurt. This took centre stage at the exhibition and was evidenced in the large three-section entrance gate. The central section took the form of an arch bearing the inscription “Power Transmission Lauffen–Frankfurt 175 km.” Rectangular panels flanked the arch: the one to the right carrying the name of the “Allgemeine Electricitätsgesellschaft” (“AEG” – General Electricity Company), which had been founded in 1887; the left-hand panel displayed the name of the “Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon” (Oerlikon Engineering Works). The entire entrance was illuminated with 1000 light bulbs and an electrically powered waterfall provided a further attraction. With 1,200,000 visitors from all over the world, the exhibition was an out-and-out success. The cost of a one-day entry ticket for an adult amounted to a considerable 15 marks.

Read more.


1925 – Nancy Roman, American astronomer is born.

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Nancy Grace Roman is an American astronomer who was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences.

Read more.


1960 – Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser (a ruby laser), at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

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…As time went on, many scientists began to doubt the usefulness of any color ruby as a laser medium. Maiman, too, felt his own doubts, but, being a very “single-minded person,” he kept working on his project in secret. He searched to find a light source that would be intense enough to pump the rod, and an elliptical pumping cavity of high reflectivity, to direct the energy into the rod. He found his light source when a salesman from General Electric showed him a few xenon flashtubes, claiming that the largest could ignite steel wool if placed near the tube. Maiman realized that, with such intensity, he did not need such a highly reflective pumping cavity, and, with the helical lamp, would not need it to have an elliptical shape. Maiman constructed his ruby laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, in Malibu, California. He used a pink ruby rod, measuring 1 cm by 1.5 cm, and, on May 16, 1960, fired the device, producing the first beam of laser light.

Read more.


2011 – STS-134 (ISS assembly flight ULF6), launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the 25th and final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

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STS-134 (ISS assembly flight ULF6) was the penultimate mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle program and the 25th and last spaceflight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander. STS-134 was expected to be the final space shuttle mission if STS-135 did not receive funding from Congress. However, in February 2011, NASA stated that STS-135 would fly “regardless” of the funding situation. STS-135, flown by Atlantis, took advantage of the processing for STS-335, the Launch On Need mission that would have been necessary if the STS-134 crew became stranded in orbit.

Changes in the design of the main payload, AMS-02, as well as delays to STS-133, led to delays in the mission. The first launch attempt on 29 April 2011 was scrubbed at 12:20 pm by launch managers due to problems with two heaters on one of the orbiter’s auxiliary power units (APU). Endeavour launched successfully at 08:56:28 EDT (12:56:28 UTC) on 16 May 2011, and landed for the final time on 1 June 2011.

Read more.


2015 – BIG NEWS! Adafruit is manufacturing Arduino for Arduino.cc in New York, New York, USA @arduino #TeamArduinoCC

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This is our super big news folks! Today, May 16th, 2015 Massimo Banzi, CEO and co-founder of Arduino, announced at Maker Faire during the “State of Arduino” keynote that Adafruit is manufacturing Arduino’s for Arduino.cc in New York, New York, USA! We will have more details to share soon, for now – here’s a quote from our Ladyada and some about text for the press folks. Update: Here’s a post on Arduino.cc

“Adafruit and Arduino.cc have been working together on open-source software and hardware for almost 10 years in a variety of ways, this is expanded partnership and manufacturing is part of our collective goal to make the world a better place through the sharing of ideas, code and hardware with our communities. We’re currently manufacturing the ARDUINO GEMMA with Arduino.cc right here in New York City at the Adafruit factory, it instantly became a top seller and we’re looking forward to bringing our manufacturing expertise and processes to start shipping more versions and types of Arduinos right here from the USA as soon as possible!” – Limor “Ladyada” Fried.

Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Adafruit has grown to over 50 employees in the heart of NYC with a 50,000+ sq ft. factory. Adafruit has expanded offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. Limor was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine and was awarded Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the year. Ladyada was a founding member of the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council and in 2014 Adafruit was ranked #11 in the top 20 USA manufacturing companies and #1 in New York City by Inc. Magazine’s “fastest growing private companies”.

Read more.

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Falling Rhythm: Physics & Sound Science Activity #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/falling-rhythm-physics-sound-science-activity-makereducation/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/falling-rhythm-physics-sound-science-activity-makereducation/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 09:00:04 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241367

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Check out this great new tutorial from the Exploratorium Teacher Institute Project.

You can space weights along a string so that they make a regular rhythm of beats when they strike the ground.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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AstroPlant: How to Help Astronauts Solve the Food Problem #CitizenScience #Science #Space @ESA https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/astroplant-how-to-help-astronauts-solve-the-food-problem-citizenscience/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/16/astroplant-how-to-help-astronauts-solve-the-food-problem-citizenscience/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 05:30:18 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241793

AstroPlant Citizen Science Project

It looks like a toaster oven, but this modular unit is part of a project by Border Labs to grow plants for astronauts. The project, AstroPlant, is partnered with ESA’s (European Space Agency) MELiSSA, which is focused on creating sustainable extraterrestrial life. The team is exploring a solution for space farming and is set to use citizen science for testing. Although the project began back in 2016, this year’s hackathon in the Netherlands took the idea to prototyping stage. A post on SpaceRef describes the project:

AstroPlant is a citizen science initiative that aims to inspire home-gardeners, schools, urban farmers and enthusiasts to nourish seeds selected by the MELiSSA team. Data recorded via a smartphone app will be sent to ESA for processing.

According to the lab’s Meetup group, they recently pitched their project in Italy with a full mock-up including lighting, sensors and plants. They are attracting partnerships from companies exploring vertical farming and lighting.

Astro Plant Demo

For now the goal is to create ten kits, and once they have gathered feedback they will make the final kit available for citizen scientists. The group’s enthusiasm centers on open source solutions and they have been working with MELiSSA member Christel Paille, a chemist, in developing the kit. In fact, the team recently posted an early interview which helped to guide the idea. The considerations regarding plant data, environmental data and possible seed choices are fascinating. Christel is definitely in favor of the initiative.

“Getting the data we need on our own would take centuries because we would need to grow each plant ourselves. Using a citizen science initiative like this is new for ESA but has great potential.

I’ve attempted to reach out to the lab for a kit as they are taking pre-orders, so we’ll see what happens. For now I’m just happy to see a group of people with diverse skills come together to help gardens in space. If you have your own interest in helping gardens on this planet, you should check out our Wireless Gardening learning guide that will show you how to connect your little piece of land to the net. You would be surprised what you can do with an Arduino, a CC3000 breakout board and a soil temperature/moisture sensor. Get in touch with your earth.

Adafruit Wireless Garden

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One Day You Will Be Printed With Tech Sensors #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #3Dprinting https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/10/one-day-you-will-be-printed-with-tech-sensors-wearablewednesday/ Wed, 10 May 2017 09:00:43 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241135

3D Printed Tactile Sensors

Although I’ve seen conductive tattoos, creating 3D printed sensors directly on the body is something entirely different, as I’ve just discovered on Inside Science. Here’s the lead-in for their report:

Wearable technology may soon be at your fingertips — literally. Researchers have developed a pressure sensor that can be 3-D printed directly on your hand. The device, sensitive enough to feel a beating pulse, is made from soft, stretchy silicone that conforms to the curves of your fingertip.

It’s a step toward a more seamless integration of human and machine, said Michael McAlpine, a materials scientist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His team didn’t print the device on a real hand yet — just an artificial one. “But,” he said, “it sets the stage for future work in 3-D printing electronic devices directly on the body.”

Imagine 3D printing sensors/circuits on-site, when needed, and for injuries—this will probably make my top ten list for 2017, so definitely visit their post and check out the animation of the process.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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How to Help an Injured Parrot With Tech #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #3Dprinting https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/10/how-to-help-an-injured-parrot-with-tech-wearablewednesday/ Wed, 10 May 2017 05:00:24 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241060

ParrotProsthetic

This story comes from Penn Vet, a hospital I’ve used a few times here in Philadelphia for emergencies with my own pets. This adorable parrot named Pete was startled by a fox while climbing on his outside aviary and unfortunately lost a foot to the furry creature. I’ll spare you the photos showing the damage, but one interesting fact is that parrots reproduce red blood cells faster than humans, which is one of the reasons this story has a happy ending. The couple that owns Pete had problems finding an emergency animal hospital capable of dealing with exotic companions in their area and had to drive over an hour to get him to Penn’s Ryan Hospital. Luckily the bird was well received by Dr. La’Toya Latney, Service Head and Attending Clinician. Pete received great care, but unfortunately the injury left him with a stub for his left leg, which was a concern.

Typically, birds that weigh less than 100 grams tend to do well with one leg. Once that weight threshold is exceeded, though, birds often experience pain and arthritis in the remaining leg due to the additional weight burden.

3D Prints for a Parrot

A 3D printed prosthetic was needed, and luckily Dr. Latney knew someone with experience—Dr. Jonathan Wood, Staff Veterinarian in Neurology and Neurosurgery. Initial designs closely resembled the parrot’s foot, but they tended to crack as they weren’t able to withstand the weight. So, Dr. Wood teamed up with 3D loving student Gregory Kaiman, as well as Penn’s Biomedical Library 3D printing group. What resulted were more sturdy designs, which look a lot like tripod legs for cameras.

Parrot With Prosthetic

Pete is doing much better, but the team continues to work on improving his prosthetic as it is having problems staying attached. Certainly comfort is a factor.

One option they are exploring is a flight vest to keep the prosthetic secure on Pete’s leg. Since Pete tolerated the padding for his chest wound, the team is confident that he will adjust to an attachment system that goes under and around his wings. Another idea is to create a boot that is half solid and half soft. The top half would have a sock-like rim that would compress around Pete’s leg, securing it in place.

This is probably the most interesting puzzle for 3D printing I’ve seen in a while and I’m so excited to learn that it is happening in Philadelphia. Hopefully I can get a follow-up story as Pete progresses. Of course Pete represents so many other people and animals without limbs; hopefully in time open source 3D printing will make prosthetics more affordable for all. Believe it or not, our own 3D printing superstars, the Ruiz brothers, actually put a learning guide together for printing prosthetics for dolls. So often children do not see representations of themselves, so this is one small way that you can make children happy. Little things mean a lot.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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Students’ Brains Sync Up When They’re in an Engaging Class, Neuroscience Shows #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/09/students-brains-sync-up-when-theyre-in-an-engaging-class-neuroscience-shows-makereducation/ Tue, 09 May 2017 13:00:39 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240380

B16efx

Via SmithsonianMag.

When you go to a movie or a concert with your friend, oftentimes it seems that you shared a similar experience. Your brains, you say, are on the same wavelength. Now, neurological science gives that phrase some new backing. Using new portable headsets that monitor brain activity, researchers have found that the brainwaves of people who are engaged in the same class really do “sync up.

Thanks to studies performed in laboratory settings, we had an inkling that this might be the case. A growing body of brain-scanning research is beginning to reveal how human brains display synchronicity—likely a key factor that makes many of our cooperative behaviors possible, from performance art to team sport.

“If you pay more attention, you’re more in sync,” explains Suzanne Dikker, a cognitive neuroscientist at both New York University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands and a co-author on the new study. “Now we’ve gone out there and confirmed that this is true in a real world setting,” she says.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/09/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-198/ Tue, 09 May 2017 10:00:48 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240808

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1850 – Edward Weston, English-American chemist is born.

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Edward Weston was an English-born American chemist noted for his achievements in electroplating and his development of the electrochemical cell, named the Weston cell, for the voltage standard. Weston was a competitor of Thomas Edison in the early days of electricity generation and distribution.

Read more.


1893 – William Moulton Marston, American psychologist and author is born.

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William Moulton Marston, also known by the pen name Charles Moulton, was an American psychologist, inventor, and comic book writer who created the character Wonder Woman. Two women, his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne (who lived with the couple in an extended relationship), both greatly influenced Wonder Woman’s creation.

He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006….

…Marston developed Wonder Woman, basing her character on the unconventional, liberated, powerful modern women of his day. Marston’s pseudonym, Charles Moulton, combined his own and Gaines’ middle names.

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston wrote: “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

Read more.


1958 – Film: Vertigo has world premiere in San Francisco.

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Vertigo is a 1958 American film noir psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D’entre les morts (From Among the Dead) by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor.

The film stars James Stewart as former police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson. Scottie is forced into early retirement because an incident in the line of duty has caused him to develop acrophobia (an extreme fear of heights) and vertigo (a false sense of rotational movement). Scottie is hired by an acquaintance, Gavin Elster, as a private investigator to follow Gavin’s wife Madeleine (Kim Novak), who is behaving strangely.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California, and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. It is the first film to use the dolly zoom, an in-camera effect that distorts perspective to create disorientation, to convey Scottie’s acrophobia. As a result of its use in this film, the effect is often referred to as “the Vertigo effect”.

Vertigo received mixed reviews upon initial release, but is now often cited as a classic Hitchcock film and one of the defining works of his career. Attracting significant scholarly criticism, it replaced Citizen Kane (1941) as the best film ever made in the 2012 British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound critics’ poll. In 1996, the film underwent a major restoration to create a new 70mm print and DTS soundtrack. It has appeared repeatedly in polls of the best films by the American Film Institute, including a 2007 ranking as the ninth-greatest American movie of all time.

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2011 – 31 Stories of Small Business Success: Limor Fried @ Inc.com

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Limor Fried, who earned her masters in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, runs Adafruit industries, which sells do-it-yourself electronics kits. For every kit Adafruit sells, Fried posts design files, schematics for circuit boards, and any software code needed. She welcomes people to use the information, as long as they credit where it came from and post any modifications they make. She sees it as a way to foster innovation.

“For the most part, everyone finally agrees that open source software has been a success. It runs the net, it runs Google, it runs everything,” Fried said. “Millions of companies and billions of dollars are made possible by open source software. Open source hardware is just starting to take off.”

She also hosts weekly video chats with partner Phillip Torrone and blogs, because she sees the hardware she sells—things like MintyBoost, a backup charger for iPhones or any USB device, that is housed in a tiny Altoids can—as not just products, but part of a larger cause. “People want to see the world become a better place through science and engineering,” Fried said. “We’re going to need the current and future generations to get inspired.”

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How to Make an Observatory Excellent With Tech #CitizenScience #Tech #Science #DIY https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/09/how-to-make-an-observatory-excellent-with-tech-citizenscience/ Tue, 09 May 2017 05:30:34 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240896

IoT Observatory

If you dream of having a personal observatory, you will love this project by Manoj Koushik. Considering I found out about it through Particle.io, you are probably thinking there are some Photon microcontrollers involved, and you would be correct. Manoj takes advantage of the WiFi and other capabilities of the board throughout his observatory.

There are 5 photons used for the automation. One monitors weather conditions (rain, clouds, and sky quality through FWHM measurements etc.), two control power, and two control the dome (one for dome rotation and the other for dome slit automation and azimuth measurement).

Observatory Power Photon

Some of the magic is seen here with a Photon handling the power for all of the different equipment involved. To handle California heat, a Photon takes in info from a temperature sensor and kicks on the A/C when needed. Additional help is provided by venting with the use of automated shutters. The equipment is further protected since the shutters also have to answer to the Photon powered weather station.

Observatory Imaging Control

Manoj loves images of space and uses a Photon with various relays to control detailed operation of the cameras in his observatory. Although he has a multiple camera setup, the system allows him to select the one he prefers at the time. You can check out his images on Astrobin, as well as his code on Github. I love the the final outcome of this project, which is basically the ability to send a script and have everything automated, from the imaging to the shutdown of all the equipment. Make sure you visit Manoj’s post for more detail, and if you feel like you’re ready to take the next step with your telescope, then get yourself a Particle Photon Starter Kit. Not only can you tinker with it using your phone, but you can also deploy code using their IDE or web over the air. Let us know how you hack your system!

Particle Photon Kit

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Why Can’t You Use Your Phone on a Plane? https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/08/why-cant-you-use-your-phone-on-a-plane/ Mon, 08 May 2017 17:00:13 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240094

SciShow tackles a question we’ve all asked ourselves before but never got to the bottom of… because we were forced to turn off our phones.

Whether you’ve got the latest iPhone or the same flip phone you’ve had since 2002, you’re still asked to turn off your device before take off. Why is that?

Read more.

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NASA’s Nighttime Maps Trace Humanity’s Impact on Earth https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/08/nasas-nighttime-maps-trace-humanitys-impact-on-earth/ Mon, 08 May 2017 13:00:38 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240088

Lead 960

Via The Atlantic.

As seen from space, Earth looks quiet, and a bit lonely, during the day. Our blue marble is interspersed with the lush green of forests, but that’s about the only sign of life. It’s impossible to tell anyone is home, especially anyone who thinks, and moves around, and builds things. There are no political borders. There are no cities or ports or bridges.

But look at night, and you will see a very different planet. The world’s metropolises glow yellow-white, as if someone sprinkled the continents with a dusting of tiny stars. You can follow rivers, railroads, and highways by the communities that cropped up along them. You can see boats in the open ocean. Artificial light is arguably the clearest sign that Earth is an inhabited planet. And it is one of the best ways to see changes in how we inhabit it.

Read more.

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Why did the Jianianhualong tengi cross the road? https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/07/why-did-the-jianianhualong-tengi-cross-the-road/ Sun, 07 May 2017 10:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240363

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Gizmodo has a cool piece about a newly discovered dinosaur that may fill in the genetic gaps between dinos and birds. The Jianianhualong tengi also happens to look a lot like a chicken.

Meet Jianianhualong tengi, a distinctly chicken-like dinosaur that lived 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. This newly discovered species of dinosaur now represents the earliest known common ancestor of birds and closely related bird-like dinos, with a feathering pattern associated with aerodynamics. Its discovery is offering new insights into the evolution of feathers and flight.

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“Troodontids are a group of bird-like dinosaurs that together with the bird-like raptors—called dromaeosaurs—share their closest common ancestor with birds,” Pittman told Gizmodo. “Troodontids are therefore crucial in understanding the origin of birds and flight. These dinosaurs were extremely bird-like—and in fact, Jianianhualong tengi would have looked like a toothed, long-tailed chicken!”

Pittman says that J. tengi represents an important transitional form in the evolution of troodontids, a creature that featured large feathers on its forelimbs, hind limbs, and tail. The feathers on its tail exhibited a leaf-like arrangement, similar to another early long-tailed bird-like creature, Archaeopteryx (this creature also had asymmetric feathers, and lived 150 million years ago, but it’s not a true ancestor of birds).

Learn More

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Pilot Wave Theory and NASA’s EM Drive #SaturdayMorningCartoons https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/06/pilot-wave-theory-and-nasas-em-drive-saturdaymorningcartoons/ Sat, 06 May 2017 04:39:52 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240701

So NASA’s EM Drive might work, and it might not work. If it does work, nobody knows why. Except a solve for the good old quantum mechanics double-slit experiment might have an explanation.

The most famous interpretation of the double slit experiment is the Copenhagen interpretation, which has become the orthodoxy of our very strange quantum world.

The lesser known pilot wave theory swaps out the fundamental strangeness of the Copenhagen Interpretation for more total quantum weirdness.

Here are two videos from PBS Space and Time — one on Pilot Wave Theory and one on the EM Drive.

 

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‘Space Fabric’ Links Fashion and Engineering https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/03/space-fabric-links-fashion-and-engineering/ Wed, 03 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239822

SpaceFabric20170418From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discovered on Core77:

Raul Polit Casillas grew up around fabrics. His mother is a fashion designer in Spain, and, at a young age, he was intrigued by how materials are used for design.

Now, as a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, he is still very much in the world of textiles. He and his colleagues are designing advanced woven metal fabrics for use in space.

These fabrics could potentially be useful for large antennas and other deployable devices, because the material is foldable and its shape can change quickly. The fabrics could also eventually be used to shield a spacecraft from meteorites, for astronaut spacesuits, or for capturing objects on the surface of another planet. One potential use might be for an icy moon like Jupiter’s Europa, where these fabrics could insulate the spacecraft. At the same time, this flexible material could fold over uneven terrain, creating “feet” that won’t melt the ice under them.

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The prototypes that Polit Casillas and colleagues have created look like chain mail, with small silver squares strung together. But these fabrics were not sewn by hand; instead, they were “printed,” created in one piece with advanced technologies.

A technique called additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3-D printing on an industrial scale, is necessary to make such fabrics. Unlike traditional manufacturing techniques, in which parts are welded together, additive manufacturing deposits material in layers to build up the desired object. This reduces the cost and increases the ability to create unique materials.

“We call it ‘4-D printing’ because we can print both the geometry and the function of these materials,” said Polit Casillas. “If 20th Century manufacturing was driven by mass production, then this is the mass production of functions.”

Learn More


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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Adafruit’s Top 10 Blog Posts of April 2017 #StateOfTheFruit #AdafruitTopTen https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/02/adafruits-top-10-blog-posts-of-april-2017-stateofthefruit-adafruittopten/ Tue, 02 May 2017 14:32:37 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240221

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Here’s our top 10 most popular posts from April 2017.


1. How To Build a LEGO FIDGET SPINNER


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2. View All the ISO 7000 / IEC 60417 Graphical Symbols for Use on Equipment


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3. 64 Highlights of the Internet’s Early Years, from the First Webcam to a Net Art Gallery #ArtTuesday


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4. Earthing & Ground Explained – Also Chassis Ground, Signal Ground, Ground for Schematics, & More


5. Heat-Shrink Raspberry Pi Zero W #Raspberrypi


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6. Smart Irrigation System Made with Raspberry Pi #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi


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7. Watch Artificial Intelligence Lose Its Mind While Watching Bob Ross #ArtTuesday


8. Why the Power Symbol Looks the Way It Does #Design #Symbols


9. 360º Walking Tour Through Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei, the ‘Silicon Valley of Hardware’ by @RealSexyCyborg


10. GamePad Zero: a Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Rig inside an Original NES Controller #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

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Lili Guo’s Scientific Art | #ArtTuesday https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/02/lili-guos-scientific-art-arttuesday/ Tue, 02 May 2017 13:36:29 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239236

Influenced equally by Joan Miró and traditional Chinese drawings, with topics ranging from cancer drugs to RNA, biomedical scientist Lili Guo is also an accomplished illustrator and artist, creating covers for scientific journals, illustrations for textbooks, and artworks for science festivals. And the work is really nice!

See more here.

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A chat with Ron Howard after watching his Einstein series premiere #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/02/a-chat-with-ron-howard-after-watching-his-einstein-series-premiere-makereducation/ Tue, 02 May 2017 13:00:35 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239781

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Geoffrey Rush as Einstein? Sold.

Via Ars Technica.

Apollo 13 convinced Howard that audiences had more hunger for science stories than he’d assumed. “It surprised me pleasantly how interested people were in the science of it. The irony that there were virtually no computers then, and they had to use slide rules… I realized that none of these things were lost on the audience. In fact, it was very engaging. I learned that it wasn’t just the adventure or the emotion. There was an intellectual component to what was entertaining and engaging the audiences.” He then quoted Neil Degrasse Tyson to remind me that TV’s CSI broke the dam open for an even wider audience given the series had major characters applying scientific thought, as opposed to “odd characters hidden away in a room somewhere with a lab coat on.”

In Genius’ case, Howard winds time back and forth between Einstein’s formative university years and his late 1930s brushes with rising fascism. On the show, the younger parts of Einstein’s life tend much more toward the melodramatic, with actor Johnny Flynn frequently standing up to professors and family by way of elaborate rebuttals. Isaacson’s historical record is liberally twisted on occasion. For example, one classroom anecdote from the book is retold, but in Howard’s version, Einstein rebuts a teacher’s condemnation by walking up to the front of the class, writing an elaborate equation, and loudly declaring, “Speaking truthfully, sir, your mere presence spoils my respect for the future of Prussian mathematics.”

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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The Dynamic Brain Drawings of the Father of Modern Neuroscience #ArtTuesday https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/02/the-dynamic-brain-drawings-of-the-father-of-modern-neuroscience-arttuesday/ Tue, 02 May 2017 07:00:36 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239929

via HYPERALLERGIC

Santiago Ramón y Cajal wanted to be an artist and photographer, but his physician father encouraged him to go into the medical profession. Even working in neuroscience, the Spaniard’s interest in visual art ended up proving essential, and his illustrations continue to appear in textbooks and medical literature. The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, out now from Abrams Books, accompanies a traveling exhibition that opened this January at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota and was organized with the Cajal Institute in Madrid, Spain. Both the book and the show concentrate on 80 visualizations of the human brain by Cajal, often ordained the “father of modern neuroscience.”

Cajal was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1906, yet he remains obscure compared to 19th-century scientists such as Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur. Neuroscientist Larry W. Swanson writes in a book essay that this may be “because there is no simple means to encapsulate how Cajal and his contemporaries explained and illustrated the workings of the brain as a biological network in an entirely new way, a way that remains foundational to neuroscientists today.” Indeed, not every viewer will understand how he was able to discern the information flow of neurons in the retina just by studying specimens through a microscope, but with their clean lines and directional indications, the illustrations are visually striking.

From Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s autobiography

Like the entomologist in pursuit of brightly colored butterflies, my attention hunted, in the flower garden of the gray matter [the cerebral cortex], cells with delicate and elegant forms, the mysterious butterflies of the soul, the beating of whose wings may someday — who knows? — clarify the secret of mental life.

Read more

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How to Join the Challenge to Detect Plastic on Beaches #CitizenScience #science #plastic #environment https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/02/how-to-join-the-challenge-to-detect-plastic-on-beaches-citizenscience-science-plastic-environment/ Tue, 02 May 2017 05:30:50 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240184

The Plastic Tide

When I was young my father used to say, “Nothing good was ever made out of plastic.” He was an engineer, and although back then he was responding to the issue of products breaking easily, he may have also been referring to the product chain. Now plastics are everywhere, and innovators and scientists are trying to figure out the best way to deal with them, especially those in the ocean. Of course some of the litter ends up on beaches, and that’s where Zooniverse’s newest challenge The Plastic Tide puts its focus. Here’s part of their intro message:

Estimates are currently at trillions of pieces and counting, with over 60% of the oceans being heavily contaminated with plastics. With each piece of plastic taking over 400 years to degrade, our oceans, all marine life, and even our own health and livelihoods are in real danger of drowning. Despite this and the 8 million tonnes of plastics entering our ocean each year, researchers can only account for where 1% of that it ends up; our ocean surface. That begs the question where is the missing 99%?

The Plastic Tide ID

Drone photography of UK beaches is posted on the site and citizen scientists can identify the different types of plastic that appear. Strangely, the process of identifying bits of plastic in the photos is a lot like a mindful practice. This is partly because the photos resemble modern art with bits of sand, stones, shells and reeds. It’s also because the process really forces you to look closely at detail. The tools are easy to use including a cursor with a rectangle drag and pop-up menu choices. Some of the photo galleries turn up interesting compositions, like one with a skeleton of some marine life or another with tangles of fishing line. Although the photos are a disturbing recording of human intrusion, they also offer the chance to train a machine learning algorithm and identify the places that are most in need of help.

Although I’ve heard of successful beach clean-ups, this seems to be one of the best ways to really help the plastic pollution crisis. The people at The Plastic Tide have also decided to make things open-source. So, it’s possible that others could start posting images of their troubled beaches to add to the collection. If you want to learn more about the issue, check out the team’s description of the problem. I’m thinking this Zooniverse challenge might just be the perfect shore volunteer vacation option. Visit your fave shore by day and visit a virtual shore for a few hours by night. Be part of the changing tide.

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Robot vs. Volcano: “Sometimes It’s Just Fun to Blow Stuff Up” #robotics https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/robot-vs-volcano-sometimes-its-just-fun-to-blow-stuff-up-robotics/ Mon, 01 May 2017 11:00:12 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239688

Via National Geographic on YouTube

“Sharkcano.” It’s not the title of some campy summer blockbuster, but rather a real-world phenomenon that went viral in 2015, when scientists on a National Geographic expedition found sharks living inside one of the most active underwater volcanoes on Earth. Not surprisingly, the team was eager to go back and learn more, but how do you explore an environment that could easily kill you? You send in robots, of course.

“Our goal is to send instrumentation there to get meaningful data, but sometimes it’s really fun to just blow stuff up,” says National Geographic explorer and ocean engineer Brennan Phillips.

Brennan reunited with his 2015 expedition mates—Alistair Grinham of University of Queensland and Matthew Dunbabin of Queensland University of Technology and Director of GFB Robotics—to once again venture about 20 miles off the coast of the Solomon Islands to the Pacific Ocean’s violent Kavachi volcano.

Read more.

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How To Not Break A Mars Rover https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/how-to-not-break-a-mars-rover/ Mon, 01 May 2017 10:00:20 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239374

Tom Scott visits the Mars Yard! Video here.

The Mars Yard, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is one of the closest simulations of Mars that we’ve got. Admittedly, there’s a bit more atmosphere and gravity, but it’s the only way to test what might happen before sending commands to a rover that’s light-minutes away.

Read more.

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How NASA Visualizes Stunning Worlds Without Really Seeing Them https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/how-nasa-visualizes-stunning-worlds-without-really-seeing-them/ Mon, 01 May 2017 10:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239783

Images of space and distant galaxies are all over the internet, but where do they come from? This piece in WIRED shows how raw data becomes art.

EVERYONE LIKES A good space photo. They’re colorful, they’re otherworldly, they make an inoffensive desktop background. And that’s not to trivialize them: Artists’ renderings of exoplanets are gorgeous, imaginative visions of what it might look like to live your life circling another star, and they’re devilishly tricky to make.

Images sure don’t come straight out of space telescope looking press-release ready. Each visualization is the result of artists and planetary scientists collaborating to convert blips on a data readout into something that looks like a planet—all while remaining scientifically plausible. It’s a tricky balancing act that doesn’t always go smoothly. But the illustrations are genuinely useful. They don’t just get regular people fired up about exoplanets, they help scientists working on the systems articulate their work’s importance. And in the incredibly expensive field of space science, you’ve got to be exciting to get funded.

Read More

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How all the Mars-bound rockets stack up https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/how-all-the-mars-bound-rockets-stack-up/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/how-all-the-mars-bound-rockets-stack-up/#comments Mon, 01 May 2017 06:00:58 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239359

Rockets

Popular Science organized the rockets headed to Mars by size.

Like everything else in the 1960s, NASA’s Saturn V rocket set a mark for extreme. At 363 feet tall, with 7.5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, it lifted six moon-bound missions into space. Retired in 1973, it remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket our species has ever built. With moon missions on hold, we haven’t needed anything close to its capacity. Until now. As governments and private companies race to send astronauts to Mars, bigger is once again better—and necessary. Whose heavy-lifter is the biggest and baddest? Here’s how they stack up.

Read more.

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Why Do Astrophysicists Think the Universe is Expanding? #SaturdayMorningCartoons https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/29/why-do-astrophysicists-think-the-universe-is-expanding-saturdaymorningcartoons/ Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:45:38 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239719

Is the universe expanding? Is this an aftereffect of the Big Bang? Or is it still the big bang, and we’re still exploding? And if it is, is it slowing down?  As it turns out, it’s much, much stranger than that.

The universe isn’t just expanding — it’s expanding faster and faster and faster. Why? Nobody knows.

Learn all about in this cartoon from minutephysics

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Replacing Disabled Hands with Bionic Prosthetics https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/26/replacing-disabled-hands-with-bionic-prosthetics/ Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239219

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Scientific American has a hopeful piece on a new procedure for people who have lost sensation and function to a hand.

Some 1.6 million people in the U.S. live with limb loss, according to a 2008 study, and that number could more than double by 2050. Modern prostheses enable replacements of limbs lost to injury or disease. But people who lose functionality in an otherwise healthy arm or leg have had few options. A team of surgeons in Vienna, Austria, however, recently developed bionic reconstructions of the hands of 16 people who had lost manual control and sensation because of nerve damage. The catch: patients have to undergo a nonessential amputation of the damaged hand to make room for the prosthesis.

The approach improved hand dexterity beyond what would be possible with surgical intervention, according to the research, which was published online in January in the Journal of Neurosurgery. It also reduced the severe, spontaneous pain that can develop in limbs that sustain nerve damage.

Disabled Hands Successfully Replaced with Bionic Prosthetics Scientific American

Learn More

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We need a GitHub for academic research #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/25/we-need-a-github-for-academic-research-makereducation/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:00:42 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238919

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A recent article in Slate discusses the idea of using GitHub as a new model for publishing scientific and academic research, with the goal of making it more far-reaching and more relevant. One of the many benefits of the new GitHub-like model is a more comprehensive way of showing work, making it easier to include different forms of documentation (code, data from experiments, lab notes, etc).

The internet has profoundly affected every aspect of our lives—how we shop, how we bank, how we get our news, how we learn to samba.

One striking exception to this pattern is the way that academic scientists report the results of new research. As they have for centuries, scientists continue to write papers that summarize the results of their work and then submit them to scholarly journals for potential publication. Readers of these journals, for the most part, are other working scientists. The more prestigious the journal is, the better that is for the scientist’s career advancement prospects. The paper serves as the official and complete account of a given research effort, which researchers note in their curricula vitae as their chief credentials for advancement. No papers, no employment. Communicating the results of scientific studies remains rooted in printing presses and elegant typography.

This is a shame because the academic paper has some inherent limitations—chief among them that it can provide only a summary of a given research project. Even an outstanding paper cannot provide direct access to all of the research data collected or to the record of discussions among scientists that is reflected in lab notes. These windows into the messy and halting process of science, which can be extremely valuable learning objects, are not yet part of the official record of a research study.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/25/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-196/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:04 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239212

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1874 – Guglielmo Marconi, Italian businessman and inventor, developed Marconi’s law, Nobel Prize laureate is born.

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Guglielmo Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system. He is often credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”.

Marconi was an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in the United Kingdom in 1897 (which became the Marconi Company). He succeeded in making a commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists. In 1929, the King of Italy ennobled Marconi as a Marchese (marquis).

Read more.


1953 – Francis Crick and James Watson publish “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” describing the double helix structure of DNA.

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“Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” was the first article published to describe the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, using X-ray diffraction and the mathematics of a helix transform. It was published by Francis Crick and James D. Watson in the scientific journal Nature on pages 737–738 of its 171st volume (dated 25 April 1953).

This article is often termed a “pearl” of science because it is brief and contains the answer to a fundamental mystery about living organisms. This mystery was the question of how it is possible that genetic instructions are held inside organisms and how they are passed from generation to generation. The article presents a simple and elegant solution, which surprised many biologists at the time who believed that DNA transmission was going to be more difficult to deduce and understand. The discovery had a major impact on biology, particularly in the field of genetics, enabling later researchers to understand the genetic code.

Read more.


1954 – The first practical solar cell is publicly demonstrated by Bell Telephone Laboratories.

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Working with Bell Telephone scientists Daryl Chapin and Gerald Pearson, Fuller diffused boron into silicon to capture the sun’s power. In doing so, they created the first practical means of collecting energy from the sun and turning it into a current of electricity. The invention of the solar battery resulted in a 600% improvement in the ability to harness the sun’s power into electricity. First, Fuller ensured that silicon was uncorrupted and pure. Then Fuller accomplished the diffusion of boron into silicon. The inventors used several small strips of silicon to capture sunlight and render it into free electrons. Bell Laboratories, who had funded the research, announced the prototype manufacture of a new solar battery.

Robert W. Fuller, Calvin S. Fuller’s oldest son, tells the following story: “In 1954 I was home from vacation from college to visit my parents. That night my father, Calvin Souther Fuller, came home with something that looked like a quarter with wires sticking out of it. This was a device that connected to a small electric windmill that stood on the table. He shined a bright flashlight on the quarter-like object, which was actually silicon solar cell, and the blades of the windmill started turning. It was so exciting to see the flashlight power the tiny windmill. While this device looked like a quarter to anyone else, it was actually the world’s first silicon solar battery – a device that later become known as the silicon solar cell.”

Read more.


1961 – Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.

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An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or “chip”) of semiconductor material, normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip resulted in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC’s mass production capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

ICs were made possible by experimental discoveries showing that semiconductor devices could perform the functions of vacuum tubes, and by mid-20th-century technology advancements in semiconductor device fabrication. Since their origins in the 1960s, the size, speed, and capacity of chips have progressed enormously, driven by technical advances that allow more and more transistors on chips of the same size – a modern chip may have several billion transistors in an area the size of a human fingernail. These advances, roughly following Moore’s law, allow a computer chip of 2016 to have millions of times the capacity and thousands of times the speed of the computer chips of the early 1970s.

ICs have two main advantages over discrete circuits: cost and performance. Cost is low because the chips, with all their components, are printed as a unit by photolithography rather than being constructed one transistor at a time. Furthermore, packaged ICs use much less material than discrete circuits. Performance is high because the IC’s components switch quickly and consume little power (compared to their discrete counterparts) because of their small size and close proximity. The main disadvantage of ICs is the high cost to design them and fabricate the required photomasks. This high initial cost means ICs are only practical when high production volumes are anticipated.

Read more.


1983 – Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto’s orbit.

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Pioneer 10 (originally designated Pioneer F) is an American space probe, launched in 1972 and weighing 258 kilograms (569 pounds), that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity from the Solar System. This space exploration project was conducted by the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and the space probe was manufactured by TRW Inc.

Read more.

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How to Model Air Quality With EPA’s Helpful Tools #CitizenScience #airquality #science #environment @EPA https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/25/how-to-model-air-quality-with-epas-helpful-tools-citizenscience/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/25/how-to-model-air-quality-with-epas-helpful-tools-citizenscience/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:30:04 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239278

Recently I participated in a webinar with the EPA on using its community air quality modeling tools—C-Tools. This is a great set of tools for researchers, planners, architects and others interested in environmental issues (especially citizen science folks!). One tool allows you to work with mapping near-road air quality while the other allows for scenarios concerning ports. Here’s some highlights:

C-Line

  • Community Line Source Model (roadways)
  • Local air quality due to mobile sources in region
  • Computes dispersion of primary mobile source pollutants using meteorological conditions for the region of interest
  • Can adjust variables for traffic type (diesel trucks), wind etc. for “what if” scenarios

EPA C-Line Tools

C-Port

  • Community modeling system for Near-Port
  • Select port of interest
  • Look at terminal pollution, rail, traffic, shipping lanes, ship docking locations, point-source emissions

These tools are interesting because you can play with different scenarios like increasing diesel truck traffic, adding your own known point-source emissions or even overlaying results over other maps. The EPA is hoping to add another tool for analyzing airports, which should add an even larger piece to the air quality puzzle. What I like most about these tools is that they are designed for common people rather than experts, empowering all people to understand their own exposure. For those who are ready to take the next step in understanding air quality, consider doing an Arduino project. We have a gas sensor for indoor carbon monoxide and natural gas leakage detection, but don’t use it to replace professional equipment in your house. Making can be great, but nothing tops safety.

Gas Sensor

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Why outlets spark when unplugging – EMF & Inductors https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/24/why-outlets-spark-when-unplugging-emf-inductors/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:00:34 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239045

Via Physics Girl on YouTube

When we cut the electricity to an inductor, we get a sudden intense spark across the switch. This is known as inductive kickback or a back EMF and is produced because of Faraday’s Law of Induction. Not mean to be tried at home! The inductor doesn’t want to change its current, so the change in magnetic field creates an EMF resulting in a high voltage across the switch. #PHYSICS

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Playing With This Model of the Human Voice is Weirdly Addictive #MusicMonday https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/24/playing-with-this-model-of-the-human-voice-is-weirdly-addictive-musicmonday/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:36:42 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238809

via CDM

Anyone who’s ever had a voice instructor has been treated to long attempted explanations of what’s going on in the physical mechanisms associated with singing. But even though that’s inside your mouth and throat, it can be tough to visualize.

This Web simulator is doubly interesting. One, it demonstrates how synthesized vocal sounds can mimic the real thing. But two, and maybe more interesting, it gives you a sense of how each physical component in your body impacts the sound of singing. And that could make your next karaoke session somehow deeply enlightening.

Voice model here

See and hear more

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A 6-year-old’s science podcast: devoted listeners, top researchers, and the occasional burp https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/24/a-6-year-olds-science-podcast-devoted-listeners-top-researchers-and-the-occasional-burp/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:00:48 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239038

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Via STAT

On his podcast, Nate Butkus has talked radiation with a US government scientist, evolution with a Harvard researcher, and, most recently, genome-editing with MIT’s Kevin Esvelt. But ask him his favorite moment from the 28 episodes so far, and it has to be when he belched during a taping.

So it goes when the podcast host is 6 years old.

With help from his producer (his dad, Eric Butkus), Nate has parlayed what he says has been his passion for science since birth into a podcast downloaded about 4,000 times each episode and even an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’s show.

The show was born in 2015 when Nate, then 5, told his dad he wanted to start a podcast.

Eric Butkus works in multimedia at the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Butkuses, who live outside Chicago, had played around with the recording equipment there. (As Eric explained the history of the show in a recent phone call, Nate interrupted with an important update: “By the way, I just got a new fish!”) Eric, a former recording engineer, also had equipment stored away in the closet, so when the show began, he set it up for them in the attic.

Nate’s first guest was his mom (“He said, ‘Who do you want to call?’ and I said, ‘My mom!’” explained Nate, who is an only child) and then he had some family friends on. But since then, he’s spoken with scientists such as Yale ecologist Adam Rosenblatt, University of Michigan biologist Monica Dus, and Harvard Medical School geneticist Clifford Tabin. (“He has a PhD and everything,” Nate said as he introduced Tabin on the show.)

Most of the time, Nate picks a topic and Eric finds a guest, generally a scientist or author. But for one episode, they were contacted to see if they would talk with Huban Gowadia, then the director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Nate’s response: “Who says no to the government?”

Read more.

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New Electronic Labels Could Alert You When Your Milk Spoils https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/24/new-electronic-labels-could-alert-you-when-your-milk-spoils/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:00:26 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238469

Dr toby hallam prof coleman and phd student adam kelly jpg 800x600 q85 crop

Awesome new development via SmithsonianMagazine.

Coleman and his team have created the first-ever printed transistors made entirely of 2D nanomaterials. In other words, they’ve made totally flat electronics that can potentially be printed extremely cheaply. These printed electronics could have any number of uses. They could, for example, be used to replace traditional price labels in a supermarket. Instead of having an employee with a label gun walking around changing prices, electronic labels could update themselves automatically. They could make passports that renew themselves, or wine bottles that tell you when they’re being stored at too warm a temperature. As in the Harry Potter scenario, they could be used to make moving newspapers, posters and book jackets.

Coleman sees this technology merging with the Internet of Things to make even the most ordinary items connected. Your carton of milk could now have internet connection through its label, speaking directly to your smartphone to tell you when it’s begun to run out or go bad. Your bedroom window could offer continuous weather updates.

Read more.

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Horseshoe Crab Blood is a Medical Marvel – and It Could Be Endangering The Species https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/23/horseshoe-crab-blood-is-a-medical-marvel-and-it-could-be-endangering-the-species/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:00:27 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238976

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Popular Mechanics has a fascinating piece on Horsehoe crab blood and it’s use to biomedical companies.

Meghan Owings plucks a horseshoe crab out of a tank and bends its helmet-shaped shell in half to reveal a soft white membrane. Owings inserts a needle and draws a bit of blood. “See how blue it is,” she says, holding the syringe up to the light. It really is. The liquid shines cerulean in the tube.

When she’s done with the show and tell, Owings squirts the contents of the syringe back into the tank. I gasp. “That’s thousands of dollars!” I exclaim, and can’t help but think of the scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen is trying cocaine for the first time and accidentally sneezes, blowing the coke everywhere.

I’m not crazy for my concern. The cost of crab blood has been quoted as high as $14,000 per quart.

Their distinctive blue blood is used to detect dangerous Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli in injectable drugs such as insulin, implantable medical devices such as knee replacements, and hospital instruments such as scalpels and IVs. Components of this crab blood have a unique and invaluable talent for finding infection, and that has driven up an insatiable demand. Every year the medical testing industry catches a half-million horseshoe crabs to sample their blood.

But that demand cannot climb forever. There’s a growing concern among scientists that the biomedical industry’s bleeding of these crabs may be endangering a creature that’s been around since dinosaur days. There are currently no quotas on how many crabs one can bleed because biomedical laboratories drain only a third of the crab’s blood, then put them back into the water, alive. But no one really knows what happens to the crabs once they’re slipped back into the sea. Do they survive? Are they ever the same?

Scientists like Owings and Win Watson, who teaches animal neurobiology and physiology at the University of New Hampshire, are trying to get to the bottom of it. They’re worried about the toll on the creatures, from the amount of time crabs spend out of the water while in transit to the extreme temperatures they experience sitting on a hot boat deck or in a container in the back of a truck.

To that end, these two scientists are putting this strange catch to the test. The pair took 28 horseshoe crabs from the Great Bay Estuary behind their lab, left them out in the heat, then drove them around in a car for four hours and then left them in containers overnight to simulate what might happen in a bleeding facility. Then they bled half the crabs (so they’d have a control group that wasn’t bled). All of the crabs remained in containers a second night, as would likely happen at a bleeding lab. The following day, Owings and Watson put $350 transmitters on their backs, attached them snugly with little zip ties, and put the crabs back into the bay to see if they could make their way. What they find might have a lot to say about the future of this odd routine.

Read more.

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How to Make a Unique ISS Notification Pin #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino #DIY #NASA https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/19/how-to-make-a-unique-iss-notification-pin-wearablewednesday/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 05:00:57 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238483

ISS Notification Pin

NASA’s ISS (International Space Station) orbits approximately every 90 min., but most people have no idea it’s right above their heads. That’s why making an ISS pin was the perfect idea for my latest project. Actually the idea came when I first competed in the NASA Space Apps Challenge with my friend Brooks Zurn Rampersad four years ago. Of course back then we envisioned the Orbit Skirt, and since finding connectivity in a small package was tricky, the best we could do was represent an orbit around the bottom of a skirt with LED sequins and a Lilypad Arduino. One of the judges that was wowed was Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. He wanted to know when there would be a unisex version. The skirt ended up being one of the most unusual entries that year in Philadelphia garnering third place, and I’ve heard NASA is still telling the story.

NASA ISS Orbit Skirt

Luckily nowadays there are plenty of small microcontrollers available with connectivity, and I ended up choosing the Particle Photon which has WiFi capability. The microcontroller pairs well with Adafruit’s Particle/Spark NeoPixel Ring Kit, making the perfect shape for blinky orbits. The addition of an inexpensive plastic photo button allows for a NASA image of planet Earth, so no 3D printer is needed. The code ties in with the Space channel on IFTTT (If This Then That), a program that allows you to connect IoT devices easily through clickable applets. So, when the pin is in idle it shows a simple white blip representing the ISS, but on an actual flyby the LEDs do rings of blue, white and red, as well as multi-color. Of course there is no guarantee you will see the ISS because all sorts of light and weather conditions can interfere. Also, IFTTT mentions that there could be an hour delay. However, you will soon get a feel for just how frequently the ISS passes over your exact GPS destination, which is truly exciting if you are a space geek like me. So, I hope you NASA lovers will give this ISS Pin a try. I’m sending shout-outs to my classmates at NASA Datanauts, my NASA Space Apps Challenge friends who will be competing at the end of the month, and most of all to Brooks for going where no woman has gone before with orbits—ISS 4ever!!! Oh yeah, and if any of you end up making this project, please do ping me and I’ll make you famous on Jupiter or at least Planet Ada.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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What is the true shape of a black hole? https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/18/what-is-the-true-shape-of-a-black-hole/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238475

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Fun and exciting read from Scientific American:

Many of us have seen the standard artist’s representation of a black hole: a giant floating disk with roiling, glowing outer rings and an abruptly dark center from which we’re assured nothing, not even light, can escape. Such images are compelling, but they fail to portray the complex physical forces manifested by the black hole itself. When viewed through a real-life telescope, it turns out these cosmological beasts take a curious shape.

The first to accurately visualize a black hole was a French astrophysicist named Jean-Pierre Luminet. In 1978, Luminet used punch cards to write a computer program calculating the appearance of a black hole, and then—in what must have been an equally painstaking process—reproduced the image by hand using India ink on Canson negative paper. The resulting drawing, made of individual dots converging into a pleasantly organic, asymmetrical form, is as visually engaging as it is scientifically revealing.

Read more

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MBARI study shows that three quarters of animals in Monterey Bay produce their own light https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/18/mbari-study-shows-that-three-quarters-of-animals-in-monterey-bay-produce-their-own-light/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:00:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238590

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Exciting read from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:

You would think it would be easy to count the number of glowing (bioluminescent) animals in the ocean, just by looking at videos or photographs taken at different depths. Unfortunately, very few cameras are sensitive enough to show the pale glow of many marine animals. Below 300 meters (1,000 feet) the ocean is essentially pitch black, so animals don’t need to glow very brightly. Also most animals don’t glow continuously because making light takes extra energy and can attract predators.

Because of the difficulty in counting glowing animals at depth, most previous estimates of the proportion of glowing animals were based on qualitative observations made by researchers peering out the windows of submersibles. Martini and Haddock’s study is the first ever quantitative analysis of the numbers and types of individual glowing animals at different depths.

Read more

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Modulated LED: Physics & Perception Science Activity #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/18/modulated-led-physics-perception-science-activity-makereducation/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:00:31 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238115

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Another fun activity from the Exploratorium Teacher Institute Project.

Audio signals can be carried by radio waves or as electrical pulses in wires. Other forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as visible light, can also carry audio signals. In this Snack, you can build a simple device that will transmit audio signals from a radio or digital-music player via a blinking LED to a solar cell.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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