code – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! https://blog.adafruit.com electronics, open source hardware, hacking and more... Wed, 24 May 2017 08:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 ‘Reverse Engineering Furby Connect’s Bluetooth Protocol and Update Format’ #WarrantyVoided https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/reverse-engineering-furby-connects-bluetooth-protocol-and-update-format-warrantyvoided/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/23/reverse-engineering-furby-connects-bluetooth-protocol-and-update-format-warrantyvoided/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 13:49:59 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241737

Thanks to reader Mike for letting us know about GitHub user Jeija’s Bluefluff repo, which you can get a glimpse of it in action in the first video below.

With its Bluetooth Connection, Furby Connect is updated frequently with new surprises, like songs. When the antenna glows, this means Furby has something new to show you in the Furby Connect World app. Furby loves to share kid-friendly videos.

First things first: My Furby Connect “Dee-Koh” is safe and has not been harmed in the making of this. There is no need for physical access to the Furby in order to perform these kinds of hacks. This projects aims to reverse engineer / “hack” Furby Connect’s Bluetooth Low Energy protocol, graphics and audio format and eventually find a way to execute own code on Furby.

What I have achieved so far

  • Understand large parts of Furby’s BLE communication protocol
  • Open a secret debug menu in Furby’s LCD eyes
  • Control Furby’s actions, antenna color and LCD backlight
  • Control Furby’s emotions by setting his hungryness, tiredness, wellness etc. levels.
  • Get information on Furby’s sensor states including the antenna joystick, tickle / pet sensors and accelerometer
  • Update Furby with the official update “DLC” files from Hasbro or with my modified versions of those
  • Insert own audio content into DLC files

Read more.

Here’a video demonstrating the fluff code:

And here’s our own 2016 Furby teardown:

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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.

Read more.


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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Circuit Playground Express, Supported by #MakeCode | @Microsoft @MSMakeCode #MicrosoftEDU https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/19/circuit-playground-express-supported-by-makecode-microsoft-msmakecode-microsoftedu/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/19/circuit-playground-express-supported-by-makecode-microsoft-msmakecode-microsoftedu/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 17:47:39 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=242337

So cool seeing Circuit Playground Express inside the Microsoft MakeCode editor! And if you’re at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend you can check out the board live in person at the Microsoft tent – they’ll be building Circuit Playground Express Magic Wands!

The Microsoft MakeCode team is proud to announce a great partnership with our good friends at Adafruit Industries. Over the last several months we have been working together on a new educational physical computing experience that pairs Microsoft MakeCode with a new version of the Circuit Playground board, called Circuit Playground Express.

This new board carries over all the goodness of Circuit Playground Classic – small size, round shape, colored NeoPixels, etc. – but packs in even more sensors (thanks to the brilliant Ladyada), along with a more powerful processor. Circuit Playground Express uses our MakeCode magic to allow easy drag-and-drop programming from inside a browser.

Using either the visual block-based editor, or the JavaScript editor in Microsoft MakeCode, students can build programs to create custom animations, sounds, and use sensor events like “On Shake” to react to external stimulus. Here are a few of the cool features we’ve come up with:

Read more here.

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Using Scratch to Feed Hacker Values into Young Minds https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/15/using-scratch-to-feed-hacker-values-into-young-minds/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/15/using-scratch-to-feed-hacker-values-into-young-minds/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 11:00:48 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=241370

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Via Backchannel

Last year, I went to Nigeria with Mark Zuckerberg. One of the first stops on the trip was a program that taught kids how to code. When Zuckerberg entered the room, many of the young students had a hard time pulling themselves away from their projects, even to gawk at one of the world’s richest men. Facebook’s founder instead came to them. “What are you making?” he’d ask. And they would proudly say, “A game!” or whatever it was, and begin showing him how it works. Zuckerberg would stop them. “Show me the code!” he’d say, because, well, he’s Zuckerberg, and any occasion is ripe for an ad hoc programming review. And that’s when the kid would click on a menu that toggled from the game to the LEGO-like building blocks of a Scratch program.

This happened several times, with kids ranging from ages 8 to 15. In every instance, the maker of a cool project could clearly show this famous visitor how he or she had methodically implemented a plan. Zuckerberg was clearly impressed. As we headed up the stairs to leave the building, Zuckerberg called out to me, “Scratch! Have you heard of this?”

Oh, yes I had. Though it was not yet released to the world when Zuckerberg left Harvard to launch his quirky little startup, Scratch (developed just a couple of T stops away) is quickly becoming the world’s most popular computer language for kids taking their first bite of programming. Last year, over 120 million people came to its site, and many of them built and shared projects, at a rate of a million a month. “It’s the gateway drug for Silicon Valley engineering,” says Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, a Scratch supporter.

But I also knew that Scratch, celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, was something more than training wheels. A product of the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is steeped in a complicated set of traditions—everything from educational philosophy to open source activism and the pursuit of artificial life. The underpinnings of this tool subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, convey a set of values through its use. So while those kids in Nigeria were hopping onto a stepping stone to a computer science career, they were also absorbing a very specific and in some ways quirky set of values that could be called hackerish, in the classic sense. These values include reverence of logic, an unshakeable belief in the power of collaboration, and a celebration of the psychic and tangible rewards of being a maker.

Read more.

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#HowTo Internet: DNS Explained (BIND Software, TLDNs, $ORIGIN, CNAME, & More!) https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/10/howto-internet-dns-explained-bind-software-tldns-origin-cname-more/ Wed, 10 May 2017 14:27:39 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240720

David Both has another set of really good articles, this time about the Domain Name System which allows us, as humans, to use words and names for navigating the Internet while the computers and devices we’ve designed largely rely on sequences of numbers (themselves just bits and bytes) to communicate with each other. The first article is a good, broad overview and whether you’re setting up your first website on a commercial webhost or running a localhost development environment you’ll probably want to give it a read. The second article specifically addresses setting up and configuring BIND software for Linux systems.

Learn how the global DNS system makes it possible for us to assign memorable names to the worldwide network of machines we connect to every day.

Surfing the web is fun and easy, but think what it would be like if you had to type in the IP address of every website you wanted to view. For example, locating a website would look like this when you type it in: https://54.204.39.132, which would be nearly impossible for most of us to remember. Of course, using bookmarks would help, but suppose your friend tells you about a cool new website and tells you to go to 54.204.39.132. How would you remember that? Telling someone to go to “Opensource.com” is far easier to remember. And, yes, that is our IP address.

The Domain Name System provides the database to be used in the translation from human-readable hostnames, such as www.opensource.com, to IP addresses, like 54.204.39.132, so that your internet-connected computers and other devices can access them. The primary function of the BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) software is that of a domain name resolver that uses that database. There is other name resolver software, but BIND is currently the most widely used DNS software on the internet. I will use the terms name server, DNS, and resolver pretty much interchangeably throughout this article.

Read more here and here.

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NASA wants YOU (to make its Fortran code run faster) #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/09/nasa-wants-you-to-make-its-fortran-code-run-faster-makereducation/ Tue, 09 May 2017 16:00:12 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240902

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Via Ars Technica.

NASA has teamed up with two technology crowdsourcing organizations in an effort to put some of its supercomputer code into afterburner mode. In an announcement on May 2, the director of NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) launched the High Performance Fast Computing Challenge, an effort to accelerate NASA’s Modern Fortran-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, FUN3D.

Read more here and check out competition rules here.


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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Bjarne Stroustrup on ‘Why I Created C++’ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/08/bjarne-stroustrup-on-why-i-created-c/ Mon, 08 May 2017 14:10:11 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239482

In the late 1970s, Stroustrup applied the idea of “classes” to the C programming language to create a new language that allows for high level abstraction—but is efficient and close to the hardware.

Watch:

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Minecraft is coming to the classroom to help teach coding skills https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/06/minecraft-is-coming-to-the-classroom-to-help-teach-coding-skills/ Sat, 06 May 2017 09:03:43 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=240358

Via The Verge:

Microsoft announced a new code-builder addition to Minecraft: Education Edition, meant to help students learn coding skills through the popular game. The tool, which enters beta today for teachers and students at qualifying schools, allows players to use learn-to-code tools like MakeCode, Scratch, and Tynker to interact with the game.

In-game, the coding is represented by an actual helper robot that players will be able to code commands into. In the demo shown off onstage, using simple strings of commands in Tynker, the robot was able to be programmed to dig a pit to find water, but Microsoft notes that the potential extends as far as your coding skills. More advanced users will also be able to code commands directly in Javascript, without the friendly robot character.

Check out more on YouTube and at The Verge

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Programming as a Way of Thinking https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/programming-as-a-way-of-thinking/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/01/programming-as-a-way-of-thinking/#comments Mon, 01 May 2017 14:00:24 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=239703

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Via Scientific American

Programming has changed. In first generation languages like FORTRAN and C, the burden was on programmers to translate high-level concepts into code. With modern programming languages—I’ll use Python as an example—we use functions, objects, modules, and libraries to extend the language, and that doesn’t just make programs better, it changes what programming is.

Programming used to be about translation: expressing ideas in natural language, working with them in math notation, then writing flowcharts and pseudocode, and finally writing a program. Translation was necessary because each language offers different capabilities. Natural language is expressive and readable, pseudocode is more precise, math notation is concise, and code is executable.

But the price of translation is that we are limited to the subset of ideas we can express effectively in each language. Some ideas that are easy to express computationally are awkward to write in math notation, and the symbolic manipulations we do in math are impossible in most programming languages.

The power of modern programming languages is that they are expressive, readable, concise, precise, and executable. That means we can eliminate middleman languages and use one language to explore, learn, teach, and think.

Read more.

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PCA9685 Driver for Pine64 Enthusiasts! https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/21/pca9685-driver-for-pine64-enthusiasts/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:08:47 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=238344

Big thanks to Hlynur for writing in with this tip about their PCA9685 driver for Pine64 support!

Hlynur writes,

Pine64 PCA9685 python driver derived from the Adafruit
raspberry pi python driver. (works on pi 2 also), just wanted to share this
with you for the pine64 community

Repository here on GitHub.


Featured Adafruit Products!

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Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver – I2C interface – PCA9685: You want to make a cool robot, maybe a hexapod walker, or maybe just a piece of art with a lot of moving parts. Or maybe you want to drive a lot of LEDs with precise PWM output. Then you realize that your microcontroller has a limited number of PWM outputs! What now? You could give up OR you could just get this handy PWM and Servo driver breakout. Read more.

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Arduino Library for AD7193 4-Channel 24-Bit Sigma-Delta ADC with PGA https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/12/arduino-library-for-ad7193-4-channel-24-bit-sigma-delta-adc-with-pga/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 17:37:08 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=237629

Someone no doubt will find this incredibly useful for their AD7193-based project. Big thanks to Anne M. for sending this in! There’s a complete repo here on GitHub and further explanation of the code and tutorial here – complete with troubleshooting tips!

Anne writes,

I just created an Arduino library and tutorial for the AD7193, which is a high-resolution ADC with built-in PGA. Very handy for measuring very small voltages – such as thermocouples, load cells, etc. I’ve also started with a K-Type thermocouple example, which includes linearization routine and cold-junction compensation.

Read more.

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System on Chip Security Quotient: ‘Have a Hacker Mindset’ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/12/system-on-chip-security-quotient-have-a-hacker-mindset/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:50:21 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=237621

From ECC checks to voltage tampering, EDN have a shortlist of possibilities for ‘torture-testing your new SoC’s security quotient.’ I absolutely love this one line from the article: “One should have a hacker mindset while validating security.” Preceded by this one: “Validating security is more about targeting negative scenarios or attacks than just feature testing.” So on point!

The number of embedded electronic devices in automobiles – and most other products – is increasing with each new model, and this usually brings an increased need of connectivity. Connectivity can be between the devices within an automobile, or of SoCs with the outside world over wired or on-air networks.

Thus security has become critical for automotive SoCs and is essential to ensure that information is transferred without tampering. Security may include cryptography, digital signatures, MAC calculation, and authentication.

Read more.

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Bill Nye on his ‘codebreaker’ mom and how science teachers can change the world #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/11/bill-nye-on-his-codebreaker-mom-and-how-science-teachers-can-change-the-world-makereducation/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/11/bill-nye-on-his-codebreaker-mom-and-how-science-teachers-can-change-the-world-makereducation/#comments Tue, 11 Apr 2017 13:00:20 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=237141

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PBS NewsHour interviews the wonderful Bill Nye (The Science Guy).

“These are my people,” Bill Nye said ahead of his lecture to some of the 10,000 science educators who attended the National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) National Conference in Los Angeles last week.

When Nye, the well-known 1990s television host of “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” vivaciously told the hall full of teachers about how science will help “change the world,“ he was met with thunderous applause. But in fact, it’s this group — teachers on the front lines — who deserve the credit, Nye said.

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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MAX31856 Driver for FreeBSD https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/10/max31856-driver-for-freebsd/ Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:37:54 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=237532

Thanks to Gergely Czuczy for making available this driver for the MAX31856, for FreeBSD/RaspBSD:

Gergely writes,

“Hey,

I’m building my project on raspbsd(which is FreeBSD), and I noticed that
there’s no driver for this thermocouple of yours. I’ve put the stuff on
github, so if anyone wants to use it, feel free to.

Also, I’ve added a bit more powerful chipselect method, in case someone
needed to handle more devices on a single bus, like I myself do…

Have a nice day,
Gergely”


Featured Adafruit Products!

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Adafruit Universal Thermocouple Amplifier MAX31856 Breakout: Thermocouples are very sensitive, requiring a good amplifier with a cold-compensation reference, as well as calculations to handle any non-linearities. For a long time we’ve suggested our MAX31855K breakout, which works great but is only for K-type thermocouples. Now we’re happy to offer a great new thermocouple amplifier/converter that can handle just about any type of thermocouple, and even has the ability to give you notification when the temperature goes out of range, or a fault occurs. Very fancy! Read more.

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Debugging Multiple Binaries in Eclipse with GNU Debugger https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/05/debugging-multiple-binaries-in-eclipse-with-gnu-debugger/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 13:49:36 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=236547

Good bit of intel from Erich Styger over at MCU on Eclipse, who always gives solid Eclipse tips-n-tricks advice.

When working and debugging a bootloader, debugging can be a challenge: During debugging the bootloader, a new binary gets loaded into the microcontroller address space which is unknown to the debugger. As soon as I step into the newly loaded binary, I only see assembly code, with that ugly “No source available” in Eclipse:

But wait: GDB is able to do pretty much everything you can imagine, so here is how to debug multiple binaries with GDB and Eclipse, and to turn the above into something which is easy to debug:

Read more.

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Setup a Private Git Server with GitLab & #RaspberryPi | #Piday @gitlab @RaspberryPi #AllThingsGit https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/31/setup-a-private-git-server-with-gitlab-raspberrypi/ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 07:14:46 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=235557

Follow these simple instructions from ‘How to Raspberry Pi’ for using GitLab to establish a private Git server on your Raspberry Pi!

If you do some software development you most likely know GitHub, which is probably the most known web Git repository manager.

For those of you who would not know GitHub yet (just, stop doing management, do a real job, start coding) here is a reminder.

GitHub is a web service based on the software Git (which is a versioning software written by Linus Torvald) and which allows to host a project while providing many tools like the management of tickets (through the “Issues”), the compilation of statistics or the creation of a Wiki for a project.

So, today we will see how to create your own Git repository management server, with GitLab, an open souce GitHub-like, and the Raspberry Pi!

Read more. See additional tutorials here.

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Custom Firmware for USB + Serial LCD Backpack | @GitHub #python https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/29/custom-firmware-for-usb-serial-lcd-backpack-github-python/ Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:27:28 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=236035

This code is a complete rewrite of the Adafruit RGB Backpack code. This code adds GPIO, specifically input capability to the Backpack functionality. This allows the LCD to function as a simple remote terminal with up to 4 “key/button” inputs and/or “LED indicators” able to communicate over a simple 2 wire serial interface. The code also incorporates a number of other enhancements detailed below.

Read more here on GitHub.


Featured Adafruit Products!

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Adafruit USB + Serial LCD Backpack Add-On with Cable: Adding a character display to your project or computer has never been easier with the new Adafruit USB or TTL serial backpack! This custom-designed PCB can connect to the back of any 16×2 or 20×4 character LCD and does everything you could want: printing text, automatic scrolling, setting the backlight, adjusting contrast, making custom characters, turning on and off the cursor, etc. It can even handle our RGB backlight LCDs with full 8-bit PWM control of the backlight. That means you can change the background color to anything you want – red, green, blue, pink, white, purple yellow, teal, salmon, chartreuse, or just leave it off for a neutral background. On non-RGB backlights you’ll be able to dim the backlight (it’s on the same pin as the ‘Red’ LED) Read more.

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USB + Serial Backpack Kit with 16×2 RGB backlight positive LCD – Black on RGB: Adding a character display to your project or computer has never been easier with the new Adafruit USB or TTL serial backpack! This custom-designed PCB sits on the back of our ‘standard’ character LCD (16×2 or 20×4 sized) and does everything you could want: printing text, automatic scrolling, setting the backlight, adjusting contrast, making custom characters, turning on and off the cursor, etc. It can even handle our RGB backlight LCDs with full 8-bit PWM control of the backlight. That means you can change the background color to anything you want – red, green, blue, pink, white, purple yellow, teal, salmon, chartreuse, or just leave it off for a neutral background. Read more.

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Kimberly Bryant #WHM17 #WomensHistoryMonth #WomenInSTEM https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/27/kimberly-bryant-whm17-womenshistorymonth-womeninstem/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 04:30:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=236018

Adafruit womens history 17 blog

Kimberly Bryant is the founder and CEO of Black Girls Code and was named as a 2013 Champion of Change.

From Black Girls Code:

Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.

By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.

That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.

Read more from Black Girls Code, Tech Crunch, Fast Company and check out the video above from TEDx Talks on YouTube

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Readymade C# USB Human Interface Device Utility https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/20/readymade-c-usb-human-interface-device-utility/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:37:17 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=234628

Thanks to soldernerd for providing this handy library – files here, described here.

Have you ever tried to write a program that connects to some device via USB? I have done so a few years ago and was shocked how much of a pain that is (at least on a Windows plattform). I always thought there should be a nice little library that wraps all those uggly DLL imports, marshalling and COM API calls and offers a nice and clean C# interface to the outside world.

You can find the GitHub repo here and further explanation of the backstory here.

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Scratch Programming Projects for ‘Dice Maths Investigation’ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/14/scratch-programming-projects-for-dice-maths-investigation/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 15:42:14 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=234231

The video below is great! In it, Giles Booth fro Blog My Wiki! shows the results of a ‘dice maths investigation using Scratch‘ experiment he conjured up, and on his blog he also details how he went from analog to programming to results, like so:

This week I did a maths investigation I recall doing myself when I was at primary school – and that was a long time ago! It’s the one where you find out which total scores, if any, are more likely when you roll 2 dice.

My modern twist was to combine this with a Computer Science lesson and some Scratch programming. You could do this in almost any KS2 class I think, with varying amounts of support.

Watch:


 
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/2017/03/14/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-190/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:00:06 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=234539

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1592 – Ultimate Pi Day: the largest correspondence between calendar dates and significant digits of pi since the introduction of the Julian calendar.

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Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (22/7 in the day/month date format), since the fraction  22⁄7 is a common approximation of π, which is accurate to two decimal places and dates from Archimedes.

Read more.


1794 – Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.

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The modern mechanical cotton gin was invented in the United States of America in 1793 by Eli Whitney (1765–1825). Whitney applied for a patent on October 28, 1793; the patent was granted on March 14, 1794, but was not validated until 1807. Whitney’s patent was assigned patent number 72X. There is slight controversy over whether the idea of the modern cotton gin and its constituent elements are correctly attributed to Eli Whitney. The popular image of Whitney inventing the cotton gin is attributed to an article on the subject written in the early 1870s and later reprinted in 1910 in The Library of Southern Literature. In this article, the author claimed Catherine Littlefield Greene suggested to Whitney the use of a brush-like component instrumental in separating out the seeds and cotton. To date, Greene’s role in the invention of the gin has not been verified independently.

Whitney’s cotton gin model was capable of cleaning 50 pounds (23 kg) of lint per day. The model consisted of a wooden cylinder surrounded by rows of slender spikes, which pulled the lint through the bars of a comb-like grid. The grids were closely spaced, preventing the seeds from passing through. Loose cotton was brushed off, preventing the mechanism from jamming.

Read more.


1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, American dentist and educator is born.

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Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first American woman to graduate from dental school (Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866).

Lucy Hobbs was born on March 14, 1833 in Constable, New York. She entered the working world by teaching school for ten years in Michigan. In 1859, she moved to Cincinnati, intending to become a dentist. When she was refused admission to dental school, she began a private program of study with a professor from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery.

After studying dentistry, Lucy Hobbs started her own practice in Cincinnati in 1861. She soon moved to Bellevue and then McGregor, Iowa, where she spent three years. In 1865, she finally gained all professional recognition when she was allowed to join the Iowa State Dental Society. That November, she entered the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, where in 1866 she earned her doctorate in dentistry, becoming the first woman in the United States to do so. She later wrote, “People were amazed when they learned that a young girl had so far forgotten her womanhood as to want to study dentistry.”

Read more.


1879 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, is born.

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Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.

Read more.


1923 – Diane Arbus, American photographer, is born.

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Diane Arbus was an American photographer and writer noted for photographs of marginalized people—dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers—and others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal. Her work is said to be a formal manipulation characterized under blatant sensationalism.

In 1972, a year after she committed suicide (there exists a popular cliche of her being the Sylvia Plath of photographers), Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. The book accompanying the exhibition, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, edited by Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel and first published in 1972 is the best selling photography monograph ever, still being reprinted today. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story.

Read more.


1960 – Heidi Hammel, American astronomer and academic is born.

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Heidi B. Hammel is a planetary astronomer who has extensively studied Neptune and Uranus. She is Executive Vice President of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. She is the 2002 recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal given to a scientist whose communications have greatly enhanced the general public’s understanding of planetary science. She was one of Discover Magazine’s 50 most important women in science in 2003.

Read more.


1994 – Timeline of Linux development: Linux kernel version 1.0.0 is released.

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The Linux kernel is a monolithic Unix-like computer operating system kernel. The Linux family of operating systems is based on this kernel and deployed on both traditional computer systems such as personal computers and servers, usually in the form of Linux distributions, and on various embedded devices such as routers, wireless access points, PBXes, set-top boxes, FTA receivers, smart TVs, PVRs and NAS appliances. The Android operating system for tablet computers, smartphones and smartwatches is also based atop the Linux kernel. While the adoption on desktop computers is low, Linux-based operating systems dominate nearly every other segment of computing, from mobile devices to mainframes. As of November 2016, all but two of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers run Linux (the other two run AIX on IBM POWER7 hardware, that Linux can also run on).

Read more.


2012 – Adafruit experimenting with “Pi Plates” for @Raspberry_Pi – “Shields” for the Raspberry Pi

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A lot of folks are asking what and if we’re going to do with the Raspberry Pi. Since today is Pi day we can share some of our plans and experiments – we have a series “Pi Plates” for @Raspberry_Pi – “Shields” for the Raspberry Pi. Right now no one has shipping hardware so like everyone else we are waiting to get the read hardware to test our designs. We have a few ready to go based on the information out there and will have more later (and updated) once we test. There are no details beyond this and no ETA (don’t ask!) Please keep in mind this is an experiment, if something crazy happens we might not be able to do these of course. However – if someone gets an extra one and can get it to us to test we’ll give you a set of “Pi Plates” for the assistance if and when they’re done. At Adafruit we think we have the best line up of accessories for the Arduino and Beagle Bone, we think you’ll like what we have cooking for the Pi if it all works out 🙂 Once we have anything to show we’ll devote a segment on our weekly video show – ASK AN ENGINEER.


2014 – Adafruit’s FLORA in COSMO @Cosmopolitan #cosmo

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Leslie Birch’s FLORAbrella project is featured on Cosmo today, nice!

Runway fashion has plenty of weird moments (see basically everything here), but crossed with technology, it can get downright insane. From mood-sensing collars to clothes-matching LED umbrellas, these five products, shown at Tech In Motion’s Wearable Tech Fashion Show, may seem more Jetsons than Target today, but get ready. They’ll be your wardrobe staples in no time.

1. The Color-Sensing Light-Up Umbrella Struck by a surprise shower during your commute? In the future, you’ll always match. FLORAbrella, a LED-stripe umbrella, has a color sensor that can match its light to what you’re wearing — or display rainbow or raindrop patterns for days you’d like to mix it up. It’s a small consolation for getting soaked.

Read more.

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Wireless Medical Device Vulnerabilities: SCADA, Diabetes, and a ‘Theoretical Insulin Pump Attack’ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/08/wireless-medical-device-vulnerabilities-scada-diabetes-and-a-theoretical-insulin-pump-attack/ Wed, 08 Mar 2017 15:51:30 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=233570

This research paper is several years old now but might interest makers exploring wireless medical devices. The paper accompanied a Black Hat talk circa 2011 and is titled Hacking Medical Devices for Fun and Insulin: Breaking the Human SCADA System – the PDF is linked here.

A couple years later Jerome gave a follow-up talk to Black Hat USA that further contextualizes his research and endeavors:


 
Read more.

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Coming Soon: Rust Compiler Support for AVR! https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/03/07/coming-soon-rust-compiler-support-for-avr/ Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:11:30 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=233911

Exciting update from Dylan McKay on a Rust fork with AVR support:

I’ve been spending a bunch of time recently working on the LLVM AVR backend and integrating it into the Rust programming language.

In the coming months the Rust compiler should support AVR support out-of-the-box!

A few years back I started getting into Rust. Around the same time I started playing around with electronics and microcontrollers. After a bit I realised that the two would be a match made in heaven and so I started to investigate what it would take to get a Rust program running on the Arduino UNO.

I found a stale fork of LLVM on SourceForge and spent a few days updating it to LLVM trunk.

Two years later…..

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/2017/03/07/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-189/ Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:00:01 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=233727

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1765 – Nicéphore Niépce, French inventor, invented photography, is born.

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Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor, now usually credited as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in that field. Niépce developed heliography, a technique he used to create the world’s oldest surviving product of a photographic process: a print made from a photoengraved printing plate in 1825. In 1826 or 1827, he used a primitive camera to produce the oldest surviving photograph of a real-world scene. Among Niépce’s other inventions was the Pyréolophore, the world’s first internal combustion engine, which he conceived, created, and developed with his older brother Claude.

Read more.


1876 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the “telephone”.

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In 1875, Bell developed an acoustic telegraph and drew up a patent application for it. Since he had agreed to share U.S. profits with his investors Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, Bell requested that an associate in Ontario, George Brown, attempt to patent it in Britain, instructing his lawyers to apply for a patent in the U.S. only after they received word from Britain (Britain would issue patents only for discoveries not previously patented elsewhere).

Meanwhile, Elisha Gray was also experimenting with acoustic telegraphy and thought of a way to transmit speech using a water transmitter. On February 14, 1876, Gray filed a caveat with the U.S. Patent Office for a telephone design that used a water transmitter. That same morning, Bell’s lawyer filed Bell’s application with the patent office. There is considerable debate about who arrived first and Gray later challenged the primacy of Bell’s patent. Bell was in Boston on February 14 and did not arrive in Washington until February 26.

Bell’s patent 174,465, was issued to Bell on March 7, 1876, by the U.S. Patent Office. Bell’s patent covered “the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically … by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound”. Bell returned to Boston the same day and the next day resumed work, drawing in his notebook a diagram similar to that in Gray’s patent caveat.

Read more.


1917 – Betty Holberton, American engineer and programmer, is born.

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Frances Elizabeth “Betty” Holberton was one of the six original programmers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer…

…During World War II while the men were fighting, the Army needed the women to compute ballistics trajectories. Holberton was hired by the Moore School of Engineering to work as a “computor”, and was soon chosen to be one of the six women to program the ENIAC. Classified as “subprofessionals”, Holberton, along with Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Betty Jean Jennings, and Fran Bilas, programmed the ENIAC to perform calculations for ballistics trajectories electronically for the Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL), US Army. Their work on ENIAC earned each of them a place in the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. In the beginning, because the ENIAC was classified, the women were only allowed to work with blueprints and wiring diagrams in order to program it. The ENIAC was unveiled on February 15, 1946, at the University of Pennsylvania.[ It had cost around $487,000, equivalent to $6,740,000 in 2016. During her time working on ENIAC she had many productive ideas that came to her overnight leading other programmers to jokingly state that she “solved more problems in her sleep than other people did awake.”

Read more.


1922 – Olga Ladyzhenskaya, Russian mathematician and academic, is born.

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Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya was a Soviet and Russian mathematician. She was known for her work on partial differential equations (especially Hilbert’s 19th problem) and fluid dynamics. She provided the first rigorous proofs of the convergence of a finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations. She was a student of Ivan Petrovsky. She was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal in 2002.

Read more.


2013 – Limor “Ladyada” Fried speaking at UN -Fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women

The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013.

The Commission on the Status of Women (hereafter referred to as “CSW” or “the Commission”) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

The Commission was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946 with the aim to prepare recommendations and reports to the Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. The Commission also makes recommendations to the Council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.

Read more.


2014 – 10 inspirational women engineers and scientists, featuring Limor Fried

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Limor “Ladyada” Fried, the superhero hardware hacker, started AdaFruit Industries in 2005. Since then, she’s seen scores of accolades. In 2009, the engineer with an MIT MS in electrical engineering and computer science, was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her participation in the open-source hardware and software community. Two years later, Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Woman in technology. Also in 2011, Limor became the first female engineer to be featured on the cover of Wired magazine. And in 2013, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Like Ladyada, the New York-headquarter company she founded is a proven success. It pulled in $4.5 million in 2011 revenue, employs more than 50 people, and recently moved into a new 12,000-sq-foot space from which it ships hundreds of packages a day. Yet, the company is still in its infancy. Bubbling with potential, it’s surely one to watch for future growth.

So you’d think someone with this much success would be ready to take a break, right? Nope. She also regularly offers up her time and knowledge through Adafruit’s Ask an Engineer live video and interactive chat. And just this last Tuesday, Limor participated in the #NPRWIT digital conversation where select game-changing tech leaders shared a day in their professional lives via tweets.

Read more.


2014 – Team Adafruit is Going Bowling Tonight!

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The Adafruit team is going bowling tonight! We hit some major company goals in the last year and will be celebrating tonight with a bowling party. Check out our fashionable shirts with Adabot bowling logo designed by Bruce Yan! Read more.


2015 – Makers, hackers, artists & engineers – Community @google + reaches 100,000 makers!

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In 2015 our G+ community page hit 100,000 members – today we are at over 132,000!

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‘Data Watchpoint and Trace’ (DWT) Cycle Counting on ARM Cortex-M https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/28/data-watchpoint-and-trace-dwt-cycle-counting-on-arm-cortex-m/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:07:30 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=233083

Interesting bit of intel from Erich at MCU on Eclipse. In summary,

If your ARM Cortex-M has a DWT, you can use the cycle counter to measure the cycles spent executing code. That could be used for delay loops or to measure execution time.

Some ARM Cortex-M have a DWT (Data Watchpoint and Trace) unit implemented, and it has a nice feature in that unit which counts the execution cycles. The DWT is usually implemented on most Cortex-M3, M4 and M7 devices, including e.g. the NXP Kinetis or LPC devices.

Read more.

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SKIDL: Use Python to Describe Electrical Connections, Export Netlist for PCB Design https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/28/skidl-use-python-to-describe-electrical-connections-export-netlist-for-pcb-design/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:16:10 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=232452

Cool initiative from Dave Vandenbout of XESS Corporation:

SKiDL is a module that allows you to compactly describe the interconnection of electronic circuits and components using Python. The resulting Python program performs electrical rules checking for common mistakes and outputs a netlist that serves as input to a PCB layout tool.

Features

  • Has a powerful, flexible syntax (because it is Python).
  • Permits compact descriptions of electronic circuits (think about not tracing signals through a multi-page schematic).
  • Allows textual descriptions of electronic circuits (think about using diff and git for circuits).
  • Performs electrical rules checking (ERC) for common mistakes (e.g., unconnected device I/O pins).
  • Supports linear / hierarchical / mixed descriptions of electronic designs.
  • Fosters design reuse (think about using PyPi and Github to distribute electronic designs).
  • Makes possible the creation of smart circuit modules whose behavior / structure are changed parametrically (think about filters whose component values are automatically adjusted based on your desired cutoff frequency).
  • Can work with any ECAD tool (only two methods are needed: one for reading the part libraries and another for outputing the correct netlist format).
  • Takes advantage of all the benefits of the Python ecosystem (because it is Python).

Read more.

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How to Write and Run a C Program on the Raspberry Pi @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/24/how-to-write-and-run-a-c-program-on-the-raspberry-pi-raspberry_pi-piday-raspberrypi/ Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:00:20 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=232288

C Programming

Helpful guide from Circuit Basics.

The C programming language is one of the most widely used programming languages of all time. It is computationally faster and more powerful than Python. C is a middle level programming language because of its low level of abstraction to assembly language. High level languages provide the programmer with constructs, or commands that make it easy to do certain tasks like printing to the computer monitor, or logic functions like and, or, and not. Low level programming languages only give you access to the machine’s basic instruction set. C does have some of these useful constructs, but not as many as higher level languages like Python.

Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

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NASA Opensource Hardware #NASA https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/22/nasa-opensource-hardware-nasa/ Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:00:40 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=231322

NASA Open Source Software
Via code.nasa.gov

How To Publish

1: Submit a request to release your project as Open Source to your center SRA (Software Release Authority) at code.nasa.gov/#/SRA.

2: Receive approval from your center SRA to release as Open Source.

3: Register on github.com/join using your NASA email address.

4: Submit a NAMS request by filling out the HQ AGCY NASA GitHub Collaborator Form.

5: Meet with us. We can help you join NASA Org, build your team, or answer any questions.

6: Transfer or import your source code into the NASA Org on GitHub.

7: Update the NASA Open Source Catalog via a pull request to register your project’s meta-data at github.com/nasa/open-source-catalog.

8: View your project on code.nasa.gov and socialize! Email opensource@lists.nasa.gov or view help.github.com/articles/be-social.

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Start a Code Club in your school #piday #raspberrypi @raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/17/start-a-code-club-in-your-school-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:00:57 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=231810

Code Club films: start a club in your school

What do Tile Hill Library, Y Bont Faen Primary School, and Liverpool Central Library all have in common? Answer: they are all Star Clubs who agreed to let us film their club sessions last term!

We wanted to make some films that showed different Code Clubs in action, to help us spread the word about our programme and encourage more schools and libraries to start up clubs.

The week before Christmas we jumped in a car packed full of equipment and headed across Wales to visit Y Bont Faen Primary. Despite the fact that they were all a bit tired after their Christmas show, the children (and adults) were very energetic and helped us create a great film about how Code Club works in a school environment.

Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!e!

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Some Backstory on BASIC and a Question About the Future https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/15/some-backstory-on-basic-and-a-question-about-the-future/ Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:34:08 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=231030

While asking the question, “What Will Inspire The Next [Generation Of Technologists]?” John E. Jones IV gives some interesting historical context on BASIC. It’s a fun read for anyone who remembers – fondly or otherwise – learning the basics of BASIC and its likely foundational encouragement for learning more-modern programming languages.

Invented at Dartmouth College in the 1960s, BASIC is an acronym for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, and the idea behind it was to create an accessible language that college students could use to write their own mainframe programs without having to learn more complex languages such as FORTRAN and ALGOL. It existed in relative obscurity as a research project, as many early computing innovations did, until the late 1970s when it exploded, and we have none other than Microsoft to thank for that explosion.

Prior to dominating the operating system and office suite markets, Microsoft was a vendor of programming language interpreters and compilers. One of their first commercial successes was a BASIC interpreter for early popular systems like the Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari, and other personal computers based on the affordable MOS 6502 CPU. Because Bill Gates was able to design his BASIC to work on so many machines (and yes, Bill Gates did much of the programming in those early days) it fast became a popular tool on which early developers cut their teeth.

Read more.

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Nji Collins Is The First African To Win A Google Code-In Competition https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/15/nji-collins-is-the-first-african-to-win-a-google-code-in-competition/ Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:00:36 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=231307

Nji collins

Via Itechpost

Before there was Google’s Code Next, which is an educational facility that focused on teaching African-Americans and Latinos how to code, there was Google Code-in. It started in 2010 and is a global online contest for pre-university between the ages of 13 and 17. The participants complete “bite sized” open source programming tasks. 1,340 students from 62 countries completed 6,418 before the end of the competition. 34 teenagers completed 842 tasks and became the contest champions. To enter the contest, the participants only needed to have access to the Internet, a Google Account, a valid postal address and lastly, a valid email address.

Nji participated in Code-in, using all the knowledge he gathered from his two years of learning how to code. The Cameroonian teen mainly learned from online sources and books. Nji was in his last year at Government Bilingual High School, Bamenda, Cameroon when he joined the Google Code-in. Apparently, it was also the first time anyone from Africa took part in the contest.

Nji ended up finishing 20 of the given tasks, which cover all five categories given by Google. One task can even take a full week to finish.

Learn more about Google code-in below.

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Learning Python: using While and For loops #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/10/learning-python-using-while-and-for-loops-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 19:00:24 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=230996

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Via The MagPi

When learning programming in Python, you’ll quickly discover While and For loops. These are used to repeat blocks of code over and over.

Computers are great because they don’t mind doing the same stuff over and over again. Their hard-working nature makes computers ideal for doing grunt work.

Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!e!

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Practical Tips: ‘Security Hygiene for Software Professionals’ | via @zigg for @atomicobject https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/10/practical-tips-security-hygiene-for-software-professionals-via-zigg-for-atomicobject/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:11:32 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=230750

Matt Behrens has a quick-read article on what he calls ‘security hygiene‘ over on the Atomic Object blog. These are basic tips for software-minded developers and coders. From VPN advice to password management (a constant topic of concern, no doubt) to software sources and disk encryption, these tips are both useful and extremely practical. Most of them you can implement right now, or at the very least moving forward you should keep them in mind as you develop and deploy (and frankly regular users should be made aware of these topics as well).

As software makers, we face a unique threat model. The computers or accounts we use to develop and deliver software are of more value to an attacker than what ordinary computer users have—cloud service keys can be stolen and used for profit, and the software we ship can be loaded with malware without our knowledge. And that’s before we consider that the code we write has a tremendous value of its own and should be protected.


Padlock by Moyan Brenn. Used with permission under CC BY 2.0.

Taking responsibility for our security hygiene is, thankfully, not very difficult. Today, most tools we need are either already present in our operating systems or can be added without much effort. In this post, I’ll take you down a list of things you should consider.

Read more.

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Bypass ATSAMD21 Cortex M0 Bootloader with J-Link Commander https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/08/bypass-atsamd21-cortex-m0-bootloader-with-j-link-commander/ Wed, 08 Feb 2017 18:37:20 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=230543

Here’s a simple and interesting hack from Alexander Sparkowsky at roamingthings.de for using ‘J-Link to change the boot loader protection of a SAM D21.’

BOOTPROT defines the size of the boot loader in bytes. The defined boot loader section is write protected. So to (over)write the bootloader or write a programme without using a bootloader, this value has to be set to 0x7 which leads to a bootloader size of 0 bytes.

On the Feather M0 basic proto boards I used the BOOTPROT value has been set to 0x2 which results in the first 8k of the flash memory to be writeprotected.

The possible values are described in the SAMD21 datasheet in chapter 22.6.5. NVM User Configuration

Read more.


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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Adafruit’s Top 10 Blog Posts of January 2017 #StateOfTheFruit #AdafruitTopTen https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/02/01/adafruits-top-10-blog-posts-of-january-2017-stateofthefruit-adafruittopten/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:46:34 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=230247

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Here’s Adafruit’s top viewed blog posts from January 2017!


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1. Welcome to the Adafruit CircuitPython Beta!


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2. 42 of the Most Useful Raspberry Pi Commands @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi


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3. LG G3 teardown and analysis


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4. Hardware & IoT, Programming, Data, and More: 243 Free E-Books from @OReillyMedia | #ebook


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5. Adafruit’s Top Ten New Products of 2016 #AdafruitTopTen


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6. Build Your Own Death Star as a 3D Spherical Persistence of Vision Display #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi


7. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the “Star Wars Scroll Illusion” was discovered


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8. Raspberry Pi Spotify Box #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi


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9. Adafruit’s Top 10 Bestselling Products of 2016 #AdafruitTopTen


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10. Building a Motion Activated Security Camera with the Raspberry Pi Zero @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

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MIPI I3C Standardized Sensor Interface – Advantages and Disadvantages https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/31/mipi-i3c-standardized-sensor-interface-advantages-and-disadvantages/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:34:04 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229677

CNX have a simple table breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages – and other specifications – between SPI, I2C, and the Sensor Work Group’s I3C standardized sensor interface, announced in a whitepaper (link at bottom) late last year and made official earlier this month. You need to be a MIPI member to gain access to the full specification but the at-a-glance is useful for anticipating forthcoming sensor-based development.

I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) is one of the most commonly used serial bus for interfacing sensors and other chips, and use two signals (Clock and Data) to control up to 128 chips thanks to its 7-bi address scheme. After announcing it was working of a new I3C standard in 2014, the MIPI Alliance has now formally introduced the MIPI I3C (Improved Inter Integrated Circuit) Standardized Sensor Interface, a backward compatible update to I2C with low power consumption, and higher bitrate allowing it to be used for applications typically relying on SPI too.

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/2017/01/31/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-184/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:00:50 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229931

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1865 – American Civil War: The United States Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.

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The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.

Since the American Revolution, states had divided into states that allowed and states that prohibited slavery. Slavery had been tacitly enshrined in the original Constitution through provisions such as Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, commonly known as the Three-Fifths Compromise, which detailed how each slave state’s enslaved population would be factored into its total population count for the purposes of apportioning seats in the United States House of Representatives and direct taxes among the states. Though many slaves had been declared free by President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, their post-war status was uncertain. On April 8, 1864, the Senate passed an amendment to abolish slavery. After one unsuccessful vote and extensive legislative maneuvering by the Lincoln administration, the House followed suit on January 31, 1865. The measure was swiftly ratified by nearly all Northern states, along with a sufficient number of border and “reconstructed” Southern states, to cause it to be adopted before the end of the year.

Though the amendment formally abolished slavery throughout the United States, factors such as Black Codes, white supremacist violence, and selective enforcement of statutes continued to subject some black Americans to involuntary labor, particularly in the South. In contrast to the other Reconstruction Amendments, the Thirteenth Amendment was rarely cited in later case law, but has been used to strike down peonage and some race-based discrimination as “badges and incidents of slavery”. The Thirteenth Amendment applies to the actions of private citizens, while the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments apply only to state actors. The amendment also enables Congress to pass laws against sex trafficking and other modern forms of slavery.

Read more.


1928 – Irma Wyman, American computer scientist and engineer is born.

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Irma M. Wyman was an early computer engineer and the first woman to become vice president of Honeywell, Inc. She was a systems thinking tutor and was the first female CIO of Honeywell.

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1958 – The first successful American satellite detects the Van Allen radiation belt.

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Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.

Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (equal to February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.

Read more.


1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2: Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.

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Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) was the penultimate test flight of the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle prior to the first manned American space mission in Project Mercury. It was launched at 16:55 UTC on January 31, 1961 from LC-5 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mercury spacecraft No. 5 carried Ham the Chimp, a chimpanzee, on a suborbital flight, landing in the Atlantic Ocean 16 minutes and 39 seconds after launch.

Read more.


1966 – The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program.

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Luna 9, internal designation Ye-6 No.13, was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme. On 3 February 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft became the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, or any planetary body other than Earth, and to transmit photographic data to Earth from the surface of another planetary body.

Read more.


1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 14: Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lift off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

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Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the “H missions,” targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks.

Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell launched on their nine-day mission on January 31, 1971 at 4:04:02 p.m. local time after a 40-minute, 2 second delay due to launch site weather restrictions, the first such delay in the Apollo program. Shepard and Mitchell made their lunar landing on February 5 in the Fra Mauro formation – originally the target of the aborted Apollo 13 mission. During the two lunar EVAs, 42.80 kilograms (94.35 lb) of Moon rocks were collected, and several scientific experiments were performed. Shepard hit two golf balls on the lunar surface with a makeshift club he had brought with him. Shepard and Mitchell spent 33½ hours on the Moon, with almost 9½ hours of EVA.

In the aftermath of Apollo 13, several modifications had been made to the Service Module electrical power system to prevent a repeat of that accident, including a redesign of the oxygen tanks and the addition of a third tank.

While Shepard and Mitchell were on the surface, Roosa remained in lunar orbit aboard the Command/Service Module Kitty Hawk, performing scientific experiments and photographing the Moon, including the landing site of the future Apollo 16 mission. He took several hundred seeds on the mission, many of which were germinated on return, resulting in the so-called Moon trees. Shepard, Roosa, and Mitchell landed in the Pacific Ocean on February 9.

Read more.


2010 – Avatar becomes the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide.

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Avatar (marketed as James Cameron’s Avatar) is a 2009 American epic science fiction film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are colonizing Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, in order to mine the mineral unobtanium, a room-temperature superconductor. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na’vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film’s title refers to a genetically engineered Na’vi body with the mind of a remotely located human that is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.

Development of Avatar began in 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, for a planned release in 1999, but according to Cameron, the necessary technology was not yet available to achieve his vision of the film. Work on the language of the film’s extraterrestrial beings began in 2005, and Cameron began developing the screenplay and fictional universe in early 2006. Avatar was officially budgeted at $237 million. Other estimates put the cost between $280 million and $310 million for production and at $150 million for promotion. The film made extensive use of new motion capture filming techniques, and was released for traditional viewing, 3D viewing (using the RealD 3D, Dolby 3D, XpanD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats), and for “4D” experiences in select South Korean theaters. The stereoscopic filmmaking was touted as a breakthrough in cinematic technology.

Avatar premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was internationally released on December 16 and in the United States and Canada on December 18, to positive critical reviews, with critics highly praising its groundbreaking visual effects. During its theatrical run, the film broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time, as well as in the United States and Canada, surpassing Titanic, which had held those records for twelve years (and was also directed by Cameron). It also became the first film to gross more than $2 billion and the best-selling film of 2010 in the United States. Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three, for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. Following the film’s success, Cameron signed with 20th Century Fox to produce three sequels, making Avatar the first of a planned tetralogy. On April 14, 2016, Cameron confirmed that there were now plans for four sequels. Avatar 2 is scheduled for release in December 2018, with the sequels following in December 2020, 2022, and 2023, respectively.

Read more.


2014 – Collin’s Lab: Multimeters released

The multimeter – an engineer’s eyes & ears inside a circuit. Join Ladyada & I as we explore vital techniques for multimeter usage as well as specific meter types & their specialized tasks.

I’m proud to announce that this video marks the return of the Collin’s Lab series to the realms of the internet. Great to be back & we’ve got much more technologies, techniques, & tutorials to traverse. Do stay tuned!

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Designing a race car with open source tools https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/29/designing-a-race-car-with-open-source-tools/ Sun, 29 Jan 2017 08:00:34 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229730

Linux kernel developer Dave Chinner spoke at a linux.conf.au recently about designing a race car. Thanks to Drew for sharing!

After I ran out of talent and had a high speed encounter with an immovable object in May 2016, I needed to build a new race car. The car I crashed is somewhat unique for many reasons – it’s a Locost Clubman. The car has a space frame chassis, based on the original 1957 Lotus 7 designed by Colin Chapman. In the early 1990s, Ron Champion published a Haynes manual titled “Build your own sports car for as little as £250” which was a step by step guide to fabricating and building the entire car. Essentially, it was the source code for the car.

Read more.

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Hello World: A new computing and digital making magazine educators #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/27/hello-world-a-new-computing-and-digital-making-magazine-educators-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:00:22 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229570

Check out Hello World, a new magazine written by educators for educators.

Hello World is a new 100-page magazine dedicated to helping educators bring computing and digital making to young people all over the world. Written by educators, for educators, Hello World is the perfect platform for the community to inspire ideas, share experiences, and learn from each other.

The magazine, published three times per year, is available entirely free as a Creative Commons PDF download. You can also buy the magazine in print, or subscribe for a year. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Hello World is available in print, free of charge, for UK-based educators.

Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!e!

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Adafruit’s DC & Stepper Motor HAT library ported to Android Things #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/27/adafruits-dc-stepper-motor-hat-library-ported-to-android-things-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 15:00:53 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229565

Via zugaldia on GitHub

This is a port of the original Python library from Adafruit to Android Things. Please note this is still a work in progress, as only DC motors are supported (contributions to support stepper motors are most welcome though).

See it here


Featured Adafruit Product!

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Adafruit DC & Stepper Motor HAT for Raspberry Pi – Mini Kit: Let your robotic dreams come true with the new DC+Stepper Motor HAT from Adafruit. This Raspberry Pi add-on is perfect for any motion project as it can drive up to 4 DC or 2 Stepper motors with full PWM speed control. Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!e!

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VL53L0X Python interface on Raspberry Pi #piday #Raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/27/vl53l0x-python-interface-on-raspberry-pi-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/27/vl53l0x-python-interface-on-raspberry-pi-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/#comments Fri, 27 Jan 2017 08:00:46 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229561

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Thanks to John for sharing with us! VL53L0X Python interface on Raspberry Pi He writes:

In working on autonomous robotics research, I recently came across the VL53L0X ToF sensor and obtained several from Adafruit. After verifying that the accuracy really is as advertised, I wanted to add this to my autonomous rover but the rover is entirely written in python on the Raspberry Pi. There are a few python interfaces available for the VL53L0X but they are limited in ability and do not work consistently. What I wanted was a python version of the ST library so all capability/configurability could be utilized but porting that entire library to python was too significant of an undertaking so I decided to create a python extension to interface to the ST Library. This python extension has a simplified interface to the library for common usage but also provides full access to all the ST library functions if necessary. This is what I would consider “beta” quality but works well enough that I wanted to share with others to advance development.

Read more.


Featured Adafruit Product!

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Adafruit VL53L0X Time of Flight Distance Sensor – ~30 to 1000mm: The VL53L0X is a Time of Flight distance sensor like no other you’ve used! The sensor contains a very tiny invisible laser source, and a matching sensor. The VL53L0X can detect the “time of flight”, or how long the light has taken to bounce back to the sensor. Since it uses a very narrow light source, it is good for determining distance of only the surface directly in front of it. Unlike sonars that bounce ultrasonic waves, the ‘cone’ of sensing is very narrow. Unlike IR distance sensors that try to measure the amount of light bounced, the VL53L0x is much more precise and doesn’t have linearity problems or ‘double imaging’ where you can’t tell if an object is very far or very close. Read more.


3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!e!

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‘ATtiny10 Nyan Cat’ PCB with Rainbow Wires, 0603 SMT. Nya nya nya! #NyanCat https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/24/attiny10-nyan-cat-pcb-with-rainbow-wires-0603-smt-nya-nya-nya-nyancat/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:21:00 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=229236

These little ‘nyan cat’ PCBs look great and could be a fun test kit for anyone interested in getting started with 0603 SMT. There are just a few components on the rear including the ATtiny 10, resistor, piezo buzzer and wire connections, along with the two LEDs on the front that act as blinking eyes – see video below for demo.

Thanks Drew for sending this in and to Radomir Dopieralski for sharing this project here on Hackaday.io!


 
Read more.

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Blobless Linux on Raspberry Pi (rpi-open-firmware) #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/20/blobless-linux-on-raspberry-pi-rpi-open-firmware-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:00:21 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=228624

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Via crna.cc

While there was a brief hiatus in the development of the open firmware for Raspberry Pi, we can now boot Linux straight from bootcode.bin (note, this does require an initrd built in with zImage as there are still issues with eMMC working reliably at boot).

We are also currently investigating and getting closer to getting the following working:

  • SB PHY: Preliminary driver for USB PHY initialisation is ready but USB itself relies on the DMA engine working and we’re still figuring that out.
  • Centralised power and clock management drivers in the firmware (already used for BCM2708PowerDomainARM and
  • BCM2708PowerDomainImage)
  • eMMC (SDHOST) driver reliability (at the moment it seems to have 1 in 100 or so failure rate, requiring a reboot).
  • eMMC (SDHOST) teardown for the Linux kernel.

The current trunk of the rpi-open-firmware is able to boot a minimal Linux kernel image, you will need cmdline.txt, rpi.dtb (compiled device tree for your rPi model) and zImage on your boot partition (same place bootcode.bin resides). You’re encouraged to build a minimal kernel and try it out (a good starting point is this .config file that you could use for your kernel build using the latest Linux kernel, which also includes correctly configured early printk stuff).

Read more.


2358Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

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GM and Girls Who Code partner for after-school STEM program #MakerEducation https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/17/gm-and-girls-who-code-partner-for-after-school-stem-program-makereducation/ Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00:03 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=228012

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Via Engagdet.

As technology jobs continue to rise in importance, a troubling statistic shows that the number of women in the computing workforce dropped from 37 percent in 1995 to only 24 percent today. That’s a staggering drop, and one that the education program Girls Who Code is hoping to reverse. Today automaker GM announced it’s giving Girls Who Code a $250,000 grant to help bring after-school STEM clubs to thousands of underserved areas.

GM CEO Mary Barra says that her engineering education helped pave the way for her career. The automaker will not only be giving Girls Who Code a grant, but some of GM’s top female leaders will also be mentoring students and talking about the possibilities of a STEM-focused education.

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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Watch Black Girls Code members interview the stars of Hidden Figures #WomenInSTEM https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/16/watch-black-girls-code-interview-the-stars-of-hidden-figures-womeninstem/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 19:00:01 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=228139

Check out more at Future Katherine Johnsons

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AmieDD talks about being a lady maker, embracing failure and more #WomenInSTEM https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/15/amiedd-talks-about-being-a-lady-maker-embracing-failure-and-more-womeninstem/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 08:00:05 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=227964

Check out more from AmieDD here!

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‘Cookie Caster’ Creates 3D-Printable Models for Custom Cookie Shapes #3DThursday #3DPrinting https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/12/cookie-caster-creates-3d-printable-models-for-custom-cookie-shapes-3dthursday-3dprinting/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:14:08 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=227873

Have an idea or shape that you’d really like to translate into a cookie cutter shape, but don’t have the chops to learn 3D modeling or scale everything accordingly for 3D-printing? Cookie Caster solves all of that with a simple pen drawing or tracing interface to create custom shapes that automatically render and can be exported for sending to a 3D-printing service.

For example here’s my initial ‘N’ drawn in about 10 seconds flat:

CookieCaster provides a free service to create a 3D printable model of your cookie cutter.

You can adjust settings like the max size of the print, the height of the print (in accordance with how thick you want your cookies to be!), and thickness of the model (i.e how thick or thin you want the print to be, which will effect costs and weight depending on the material used).

You can see more examples of user-created cookie shapes in their Gallery. Below you can see recognizable shapes such as a blimp, roller skate, beehive, or even a slice of pizza (the little lip on the crust is a nice touch!):

Thanks to Donald Bell’s Maker Project Lab Update #15 for tipping me off to the site!

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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/10/time-travel-tuesday-timetravel-a-look-back-at-the-adafruit-maker-science-technology-and-engineering-world-181/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:00:24 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=227606

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1898 – Katharine Burr Blodgett, American physicist and engineer, is born.

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Katharine Burr Blodgett was an American scientific researcher. She was the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge, in 1926. After receiving her master’s degree, she was hired by General Electric, where she invented low-reflectance “invisible” glass.

Read more.


1907 – Gordon Kidd Teal, American engineer and inventor, is born.

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Gordon Kidd Teal was an American engineer. He invented a method of applying the Czochralski method to produce extremely pure germanium single crystals used in making greatly improved transistors. He, together with Morgan Sparks invented a modification of the process that produced the configuration necessary for the fabrication of bipolar junction transistors. He is most remembered for developing the first silicon transistor while at Texas Instruments.

Read more.


1927 – Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.

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Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. He and his wife, Thea von Harbou, wrote the silent film, which starred Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. Erich Pommer produced it in the Babelsberg Studios for Universum Film A.G.. It is regarded as a pioneering work of the science-fiction genre in movies, being among the first feature-length movies of the genre.

Read more.


1962 – Kathryn S. McKinley, American computer scientist and academic, is born.

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Kathryn S. McKinley is an American computer scientist noted for her research on compilers, runtime systems, and computer architecture. She is also known for her leadership in broadening participation in computing. McKinely was co-chair of CRA-W from 2011 to 2014.

Read more.

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Wire and loop game with Raspberry Pi and Python #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/06/wire-and-loop-game-with-raspberry-pi-and-python-piday-raspberrypi-raspberry_pi/ Fri, 06 Jan 2017 19:00:19 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=227417

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Via The MagPi

Looking for a quick electronics challenge for the New Year? We love this Wire and Loop game by Christopher Barnatt.

“It’s the game where there’s a bent wire,” explains Christopher. “And you have a loop and you have to move the loop around the wire.”

“What I thought I’d do is take that game and add some computing power in the form of a Raspberry Pi,” says Christopher.

“It’s an interesting Raspberry Pi project,” says Christopher “and it might inspire to do other Raspberry Pi products.”

“More broadly it maybe will make us think about what happens when you take a traditional electrical thing and you add some computing power.”

The Wire and Loop structure is connected to the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi board. An LED is placed in a breadboard and a simple button is held in some Blu-Tack.

It’s a simple build. But it uses a more interesting take on the usual button and LED circuit.

“What I’ve got here is three GPIO pins in use,” explains Christopher. One GPIO pin is being used an output to run the LED, then other pins is being used as the contact for the wire and the third for the button.

Read more.


2358Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

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Proposals for ‘The Three Software Freedoms’ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/06/proposals-for-the-three-software-freedoms/ https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/06/proposals-for-the-three-software-freedoms/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:10:49 +0000 https://blog.adafruit.com/?p=226724

Naughty Computer have written up a proposal for The Three Software Freedoms – always interesting the timing of things like this.

In short:

    The freedom to study the software
    The freedom to modify the software
    The freedom to redistribute the software, modified or unmodified

Read their full, verbose definitions here.

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