.:: Sunday, February 29, 2004

Surplus Sales of Nebraska

Amazing selection of surplus gadgetry. They know what's it's worth, and people know where to find them, so don't expect crazy low prices on much of it. Do expect to find stuff you won't find anywhere else at any price.

Another surplus outfit, and a constant top-5 favorite of KineticWorld is Herbach and Rademan. Now these guys do have crazy low prices!

Posted at 10:34 PM by CTP  | 

Ambient Devices

When I toured the Media Lab at MIT a few years back they were working on applications like this quite a bit. Neat stuff...and it uses LEDs too, kids...woohoo!

From their site:
With Ambient the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered as subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light.

Current information interfaces are either interruptive or too detailed. For the first time in history, ubiquitous wireless networks can affordably deliver digital information anytime, anywhere. The result for most of us is cacophony. Ambient wants to make the world calmer.

Some information requires constant awareness. For some it's the status of their portfolio, or the health of an aging parent. Others want to know if their friends are online, the upcoming weather, the score of a game, if the fish are biting, or if there's heavy traffic on their drive home. These are examples of information that is neither worthy of interrupt (push), nor worthy of investing time (pull). This type of information should be glanceable, like a clock or barometer. We call this ambient information, and we've created the technology to deliver it.

Posted at 10:22 PM by CTP  | 

Welcome to SurplusLED

A new site selling surplus LEDs. The site is so new it has a few bare patches, but they do have a fair amount for sale already.

Posted at 9:56 PM by CTP  | 
.:: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Fully self-contained wireless (802.11b) video camera from Linksys

There are lots of webcammy things out there these days...why is this one different?

For one thing - 802.11b wireless networking built in.

For another thing - A "security mode" where the camera will email you a photo of whatever just moved across its field of vision...if you don't like what you see (or I suppose if you *do* like what you see) you can log into the camera's built in webserver and keep track of what's going on.

And for a third thing - it's $200.

The potential for good security, surveillance, and monitoring is huge lately, and this extends those capabilities another step...and not a small step at that. Of course the potential for abuse is huge here too - we'll have to see how this one fits into the current controversy surrounding these things.

I'm just trying to figure out how to use it in a piece of art...

Posted at 1:58 PM by CTP  | 
.:: Saturday, February 21, 2004

The Crucible : Classes & Workshops : Spring 2004 : Neon & Light Classes

The next session of Demystifying the Light Emitting Diode has just been announced...tell your friends.

Posted at 2:23 PM by CTP  | 
.:: Friday, February 20, 2004

Parallax BS2 Homework Board - and a course idea

Many of my students in the LED classes have requested a class in basic microcontrollers, in their case with an eye towards using PWM to make LED's light levels undulate gracefully, as well as operate other interesting devices and mechanisms. The board in the link above is the most likely one I'd use for this class.

Right now I am working on the plan for the class, but it will most likely be a 6 week course, focusing on:
Introduction to the world of microcontrollers (MCUs)
Introduction to PBASIC, the language used to program the BS2 MCU
Relay connections and programming
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
R/C Servo connections and programming
Stepper motor connections and programming

Let me know how this sounds, and if there's anything else you'd like to see covered.

ctp at recursiveirony dot com

Posted at 10:33 PM by CTP  | 


On March 20th and 21st, 2004 in San Francisco, California, ROBOlympics will be the first ever event to bring robot competitions and competitors together from around the world at a single place — showcasing the best human minds on the planet!

I don't know about that last statement -- maybe they'll be showcasing the best robotics minds who signed up to come -- but it still looks like a great time.

Posted at 4:48 PM by CTP  | 
.:: Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Tinkertown in New Mexico

Posted at 1:03 PM by CTP  | 

More on Jim Campbell

Posted at 12:51 PM by CTP  | 

Artist - Jim Campbell

Good stuff....go look

Posted at 12:44 PM by CTP  | 

Nixie Tube Clock

It takes a special kind of geek to even know what a nixie tube is.

You do know what a nixie tube is, no?

Posted at 12:17 AM by CTP  | 
.:: Tuesday, February 10, 2004

tickle robot - skin stimuli generator

This is an awesome example of personal robotics. A little tractor that navigates itself around on your person.

Be sure to watch the movie!

Posted at 3:53 PM by CTP  | 

Welcome to Kronos Robotics

Interesting MCs abound! This one's no exception.

Small, inexpensive, almost certainly PICmicro based, these look like a very cool item. I just ordered some Athena stuff to play with, so will report later.

The Athena chips don't have a lot of program storage space, but Kronos says their "compiler" is pretty efficient. Still, for many MC apps, the space they do have should be fine. The Dios chips boast a far larger program memory.

They are programmed in Kronos' own spin on BASIC - the IDE, compiler, and .pdf manual are free, btw - and all the support boards are quite reasonably priced. The Athena chips themselves are around seven bucks in singles.

Kronos also has a nice selection of project ideas and notes on the site.

Posted at 3:40 PM by CTP  | 

Machine Bus Corporation

This looks like a pretty cool little gadget.

It is an "8-bit port extender" for lack of a better name. Picture adding hundreds of I/O lines, in hundreds of spots, hundreds of feet from your computer. For the right application this could be quite awesome.

One could create their own out of most any microcontroller (read on), but for a ready-to-go product this looks pretty well thought out.

Drawbacks? Programmed in C, C++, and no BASIC option for the BASIC heads. No assembler option for the assembler heads. That, coupled with the $80 price tag is liable to make any barely proficient MC user just roll their own. With the ease of serial and I2C inter-MC communication it wouldn't be hard to replicate, in the dev language of your choice, using off the shelf stuff.

Posted at 3:29 PM by CTP  | 
. | 1000's of Museums Online | Best Art and History Educational Websites

Pretty killer resource. I tracked them down while specifically looking for exhibit and display companies. Lots of other resources there besides that tho.

Posted at 1:23 PM by CTP  | 
. - Embedded Systems Supersite

Looks like a pretty thorough review of the world of microcontrollers. Possibly over most of our heads, as far as our needs go, but most anything we ever want to know may be there.

Posted at 1:01 PM by CTP  | 
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