Curious Inventor Blog

  • One complaint we received about the roboduino is that standard shields couldn't be plugged in since the roboduino has male pins instead of the female headers found on arduinos. Thesefemale-to-female headers now make it possible to easily plug in shields to the roboduino (an arduino-compatible for robotics that makes it easy to plug in servos and battery packs).

  • Tan Tran came up with a cheap substitute for aluminum standoffs: nylon tubing. Polyethylene does a decent job too, and can be had for under $.10 a foot at your local hardware store. The 1/4" OD (outside diameter) stuff shown in these pics accommodates up to #8 size screws.

  • We put together some of our favorite tools into kits that make up the essential tools for getting started, or contain everything needed to setup shop in a new workplace or research lab.

  • Rummaging through the ubiquitous box of random stuff, I pulled out a mercury tilt switch, which were / are used in vending machines, thermostats, and construction equipment to detect tilt. The liquid drop of mercury conducts current when it bridges two contacts at one end, and, according towikipedia, can operate millions of cycles since there's no wear. Anyone know the right way to dispose of these?

  • The stribe shield lets you read in up to 13 analog channels into an arduino diecimila orduemilanove. It's based on the analog multiplexer CD4051 chip, and was originally made to simplify connections to our Stribe1 touch display strips. We're also releasing a double and quad base that can be used to mount either 2 or 4 Stribe1s along with an arduino.

  • We now have two dual-voltage power supply kits that are perfect for audio and op-amp circuits that require positive and negative voltage. There's a bread board plug-in version and a case mountable version that comes with screws holes, standoffs and a panel mount power jack (designed for thevos synth line). Both + and - voltages are independently and finely adjustable.

  • Highschool teams from around the world converged in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome for the FIRST world championships this weekend. Teams had to grab "moon rocks" and toss them into trailers being towed by competitors. Some of the most effective teams could dump 20 volley-ball sized "rocks" into the 6ft tall trailers in seconds. FIRST runs robotics competitions for kids in high school and younger (Lego league). It's a great opportunity to mentor for people involved in engineering companies. One challenge of the competition was finding the "moon rocks", which Walmart stopped selling after the building season was well under way.

  • in Friday's Listening Machines concert. The robot generates music on the fly, and has a head that can bob with the beat to give cues to other players. The concert will also feature music generated by solving a rubik's cube, other algorithmically generated accompaniment and a sound poolinstallation.

  • The Shoe-thesizer is another addition to the crazy collection of "cases" for Ray Wilson's WSG (Weird Sound Generator). The circuit is based on 3 simple schmitt trigger oscillators that modulate and gate each other + a low pass filter. Schmitt trigger oscillators work similarly to 555-based oscillators by snapping back and forth as a cap charges and discharges through a resistor. Just three components and you're oscillating.

    Another example (Kipp Wieland):

  • installed some blue LEDs in a Stribe1, and is also making a custom casing. Check out other pics and videos at his flickr photo stream of the Stribe1 build. He's another monome / arduinome case maker, and his cases are gorgeous.

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