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2018-04-24T06:28:40.839Z
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Formlabs scores another $30 million in funding | TechCrunch.

Formlabs announced this morning that it’s raised another $30 million in a Series C lead by Tyche Partners. This latest round puts the Somerville, Massachusetts-based 3D printing company’s total funding north to $85 million.

Previous Formlabs coverage on Adafruit.


Awhile ago we made R is for Robots a coloring book that explores robots, robot makers, and making robot friends. The next ADABOX (008) is all about building your own robots! Sign up now, we’re shipping late June/early July!

AdaBox is curated Adafruit products, unique collectibles, and exclusive discounts. All delivered quarterly. Subscribe now or give AdaBox to a friend.

Today’s letter is A for Asimov!

Wikipedia – The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround” (included in the 1950 collection I, Robot), although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

AdaBox 008 – MAKE ROBOT FRIEND! (video).

28 years and counting, Hubble is still delivering stunning images. Via Gizmodo:

These images show the Lagoon Nebula, just 4,000 light-years away, in intense detail. Hubble imaged the star-forming region both in visible light and infrared, with the latter allowing scientists to cut through the dust to peer at the stars forming inside. And the new views really show off Hubble’s abilities.

“This thing is huge on the sky, about five times the size of the full moon, but it’s mostly too dim for our eyes to see,” NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller told Gizmodo. “It looks like a smudge with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, but when the Hubble looks at it, it’s an incredibly beautiful, twisting tornado-like structure of dark dust.”

See more!

It’s Manufacturing Monday at Adafruit!

As electronics are manufactured, the reels that the components come on slowly unspool, creating patterns with the spent tape that are variously chaotic and beautiful. We caught our Pick-n-Place machine generating this pretty parallel arrangement while manufacturing the DotStar RGB LED pixel matrix. Get yours while they’re still in stock!

A post shared by adafruit (@adafruit) on Apr 23, 2018 at 9:59am PDT

MusicMakers is an interview series from Adafruit that explores the intersection of the DIY music and maker communities. We’ll be talking to some of our favorite musicians about art, tech, DIY, gear tips and more. Along the way we hope you’ll find some great new music as well as some ideas and inspiration for your own projects.

Photo courtesy of Janice Li

South Korea’s Say Sue Me have been charming the music world, including everyone from Stereogum to Elton John, with their delicious surf-toned indie rock.. After a standout set at this year’s SXSW, the quartet issued their stunning new album, Where We Were Together, through London’s Damnably and Seoul’s Electric Muse labels. Between the addictively breezy “Old Town” single, the raucous “B Lover” and the aching “Coming to the End,” the new album is a total triumph with a so much to offer.

One of the things I love about the music industry today is that for all the noise and difficulties that artists and labels have to overcome, there is still the potential for music to reach people a world away. Say Sue Me have found their second home on a UK indie label with a great ear and a lot of heart and together...

Little did they know…

Via Atlas Obscura.

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The web, though omnipresent in the age of the internet, was originally meant to be a communication tool for scientists scattered at universities and other institutes around the world.

Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, when he developed the world’s first website. Though simple in appearance, this amazing technological feat revolutionized how we share and store information.

Read more.

Science experiments for students to get started with Micro:bitVia Makecode

The Science Experiments lessons are geared for students in middle school and early high school grades. The lessons are designed help the student gain a greater understanding of the forces and behavior of the physical world. This is done using methods of observation, measurement, and data analysis. By incorporating the micro:bit in the experiments, the lessons are a great way to teach both science and computing in the same activity.

These lessons guide the student in hands-on, practical measurement activities along with using the micro:bit to control and record data for the experiments. Each lesson provides an overview of the activity, outlines expected results, explains the setup of the experiment, and the gives a coding activity to measure and collect the data.

See more!

via WIRED

The resistance is trying to make a quick getaway before the First Order arrives. Then—boom! It’s too late. They’re already here—two Star Destroyers just arrived near the planet in space.

This is the scene that opens Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which just came out on DVD. Having the whole movie means I get to do lots more fun physics analysis, including answering this question: Could you actually see those destroyers from the surface of the planet?

The first question to consider: How far can a human see? Well, that’s a simple question with an easy answer. I can see the moon—that’s more than 200,000 miles away. Better yet, I can see a galaxy (if it’s really dark) and that is over 2 million light years away. So, humans can see really far. Distance isn’t the problem.

Really, the key idea here isn’t “how far” but rather “angular size.” The angular size of an object depends both on the actual size and the distance from the observer: The reason you can see something like the moon even though it is super far away is because it is big. If you put the moon much farther away, you couldn’t see it. You can calculate the angular size as just the object size divided by the distance (in radians). If you want to convert...

SparkFun’s Creative Technologist Melissa Felderman has an epic write-up on Ponoko’s blog for thinking through and designing objects for laser cutting. The blog introduces the 7 elements of graphic design: line, color, value, shape, texture, space, and form, then introduces 7 principles of design (balance, unity & harmony, hierarchy, scale & proportion, dominance & emphasis, similarity & contrast, and white space) to create a good primer for all makers to read when thinking about designing laser cut objects (and, obviously, for other modes of making as well).

If you are a designer or engineer selling the products you make, or using them to brand your business, you know it takes more than just an original idea or a unique product to be successful. In competitive marketplaces such as Etsy and Kickstarter, and in big trade shows, conferences and events, not only do your products need to be designed well, but you may also need strong branding, web presence and beautiful product photos in order to capture customers’ attention.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but fear not! This article will help you gain an understanding of basic graphic design and offer a set of practical design guidelines so you can laser cut with confidence.

Read more here.

Via Digital Trends

Blockchain turns that on its head. It’s effectively a digital ledger without a master copy. Transactions aren’t stored on any on computer, but instead stored on a network of computers, and they’re verified the same way. Transactions are recorded across the entire network through a shared record that no single computer holds. Transactions remain valid even when a PC goes offline – called ‘cold storage’ in the world of Bitcoin – making always-online game clients obsolete.

Strangely, it’s decentralization that makes true ownership possible. The database exists independent of any single person or organization, which makes its records objective, fair, and true. In blockchain circles, this is counter-intuitively labelled as “trust-less.” The implication isn’t that the blockchain can’t be trusted but, instead, that blockchain makes trust unnecessary. It doesn’t matter if you trust everyone else one the blockchain, because fraud is impossible – on the blockchain itself, at least. It’s a clever, and realistic, implementation.

Read more.

Warhammer 40k features a number of Power Weapons, including the Lightning Claw. Instagram user mechanought incorporated the prop into his W40k build, which was already detailed and complex. The Lightning Claw part began with fabric covered in pieces of armor made from Worbla. Then for the claw portion of the glove, mechanought attained a glow with Adafruit products such as NeoPixel sticks inside a pearly, somewhat opaque Worbla. He used a soldering iron to weld the sharp edges of the Worbla together and wired everything to come up with the above look.

See the power claw in action in this Instagram video and definitely check out mechanought’s Instagram feed for more making of pictures like the ones below.

Awesome video from Techmoan on YouTube.

In this video I take a look at a multimedia educational format from the 1970s, the 3M Sound Page (AKA Ricoh Synchrofax)

UPDATE
I’ve seen a few comments where the assumption has been made that this device was still in use as an educational tool in the 1990s. I think this is highly unlikely. Here’s my take on this – if you’ve ever gone to school, you’ll know that they rarely throw anything away. I know in my school there were things in storage cupboards that hadn’t been used in decades. My theory is that this was used in the 1970s and then stored away until being discovered in the 1990s by some mischievous children who liberated it and used it to record music off the radio (over the top of the old teachers programmes).

Read more.

via Engadget

It’s not just revolutionary start-ups like Rocket Lab that are using 3D printing to create their rockets and spaceships. NASA’s new crew capsule Orion will have over 100 3D printed parts specially developed by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, in cooperation with 3D printing experts Stratasys and the engineering firm PADT. According to Stratasys, these parts will be made of entirely new materials that are specially designed to withstand the rigors of deep space. “In space, for instance, materials will build up a charge,” the Vice President of Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys, Scott Sevcik, said to Reuters. “If that was to shock the electronics on a space craft there could be significant damage.” This type of on-demand part printing provides a more economical method of building a complicated spaceship. And, according to Sevcik, it means that the designers can be a bit freer with the design, as they aren’t constrain by existing parts and specifications. The companies are hoping to apply what they learn from this 3D printing endeavor to other aerospace industries, such as building satellites and robotic spacecraft. See more!

From the National Museum of American History:

This bundle consists of about one hundred pieces of plastic-coated wire, each about 30 cm (11.8 in) long. Each piece of wire represents the distance an electrical signal travels in a nanosecond, one billionth of a second. Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992), a mathematician who became a naval officer and computer scientist during World War II, started distributing these wire “nanoseconds” in the late 1960s in order to demonstrate how designing smaller components would produce faster computers.
The “nanoseconds” in this bundle were among those Hopper brought with her to hand out to Smithsonian docents at a March 1985 lecture at NMAH. Later, as components shrank and computer speeds increased, Hopper used grains of pepper to represent the distance electricity traveled in a picosecond, one trillionth of a second (one thousandth of a nanosecond).

Read more.

This is absolutely incredible.

To see more about how the camera was made, visit Cropped Camera on YouTube and see the awesome photos taken on their site.

From WeRobotics via DIYDrones:

While in-person trainings will absolutely remain central to our work and mission, we’ve realized that a substantial component of these trainings can just as well be provided online and scaled more easily this way. The reason for this is simple: technology is at most 10% of the solution in humanitarian emergencies and many other contexts including public health and environmental protection, for example. Technology is certainly an absolutely crucial 10% of the solution—serving as a multiplier effect—but without a strong understanding of the tasks necessary to use this technology safely, responsibly and effectively (the other 90%), you run the danger of multiplying nonsense and becoming part of the problem rather than the solution. As such we’ve decided to invest a considerable amount of time and energy to convert our offline trainings into online courses in order to train more people on how to use drones more responsibly across a range of sectors.

Our very first online course will focus on Drones in Humanitarian Action: From Coordination to Deployments. The course will be identical to the trainings that we’ve provided to new and seasoned humanitarian professionals around the world. Drones in Humanitarian Action will give participants the training they need to be an important part of the solution during future disaster risk management efforts. The training is instrumental for anyone engaged in—or expecting to support future—disaster response efforts. The course will...

This year Earth Day is about focusing on plastic pollution. As you might have already seen, while researching the structure of the subject from 2016’s A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate) research teams at the University of Portsmouth and the NREL have engineered an enzyme that is even better at breaking down PET plastics!

While this is exciting news, there is still value in taking a moment to consider our own impact on the environment. EartyDay.org has a plastic consumption calculator with a special feature where you can make a pledge to reduce your consumption here! Searching for some Earth friendly tips? Don’t miss these 45 tips from EarthDay.org

From National Portrait Gallery:

Entry is now open for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018, the leading international photographic portrait competition, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography. Organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Prize has established a reputation for creativity and excellence, with works submitted by a range of photographers, from leading professionals to talented amateurs and the most exciting emerging artists.

The competition is open to everyone aged 18 and over from around the world. Photographers are encouraged to interpret ‘portrait’ in its widest sense of ‘photography concerned with portraying people with an emphasis on their identity as individuals.’

Read more and enter here!


We #celebratephotography here at Adafruit every Saturday. From photographers of all levels to projects you have made or those that inspire you to make, we’re on it! Got a tip? Well, send it in!

If you’re interested in making your own project and need some gear, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our Raspberry Pi accessories and our DIY cameras.

Mahjong anyone?

Fun video from mike102688 via evilmadscientist.

this video demonstrate how the automatic mahjong table shuffle the tiles, each table have 2 free sets of mahjong tiles.

Read more.

via Twisted Sifter

While recording a song in [Satsop] an abandoned nuclear power facility, music producer Sylvia Massy demonstrates the cooling tower’s massive reverb by playing a snare drum.

And in case you want more, here’s what a bass sounds like from the same spot:

Sylvia Massy

More on Satsop from Atlasobscura