While there is lots of hype about a big company launching a new wearable product, we’re more interested in [Walltech]‘s open source OLED Smartwatch. This entry into The Hackaday Prize merges a collection of sensors and an OLED screen into a wearable device that talks to your smartphone over Bluetooth Low Energy.
The device is based on the IMUduino BTLE development board. This tiny Arduino clone packs an inertial measurement unit (IMU), a Nordic nRF8001 Bluetooth radio, and an ATMEGA32u4 microcontroller.
The 1.5″ OLED display comes from [miker] who makes an OLED module based on the SSD1351. A STP200M 3D pedometer provides activity monitoring in a tiny package.
On the hardware side, packaging all these components into something that will fit on your wrist is quite difficult. The prototype hardware is built from mostly off the shelf components, but still manages to be watch sized.
At this point, it looks like the code is the main challenge remaining. There’s a lot of functionality that could be implemented, and [Walltech] even mentions that it’s designed to be very customizable. It even supports Android; the Apple Watch can’t do that.
The project featured in this post is a quarterfinalist in The Hackaday Prize.
Filed under: The Hackaday Prize
, wearable hacks
Download wallpaper of the Jaguar XE S to set as your screen’s background.
Download wallpaper of the Porsche Macan to set as your screen’s background.
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Download wallpaper of the Mazda MX-5 to set as your screen’s background.
There’s nothing like that letter M to start performance fans talking. With the two-door version now slotted in under the BMW 4 Series as the M4 Coupé, the M3 – originally itself a coupé, later a fourdoor, is officially the M3 sedan. Whatever, that straight-six rasp raises the neck hairs like few others do. Its…
The iconic Mustang will go on sale in South Africa in 2015 in its first-ever right-hand-drive configuration. Download wallpaper of the 2015 Mustang GT here!
Move over Claude Monet, there is a new act in town in the form of a robot capable of creating some pretty cool art.
We’ve seen robotic artists before but most of them are either cartesian-based or hanging drawbots. This is a full-fledged Sharpie-wielding robotic arm that draws with dots giving its work an impressionistic feel.
The actual robotic arm is a stock Interbotix WidowX. The folks over at Phantom Multimedia wrote some custom software that takes a graphic and breaks it down into a 1-bit representation. The code then goes through the bitmap at random, picking points to draw on the medium. The hard part of this project was figuring out how to translate the 2D image into 3D robotic arm movements. Since the arm has several joints, there are multiple mathematical solutions for arm position to move the marker to any given point. The team ended up writing an algorithm to determine the most efficient way to move from point to point. Even so, each drawing takes hours.
As if that wasn’t enough, the software was then reworked to probe positions. Instead of automatically moving the arm to a predetermined point, the arm is manually moved to a location and the data retrieved from the servo encoders is used to determine the position of a probe at the end of the arm. Each point taken in this manner can then be combined to generate a 3D model.
Thanks for the tip [Adam]
Filed under: robots hacks
Question: How is the Sun’s gravity strong enough to hold distant planets like Jupiter and Saturn in orbit, but not strong enough to have already swallowed Mercury?
Asked by Shane Borelli
Answer: To understand this, first, you need to know how orbits work. The famous scientist, Sir Isaac Newton thought of a cannon that describes this really well.
Imagine a cannon on top of a very tall mountain. If you fire a cannonball with a normal velocity (A), the cannonball will travel a little and eventually fall back to Earth. If you fire a cannonball with a little more power (B), the ball will travel a little further before coming back to Earth. If you fire a cannonball with enough power, something magical happens; the cannonball is traveling so fast that the Earth literally curves away and the ball never hits the ground (C&D). Finally, if you fire a cannonball with enough power (E), it escapes Earth’s gravity completely.
Continuing to use the Earth as an example, in order for a satellite to maintain a stable orbit, it must fall at the same rate the curve of the Earth falls away from it. This same principle is what keeps the planets in orbit. The closer you are to an object, the faster you need to move to stay in orbit, likewise, the further away you are, the slower you need to move.
Let us use Mercury and Neptune as an example.
Click to see animation
Mercury has an orbital period of about 88 days (meaning, one Mercurian year is equal to about 88 Earth days) and Mercury orbits at a distance of about 0.39 AU (about 60 million km). To maintain this orbit, Mercury must have an orbital velocity (the speed in which it travels around the sun) of about 47.8 km per second.
Click to see animation
Neptune, on the other hand, has an orbital period of 164.79 Earth years (or, about 60,000 Earth days – 682 times greater than Mercury’s orbital period, or 682 Mercurian years) and orbits at a distance of about 30 AU (about 4.5 billion km – 75 times greater than Mercury’s). To maintain this orbit, Neptune must have an orbital velocity of 5.43 km per second (which is 11 times slower than Mercury).
Of course, if Mercury orbited at Neptune’s velocity, it would fall into the Sun, and if Neptune moved as fast as Mercury, it would fly off into interstellar space. Orbital mechanics is a balancing act between your orbital distance and your orbital velocity.
The post Questions on Orbital Dynamics appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
Image credit: NASA
U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida:
From day one, the Obama Administration made clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, the hard work of our NASA and industry teams, and support from Congress, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from U.S. soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia by 2017. Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private industry will also allow NASA to focus on an even more ambitious mission – sending humans to Mars.
These Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts are designed to complete the NASA certification for human space transportation systems capable of carrying people into orbit. Once certification is complete, NASA plans to use these systems to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth.
The companies selected to provide this transportation capability and the maximum potential value of their FAR-based firm fixed-price contracts are:
—The Boeing Company, Houston, $4.2 billion
—Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, $2.6 billion
The contracts include at least one crewed flight test per company with at least one NASA astronaut aboard to verify the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space station, as well as validate all its systems perform as expected. Once each company’s test program has been completed successfully and its system achieves NASA certification, each contractor will conduct at least two, and as many as six, crewed missions to the space station. These spacecraft also will serve as a lifeboat for astronauts aboard the station.
Image credit: NASA
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will implement this capability as a public-private partnership with the American aerospace companies. NASA’s expert team of engineers and spaceflight specialists is facilitating and certifying the development work of industry partners to ensure new spacecraft are safe and reliable.
The U.S. missions to the International Space Station following certification will allow the station’s current crew of six to grow, enabling the crew to conduct more research aboard the unique microgravity laboratory.
We are excited to see our industry partners close in on operational flights to the International Space Station, an extraordinary feat industry and the NASA family began just four years ago. This space agency has long been a technology innovator, and now we also can say we are an American business innovator, spurring job creation and opening up new markets to the private sector. The agency and our partners have many important steps to finish, but we have shown we can do the tough work required and excel in ways few would dare to hope.
Said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The companies will own and operate the crew transportation systems and be able to sell human space transportation services to other customers in addition to NASA, thereby reducing the costs for all customers. By encouraging private companies to handle launches to low-Earth orbit — a region NASA’s been visiting since 1962 — the nation’s space agency can focus on getting the most research and experience out of America’s investment in the International Space Station. NASA also can focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions, including flights to Mars.
The article provided via NASA
The post NASA To Resume Manned Space Flight appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
With the continuing manufacture of new computers, there is a clear and obvious trend of the parallel port becoming less and less common. For our younger readers; the parallel port is an interface standard used for bi-directional communication between a computer and a variety of peripherals. The parallel port’s demise is partially due to the invention of the USB standard.
If tinkering with CNC Machines is one of your hobbies then you are familiar with the parallel port interface being fairly popular for CNC control board connections. So what do you do if your new fancy computer doesn’t have a parallel port but you still want to run your CNC Machine? Well, you are certainly not stuck as [Bray] has come up with a USB to Parallel Port Adapter solution specifically for CNC use.
A cheap off-the-shelf USB to DB25 adapter may look like a good idea at first glance but they won’t work for a CNC application. [Bray's] adapter is Arduino-based and runs GRBL. The GRBL code is responsible for taking the g-code commands sent from the computer, storing them in a buffer until they are ready to be converted to step and direction signals and sent to the CNC controller by way of the parallel port DB25 connector. This is a great solution for people needing to control a CNC Machine but do not have a parallel port available.
[Bray] is using a Raspberry Pi running GRBLweb to control his adapter board. However, there are other programs you can use to communicate with GRBL such as Universal G-Code Sender and GRBL Controller.
The board has been created in Eagle PCB Software and milled out using [Bray's] CNC Router. The design is single-sided which is great for home-brew PCBs. He’s even made a daughter board for Start, Hold and Reset input buttons. As all great DIYers, [Bray] has made his board and schematic files available for others to download.
Filed under: cnc hacks
Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988)
To many, Richard Feynman is an inspiration – the same caliber of inspirational as the greatest of the greats; like Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton and Johannes Kepler (the man that shaped the laws of motion). Professor Feynman was a scientist, a teacher, a musician, and an icon. In the physics community, he is a theoretical physicist and known for his work in quantum mechanics. Without a doubt, modern science owes a lot to Feynman, for both his work and his encouraging words to the next generation of scientists.
In addition to his formal education, Feynman spent a lot of time on self education. Through the power of reading, he was able to teach himself concepts and subjects ahead of what he was learning in school (in an interview, Feynman credits a book series ‘[subject name] for the practical man’ (such as ‘Algebra for the Practical Man’). You can still find these books online and may be able to download PDF versions).
Later, Feynman went to Princeton University where he got a perfect score on the entrance exam in mathematics and physics (this is no easy task). During his time there, he took classes with scientists such as Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli, and John won Neumann. For his doctoral work, Feynman – along with his thesis adviser John Archibald Wheeler – laid the groundwork for “path integral formulation” as well as “Feynman diagrams”. He would continue this pioneering work throughout his career
NUCLEAR PHYSICS (& A TOUCH OF MADNESS):
Feynman was also one of the scientists assigned to work on the Manhattan and Trinity projects during World War II. Being a junior physicist, he wasn’t a curtail part of the project. Even then, Feynman helped to solve equations including the formula for calculating the yield of a fission device as well as some equations that were never used because the premise behind them was wrong. In his spare time, Feynman was known for playing practical jokes around the top-secret facility. Some of which, terrified the prankee into thinking nuclear secrets had been stolen by German spies.
Much later, Feynman served on the Challenger inquisition board as well as receiving awards and commendations throughout his life (most notably, the Nobel Prize in 1965 and the National Medal of Science in 1979. He also did this whilst battling cancer). These, however, aren’t some of the most interesting facts about the late-scientist.
LOVE & LOSS:
via: discovery magazine
During the Manhattan project in 1945, his wife Arline died of Tuberculosis. In 1946, Feynman wrote a letter to his deceased wife, (something that was made into a movie entitled “Infinity.”) his final words in the letter were:
“My darling wife. I do adore you.
I love my wife. My wife is dead. – Rich
P.S. Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.
This goes to show, even in tragedy, he never lost his sense of humor. Feynman also had a ‘curious character’ and he loved to question everything around him (his second wife even cited this as a reason for her divorce filling). Feynman lived by the mantra that he would rather not have an answer to a question instead of having the wrong answer.
A WORLD OF COLOR:
The last Feynman fun fact I’ll leave you with is this: he also had a neurological condition called “Synesthesia”. Synethesia is a condition in which stimulation in one cognitive or sensory pathway leads to involuntary and automatic experiences in a second cognitive or sensory pathway. In particular, Feynman was a grapheme or color synesthete, which means he associates letters and or numbers with colors. In general, this tends to be very helpful with remembering long strings of numbers and words – simply because they are ‘pretty’ and not just a string of text. Other forms of synesthesia include seeing colors for musical notes or even associating names with tastes.
It occurs to me that I have left out so much information about Feynman in this short description. How he used to fix his neighbors radios as a child, the fact that he was an avid bongo player, and more. Even then, Feynman is able to reach across the barrier of death and inspire us all.
I will conclude with a quote of the professor that I think we could all do well to remember. “The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. … No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.”
How has Feynman affected your life? And, I have to ask, are there any other Synesthetes on the page? What are your experiences?
The post Richard Feyman: The Father of Theoretical Physics appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
Counties near Washington, D.C. are stepping up their use of geospatial and visualization tools to make it easier for local police to determine where crimes are being committed.
Esri uses the GitHub open-source code repository to share and build apps for cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies.
If you’ve ever wanted to get started in retrocomputing, or maybe the Commodore 64 you’ve been using since the 80s just gave up the ghost, [Rick] aka [Mindrobots] has just the thing for you: a retrocomputer based on a PIC microcontroller and a Parallax Propeller.
The two chips at the heart of the computer are both open source. The Propeller is the perfect board to take care of the I/O, video, and audio outputs because it was purpose-built to be a multitasking machine. The microcontroller is either a PIC32MX150 or a PIC32MX170 and is loaded with a BASIC interpreter, 19 I/O pins, a full-screen editor, and a number of communications protocols. In short, everything you would ever want out of a retro-style minicomputer.
The whole computer can be assembled on a PCB with all the outputs you can imagine (VGA, PS/2, etc) and, once complete, can be programmed to run any program imaginable including games. And, of course, it can act as a link to any physical devices with all of its I/O because its heart is a microcontroller.
Retrocomputing is quite an active arena for hackers, with some being made from FPGAs and other barebones computers being made on only three chips. It’s good to see another great computer in the lineup, especially one that uses open chips like the Propeller and the PIC.
Filed under: classic hacks
A Citadel variant has been used against several Middle Eastern petrochemical companies, marking the first time the financial malware has been found in targeted attacks against companies.
Trusteer, the IBM security firm that made the discovery, declined to identify the companies whose names were found in configuration files in the malware. Trusteer did not know whether the companies' systems were actually infected with the software.
Nevertheless, the finding opens a new chapter in the sophisticated malware typically distributed through phishing attacks launched from botnets of thousands of infected PCs.
To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Please, no more screaming babies.
The EXTREME pain it causes you to see millions of children on your Facebook timeline every day.
Oh my god, make it stop.
The fake excitement you've had to muster up when a friend announces a pregnancy.
The number of times your meal has been ruined in a restaurant when a child shows up.
Plz wipe your face.
The annoyance you feel when you're out picking up groceries and there's a child in the aisle you need.
:: Avoids aisle AT ALL COSTS until child leaves ::
View Entire List ›
Image credit: CERN
The Standard Model is the theory that describes the interaction of forces affecting subparticles, like electrons and quarks. Although this physics deals with the major forces that govern our universe, it often seems disconnected from us–like it belongs to another reality. In truth, understanding the Standard Model is a necessary part of understanding our universe; it is the best thing that we have at our disposal when trying to make experimental predictions.
So let’s take a moment to get to know the Standard Model, and the universe, a little better.
In the Standard Model, bosons transmit the forces. In other words, they carry the energy that governs all the interactions that we see in the world today (except gravity). Bosons differ from fermions because they do not abide by the Pauli Exclusion Principle (PEP). They can overlap each other, or in technical terms, share the same quantum state. When we make a laser, we get a concentration of bosons like this. Lasers are strong concentrations of overlapping photons, but theoretically, a laser can be made of any boson. This quality of bosons, the quality of not obeying PEP, is observed by us everyday (beams of light do not crash into each other everywhere we look, thus they can overlap).
The known bosons are as followed: the W+ and W- boson, the Z boson, the gluon, and the photon. These particles are known to have integer spin (1), or spin 0 for the special case of the Higgs Boson. The W bosons, Z bosons, and the photon are their own antiparticle. The theoretical graviton would have an integer spin of (2). It has yet to be found, possibly because its strength of interaction is many orders of magnitude weaker than the other forces. Finding the graviton has been the subject of intense work for many years.
THE STRONG FORCE:
Image credit: Wikipedia
Quarks have a different form of electric charge, which is called “color property.” Quarks come in red, green, and blue colors; anti-quarks carry anti-colors. Physicists use the red, green, and blue color analog to help us understand how nucleons form (the colors combine to make white light, or in this case, a stable nucleon). This color analog doesn’t work terribly well with the quarks, but the important thing is that you remember that it is describing a property of energy.
Gluons are massless. They mediate the strong force by this color exchange, and have one color and one anti-color (just enough to swap and, thus, conserve color charge with quarks). Mesons also form hadrons, but with only a quark and an antiquark bonded, with color charges that are opposite of each other (like green and magenta).
The strong force is the strongest known force. It creates “flux tubes” between quarks in any hadron. Flux tubes are areas of calmness in the hadron produced by the immense amount of energy of the strong force binding it together. In the craziness that constitutes something like a proton, the flux tubes are the only areas not consumed with excitations in the gluon field. In a nucleon they form a “Y” shape, not a triangle as sometimes depicted. If you try to separate the flux tube by adding energy to separate the quarks, you just end up creating another quark pair to attach on either end of the flux tube you were trying to separate. Outside of the nucleons themselves, but binding separate protons and neutrons together, you get another strong force interaction. This is mediated by the pi meson or pion.
WATCH: Your Mass Is Not From the Higgs Boson
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC FORCE:
Probably the most familiar force is the electromagnetic force, this force is mediated by photons and describes the mindbogglingly accurate quantum field theory of QED, or quantum electrodynamics. Its mediator is called a photon, and it is massless, meaning that it is travelling at the speed of light. The mathematical relationships QED describes are the most precise theory humans have ever discovered, and responsible for almost every technological advance in the 20th century. That’s no small feat.
It is the second strongest force, but it is only 1/137 of that of the strong force; however, it works over much farther range. If the electromagnetic forces were not in an intricate balance with the strong force, atomic nuclei would fall apart. This means no atoms, no molecules, thus no chemistry, and no biology!
THE WEAK NUCLEAR FORCE:
The weak nuclear force is partly responsible for the slow burning of stars. Without it, our planet would not have the energy it needed for liquid water to form and for life to arise. The weak force is mediated by the Z and W bosons. W boson carries away charge and energy in radioactive decay, the Z boson transfers energy in the form of momentum to neutral particles, like neutrinos. They are their own antiparticle (which means they do not have one). The fact that the photon was massless but the Z and W bosons were not caused physicists quite a headache, and no one originally knew why this was the case. This was finally resolved by what is called the “Electroweak unification.”
The strengths of force interactions can depend on the ‘temperature’, or speed/energy of the interaction. At room temperature, the massive Z and W bosons (91 GeV and 80 Gev respectively) do not play an important role. But at the extremely high energies of 1000 (GeV), the W, Z, and photon all become unified. This is all explained accurately in the Electroweak theory of the Standard Model. However, as the temperature drops, symmetry is subsequently broken and bosons are divided up into the W and Z bosons and the photon.
The high energy physics of the Electroweak theory is important because it provides a model of cosmology for us. We know all the forces were unified at the beginning moments of the big bang (see a previous article on cosmology here). Using this as a guide, we can make predictions about the beginning moments after the universe’s inception, including problems like the matter/antimatter asymmetry in the quark gluon plasma. The quark gluon plasma is what expanded, which subsequently cooled it, giving us free roaming photons (visible light) and particles to form all the matter in the universe, shown to us by the cosmic microwave background radiation.
The Higgs boson itself is a particle byproduct for the Higgs field. The discovery of this particle was the culmination of half a century of work and progress. The higgs was finally confirmed in 2013 (after its initial discovery in 2o12). It imparts all subatomic particles with their mass as they travel through this Higgs field. This resistance to inertia, this drag, is how they acquire their intrinsic masses. Whether or not another Higgs field (and its corresponding boson) exists is a valid question. But it is extremely unlikely for it to be another similar Standard Model Higgs (like a higgs with similar mass). It would be field and corresponding boson with completely different properties.
*This is the second installment to this series about the Standard Model. You can find the first one here. (You can find a comprehensive source to these articles by the free PDF download link from Cornell university found here.)
Want more information? Sources have been attributed throughout this article as embedded links. Click any one to be taken to the source and learn more.
The post What Is Particle Physics: Part 2 appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
After getting access to a Lulzbot 3D printer, [Tim] designed a 3D printable peristaltic pump. The design was done in OpenSCAD, which makes it parametric and easy to modify.
Peristaltic pumps work by squeezing a length of tubing to push fluids. This mechanism is similar to how your intestines work. The pump provides an isolated fluid path, which is why they’re commonly used in medical and food grade applications. Like many products in the medical space, these pumps tend to be rather expensive. Being able to print one for your own projects could save quite a bit of cost.
The pump is based on [emmett]‘s gear bearing design. One nice thing about this design is that it is printed preassembled. Pop it out of the printer, add some tubing, and you’re ready to pump fluids.
On top of the isolated fluid path, this pump gives accurate volume measurement. For that reason, we can imagine it moving booze for a robotic bartender build. After the break, a video of the pump moving some fluid.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
It’s that time of year again where the east coast division of the Hackaday crew makes the trek out to Maker Faire New York. We’ll be there the entire weekend, checking out the sights, talking to the people who make the things you make things with, and standing in an hour-long line for a hamburger.
We’ve been going to the NYC Maker Faire for a few years now, and each time we’re surprised by the sheer variety of stuff at the faire. This year, SeeMeCNC is bringing a gargantuan delta printer, [Adam] and I are going to geek out when we meet the Flite Test crew, and we’ll be filing a few interviews with the folks from Intel, Atmel, BeagleBone, and TI. If you’re wondering what the, “I can’t believe Make is allowing this at the faire” project is for this year, here you go.
If you’re heading to the faire and find some of the Hackaday crew wandering around, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. I’ll be wearing a flagpole with the Jolly Wrencher, and [Adam] will probably be wearing something emblazoned with the Hackaday logo. We have stickers to give out, and if you’re really cool, some sweet swag.
This year is a little different from the other times we’ve made the trek to Maker Faire – this time we have a press pass, and that means access to some very important people. If you have a question you’d like to ask Atmel’s VP of MCUs, Intel’s “maker czar”, [Massimo], someone at TI, or anyone else on the schedule, leave a note in the comments.
Filed under: news