The micro:bit has an accelerometer and magnetometer (compass) powered by ST’s LSM303AGR chip (https://www.st.com/en/mems-and-sensors/lsm303agr.html). According to the chip’s technical specs, in terms of acceleration, you can use the micro:bit to measure acceleration up to ±16g (1g being acceleration due to gravity, i.e. 9.8 m/s2—16g is 16x acceleration due to gravity). The micro:bit uses this chip to detect gestures but it can also be used just to read acceleration in 3 axes.
In this first part, I will show a method of setting the sampling rate and plotting the accelerometer data from the micro:bit.
It’s great that the Mu Editor will allow display of the data and plot it too.
In addition to great speakers and enlightening workshops at Supercon, we have an area set aside for attendees to hack on their conference badges. There is no prerequisite beyond having a badge and a willingness to get hands-on. From hardware beginners to professional embedded system developers, we welcome all skill levels!
The image above is a free-form LED light sculpture by [4C1dBurn], who had just learned to solder and this is how a new skill was put into practice. In the background is the badge hacking arena: 7 tables set up in a row with 6 seats per table. The doors opened at 9AM and almost all the seats were filled by 9:30AM. There’s a constant flow as people leave to attend a talk or workshop, and others arrive to fill the vacancy.
Any reduction in wire clutter can only help with the many glorious explosions of wires scattered about. This particular example is a work-in-progress by [carfucar] turning a badge into wireless remote for a large array of WS2812B LED strips.
Heeding our call to action in the hardware hacking overview, there are at least two efforts underway to add wireless communication capability to the badge. [Preston] is making good progress teaching a badge to talk to an AVR-IoT module. [morgan] and [Ben] are building a mesh network using ESP32s. If it gets up and running, they’ve brought a bunch of ESP32s to add more nodes to their network.
For the talks currently on stage, go to the Supercon event page and click “Livestream” in the upper right corner for the official live stream. Badge hacking will continue all through Supercon, parts of which will be visible through unofficial livestream of badge hacking from attendees like [X]’s robot [Sharon].
What happens when you put 1,700 of the world’s smartest teens together and ask them to show their scientific stuff?
You may get more than you bargained for.
“Science Fair,” a new documentary, follows teenagers through the highs and lows of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition.
The fair, at which young people compete for millions of dollars in prizes, is a hotbed of scientific research. It’s also a hothouse of competition and teenage angst, as the documentary shows.
The film follows nine teenagers seeking to change their lives through science. Among them: Kashfia, a young Muslim who feels out of place in her large South Dakota high school and dreams of escaping small-town life through science. Robbie, a West Virginia math whiz with terrible grades, who wants to meet other kids who share his niche interests. And Anjali from Louisville, who contends with helicopter parents as she navigates the weird world of competitive science.
Join Women of Color magazine’s Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Conference Oct. 11 to 13.
The annual STEM Conference hosts award ceremonies for women who create innovation and puts you in a position to realize your STEM career dreams.
You get exclusive training designed to move you forward in your career. You learn from top minds in the industry and collaborate with your peers.
Whether you’re a college graduate or a professional, you get countless networking opportunities. STEM mentors and role models help you find your footing in the industry. You connect with people who have been in your shoes.
Click here to register for the 2018 Women of Color STEM Conference and explore workshops, resources, and networking benefits
Save the Date:
OCTOBER 11-13, 2018
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center Detroit, MI
Pinball still has that bit of magic that makes it stand out from first person shooters or those screen mashers eating up your time on the bus. The secret sauce is that sense of movement and feedback, and the loss of control as the ball makes its way through the play field under the power of gravity. Of course the real problem is finding a pinball machine. Pinbox 3000 is swooping in to fix that in a creative way. It’s a cardboard pinball machine that you build and decorate yourself.
We ran into them at Maker Faire New York over the weekend and the booth was packed with kids and adults all mashing flippers to keep a marble in play. The kit comes as flat-pack cardboard already scored and printed with guides for assembly which takes about an hour.
The design is quite clever, with materials limited to just cardboard, rubber bands, and a few plastic rivets. Both the plunger that launches the pinball and the flippers are surprisingly robust. They stand up to a lot of force and from the models on display it seems the friction points of cardboard-on-cardboard are the issue, rather than mechanisms buckling under the force exerted by the player.
When first assembled the playfield is blank. That didn’t stop the fun for this set of kits stacked back to back for player vs. player action. There’s a hole at the top of playfields which makes this feel a bit like playing Pong in real life. However, where the kit really shines is in customizing your own game. In effect you’re setting up the most creative marble run you can imagine. This task was well demonstrated with cardboard, molded plastic packaging (which is normally landfill) cleverly placed, plus some noisemakers and lighting effects. The company has been working to gather up inspiration and examples for building out the machines. We love the multiple layers of engagement rolled into Pinbox, from building the stock kit, to fleshing out a playfield, and even to adding your own electronics for things like audio effects.
Check out the video below to see the fun being had at the Maker Faire booth.
Serpentine is a gesture sensor that’s the equivalent of a membrane potentiometer, flex and stretch sensor, and more. It’s self-powering and can be used in wearable hacks such as the necklace shown in the banner image though we’re thinking more along the lines of the lanyard for Hackaday conference badges, adding one more level of hackability. It’s a great way to send signals without anyone else knowing you’re doing it and it’s easy to make.
Serpentine is the core of a research project by a group of researchers including [fereshteh] of Georgia Tech, Atlanta. The sensor is a tube made of a silicone rubber and PDMS (a silicone elastomer) core with a copper coil wrapped around it, followed by more of the silicone mix, a coil of silver-coated nylon thread, and a final layer of the silicone mix. Full instructions for making it are on their Hackaday.io page.
There are three general interactions you can have with the tube-shaped sensor: radial, longitudinal, and tangential. Doing various combinations of these three results in a surprising variety of gestures such as tap, press, slide, twist, stretch, bend, and rotate. Those gestures result in signals across the copper and silver-coated nylon electrodes. The signals pass through an amplifier circuit which uses WiFi to send them on to a laptop where signal processing distinguishes between the gestures. It recognizes the different ones with around 90% accuracy. The video below demonstrates the training step followed by testing.