Arduino boards run an industrial machine

If you can build it, Arduino can run it.

Arduino’s massive success among the maker and hacker crowd is undisputed, but it’s usually seen more as something for experimenting and prototyping than a component for professional applications. JF Machines Ltd has handily proven that idea wrong with an industrial printer run by five unmodified Arduino boards.
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Processing 2.0 released

The open source programming language for makers and creatives gets a major update.

Processing, an open source programming language and environment, has been used extensively by millions of artists, designers, experimenters, and makers since its development in 2001. It made sophisticated programming accessible both in terms of ease of use and cost (free). Recently, Processing 2.0, the first full new version, was released to the public.
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MIT’s Silk Pavilion inspired by silkworm cocoons

Algorithmic design, digital fabrication, and silkworms work together to make a pavilion.

MIT MediaLab’s Mediated Matter group used inspiration from the cocoons of silkworms for the Silk Pavilion. Silkworm cocoons are made from one long, continuous silk thread. The pavilion uses the same approach, but with some high-tech help.
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Tracking the 17 year cicadas with an Arduino

Prepare for the coming swarmageddon with an excellent introduction to Arduino.

If you live in the Northeast USA, you probably know that the 17 year cicadas with soon emerge from the ground to serenade you with their surprisingly annoying mating calls. If are not lucky enough *cough* to live in the path of what has been called “swarmageddon”, the video will catch you up on the basics.

Radiolab, a podcast and public radio show, has put together an easy-to-follow set of instructions on how to build a soil thermometer with an Arduino and some basic parts. They even have the code ready for use. The cicadas emerge when the soil 8″ below the surface reaches 64º F (18º C). After the building the kit and measuring the soil temperature where you live, upload the result and your location on their site to help track the great emergence.

Via Hack a Day


Taylor Gilbert is a proponent of creative technology including Arduino, Processing, and repurposed hardware. Follow him @taylor_gilbert

Mataerial 3D printer prints into thin air

A new way to 3D print without the need for support material.

The Mataerial 3D printer uses a 2-part thermosetting resin instead of the thermoplastics commonly used in extrusion-based 3D printers. This approach allows the machine to print a line directly into the air with only a single point of contact with a surface. The surface doesn’t need to be horizontal or even; the material will even adhere to a vertical surface.
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Custom circuit boards with an Othermill CNC mill

Easily make circuit boards, jewelry, and other detailed objects with this new desktop CNC.

There are a lot of options for CNC mills right now (and I mean a lot), but it’s rare to see one with the precision necessary to mill a custom circuit board. Finding one at a reasonable cost is simply unheard of.

The Othermill from Otherfab fills that need nicely. With it you can quickly and easily mill any circuit board your heart desires. Now all of your projects can have circuits seamlessly integrated into the design. Since it is compatible with any 1/8″ bit (like a dremel), it can also be used for a variety of other applications from jewelry to precisely machined mechanical parts.

Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, the Othermill started at $1000 for early adopters.
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Botanicus Interacticus turns living plants into highly responsive interfaces

A new approach to digital interaction through . . . plants?

Using a single wire placed in the soil, Botanicus Interacticus transforms a living plant into a sophisticated interface. Unlike earlier methods that only identify contact, Botanicus Interacticus uses Touché sensing technology to allow for a range of precise and engaging interactions.

Botanicus Interacticus enables us to use gestures as sliding the fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp locations of a bamboo, tracking proximity between a human and a plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact leading to a rich amount of interaction possibilities.

Botanicus Interacticus is being developed at Disney Research by Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Be sure to watch the two videos after the jump to learn about the project.
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NASA launches three smartphone satellites into orbit

Consumer hardware and open source software help build a $3500 satellite.

NASA recently put three nanosatellites powered by Google HTC Nexus One smartphones into orbit. Dubbed PhoneSats, they are about the size of a coffee mug. The satellites are intended to demonstrate how the rapidly decreasing cost and increasing power of off the shelf hardware and open source software can be used for a new generation of accessible, low-cost space research.
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The MIT Hobby Shop and early signs of the maker movement

A look inside the history of the Hobby Shop.

The MIT Hobby Shop was founded 75 years ago by a group of students who wanted to make things, who wanted to bring their ideas into the real world. The Shop has changed considerably over the years, but it still relies heavily on peer-to-peer teaching and an interdepartmental approach.

In the 1937-38 academic year, Vannevar Bush, then Vice President of MIT, granted a group of 16 MIT students permission to use a room in the basement of building 2. With equipment they found around the Institute they set up a wood and metal shop in the 16-foot by 22-foot area. The club members chose the name “Hobby Shop” based on their belief in the philosophy that the well rounded individual pursued interests outside their profession – hobbies.

Read more about the history of the Hobby Shop on their site.

Via MAKE


Taylor Gilbert is a proponent of creative technology including Arduino, Processing, and repurposed hardware. Follow him @taylor_gilbert

Tap your foot to set a beat with drum effects using Arduino

You tap your foot, Arduino does the rest.

Beat Feet was concieved, designed, and prototyped in four days by a team participating in MIT Media Labs Design Innovation workshop at PESIT Bangalore. The project uses a sensor attached to the bottom of a shoe to control the tempo of MIDI drum affects. The idea is to allow musicians to add and control a background rhythm while continuing to play their instrument (presumably not a drum).
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