Member Since: October 23, 2009

Country: United States

  • What? It’s Fashion Week, right?

  • For a name, how about “Leadsmith”. It’s almost spelled out right there on the panel, it kind of describes what it does (modulo lead-free solder paste), and it sounds like a snarky name for a gunslinger.

  • It is still exponential decay. What is decaying is the difference between the input signal and the output signal.

  • Think about the physics of a capacitor: It is two conductors separated by a non-conductor, and your body (or the rat’s) is a pretty good conductor. So, unless you are in a Faraday cage, your body (or the rat’s) is always “capacitively coupled” to the local ground. Even if that ground is not explicitly a part of your circuit, the gap between your body and the ground will “fill up” with an electric field (of infinitesimally small magnitude,) causing the voltage at the sensing end of the resistor to exhibit that exponential decay.

  • Check out the ShapeOko at You can get started with just a mechanical kit for < $400, or get a complete kit with motors and electronics for a couple of hundred more.

    Now I just need to finish building mine …

  • Production still from a new fan-made sequel to “The Road Warrior”.

  • Why adjust stop bits (1, 1.5, 2)? Back in the day, the hardware wasn’t always fast enough to get one byte out of the way and to the next stage of processing in just one bit-time. After all, at 110 BPS, that’s less than a tenth of a second!

    Similarly for start bits. Sometimes it took more than one bit-time to get the shift register loaded.

    Now I miss the ASR-33 I had hooked up to my Commodore 64. What a friendly sound!

  • Oh, this reminds me so much of Steve Ciarcia’s digital imaging games in Byte, back in the mid-80’s. He wasn’t getting color, and his images were elongated by the geometry of the DRAM he was using, but that was when I knew that film cameras were doomed, at least for casual point-and-shoot usage.

  • Oh, just off the top of my head, I have thought that the Simon kit is interesting as a kind of near-Arduino with a little bit of I/O. Some of the things one might build on it:

    Add IR I/O and you can have a minimalist TV remote (or TV-Be-Gone), a communication node to connect to other IR-equipped projects, a remote annunciator (like that crazy rabbit-thing, Nabaztag; did that ever get off the ground?) with different sound and light sequences for different conditions.

    Add an SMC socket and you could make a data logger, or a chiptunes player. With a mic, it could be a voice notes recorder.

    The audio amp kit could be modified as a signal driver for remote wired communication with data gathering or control stations.

    I would love to see the Weevil Eye board repurposed to make something innocuous look … different.

    I suspect the color organ could be modified to become a field detector.

    The Botanicalls kit is just begging to monitor CO, or wind speed, or insolation, or power-line voltage quality.

    The Big Time could easily (and without pushing into “abuse” territory) become something like a Pomodoro timer.

    Digital Oscilloscope? How about portable medical monitor (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature? I don’t know much about what would be considered useful.) (For research purposes only, because the FDA is picky about things like that.)

    Or, for the gearheads, use it to monitor engine data.

    I suspect the force-sensitive resistors and flex sensors have inspired some really whacky ideas.

    The barometric pressure sensor might be sensitive enough to detect the pressure waves generated by earthquakes. Or traffic, at least.

    Could the fingerprint scanner be used to recognize other kinds of patterns?

    Is anyone using a robotic drive train for a conveyor belt, or to operate a toy chest lid?

    Surely I am not the only one who views some of these items as launch pads as well as destinations?

    Now, all I have to do is start implementing some of these ideas. Or, how about using a MEMS mic for a guitar pickup? Nah, it probably wouldn’t work. Props to Pete for trying it out, though.

  • I would love to see a round-up of kit abuse. That is, what kits have customers repurposed, and what have they done with them?

No public wish lists :(