projects-in-progress snapshot

  1. hexacon
    Hexapod conference funded by deFlorez humor fund! Been doing a lot of work refining the vision of the conference/convention and how to make it humorous and yet useful to attend at the same time.

    It will be like academic conference – hexapod dance off – giant hexapods – poster session and the humor will come out of the contrast.


  2. servo arm drawbot for starttroll project / graduation cap
    Delta robot face drawing:

    The lifecycle goes like this:
    – Pick a picture from the Android photo album
    – Run a Canny edge-finder on it to get to a black bitmap with white lines on the edges of the original picture. I used a splendid implementation by Tom Gibara– Run a vectoriser on that, to generate vectors along those lines. I couldn’t find one I liked, so I write one, which was easier that I expected.
    – Simplify the vectors – discard very short vectors, and replace straightish bits with straight lines. The Arduino can only store 300 points, so we have a strong incentive to optimise the vectors to within an inch of their lives.
    – Package the vectors up and send them over Bluetooth to the Arduino
    – Wait for the drawing ! 

    For speed, I’m working with very low-resolution bitmaps – 128 pixels square by default.
    vectorizing linked to in
    Actual vectoriser code used in sketchy is in TODO: read over and understand this code.

    canny edge detection implementation in processing

  3. scooter: CAD and order parts. have: shady chinese ebay controller, melon motor, brakes. need: battery pack, trigger, front lights
  4. POV yoyo: 
    1. 3d print prototype, etch out circuitboard and populate, begin programming anew
    2. CAD and masterCAM the injection-molded yoyo files
    3. spec out parts list cost for 50
  5. EL wire choreography arts proposal: only missing a budget
  6. MITERS door open trigger: awaiting parts from atw
    • post MITERS flyers in pappalardo!
  7. jewelry
  8. pika housing application
    • perhaps visit pika for dinner
  9. documentary
  10. feelers about filming (hey, 10k is enough to sustain my startproject for a while… apparently it is good publicity too)
  11. hexapod
    give it an new body, make it dance, …
    hexarideablepod is on permanent hiatus (how to dispose of it? I need to fix it up a bit before disposing of it, I feel)
  12. 2.007
    document hall sensor with circuit picture
    lasercutter pdf
    intro to arduino pdf (where to find resources)

MIT student discounts, things to do around boston, braindump

As MIT college students we can get a $5 college card for the boston symphony and get into concerts for no additional cost.

These cards are for from September to May 4th  (and May 2, May 3 are blackout days so literally until May 1st).
and the performances list:
  1. go to copytech in building 11, show them student ID, pay $5 for college card
  2. go to boston symphony orchestra ticket office, right down mass ave @ 301 mass ave, show them college card and student id and get ticket
  3. go to concert
    and then a whole list of inexpensive things to do here:
    * Fells, USS constitution, coit observatory, freedom trail (3 hrs).

    the Arnold Arboretum is very pleasant and can be accessed by T.
    And the Mount Auburn Cemetary is about a half hour walk from Harvard, but certainly worth it.  
    As MIT students we also get student discounts to the MFA and the institute for contemporary art, the Isabella Garden (probably a spring/summer thing?) and I think to the museum of science.
    Other student discounts:
    There’s also lots of events at MIT


    according to a professor on the airplane from ATL to BOS, things to do for free or close to free:
    Hatched eggshell concerts, Wednesdays
    Boston Harbor Hotel movies, Thursdays (buy a drink something to sit there)
    North End will close streets and have festival Fridays in August
    Museum of Fine Arts is free on Wednesdays

    less free –v
    Harbor Island Beach recommended (to see Boston from another view)
    go to wonderland, get fried clams and people watch
    fly kites at reviere beach
    go to concord, ma via commuter rail and visit walden pond
    boston public library at lunchtime — there are sometimes famous poets/musicians in the courtyard
    food trucks at south station are the best after a bike ride there

    gamibots, pager motors, soccerballcopters, things from ebay / china

    been spending money lately
    mixed feelings ’bout my consumerism of things i feel like i might only use once or twice but i tell myself it’s research πŸ˜›


    based on
    these are super cool because you use a business card instead of a toothbrush, i have twenty extra business cards but not twenty toothbrushes and it’d be a shame to buy new toothbrushes just to chop off their heads

    all it needs is a business card, tape, a pager motor, and a battery πŸ™‚ so cute.
    pager motor placement affect movement a lot, e.g. I changed the placement a bit and this one moves faster and more forwards than sideways

    anyway, to start this story off, i am co-teaching a few lessons in 4th grade for my d-lab education class. and last year when we went to China+Cathy Wu bought a bunch of pager motors in preparation for making swarmbots. I then bought a couple dozen off of her this year in preparation for bristlebots but then realized I needed to solder leads to them. The type she bought is to the right in this picture:

    I tried soldering wires onto the tiny motors (they are about 1cm long) and promptly desoldered the metal leads from motor. Well, crap.

    Anyway, I ordered some pager motors off of ebay for 84 cents each and they arrived eight days from ordering from China. I expected it to take three weeks so it was a pleasant surprise. (Well, I bought from two sellers and the other packaged arrived in 10 days).

    that’s a bag of 30 motors! i could fit them in wallet. they come with pre-formatted messages. I wonder if these two are actually the same seller.
    From two different ebay sellers:
    “10pcs Pager and Cell Phone Vibrating Micro Motor 2.5V-4.0VDC With Two Leads s883”
    x3 = 23.63 for 30, or 0.79 each. Arrived in 10 days
    x1 = 8.36 for 10, or 0.84 each. Arrived in 8 days.
    I emailed them to check there were two wires coming off of them and got a pretty prompt response.
    and i get reimbursed for these, so yay ^__^
    Note in particular that these are from Shanghai and not Shenzhen. According to Amy, who travels to China for work a lot, and Star

    I found better “hard hardware” streets in Shanghai TBH, & don’t remember seeing tons of motors in SZ.

    Yup, I think you are right. SEG looks like the place to go for electronics, but Shanghai had way more mechanical stuff. It was a fun visit, though!


    In other news I am playing poking at copters a bit for the lulz. (I have been spending more money ever since making decent money at fitbit last summer… no regrets! i think)

    “Pro 6042 Flying Ball Scientific 3CH R/C UFO Remote Control Gyro LED Helicopter”
    22.91 + 1.6 shipping
    bought 3/26 arrived 4/4 (nine days)

    all that it needed was 6 AA batteries and it even comes with two props. super cute. fits in palm.
    and it flies!
    uhm, I thought this would be totally harmless because it is so tiny. and it pretty much is, but i was surprised because it has a decent bite just crashing into you (i thought the soccerball shape would protect me from the props)

    things from ebay/china

    in another post some day, crazy cheap and awesome robots (even hexapods!) from taobao, the swarmbot entry for $10 robot competition, and cost reduction due to scaling analysis.

    Also, can we just take a moment and reflect how amazing it is that I can get a functioning flying thing complete with wireless control shipping to be from China for a total of $25 USD? That’s like 1.5 arduinos without batteries or anything at all. Mass manufacturing is awesome.