Anyone who has baked in more than one oven knows that the number on the temperature dial often has little to do with reality. When you are baking –er, _harnessing temperature-specific biochemical reactions_ — an untried oven can be a nightmare. So it goes without saying, I need to test the calibration on the kwartzlab oven, before the bread baking begins.
Walkabot is a 3D printed, gravity powered, ramp walking robot. In technical terms this automaton is considered a passive dynamic walker. When placed on a shallow ramp the robot will walk down the slope. The robot makes a “walka-walka” sound as it walks.
The files to 3D print your own Walkabot can be downloaded here: Walkabot on Thingiverse
More about passive dynamics:
Passive dynamic walking robots are simple mechanical devices that can walk down a slope powered only by gravity and inertia. They do not require actuators or control systems, yet produce a steady walking gait with human-like motions. Because they do not require a power source they are described as passive and their movement is characterized by a dynamic stability. This means that they are not stable at any one point while in motion but are balanced in time so that the gait is steady and smooth. All bipedal walkers, including humans, must maintain dynamic stability in order to walk without falling over. The passive dynamic walker achieves stability through a steady rocking cycle. Although the term and its principles were developed by Tad McGeer at Simon Fraser University in the late 1980s, the concept is much older and dates back to toys invented in the 1930′s – see patent US2140275. These entertaining toys rely only on gravity and the natural swinging of their limbs to walk forward down a slope.
I found a software debug mode in the Tamagotchi code that allows the game state to be viewed and changed in ways that aren’t normally allowed. This mode allowed me to answer more questions about Tamagotchi functionality.
Fresh for your ears is the first episode of season 2 of Kwartzlab Radio. Darcy and I are back! For our first podcast of the new season we talk to Paul Nijjar about Software Freedom Day which will locally be hosted at Kwartzlab on September 28th 2013 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have a conversation about what is software freedom day and about GNU/Linux.
29 people attended the 3D Printer Meetup on Wednesday July 10. Some talented people came out, and there’s a potential for interesting collaborations in the future. Here are a few of the people I talked to.
Chris Gibson of ORD Solutions in Cambridge gave a talk about the locally designed and manufactured BTO 1001 3D printer:
Andrew Finkle is a UW Nanotech graduate, and gave a talk about his research into composite materials for 3D printing. He’s also built a Prusa Mendel. As part of his research, he’s building a filament extruder, and has also ordered a second extruder from a Kickstarter campaign. He’ll probably show off one or both of these at Kwartzlab later this summer. In this picture, he’s printing a model from Laywoo, a wood composite filament, using his Replicator 2X.
Charles Mire, pictured on the right, is talking to Andrew Evershed of ORD Solutions. Charles has done research on using 3D printers for tissue engineering and building bionic devices. He built a printer from a Sherline CNC mill, using a syringe to extrude biomaterials at room temperature. Google “Printing conducting polymer structures on and embedded in biopolymer platforms”.
Anthony Tod is an engineer at Blackberry who uses 3D printers both at work and at home. He demonstrated his Makerbot Replicator 2, and showed off some of the original models he created:
I know Aniomagic best for their LED sequins — tiny, flat (surface mount) LEDs that have either been mounted onto tiny board with sew-through holes (and on board resistor), or soldered onto conductive, sew-through beads. These sorts of attractive, low-profile, sewable LEDs are a staple of soft-circuits.
But Aniomagic also makes pre-programmed controller boards for LEDs, which make it really easy for crafters to start playing with etextiles without having to know electronics or programming. With my last LED order, I picked up one of their Glam kits, to see just how simple (and usable) it was. Read the rest of this entry »