Greetings best community members in the galaxy,
Here in the US, labor day is over which means that fall has officially begun. It gave us time to ponder the really big questions such as whether or not emperor Palpatine perished after Darth Vader threw him down a shaft and how could Rey turn to the dark side (or did she?). It also gave us plenty of time to revel in the revelation that we had the final season of Mr. Robot to look forward to in October. Now, those of us in the Chicago office are back to work and its back to business as usual and that means more exciting content in this week's edition of the Weekly Content Journal.
But first... An update on balearicdynamics 's upcoming two part book series! For those of you that are not aware, Enrico is working on a two volume book series: Projects for Makers, Vol. 1 Arduino and Vol. 2 Raspberry Pi. The intent of the book is to help introduce the element14 community to makers in Italy.
Earlier, rscasny and I sat down with balearicdynamics for interviews on the separate programs that we run on the community, RoadTests & Reviews and Project14 respectively. As for my half of the interview, I have this bad habit of saying whatever comes off the top of my mind, so I asked him if he could send a transcript of my interview before publishing. Not that I was worried about what I said but I do have a tendency to ramble and was just wondering what it was I was talking about! From this corner of cyberspace, it was great to look back and remember the fun and excitement, as well as the fear and uncertainty, of starting a new program on the element14 community! As the program approaches the 2 and a half year mark, it's been amazing to see so many incredible projects come through, and I sincerely believe the best is yet to come.
With that said.... Let's get onto it with what's going on in the community this past week.
Time to Meet the Electronic Toys Projects!
There are some amazing projects coming in as we head to the stretch period of the Electronic Toys competition:
Remember, the Grand Prize is an SNES Classic (previously torn down by Ben Heck) and a $200 shopping cart! Here's what's been happening lately in Electronic Toys:
shabaz had the pleasure of working with two little boys – nephews - an 8-year old, and a 6-year old, and together they assembled a radio kit. The kids now know that electronic products have circuit boards and resistors and capacitors, and they know how to solder. So when the Electronic Toys Project14 theme came around, he decided a pocket game in order to improve their math abilities:
balearicdynamics was enjoying the R2D2 robot he won during the Month of Robots competitions and the Picade that he won as a finisher prize for the PiCasso Design Challenge so he started hacking and investigating until he came up with the insane idea of to setting-up the PiCade for live-action, control of an R2-D2 unit in a Star Wars simulated environment:
carmelito has a friend who loves flying his quadcopter in the night, and this motivated him to get into night flying, which meant he had to remove the FPV system which stands for first person view, which includes a camera and video transmitter, and put lights on his wing. So this meant he had to check my parts bin to see what LED strip he had available to hook to an Arduino Nano. He had two led strips available a Neopixel strip and apa102 strip. He went with the apa102 just because it weighed less because it didn’t have a plastic waterproof wrap around it, and it had a 3M sticky back:
Energy Harvesting: RF Harvesting Using a Crystal Radio!
Speaking of radios... As you know, the Energy Harvesting competition is currently happening. Its been a little slow so far so I decided to do a post on something dear to my heart, the radio. Not just any radio, the crystal radio does not require any batteries and is a great example of RF energy harvesting:
To build a crystal radio you need essentially four parts. You need wire (such as magnet wire) to catch the radio waves and allow you to tune the radio. You'll need a crystal/diode. If you want to be totally authentic and use a real crystal you have to be very specific about the type of crystal that you are allowed to use. Galena, a crystal form of lead is a popular option. If a crystal radio uses a real crystal it is called a "cat whisker set" due to the way the wires dangle over the crystal. Using a real crystal can be frustrating because you'll constantly need to hand tune them while listening or you'll lose your signal. You can avoid the headache and use a modern diode such as type 1N34A. A modern diode is essentially cat-whiskers with a fixed and unmovable design. Next, you'll need a high impedance or a ceramic earphone. Modern earphones require power so the one's you have lying around won't work. You'll need an extremely sensitive earphone that will react to tiny vibrations in your circuit. If you're going to do anything other than a basic crystal radio you'll need to use a resistor (if your antenna is longer). You'll then need to make the coil and turn the coil into a radio.
Speaking of Antennas, rscasny will be hosting a webinar with Molex where they will literally be handing out antennas (for good questions):
Animatronics Edging Out Mesh Network in the Monthly Poll!
Last time we left you, Mesh Network had opened up a slim lead on Animatronics. It's now flipped and Animatronics has opened up a slim lead on Mesh Network in the latest Project14 poll:
As always, with monthly competitions about you, the more ideas you suggest in the comments, the better the program gets!. We've got some really good suggestions lately and will be looking to shake things up soon. Remember, November is Makember:
I wouldn't have known about this if cstanton , our community manager, hadn't mentioned it. The poll to decide the November competition will be going up shortly. One idea is to go through the list of suggestions you've made for future themes and do a special Makevember poll. The other option is to wait till the first of November to do something separate like what we did for the 10 year challenge. What are your thoughts? How would you go about celebrating Makevember on Project14? Let us know in the comments below!
Something Special in Mind for Vision Thing!
Haven't hammered the details yet but the upcoming Vision Thing competition will commence with a soft launch on September 16th followed by a hard launch at a later time so that as we're going to give something really cool away for project proposals that use them! Also, there will likely be a special Grand Prize and an element14 presents promo!
Don't Miss These Webinars Live and On Demand!
We've had 3 really great webinars so far this week and they are all available on demand that you should be sure to check out:
Earlier this week, jlucas was nice enough to step this week and host in my place for Expanding your Test and Measurement Workbench Beyond the Lab with the Analog Discovery 2 and you can tell by the on demand video that he does an excellent job. The last couple of days two really awesome webinars with a Wireless IoT for Everyone with the Amber Pi and USB Type-C and Power Delivery (PD) Explained . I'm learning so much by just being present at these webinars and also just the whole learning aspect that comes with any role. As there were a lot of these this month, rscasny has been cool enough to step into a familiar role and take ownership of the upcoming Antenna Essentials: Key fundamentals that impact your RF system and steps to optimize antenna performance . I will be running a separate webinar with Molex for Connector Design Considerations for Advanced Automotive Systems.
A powerpoint of the presentation from the USB-C webinars is attached here. We had some problems with the screen share. It worked perfectly during the 30 minutes before the webinar and during the dry run but wasn't cooperating. Luckily the slide presentation was uploaded and we could manage the webinar seamlessly (except for a brief interruption) to see if we could get the screen share to work. The rest of the webinar went smoothly and it was followed by a lively Q&A discussion that ran the full time allotted to us.
Also, just set up a webinar primer and sign up for the upcoming Mosfet webinar with Omron:
Check it out and let me know what you think about doing this for other webinars! Also, we're less than a week from the ISELED webinar from NXP that is attracting a lot of excitement:
Matt Eargle Rocks the Commodore SX-64!
airbornesurfer enjoys working with retro computer and gaming platforms, so when a friend asked if he wanted to come to take an "old Commodore laptop" off his hands, he jumped at the chance. Watch him to do a full Commodore SX-64 Restoration on the latest episode of element14 presents:
Also, check out all the great supplemental material Matt always does by visiting the episode page. I would include it here but this page has gotten long enough!
Karen Drives a 7 Segment Display!
That's all for this week! So long for just a while.....