Finally! Mr Transistor ignites laser

I say finally because after a lull of no posts in a week, I finally post something. However, more importantly I say “FINALLY” because after putting an old project away for months, a year, longer (?), I’ve finally managed to get a transistor to turn my last diode on and off, producing enough light to be seen across the room! A green laser too! This means I can draw on the wall with a laser…

Where it all began.. I ordered and received my Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform (Arduino Uno) a long time ago, maybe a year.. maybe less, anyway sometime ago, a while back, in a time unknown, I needed something to make.

I had plenty of ideas but they would involve some outlay of cash, I needed something else.. something from bits of rc planes.. Electric motors, speed controllers and servos. whilst tethered to my Arduino, I didn’t want moving ideas with spinning propellers, so I was left with servos… ooo, and a laser pointer.. Why not…

after a stroll along the Arduino learning curve, I’d managed to:

draw a box, a circle and a sine wave with a laser..
Use a mouse to control the laser dot on the wall..
Added buttons and LEDs for input and info
Made it draw a couple of stars and write my name..
built a PC app that allows someone to program a routine from a PC where dots are drawn

Now I can switch the laser on and off in the program, it makes for much better fit drawing. There Ste some bus to remove and tweaks to be here but it’s functional!

Lastly, thanks to all of those reading this blog. anyway, it’s way past my bed time, and I’m bit going to proof read this. It may not make sense!

More soon..

Composed on my phone. Eek  mistakes?

SOPA, Creative times and DuctBot v0.3.3

DuctBot is more stable on it’s feet but still not sensing anything from the world, that comes soon.  To be attracted by light?  To be attracted by sound?  To transduce distance ultrasonically?  I am going budget, so maybe a few microphones and a few LDR’s, sorry, light dependant resistors, and have it with two senses, maybe a few switches for a third sense, where to stop?  I guess when I can no longer recycle with bits I have lying around :)

And from robots – to polymer clay.  I had a recent play with polymer clay, and will soon attempt design 3 of the friendship tealight holder.  Pics coming soon, it’s just being refined.

And now for SOPA… today is the internet blackout.  Searching earlier, researching ideas I ended up at OReilly.com – blackout, I think they have an account login section but seemingly, nothing more. (wow, cool!).  My travels took me to Sparkfun.com – they have a blocked out logo.  Not to mention, WordPress.org  :)  I knew of this pending day but I forgot until I arrived at work.. Well done for all those who have highlighted this current issue to a broader number of people in more locations.  This is an interesting time in the evolution of not only the internet but consciousness of the entire human race.  We cannot let the power of the entertainment industry control the internet, and censorship is not the answer.

I don’t watch many movies (the odd one here or there), and little TV but there within western societies, there are a lot of people who watch a lot of movies.  I am pretty certain that I could go without movies and TV, could you?  Would you?

SOPA / PIPA are not friendly!

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

 

New video upload

I’ve got a new video uploaded – a test of my relatively new compact digital camera – the Canon SX230 HS…

The footage was shot in Scotland, on the coast of Moray on New Years Eve 2011.  I didn’t use a tripod so the video is a bit wobbly when I zoom in to 56x but it does highlight the capabilities well, seeing all the way across the mini bay :)

Let’s try embed it here:

The Higgs Boson

The day I started writing in my blog again was the day that the BBC aired a Horizon special – The Hunt for Higgs.

I am no theoretical physicist, and before I continue I should say, that I may be wrong but everything I write, are true to the best of my knowledge and the knowledge of the current age.

Finding experimental proof for theoretical ideas is often a challenge for science and physicists have been searching for the Higgs Boson for well over a decade. There have been hopes in the past, but after amounting to nothing, not all was lost. Physicists have managed to elimate areas of a large range of energies needed through different particle accelerators around the world. Now, the spotlight is on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. Will the elusive sub atomic particle be found? If it is, 2012 could the year the world changes. Not in an instant, but through the assimilation of the knowledge, confirmation of some theories, a key to other doors of discovery – the graviton? It could be a truly fascinating time for physics.

So if you are unsure what this all means, I will do my best to explain the whole experiment and basic ideas in a nutshell, maybe a packet of nuts…

The LHC (Large Hadron Collider), uses big magnets to accelerate tiny bits of stuff to near the speed of light.. One is fired from one point, and another fired in the opposite direction – towards each other. Once fired, they are accelerated to near the speed of light.

★ B l a m ! ★ They hit each other.

Lot of different bits, little building blocks of stuff fly off in different directions and with different energies so, like different sized and weighted spinning tops, they eventually fall in different places and big, expensive and complex detectors measure all sorts of stuff before dumping extreme amounts of data for physicists to decode, theorise, ponder, forget and discover.

A fascinating fact is that the particles exist for the smallest amount of time, and the conditions that exist when the particles (two protons) collide, is the point in time, about 0.000,000,000,0001 seconds after the big bang.

2012 could be the year the world adds a whole new section to all of the physics books currently out there.

This Higgs Boson is hypothetical right now.