IED T-Shirt for Sale

Instructables member Ed Lewis, a.k.a “fungus amungus,” designer of the “Improving ELECTRONICS Devices is not a crime” shirt, has made the design available on Spreadshirt. Profit from the sales of the shirt go to Star Simpson’s defense fund. Star being the 19 year old hardware hacker who spooked all sense out of Logan Airport authorities when she wore a shirt with a home-made electronics circuit to pick somebody up. Whatever you think of her actions (personally I find them boneheaded in the extreme), you’ve got to sympathize with her serious and scary predicament, especially because “the Man” seems intent on throwing the book at her, calling what she wore a “fake bomb” (which is equally boneheaded in the extreme).

I bought the shirt seen here. I plan on wearing it with pride at the Austin Maker Faire (while turning it inside out and burying it deep inside my bag at the airport). We live in interesting times…


Do birds have HUDs in their heads?

Street Techie Alberto Gaitan writes “Some birds (and maybe newts!) may have HUDs:”

Published on the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE) website, a paper describes how one team of scientists in Germany studied a specie of nocturnal migratory bird to test the hypothesis that birds of that type may be able to visually detect the earth’s magnetic field providing them with what may amount to a head-up display (HUD). Birds trained to orient to magnetic fields managed to do so quickly when tested in white or short wavelength light (i.e., blue and green) but had a hard time doing so when tested in yellow or red light. These previous findings, along with new neuronal tracing data that shows that the part of their brain most active during magnetic orientation is their visual thalamus, suggests that they used visual cues to hop into proper position when the magnetic field changed during the lab experiments.


Atoms That Talk Long Distance

From Reuters:

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. physicists have coaxed tiny artificial atoms into communicating in an advance that may lead to super-fast quantum computers, the researchers said on Wednesday.

Quantum computers hold the promise of being enormously powerful, capable of solving in seconds problems that take today’s fastest machines years to crack.

So far, physicists have worked mostly on developing the most basic of elements that can store information known as quantum bits, or qubits.

But a series of papers in the journal Nature suggest researchers have found a way to get these qubits to communicate over a distance, for instance, across a computer chip.

In the past, the best qubits could do was talk to neighboring qubits, much like the childhood game of telephone.

But researchers from Yale University have found a way to move information stored in a stationary quantum bit via a microwave photon to another stationary quantum bit on the same chip.

Read the rest…

Thanks, Ron!


IED T-Shirt

If an IED (Improvised ELECTRONICS Device) gets you nearly gunned down at the airport, will a PICTURE of one also get you cavity searched? My guess is yes. But I want one anyway. Modeled here by one of the MAKE cohort and founder of Squid Labs, Saul Griffith. The shirt was designed by Ed Lewis. No word on if they’re for sale or not.

BTW: Tim O’Reilly has a wonderful profile piece on Saul on O’Reilly Radar.

[Via Make]


Awesome Electronics and Arduino Tutorials

There just aren’t enough good, clear electronics and getting started in microcontrollers tutorials online. It’s a shame because far more people would be interested in this stuff if the barriers to entry weren’t so intimidating. And unfortunately, many of these barriers are unnecessary (like tutorials that can’t be bothered holding your hand and easing you in slowly).

So, I’m thrilled that one of my favorite hardware hackers, Lady Ada, has put up the first four lessons of her Learn Electronics Using Arduino tutorials. Clear, well-documented, well-illustrated tutorials. It seems so obvious. And yet it escapes so many.

So if you’ve been wanting to get into MCU/Arduino programming and taking control of some hardware projects, grab your soldering iron, Digital Multimeter, and your Arduino module and hit this link.


Experiments in Artful Reanimation

UK steampunk/macabre artist AlexCF continues to outdo himself. Each of his dusty, time-worn kits and cabinets of wonder get more ambitious and layered with staggering amounts of detail. His latest piece is called the Bio-Etheric Laboratory: Experiments in Reanimation. Amongst the familiar antique bottles, unnaturalist notebooks and field drawings, candles, antique labware, and other curious artifacts sits a severed ape forearm. An animatronic severed ape forearm. Appropriately, it’s powered by a knife switch mounted on the case, so you can have hours of fun playing the modern Prometheus. And just in time for Halloween!

[Via Brass Goggles]


Maple seed-sized UAV

This is incredible:

Lockheed Martin is looking to supply the Pentagon with flying cameras …. A miniature payload module about the size of an Altoid can be carried by this single-wing Nano Air Vehicle (NAV), sized and shaped like a maple tree seed. The minuscule vehicle is packed with navigation and communications equipment, imaging devices, and sensors that sniff the air for chemicals or detect signs of life such as body heat and breathing.

From Sci Fi Tech blog.


How-To: Make Your Own SD/MMC Card Connector

Hackszine points to this nifty project that turns a floppy drive ribbon cable/connector into an SD/MMC card socket. The builder, Rob Wentworth, soldered this onto the PCB of his Linksys WRT54G router. If you’re running third-party firmware on your router, like DD-WRT or OpenWRT, this SD socket gives you access to a lot more apps, data, and swap-RAM space. This how-to only covers the SD socket side of things. Here’s a tutorial on attaching an SD socket to a WRT54G router.


Utterly Awesome Custom Synth Rack

Holy patchbays, Bob! If I didn’t want to take up analog synth building before, I sure as hell do now! Check out this amazing rack of 12 Serge modular analog synth units manufactured by Sound Transform Systems. The rack itself was custom designed by Mike Adjellian, the same guy who brought us the Lil Sucker. This synth unit lives at Twelfth Root Studios in Ottawa. It’s The Jetsons meets Invader Zim!

If you want to learn more about Serge synths, here’s an unofficial site. Check out the gallery there for some other crazy-cool custom builds.