Vanity is…

me trying to convince the audience (there were more than it looks like) how video macro-blocks could be used for lateral motion tracking (and more speculatively, vertical and rotational too).

Me and my Vanity

Me and my Vanity

There are lots more photos of yesterday’s Cotswold Raspberry Jam that aren’t soiled by my presence on facebook – check ’em out at (or even better, join) the Cotswold Jam group or follow us on Twitter.

The next Cotswold Jam with be on 26th November from 1 – 4 at the University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus, Cheltenham.

Cotswold Jam – date change – now 2nd July

Due to a double booking at the University of Gloucestershire, we’ve had to move the Cotswold Jam out by a week to Saturday 2nd July.  Current tickets remain valid, but if you can’t attend, please e-mail admin at cotswoldjam.org so that we can free your tickets up for others and return any voluntary donation you gave.

Thanks, and hope to see you there.

Cotswold Raspberry Jam

Cotswold Raspberry Jam

 

Cotswold Jam tutorial kits vs. Dyson

I’ve just quit smoking saving myself £300 a month, and I was going to treat myself to a new vacuum cleaner as a reward – I have an older version of the same and it’s fab but this one is even fabber.

But I’ve also started putting together a new python + electronics tutorial for the next Cotswold Jam at the end of April, both setting up my own prototype, and collecting components for 24 kits to be given away to tutorial participants.  Sadly, this has taken a significant proportion of my Dyson money, but I think the result of my prototype looks pretty cool, literally:

Door alarm system

Door alarm system

Big thanks to Pimoroni for the custom Snowflake white version of their limited edition PiBow B+/B2 Coupe Midnight Black, the discount on the 25 mini-PCBs for the kits – you’re stars!

The give away kits will have smaller breadboards instead of the cakeboard shown above, but they’ll all come with the doors with neodymium magnets as the door knobs, reed switch, buzzer, on-off switch and wires.

Yes Sir, I can boogie!

I’ve been meaning for ages to get my turtle* project back up and running, and having put the quad siblings to bed for a while, I’ve finally had time.

Turtle

Turtle

By using a B+, I finally have enough GPIO pins to drive the stepper motors directly via 8 pins and mosfets rather than using the 74HC595 serial to parallel latch.  That’s simplified the circuitry and software a lot.  I’ve also turned the turtle into a WAP.  Finally, I’ve swapped batteries from unregulated 2S LiPo to a 2.4A phone charger bank.  This gives just about enough power – the 2.1V battery bank shown in the picture didn’t work – the motors drew enough current to trigger a safety switch in the battery.

I’m hoping to do a tutorial at the next Cotswold Jam, starting at a flashing LED and ending in a robot in 10 easy steps.  In the meantime, just watch her boogie!

Turtle boogie! from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

P.S. For a giggle, watch the original “Yes Sir, I can boobie” on youtube.


*A turtle should really have a pen controlled by a solenoid to leave a trail as it wanders. A more useful implementation for the modern era would be as the base for a laser cutter, or 3D printer: consider attaching the stepper motors to a fixed base at 90° to each other independently manoeuvring a suspended platform around underneath a fixed position laser or molten plastic feeder?  It’s only a different LEGO layout from what the turtles doing now.

In fact, my next project, piPlotter, has just been conceived, using the turtle motors to move a Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen running a draw application with a stylus touching the screen to draw out the movement.  More of a LEGO project than a RPi project, and a lot more fun as a result.  Oh, and cheap too!