Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween. After failing to make a bright enough flickering candle on an ATtiny13A, I quickly threw together a "blinking, glowing eyes in the bushes" thing using one of my eeZee Tiny boards with some resistors and LEDs soldered on.

This is what I was picturing...

This is what I ended up with...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review of Free Gerber File Viewers for Linux

Here's a review of free Linux Gerber file viewers.

PCB fabrication shops usually require Gerber files of your latest PCB design. Taking one last look can prevent mistakes, so you'll want to view the designs graphically with a Gerber file viewer.

Windows users have quite a few options which I've previously reviewed. For Linux users the choices are very limited but here's my review of the available options.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Check this out: Boston Dynamics Wildcat

Boston Dynamics posted a video of their Wildcat on Youtube bounding and galloping autonomously. At a speed of 16mph. Two thoughts. First, they should enter the 2014 Sparkfun AVC.

Second, I'm incredibly curious about what's involved. Balancing, leg placement. Sounds like an utterly fascinating topic to explore.

Do their robots teach themselves how to balance (like that kid from my alma mater that built a six-legged robot that teaches itself to walk)? Or is it carefully tuned, hardcoded, etc? Anyone know?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Check this out: Electric Imp

Electric Imp, WiFi for all
You know how when you talk with geek friends you learn about cool stuff you didn't know about?

For the next several weeks, in addition to the regular posts, I'll make a valiant attempt to share some things I think are neat-o in case you haven't heard of them or have but forgot. 

I'd love to hear your feedback. Could you take a second and post comments good or bad? Thanks.

First up is the Electric Imp. It's been around awhile. It's a device in an SD card form factor that bridges your widget to WiFi. On-board is a transceiver and an ARM Cortex M3. It's programmable via cloud-based development. You can get 'em for $30 at Sparkfun and other places.

I haven't played with one yet. I already have a mountain of microcontrollers and other goodies waiting for my time. How about you?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eagle Tips: Default Via Size

In Eagle, vias are square and overly large by default but you can change the default. All you have to do is create/edit eagle.scr in the scr directory of your Eagle installation. Enter the following lines: