Moldy Kodachrome under the SEM

201408_MudMask_Contact_012

This past week I had the chance to look at a damaged piece of Kodachrome film using the SEM. Many thanks to Ryan for being an SEM sensei and preparing my sample!

I had recently acquired a box of sixty year old slides from my grandfather, visibly moldy and containing almost no recognizable subjects. The Kodachrome frames are unlabeled except for one: “Pat” written in pencil. I digitized them using a high res flatbed scanner and the resulting images are abstracted, textural, wrinkled, aged, rotten layers of purples and browns. In a few of the slides, a section of a window is visible, a head of a horse, two posed women. Pat turned out to be totally enshrouded in a mold veil, like most of the images. She along with the other photographic subjects had been displaced by  abstracted, festering growths.

Sinewy veins stretch across, interspersed with round sacs and sac covered cylindrical pellets. Some other spherical growth breaks the surface creating a hungry alien mouth form. These images got me thinking about the many complicated layers of cultural artifacts. The film slides are part of my family archive, they indicate 1950’s photo technology, they’re fragile physical objects susceptible to mold growths. What do valued objects/ object of nostalgia become when they are separated from their initial purpose? What does it mean to keep a box of film if the intended images are no longer there? The photographer, the creator of the original image, has been deprived of his control as biological functions resulting from imperfect environment and time have taken over.

In a sense, I hope to continue the life of these objects by pushing them into their new life as veiled, abstracted images, reminders that physical world continually effects our efforts to preserve and keep stagnant. While I don’t know who Pat is, or what she looks like, I have a pretty incredible image of something related to her.

Leica Cambridge Ltd.

Leica Cambridge Ltd.

Leica Cambridge Ltd.

 

 

 

 

03

10 2014

NERP Tonight: A Simple Wireless Link for Serial Data

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Amongst the Maker community ZigBee® is usually thought of alongside the XBee® modules from Digi Corporation. The little blue irregular-hexagon shaped boards mean “wireless data” to a lot of folks. XBee is in fact the name of a family of wireless data modules that share the same form factor and blue color. The family includes ZigBee modules, DigiMesh modules, WiFi modules, and IEEE802.15.4 radios. Depending on the model, the data radios can do point-to-point, peer-to-peer, star, and mesh networks.

If you’d like to play around with wireless data a good place to start is replacing a serial cable with an XBee Series 1 module. There are two power levels to choose from: a 1mW module that can work to a distance of 300ft, and a 60 mW module that can work to a distance of one mile (in perfect conditions).

The Series 1 modules are usually used as IEEE 802.15.4 data radios. ZigBee and several other protocols are built on top of 802.15.4.The 802.15.4 spec provides the physical and MAC layers to serve higer level protocols. It’s a just enough support to get bytes sent from A to B. One nice thing about working close to the metal is that, once the hardware is set up, it’s fairly easy to push bytes around. You can even make up your own simple ad-hoc protocols if needed.

Tonight at NERP, I’ll show how to set up a wireless data link between two devices that can communicate at 300 to 115200 baud. I’ll show XBee XPB24-AWI-001’s moving serial data, and how to set up and test the modules using the X-CTU software from Digi.

As a side-note, the Internet of Things is creating a demand for better and cheaper wireless data connections. It is common for the Things to speak a local protocol that is propietary or unique to their class of device and for the relevant parts of the machine to machine dialog to be passed upstream through a server or bridge.

ZigBee® is a trademark of the ZigBee Consortium

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/and http://pumpingstationone.org/ Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September 29th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station:One

29

09 2014

Last 36 hours for submissions!

designcontestWe’re down to the wire here, everyone! This is your last chance to submit designs before the deadline! Get ‘em in before the voting starts in 2 days!

You can submit your entries throughout this month of September, with the deadline on the 30th. after that will be a week of member voting. The winning submission will get a complete set of the shirt (any size), sticker, and pin, as well as a “special meet and greet with the president of Pumping Station: One” (Bry asked me to include that last bit).

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, 1″ buttons, and 3″ stickers(round or square, depending on the chosen design). Unless you think the design will be optimized to look good in all three formats, I suggest you edit your designs for each application. By all means, have the same elements in each, but keep in mind that the button has less space for detail than the shirt.
  • Unless you’re designing in vector format, make sure your original copy will be of sufficient size and detail. The canvas you work in should be about 10″ wide by 15″ tall and at LEAST 400PPI if not working in vector.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes. Remember that PS: One is a safe space, I know we have just f@*!ing do it as a central theme, but keep it PG or your entry will be invalid for the contest.

Send your submissions to info@pumpingstationone.org with “Design Contest Submission” in the Subject line

29

09 2014

One week left in the Pumping Station: One Design Contest!

designcontestOne week left to send in your submissions, people! the submissions so far have been AMAZING, and those of you who’ve been working all month on yours are sure to have something really amazing in the works! I can’t wait for the voting to start next week!

You can submit your entries throughout this month of September, with the deadline on the 30th. after that will be a week of member voting. The winning submission will get a complete set of the shirt (any size), sticker, and pin, as well as a “special meet and greet with the president of Pumping Station: One” (Bry asked me to include that last bit).

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, 1″ buttons, and 3″ stickers(round or square, depending on the chosen design). Unless you think the design will be optimized to look good in all three formats, I suggest you edit your designs for each application. By all means, have the same elements in each, but keep in mind that the button has less space for detail than the shirt.
  • Unless you’re designing in vector format, make sure your original copy will be of sufficient size and detail. The canvas you work in should be about 10″ wide by 15″ tall and at LEAST 400PPI if not working in vector.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes. Remember that PS: One is a safe space, I know we have just f@*!ing do it as a central theme, but keep it PG or your entry will be invalid for the contest.

Send your submissions to info@pumpingstationone.org with “Design Contest Submission” in the Subject line

23

09 2014

Two Applied Sciences Events this Tuesday, Sept. 23rd!

As written by Ryan:

First up is SEM Office Hours at 7 PM

We’d previously had problems with the SEM’s vacuum system that prevented us from looking at new samples. This is now fixed! So to celebrate, I intend to do some sample preparation. (We’ve got a 3D printer nozzle to measure and examine, and a piece of color slide film covered in mold.) This will be the first time I’ve opened the sample chamber for a public demonstration.

I’d also like to thank two people who made this possible. Bruce McConachie donated the funds to purchase the parts to repair the scope. And Fitterdave did some very difficult TIG welding to fabricate a custom adaptor.

We we will be ending SEM Office Hours early to accommodate the second Applied Sciences event of the evening. At 8:30, Elizabeth Koprucki will be presenting a lecture: Explore Our Solar System: Data from Space and What You Can Do With It.

So come on out, and, in the words of the venerable Sarcastic Rover:

Let’s Do A Science!

appliedsciencesbanner

23

09 2014

Beer Church Brew Day: Saturday 9/20

We’ll be having a beer tasting and brew day on 9/20 (Saturday) at 12:00PM noon. We normally brew on Sundays, but we’re mixing it up this time. We’re looking to make an Octoberfest Lager or a Märzen, but it’s really up to whatever the people who are going to participate in the brew want to do.  Our temperature control system Chillmon is working, so any fermentation temperature is possible.

The brew is a very hands on workshop, even first timers can try their hand at various parts of the brewing process including recipe development, prep, mashing, grain grinding, mashing, sparging, boiling, pitching, kegging, and setting up our in-house bar.  We go from malt, hops and yeast infusions all the way to serving out of our chilled tower tap system. If you just want to watch and listen, that’s fine too. Any idea or person is welcome.

We’ll be tapping our Rosemary Stout for the first time this Saturday. If you’d like to share anything please bring it (craft brew, homebrew, whichever)! We love to talk about your homebrew or the interesting beer you made or found that you want to experience with other beer aficionados.  You must be 21 years old to attend Beer Church.

You can RSVP on our Meetup group.

18

09 2014

SPICE it up – Circuit Simulation using LTspice

spice_it_up

Probably the most neglected, yet most useful, tool for circuit designers is SPICE.  SPICE gives you the luxury of simulating circuits to predict the results prior to building a physical circuit.  Being able to change resistor values or transistor configurations within a couple mouse clicks and a few keyboard presses, is a very powerful and time/money saving feature.  As such, it is also very useful in troubleshooting previously built circuits to find solutions to lingering design problems.

SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) is open-source software released under the “BSD license”.  Several companies produce their own version of SPICE, such as TINA from DesignSoft or PSpice from Cadence.  However, the fastest and most user friendly implementation is LTspice.  LTspice is provided by Linear Technology and is completely free to use without restriction.  It is the same software that is used internally at Linear Tech to develop and test their line of analog/linear semiconductor ICs.  It was written by Mike Engelhardt, who periodically goes on tour teaching classes and answering detailed questions for his own software.

I’ll be holding a class to introduce the basics of using LTspice.  LTspice was originally written for Windows and was recently ported to Mac OS X.  The Windows version is capable of being run on Linux through Wine, but it obviously doesn’t run as well as on a native Windows machine.  I’ll be teaching with the Windows version, since I am the most familiar with it.  The Mac version has a slightly different user interface, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep up.  Here are the topics I’ll be covering:

  1. Placing & Wiring Up Components
  2. The Most Basic Simulation: DC Operating Point
  3. Labels and “Net” Names
  4. Finding Frequency Response: AC Sweep
  5. Using the Plot Window
  6. The Real Deal: Time-Domain Simulation (Transient Analysis)
  7. Piece-Wise Linear (PWL) Sources
  8. Using SPICE “Directives”
  9. Working with Semiconductors
  10. Linear Tech’s IC Models and Test Jigs
  11. Importing 3rd Party Models & Sub-circuits

 

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who wants to learn LTspice (Open to the Public).  Some circuit knowledge is required.
  • When: Sunday, September 28th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

18

09 2014

SIGBOT Meeting on Thursday

Hey Hackers,

In case hacking on robots is your thing, we’re going to be having a SIGBOT meeting this Thursday. SIGBOT is the Special Interest Group for Robotics. We build, program, and do just about anything to do with robotics.

At this Thursday’s meeting, I’m going to give a brief overview of the Quickbot (http://o-botics.org/robots/quickbot/mooc/v2/), a small mobile robotics platform designed for teaching people how to control mobile robots. I should have one there and put together for people to poke at if they want to.

The meeting is at 19:00 on September 18, 2014 up in the electronics lab of Pumping Station: One.

The Quickbot

The Quickbot

See you all there!

16

09 2014

Two weeks left in the Pumping Station: One Design Contest

designcontest

Only two weeks left in the competition! Thank you to everyone who’s sent in a design, so far, and I look forward to seeing the designs to come!

You can submit your entries throughout this month of September, with the deadline on the 30th. after that will be a week of member voting. The winning submission will get a complete set of the shirt (any size), sticker, and pin, as well as a “special meet and greet with the president of Pumping Station: One” (Bry asked me to include that last bit).

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, 1″ buttons, and 3″ stickers(round or square, depending on the chosen design). Unless you think the design will be optimized to look good in all three formats, I suggest you edit your designs for each application. By all means, have the same elements in each, but keep in mind that the button has less space for detail than the shirt.
  • Unless you’re designing in vector format, make sure your original copy will be of sufficient size and detail. The canvas you work in should be about 10″ wide by 15″ tall and at LEAST 400PPI if not working in vector.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes. Remember that PS: One is a safe space, I know we have just f@*!ing do it as a central theme, but keep it PG or your entry will be invalid for the contest.

Send your submissions to info@pumpingstationone.org with “Design Contest Submission” in the Subject line

 

15

09 2014

Movie Night: Codebreaker

It’s movie night time! This drama-documentary was screened last year in Chicago, and it covers the life and difficulties of Alan Turing.

Alan_Turing_photo

From http://www.turingfilm.com/:

“Alan Turing is the genius British mathematician who helped save millions of lives by breaking the German naval Enigma code during World War II. He also was the visionary scientist who gave birth to the computer age, pioneered artificial intelligence, and was the first to investigate the mathematical underpinnings of the living world. Turing is one of the great original thinkers of the 20th century who foresaw the digital world in which we now live. In the eyes of many scientists today, Turing sits alongside Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin at the table of scientific greats.

YouTube Preview Image

Instead of recognition for his genius, Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death – by the nation he had done so much to save…”

When: Friday September 5, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7. Feel free to BYOB. Afterwards there will be discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: PS:One Lounge

Additional links of interest: 1.) http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Turing_Paper_1936.pdf
“On Computable Numbers,” which lays out computability and the universal turing machine

2.) http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html

“Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” which contains the Turing Test

04

09 2014