RFID + Wood =

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Sure it looks like a bunch of cute Scandinavian wood blocks and maybe a Red Hot Fireball. But its actually a media triggering system developed by Jørn Knutsen, Einar Sneve Martinussen and Timo Arnall from Architecture-og designhøgskolen in Oslo. Put an object in the little bowl and it triggers an attached computer to do different stuff – play a movie, or start a kid’s game. Check it out here on belowtheclouds.com.

Achraf Kassioui drawings

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Achraf Kassioui’s portfolio site is an exploration of concepts relating to animation and robotics. What I like is the gorgeous, low tech manner that he employs. The drawings, whimsical and groundless, are of imaginary systems that represent ideas important to any robot such as balance, speed, thrust, etc. Like it or not, robotic developments are quickly advancing.  It is awesome to see someone looking at them in such a personal, human way.

LED Necklace

A few months ago I put together a LED string for an award designed by Largent Studios. I liked the way the LEDs connected & thought they might look good just like that. This necklace is my first attempt. Neat thing is, the LEDs are powered by coin batteries that are just slipped in between the + and – LED terminals.

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New Levels!

I love to get new tools, and wish I could do it more often. Last month though, I did my part for the economy & bought myself a beautiful new set of Stabila Levels. Not cheap but not having to worry about the accuracy of levels is priceless….stabila-mason-levels-1

Cult of the Done Manifesto

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This from Bre Pettis’ blog I Make Things. You may know him from Make Magazine’s Video Podcasts. It’s a very accurate representation of how to make things – anything. James Provost designed the incredible poster.

The Cult of Done Manifesto
1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
3. There is no editing stage.
4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
11. Destruction is a variant of done.
12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
13. Done is the engine of more.

National Semiconductor’s Dimmable LED driver

National Semiconductor has just released a new integrated circuit, the LM3445, that will be a game changer in the world of LED Lighting. From what I’ve seen one of the tougher challenges for LED integration into standard interior lighting has been dimming. LEDs need very strict power to be maintained and are finicky on how dimming works for them. Pulse Width Modulation seems to be the best way to dim them, but how to control a PWM module from a standard wall dimmer? With only 2 wires running to the light fixture, you’d have to modulate the dimming signals into the AC (like a X10 system) and that gets complicated. National’s new IC helps solve this problem. With some additional circuitry, the voltage from a standard Triac dimmer can be used to control LED dimming without flicker. No additional power supply, only 2 wires powering everything. Only bummer is that the chip can only source for seven 1-Watt LEDs but hopefully that will get solved soon. Hope to see these on some cascadable LED light strips soon. Check out this demonstration done by Arrow Electronics.