Archive for the ‘around the world’ Category

Directional shoes for the blind

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Le-chal from Anirudh's presentation

Sometimes, it is amazing to see how technology is used to make the world a better place to live for the less fortunate. One such problem has been thought out and tackled by Anirudh Sharma aka touchaddict on IRC. His invention is called ‘Le-chal’ which translates to ‘Take me there’ in Hindi.

Sharma conceptualized and demonstrated the system at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab Design and Innovation Workshop 2011.

The Le Chal system comprises of a pair of shoes, one of which is fitted with Vibrators, proximity sensors and a Bluetooth pad which is connected to an Android phone that calculates directions and real time location using Google Maps and the phone’s built-in GPS and compass module.

For all the people calling Arduino a ‘toy’ and ‘too simple’ here is a fact: it’s simplicity gave the inventors the power to rapidly prototype, and the invention was ready in 6 days.

As per his presentation, the system costs barely a few hundred rupees to assemble with 8 mini vibrational motors costing Rs 90, a sole of specified dimensions, an Arduino Lilypad GSM+GPS shield custom made for Rs 400 or a wired version costing Rs 150 for all the components.

The shoes have also been tested at a blind school in Bangalore, India, and have received positive reviews.

Source: Medianama and Pixelonomics

Happenings in Toronto

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Just got back from Toronto, where I attended events at Toronto Digifest and TIFF Nexus.  I was very impressed with all the interesting work happening there. I gave a presentation at DigiFest on Arduino, Physical Computing and Mass Participation (PDF, 25.9MB). At TIFF Nexus I was a commentator on the Peripherals Initiative along with Steve Daniels, John Bouchard, and Emilie McGinley.
On Thursday  Kate Hartman took me to visit her Social Body lab at OCAD University. After that, we went to visit Lawrence at Creatron, a local retailer of electronics parts for hobbyists.  I am envious of the electronics hackers in Toronto because of that store!  Lawrence carries all the stuff I and my students buy online all the time: microcontrollers, modules from online retailers like Adafruit and Spark Fun and individual components like resistors, LEDs, and much more.  He told me he works directly with his friends and colleagues in Hong Kong to import parts directly, so as to cut out the middleman and keep prices low. I tried to talk him into opening a store in New York City as well. We need you in NYC, Lawrence!
The Digifest talk was a great experience, thanks to organizers Luigi Ferrara, Nick Crampton, Samantha Fraser and the rest of the Digifest TO team. Thanks also to Maria Grazia Mattei and Giulia Capodieci of Meet the Media Guru for inviting and hosting me as well.Thanks to all the folks in the audience who asked really great questions as well.
On Friday Steve, John, and Ramona Pringle gave me a tour of Ryerson’s Digital Media facilities. Ryerson’s just finishing off the renovation of their Image Arts gallery, which looks like it’ll be a good space for showcasing student and faculty work. The building has a skin of LED panels, all of which are software-controllable, and John and his colleagues have been writing driver software for it.  I look forward to seeing images from it when it’s lit up, and seeing what students do with it when they get their hands on it. We also took a tour of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone business incubator, and had a great chat with Jason Nolan about the work EDGElab is doing in assistive design. He showed me an Arduino-based keyboard emulator designed by Vlad Cazan that was built to help a young girl with 1P36 deletion syndrome to communicate.

Keyboard emulator by Vlad Cazan and EDGELab

The TIFF Nexus peripherals event featured five hardware and software game hacks developed by teams who signed up for the event. Sadly, I only got to play two of them before I had to leave.  Button Masher (again featuring Vlad  and Alex Bethke of Golden Gear Games) is made up of two panels of hexagons of large light-up buttons, a sort of 21st century wack-a-mole, but with a variety of different games you can play on it, from snake trap to an Othello-like board game. Analog Defender, by Alexander Martin and Patrick Dinnen is a space game in the style of Space Invaders, but with a control panel made of great chunky industrial control knobs and buttons. The interface is pretty complicated but unlabled, and the developers encouraged players to label the controls with post-it notes as a form of social labeling. I loved the way you end up collaborating with people who played before you as a result.
It was a great trip, and it was wonderful to see so many folks using Arduino in really creative ways in Toronto.

Analog Defender


Vieni a Trovarci a Robotica 2011

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Massimo interverrà all‘Arduino Day organizzato all’interno di Robotica 2011.  Oltre alle presentazioni di Davide Canepa [Scuola di Robotica] e Leonardo di Cosmo [Discienza] vari utenti Arduino (scuole e singoli) avranno la possibilità di mostrare / presentare il loro progetto [Programma]. (scrivi a info (chiocciola) partecipare allo show-case).  Arduino parteciperà attivamente a questa edizione di Robotica 2011 con uno stand. Veniteci a trovare per avere maggiori informazioni su Arduino e la didattica, sperimentare con vari progetti in esposizione e partecipare alle attività organizzate durante la fiera.

via [Robotica 2011]

Massimo Interviewed For IxDA Awards

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

[Jennifer Bove] interviewed Massimo in the series of portraits she is making to introduce the IxDA awards.  BTW, don’t miss the chance to join, the deadline has been post-poned till October the 1st.

1- What is your favorite product, digital or otherwise, to use, and why?

When I was 8 years old my dad gave me a Braun Lectron Electronics Kit. It was packaged like a book. On the left side there was an actual book you could pop out that explained how electronics work using hand-drawn bubbles that kids could understand, followed by very clean and simple instructions on how to assemble the modules. Then on the right there was a play area made of metal, where you could make various projects and then neatly store away the building blocks when you were done. You could just close up the book afterwards and put it on the book shelf.

read the complete interview

Arduino Confidential @ Open Hardware Summit

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Yesterday we had a wonderful day at New York Hall of Science, for the Open Source Hardware Summit, in its second edition. We had the chance to see amazing presentations from makers all over the worlds [see schedule & list of participants]  We had a good time in taking with Alicia Gibb, one of the organizers who explained us this year’s numbers and some ideas for the future.

[SlideShare presentation after the break]


IAAC's CAN-Based Interactive Architectures

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Barcelona-based IAAC school is hosting a summer school (in Barcelona and Mumbay). The theme of this year’s course is creating an urban tool of a networked city based on a new informational layer.

What happens if we think Urbanism and Energy through a new informational layer added in our cities?


IAAC’s CAN-Based Interactive Architectures

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Barcelona-based IAAC school is hosting a summer school (in Barcelona and Mumbay). The theme of this year’s course is creating an urban tool of a networked city based on a new informational layer.

What happens if we think Urbanism and Energy through a new informational layer added in our cities?


ADK + Android Hacks in Yahoo Open Hack in Bangalore

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Hacking days  upcoming in Bangalore, India, for Yahoo HackDay 2011. Have a look at the schedule of the event, as well as the Hardware Hacks Wiki. We expect Arduino ADK + Android hacks to rule the scene!

[sudar] (is giving) a talk on Arduino and Android ADK and will be demoing some of the hacks which I have created using them. If this hasn’t convinced you, then there is more. Yahoo is also going to sponsor 50% price for the hardware that you need for hacking. Yes, you read it right again. We have arranged this offer with 9 Circuits.  Head over to the Open hackday wiki to get more details about it.

via [Sudar's Blog] source  [OpenHack India 2011]


ArduinoCamp Milano 2011: Report

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Ad otto giorni dalla fine del primo ArduinoCamp è giunto il momento di tirare le conclusioni di quanto avvenuto, di come è avvenuto e in che modo migliorarlo.

Rinnoviamo il ringraziamento ad Innovation Festival ed Alintec per l’appoggio e la riuscita dell’evento. Roland DG Italia e WeFab sono venuti a portare un po’ delle loro diavolerie.

Infine un grandissimo saluto a tutti coloro che hanno fatto il Camp, cioé i 200 e più partecipanti che si sono susseguiti nella due giorni. I volontari (Uwe, Federico, Vanessa, Maria, Eleonora e Nico) hanno cercato di monitorare le entrate della gente. Pare che non tutti gli iscritti si siano presentati, ma che un numero maggiore di persone sia venuto senza essersi prenotato-

1) : é stato interessante utilizzare un sito unico e le funzionalità della wiki per coordinare gli interessati per permettere agli utenti di appuntare e realizzare loro stessi il report del Camp. In realtà ci siamo appoggiati ad alcuni form esterni. Nel prossimo futuro faremo in modo che il sito riesca a gestire le richieste direttamente.

2) Discussioni & Tavole Rotonde (sabato pomeriggio): la intro di Massimo ha coperto una buona parte di domande da parte della comunità. Il confronto ha portato sostanzialmente a due conclusioni: il playground italiano va ristrutturato e i prossimi articoli che escono su Wired Italia saranno user-generated, dalla comunità di Arduino italiana. Le discussioni sono state a) un introduzione di Uwe Federer su Arduino b) un introduzione con i docenti del progetto scuola da parte di Davide Gomba c) Costantino e WeFab sul discorso Fablab a Milano d) Android e Arduino con Massimo.

3) Progetti. L’elenco dei progetti presentati lo trovate sul ArduinoCamp. Purtroppo a causa del delirio organizzativo che il camp ha comportato, la conferma delle talk é avvenuta troppo a ridosso del camp, comportando la defezione di alcuni relatori. Ci scusiamo per questo inconveniente e rinnoviamo l’invito per la prossima volta.Le presentazioni “lampo” sono state una grande prova per i nostri relatori, che comunque se la sono cavata bene. Progetti nel complesso molto interessanti.

4) HackDay. L’entusiasmo (e l’odore di sudore) che si respiravano la domenica durante l’HackDay ci hanno conrfermato che momenti di questo tipo vanno riproposti e rispondono ad una serie di richieste da parte di una crescente comunità smanettona in Italia. Il tempo é stato un limitato. In future edizioni potrebbe essere aumentato ad un giorno e mezzo, con una notte che porta sempre consiglio di mezzo.

5) La vendita delle Arduino e di oggetti simili dovrà durare maggior tempo, e dovrà essere meglio gestita.

6) L’esposizione di oggetti realizzati con Arduino dovrò avere più spazio e dovrà essere reclamizzata con più largo anticipo.

Per chi volesse, qui ci sono foto del camp (realizzate per noi da Costantino Bongiorno). Qui altre da Pitusso e qui da Paolo Bonelli

Grazie a tutti quelli che hanno partecipato e ora pensiamo a quando fare il prossimo.

Goodbye India

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I am about to start packing before leaving India to go back home. I have spent three weeks as a visiting researcher at IIITB (International Institute of Information Technology – Bangalore) located at Electronics City, just in front of Infosys. During these three weeks I have got to see a version of India a little different from the one many Europeans have. I didn’t come as a tourist, I came to meet professors, researchers, hackers, coders, etc. I also came to write a chapter of my PhD about how to characterize Arduino users (more on this in some months).

During the time here I have been looking at technology, development, entrepreneurship, education … I was a keynote at HCI India – a conference about the importance of human factors when designing technology -, but also had a presentation at Jaaga – the cultural space in central Bangalore -, Srishti School of Arts, Design and Technology, and at Indian Coffee House in Delhi.


9circuits from Delhi

9circuits from Delhi, by D. Cuartielles

Everywhere I went I found people interested in open source technologies, Arduino, Android, Processing, Linux … On April 12th I made a lecture at Srishti School of Arts, and entered in contact with Anders, former student to Tom Igoe, that runs the Toy Lab. The Master students presented their work in the courses they make with Victor Viña with whom I have been meeting before in Barcelona and Malmo. From a conceptual point of view, the Srishti students are very similar to any other design students in Europe, US, or Korea, which are places where I have been teaching at, so are they when it comes to play with technology.

When it comes to the Arduino community in Bangalore, thanks to Kiran Jonnalagadda (also known as the Hasgeek Guy) who arranged a talk on April 15th at Jaaga, I got introduced to a lot of nice people making projects in their spare time using Arduino. From wiimote controlled robots, to Android-to-Arduino connections, passing by irrigation systems (the cool thing about this last project is that the guy with the idea, Sriram, is just 12 years old).

I have to thank Freeman Murray for his hospitality, and all his crew and visiting artists at Jaaga. They will be moving location soon, hopefully to a place with less coconut trees, I was attacked by one just at Jaaga’s entrance :-)


Kiran, the Hasgeek Guy

Kiran, the Hasgeek Guy, by D. Cuartielles

Early in the morning of April 16th I took a flight to Delhi were Priya, Miss 9circuits, introduced me to her team there and guided me through the local electronics market. I learned that IIT-Delhi has a group of students called Technocracy dedicated to arrange talks and workshops around robotics, electronics, science in general. I also got to know that 9circuits ambition is creating a hackerspace to channel those energies beyond the university. They are moving to a much bigger space and will be having more than 5 interns working with them in just a couple of weeks. The core team at 9c is 3 people, but at an informal gathering at Indian Coffee House I could count up to 7 people! They are concentrating in building community at local level and want to bring open source tools to education centers around their area.

Back to Bangalore, on April 19th I was invited to visit Ram and his people at Tenet. They have a fairly big location from where they arrange workshops for colleges, design new PCBs (they do have a fairly large collection of shields coming out soon), and host students needing a nice workspace with internet connection where to build their projects. I think they have a pretty good vision when it comes to encouraging the new undergrads and grads into creating new designs. I liked their fish robot, it is not diving yet, but the videos are really promising.


Fish Robot by Tenet

Fish Robot made by Tenet, by D. Cuartielles


Ram from Tenet

Ram from Tenet, by D. Cuartielles

Prayas, an artist and professor at Srishti, brought me out on April 20th to visit Delhi’s electronics market. It is funny that I am staying at an area called Electronics City, where the only thing I cannot find is a place where to buy resistors. The e-market is about 50min by taxi from the e-city. Together with Prayas I went to the couple of locations where it is possible to purchase Arduino boards directly at a shop. Probably because of how central the market is, it happens to be so much better maintained than the one in Delhi. It is there were I found about the different Arduino compatible boards I spoke about in this article.


Arduino Uno at Bangalore's Market

Arduino Uno at Bangalore's Market, by D. Cuartielles

I had plans to visit even more locations, included the National Institute of Design in Bangalore, but my leg is not looking good after the accident with the coconut tree. However, Ram, Priya, and some others have started to look into arranging a workshop tour to Bombai, Delhi, and Bangalore (and maybe somewhere else) for the end of August. It would be great to come and get to know more people in the community here. There is a lot going on, and things are evolving really quick.

And now I should probably just get my luggage ready. Before I leave, I found this in my HDD, a picture of the Arduino USB board I used back in 2005 when I came to India for the first time, I was lecturing about prototyping back then, when the project was barely 3 months old … and my only board had a nasty hardware failure (the USB connector was inverted)


Arduino USB from 2005

Arduino USB from 2005, by D. Cuartielles



Kiran Jonnalagadda

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