Blogma Week E

Kenji Yanobe's Radiation Car Cobolt


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 14 – The Last Journal?!?

Ah. Snow.

Taxis' tires push

Through the slush of Houston Street:

Sounds like the Ocean

My final project idea is okay, but it needs a little something. Technically, it won’t be anything that hasn’t been done before (cancelling the negatives, it WILL be something that HAS been done).
So a business won’t be interested, but a museum might, but only if the thing has some kind of aesthetic value or meaning of some kind.

If I make the cables that connect the segments really long, that could be interesting.

If I make the cables switchable from left to right, then by changing them I could make the segments move in the … Read the rest

Blogma Week D

Kenji Yanobe's Sweet Harmonizer 2


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 13

interactive neurotic King's head assembly
The picture on the left is a ‘Kismet‘-style greeterBot being used at King’s College in London.
The article in Nature

I still want to make my Kisov robot, which would be capable of walking unaided to Cambridge and punching Kismet in the face.

I bought one of those multi-color IR sensors that is supposed to be able to not only detect light, but detect specific wavelengths.
Danged if I can figure out how it works. It has four glass plates on the front and two sets of three wires in the back.
I can’t find any specs anywhere.
Gov. Color Detector
The wires are sort of like those of a stepper motor, where each set of … Read the rest

Blogma Week C

Spring Turkey


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 12

Obligatory Fat Albert reference:

Randall: Mushmouth, you’re like p-comp on Thanksgiving.

Mushmouth: Whabat dobo youbou meabean?

Randall: No class

If I do the centipede robot, I could either make the segment wheels always turn together, relying on the head to pull them in the right direction, the way an 18-wheeler relies on the cab to turn.
Or, I could have the segment wheels turn separately, based on a signal that’s passed down from the head (right wheel to turn left, and vice versa).
But that would mean each segment turning on its own, and the whole thing would move diagonally.
Maybe I could just reduce the power sent to the one wheel rather than cut … Read the rest

Blogma Week B


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 11

MPJA has little 5V motors for 39¢ a piece for orders of 5 or more.

Some old friends visited over the weekend. Anna, the girl, was fascinated with all my electronics junk.
I taught her how to solder and she wired up some potentiometers and speakers for me.
She was into making LEDs turn on, and before long she had set up a circuit where she could vary the brightness of the LEDs with a variable resistor.
She’s only 9 but made as much progress in a few hours as I had made in my first week in this class.

She asked me whether I enjoyed playing sports. I said, ‘Not really.’

Then she said, … Read the rest

My Robot Can Kick Your Robot’s ASCII

Nitinol – Muscle Wire: The Mauling

(sort of like muscle cars, except long and very skinny)

the plan
the implementation
history and information about nitinol

Project: Operation Boris II

We began by going to the Robot Store and getting the kit pictured on the right, which included a book and one meter each of Flexinol™ 050, 100 & 150.
The numbers refer to the diameter of the wire in millimeters (0.05mm, 0.1mm, and 0.15mm).
The book contains a lot of info on nitinol and several instructions for various projects.
The last one looked the most interesting – to build a 6-legged (hexapod) robot, which the book called Boris.

Here is a video of a completed Boris. (676K, QuickTime format)

The … Read the rest

Blogma Week A


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 10

That Applications class presentation is over. What a week.

I’ll let you in on a secret: our tech presentation… topic is… on… Nitinol, aka “muscle wire”.
I did a simple project with it on my own a while back, and thought it was interesting, so I suggested it to Koichi and Matthias a few weeks ago.
I bought a book and a few meters of the wire and we’ve all had a chance to look at it.
The big project at the end of the book is to create a 6-legged creature that moves via the contraction of the wire (no motors or solenoids).
It’s operated by a Basic program (actual Basic, not what … Read the rest

Blogma Week 9


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 9

Some people came over for Halloween.
I live on King St. just off 6th Ave. (Avenue of the Americas for you tourists) and have a good vantage point from which to see the Village Halloween Parade.

At one point, there were four kids in my living room, with the parents all out on the fire escape.
To entertain the kids I showed them my physical computing projects.
Scout, the 7-year-old girl, was dressed as, as she explained, a “half-robot half-cat”.
We briefly discussed the Island of Dr. Moreau, then I showed her my robot monster hand from last Friday.
She held it carefully, then looked up at me and said, “Oh. You’re an inventor.”… Read the rest

Blogma Week 8


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 8

I saw more stars last night than I’ve ever seen in Manhattan. Admittedly only a hundred perhaps, not the tens of thousands one can see elsewhere in the world, but it was still cool to see Orion’s belt.

Project# 9cnj26h3: Build a MetroCard reader

(Project# 9cnj26h3: Build a MetroCard writer)

I have a magnetic tape head (again, from that answering machine) – I’ll see if swiping a card generates a signal.

Matt Slaybaugh
ms171 at… Read the rest

Blogma Week 6


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 6

The site that Morgan found is really cool.

And here is another:
Any site that has a link named “Fun with High Voltage” has to be good.

Take a 9-volt battery and touch it to a piece of steel wool. Instant fun!

I bought the radio kit from Radio Shack. It was kind of fun to put together. It would make a good homework assignment for people still getting used to electronics.
The kit uses tightly coiled springs to hold wire leads in place, rather than solder. I think I might use those in my projects.



For the Halloween class, Ana and I will try to make a disembodied hand (when … Read the rest

Blogma Week 5


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 5

For next week, I built the light saber in the picture in the upper left.
I think the switch is bad, since the plasma field charge isn’t arcing all the way.
I’ll never take my light saber to the beach again, I can tell you that.
So, I won’t be able to cut off any arms just yet – I can just barely trim my fingernails with it.

I found a 10-watt speaker in the junk pile, but it doesn’t work. The large red ‘X’ that someone had written on the back should have been a clue.

I swear there are two Japanese guys named Koichi in our class, but neither of them has heard … Read the rest

Blogma Week 4


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 4

No funny business this time. Just work. All sentences. In fragment form.

Dan got eggs and bacon at deli Friday morning.

I coveted his breakfast.

But why were the eggs so yellow?

I mean: Yellow.

Forgot case, breadboard, and BX chip in room 406 Friday morning.

Returned over 6 hours later only to find everything exactly where I left it.

Faith in inherent goodness of mankind renewed.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

Stuck around to hear Todd’s presentation. Stuck around longer to salvage parts.
Found disassembled (disembled?) VCR in junk pile in shop area, or whatever that room is called.

Included … Read the rest

Blogma Week 3


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 3

I had been invited to the beach where friends have a cottage this weekend, but said no because I had planned to go upstate to see other friends – but now they’re all sick, and the beach friends are already gone.

So I’ll spend Saturday haging out with some wires.

I was a little concerned when Jeff pointed out to that one girl (Italian, dark hair, what’s her name?) that her circuit was put together in such a way that the 12 volts from the main power supply was feeding into the 5V loop she had made with the regulator.

I think mine may have been the same, so I pulled out everything and started … Read the rest

Blogma Week 2


Intro to Physical Computing
Fall, 2003
Jeff Feddersen

Week 2

Meat Resistor

When I was a kid, Mr. Wizard was on Nickelodeon and he cooked a hotdog with some apparatus that basically electrocuted it.

I simplified his design by taking the power cord from an old lamp, and sticking the wire ends into either end of a hot dog.

I plugged in the cord and pretty soon the hot dog started sizzling and spitting and cooked pretty quickly.

In fact, I had to run over and yank the cord from the wall when the plastic insulation started to smoke.

It tasted okay (the hot dog, not the insulation), like a microwaved one.

Hot dogs have a lot of salt and water, and salt water is … Read the rest