Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Mooshimeter Is the Multimeter We Always Wanted
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 1.9.2014 News

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We took a look at innovative multimeters at the Maker Faire in New York in September when we previewed the Voltset, a smartphone based multimeter.

As I said in the Voltset preview, multimeters have not changed in design for a few decades. You might question why a design that works should be altered, but a new project on Dragon Innovation’s crowd funding website will definitely leave you wondering what other tools need a modern retouch.

That project is the Mooshimeter by Mooshim Engineering.

Like the Voltset, the Mooshimeter plans to take advantage of modern smart devices to expand the capabilities of traditional multimeters. By shifting the burden of display and control to another device, the Mooshim team could afford to make improvements in other areas of the Mooshimeter. While the Voltset makes a convenient pocket-sized multimeter to carry anywhere and take any sort of measurement, the Mooshimeter is a rugged data-collection device, designed to be placed in tight spaces or hard to reach places (where no multimeter has gone before!).

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The Solar Sinter 3D Printer Harnesses Sun and Sand to Print in Glass
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 12.27.2013 Tech Marinade

22_solarsiter014A project born from the mind of Markus Kayser, the Solar Sinter 3d Printer began as an expansion of dimension from an earlier project that utilized the sun to act as a laser cutter. The Solar Cutter is a cam guided semi-automated laser cutter armed with a glass ball lens that focused the sunlight into a laser, creating a crude yet aesthetic design. This “nature craft” inspired Kayser to introduce the third dimension and create the Solar Sinter 3D Printer.

Using the design of the Solar Cutter as inspiration, Kayser began with a manually operated sinter, utilizing sand as a resin and melting it into glass. With the success of the manually operated sinter, Kayser completed the development of a fully automated version in 2011, below you can see a video of the Solar Sinter 3D Printer in action!

Take note how the sinter melts the sand and creates the 3D models in glass. The video was taken in the Sahara Desert near Siwa, Egypt. Be sure to also check out Kayser’s blog for more projects!

Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

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Napwell Nap Mask Helps You Nap Better
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.19.2013 News

 

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We all love to take naps, especially in mid-day when you most need a break from the daily grind. But we don’t want to risk feeling the effects of “sleep inertia”, the intense grogginess felt after waking from a nap. This dreaded condition destroys productivity.

Yet, a team at MIT contends that naps are not only awesome (which we already knew), but also really good for your productivity. And they have developed a product to end sleep inertia for good.

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So fuzzy!

Meet the Napwell.

This innovative sleep mask uses a simulated sunrise to gently rouse your brain from sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed.

Why nap at all? Napwell’s blog post explains that mental performance degrades over the course of the day and a one-hour afternoon nap can raise mental ability to your morning baseline. One study (explained in the same blog post) demonstrated a 40% test performance increase in nappers versus non-nappers!

Now with Napwell you can nap with pleasure without worry of post-nap grogginess and you’ll be able to take advantage of your nap-induced performance gain. The solution is based on an LED light source integrated into a sleeping mask. You set the time you want to wake up, and Napwell will gradually illuminate starting at an optimized time before wake-up. Your brain reacts to the increased light-level by pulling you into a lighter sleep state. Napwell does not use loud alarms or anything to jolt you awake, giving your brain time to prepare itself for the real world. *cue Inception bwongs*

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#naptimize your potential.

So, how can you get one? Napwell is currently running a kickstarter. You can secure a production-run Napwell for a $50 pledge, which will arrive in September 2014. For more money, there are still options to become a beta-tester and get your hands on a Napwell earlier next year.

Check out the video below for a video introduction from Napwell:
 

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Incredible Robotics Kit Rero Launches Indiegogo Campaign
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.17.2013 News

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“With your support let us wish together the dream of leading a whole new generation of engineers and innovators and to help build better and smarter futures.”

An inspirational quote from the team behind Rero captures the essence of their new easy configurable robotics kit.

Reminiscent of Lego Mindstorms, Rero is a modular robotics kit made easy for makers of all ages. The creators at Cytron Technologies in Malaysia developed Rero to enable children to delve into robotics without the need to be experts in the field.

It’s one part learning tool and two parts fun. And I doubt kids will be their only customers.
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Wouldn’t It Be Amazing If…
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 12.16.2013 Editorial

Hope everyone is gearing up for the holiday season! Many projects and gift ideas are rampant all over the web or on this site. You can find Ryan’s Tutorial roundups handy or find a gift idea amongst the numerous devices covered in our posts. And with the holiday cheer, I thought I would try to reboot a feature I tried to run earlier covering any ideas that I happen to think up during the week, no matter how insane they are.

Taser Wallets

With numerous tragic events creating controversial gun control movements, self defense has had to reach for more unique options than the trusty firearm. Brass knuckle keyrings, stylish containers of mace pepper spray, hidden knives in shoes, or the ephemeral self defense course have become avenues of safety for many citizens looking for empowerment and simply a safe walk from whatever late night establishment they frequent. But in the face of a more cunning or aggressive crook, specifically down the barrel of gun, deception may be the best case.

Decoy wallets, for example, are essential to the clever pedestrian’s arsenal, but what if someone were to take it one step further? Upon the opening of the decoy wallet, two electrodes spring out and latch onto your would-be robber and offer a liberal shock. Replace that with a billowing cloud of pepper powder and you have a line of self defense items. Just be sure not to open said wallet at one of your late night establishments.

Augmented Reality Statistics

Google Glass is slowly moving toward mainstream availability and augmented reality apps already exist in multitudes on our phones. Why not take advantage of the science fiction-esque possibilities? Imagine knowing simply facts such as that it’s that person’s birthday today or a handful of other notifications by having the information hover over their heads.

Or perhaps include information that helps us connect. An app that allows the perceptibility to small talk with strangers display may help those who wish to meet new people, but are inclined to shy away. Even using this technology as name tags would provide even the smallest of benefits to any social gathering. Privacy is dead, but instead of taking on an all-or-nothing attitude, why not take control over the information you share and use it to better connect with others?

Want Some More?

Hope you like my ramblings. Be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more!

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Tutorial Roundup #7
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.14.2013 Features

This week we dive into a couple home automation tutorials using controlled outlets. Both interact with the outlets using different methods. Try out whichever you like best! Or both!

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On the surface this tutorial is about setting up a home automation system. The goal of the project is to be able to wirelessly control multiple outlets throughout your home. Simple concept, but awesome execution.

See, in this tutorial, you also get to reverse-engineer a wireless protocol and implement a Dickson charge pump. It’s a three-in-one deal.

On the flip-side, this tutorial also requires some competency in oscilloscope usage and C/C++ programming. Tutorial author CalcProgrammer1 explains the project in a generic manner to fit any type of microcontroller setup, but an Arduino Uno would work fine. In fact, using an Arduino would probably be the simplest method because the built-in Serial Monitor in the IDE can roughly replace writing your own command-line software.

In Step 3, it is a little unclear what is meant by “build a switch/case or cascading if/else statement with one of these blocks for each button, using outlet number and switch state as your if/else conditions.” Checking the attached code, it looks like PC program sends two values: the outlet choice and the state, on or off. The switch/case or if/else statements are separated by outlet number and command. Each variation (3 outlets times 2 states in the case of the tutorial’s example) has a unique command broadcast wirelessly.

The example code uses interrupts to acquire the command from the PC, but you could just as easily use a busy-waiting loop.

Overall, this is not a beginner’s tutorial, but it can be very educational.

Read it here.

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