Recently we discovered some interesting uses of BlinkM, our I2C-controllable Smart LED, with LabVIEW. LabVIEW is a data acquisition system used by many school, labs, and research institutions. If you took upper-level science and engineering courses in college, you probably ran into it. If you’re already using an I2C-capable microcontroller to take data, BlinkMs are a pretty natural addition to your test setup, as they work great to indicate test states.
Some of the ways we found BlinkMs being used with LabVIEW:
Tod was recently interviewed for the Embedded.fm podcast, episode #90 “Stick it in a Pumpkin“. It was a lot of fun. We talked about blink(1), BlinkM, electronics production, Kickstarter, and a bunch of other things. You can listen to on iTunes or on the Embedded.fm website. And if you listen to the end, you’ll hear a special 25% coupon code for blink(1)s. :-)
If you’ve not heard of Embedded.fm, and you’re interested in electronics, you might like it. It’s all about electronics. The host Elecia is awesome and wrote a pretty great book a few years ago called Making Embedded Systems.
University of Michigan – Fall 2010 – SmartSurfaces offered a collaborative, project-based learning experience in which undergraduate artists, designers, architects and engineers came together to build structural surfaces that have the capability to adapt to information and environmental conditions.
Each team was required to design, build, program and test a ‘Biomimetic SmartSurface’. They had to consider and negotiate what makes a surface smart, and why we would be interested in copying nature to try to solve human problems.
Creators: Steven Madsen, Material Science and Engineering
Kevin Yien, Material Science and Engineering
Chris Niswander, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Jordan Stoewsand-Kryscio, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Mallory Baran, School of Art and Design
Michael Theodore, School of Art and Design
Various types of LEDs diffusely illuminate a wall comprised of straws. Mimicking a swarm of fireflies, the lights flee and evade according to motion detection. The soft texture generated by the straws, in concert with ‘moving’ LEDs, offers a unique visual experience and gives users the childhood feeling of playing with fireflies.
And for the first time outside of our Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get your own blink(1) mk2! We have a limited quantity on hand for the Shed and they’ll be stocking them for us. (Any backers reading this, yours are shipping now, but come visit us at the Faire if you want more)
Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 is May 17 & 18 at the San Mateo Event Center. It’s mind-blowing and fun.
As Grace says:
“The workshop went well. I had two teachers as my students, one who teaches middle school and one who writes curriculum for a children’s camp. They were both very interested in the MinMs and their potential to be used in teaching. One issue that came up was that one of the teachers was trying to come up with a gender neutral design and decided to make a 49ers wristband and wanted the LED to flash red, then yellow. However, we realized that there was no way to create a true yellow. We were able to get around it by covering the LED with yellow felt, as you can see from the video.”
Go grab the latest issue of Make Magazine! In addition to it having a wonderful run down of many of the different types of Arduino or Arduino-like boards out there, it also includes a project Mike & Tod created: CloudFridge.
CloudFridge makes your fridge door Internet-connected, creating a real-time graph of when and how long the door is open. Applications of this data could range from a simple fridge energy monitor to diet planning. But mostly it’s a demonstration of just how quickly one can go from idea to working implementation with tools such as Arduino, BlinkM, and Xively: we went from idea to working implementation in an afternoon.
We originally created this article over a year ago and its showing its age a bit (today the Arduino Yun would be a great alternative to what we used), but the techniques are still very valid. Thanks to the Make magazine staff for helping update the article in the light of the Pachube->Xively transition. And check out this awesome cute title graphic they made for the article.
Whew, MakerFaire Bay Area 2013 is over and it was astoundingly fun. Not only did we get to interact with so many people doing awesome things with ThingM products (like these BlinkM MinM earrings) but we got to show off a bunch of projects made with blink(1) and BlinkM-family stuff to thousands of new people. We heard tallies of 120,000 people showed up over the weekend, and we love seeing the concepts the Maker community inspires diffusing out into the larger world, as this LA Times article speaks to.
This year not only were we fortunate enough to have a ThingM table in the Maker Shed (Thank you Leah, Alex, Will, Carlyn, & Mike for helping staff it), but we also gave talks. Mike spoke about the future of manufacturing in a work filled with Maker-inspired tools and techniques, while Tod gave a talk on the process we went through to take blink(1) from an idea to Kickstarter to production.