“Is it a Dandelion?” a friend asked. Not quite. It’s a High Altitude Balloon (HAB). Specifically, that’s the striking image of our Kaymont 1,200-gram weather balloon bursting 31.8km (over 100,000 feet) above ground at 3:29pm on 11th July 2015. That altitude … Continue reading →
The NASA Space Apps Challenge took place around the world on 20-21 April 2013. Suitably inspired by this global hackathon, I entered the challenge with a team of work mates. We decided to take on the Lego Rover challenge and set about creating a Lego robot with a difference – gesture control. We assembled a Lego Mindstorms NXT robot kit and hooked it up to a laptop PC with a Microsoft Kinect sensor. In a handful of hours we created “Claudia”, the gesture-controlled robot that can use her claw to collect garbage (in this case soft drink cans) – somewhat inspired by and resemblant of WALL-E.
It was great fun and we were delighted (and relieved) that our live on-stage demo worked. Thanks to Steve for his successful arm-waving!
At an IET talk on Raspberry Pi this week, I met someone who works on BloodhoundSSC – the awe-inspiring, faster-than-a-bullet, 1,000mph car project. Both Raspberry Pi and BloodhoundSSC are fantastic UK STEM education initiatives doing a great job of engaging geeks of all ages. Suitably inspired, I couldn’t resist paying homage with my Pi-powered light painting gizmo. Here’s the resulting living room geek art that celebrates these two UK technology icons. Hope you like!?
First handheld attempt at light painting with Raspberry Pi
Inspired by the amazing images and brilliant write-up by Phillip Burgess at Adafruit, I decided to give my Raspberry Pi something interesting and colourful to do – light painting. A happy day of geeking saw my brother and I pull together a wireless remote-controlled, battery-powered, Raspberry Pi light painting robot. It’s not perfect, but we think the initial results are pretty good for a day’s work and I thought I’d share some notes and photos in case anyone else is interested. Continue reading →
This morning, Apple Maps let me down badly on my way to a meeting. All I needed to do was look up a London postcode and find the nearest tube station. Simple. It’s something I’ve done many times using the Google-powered Maps app on my iPhone. But for Apple Maps (which replaced Google Maps in Apple’s recent iOS 6 update), this simple request was too much to ask.
Thankfully Google Maps came to the rescue (via web browser). Have a look at the screenshots below and witness the Apple Maps shambles.
How it should be – Google Maps clearly showed three named tube stations, with Tottenham Court Road closest to the pin (showing the result of my postcode search). Result. Continue reading →
Create a "cheat sheet" like this to let friends access your Wi-Fi easily
When friends come to visit, it’s increasingly handy to let them connect their smartphones and tablets to your Wi-Fi network. Whether they want to share amusing YouTube clips, download the latest and greatest apps/games you’ve been discussing or just access web and email, Wi-Fi usually makes it quicker than relying on the mobile phone network. There’s another benefit if they’ve got an iPhone/iPad and your house has an Apple TV as part of your audio/video setup. By connecting their Apple gadget to your network, they can beam their choice of music, videos or photos to your TV/hifi wirelessly using AirPlay. It’s really simple and makes media sharing much more immersive than passing someone’s iPhone or iPad around. Continue reading →
Usain Bolt was disqualified from the final of the 2011 World Championship 100m for one false start. The IAAF rules are now coming under fire for being too harsh, since they afford no latitude for accidental false starts.
The false start rule used to be more lenient. Historically, every athlete would receive a warning on their first false start and disqualification on their second. In 2003, the rule changed so that the first false start warning applied to the entire field rather than just the offending athlete. In 2010, warnings were eliminated entirely. Avoiding delay to TV schedules was a key driver for streamlining the rule, but I suspect that broadcasters would rather show “The Lightning” competing than have him disqualified on their account.
Recently did a ScrumMaster course at work. Best bit was building a LEGO city to practise agile development. Check out the photo of the city we built. 20 people, 4 self-organising teams of 5 people, 4 sprints of 11 minutes each. Great fun. And educational too!