One interesting element of Google I/O this year were the sensors laid out everywhere around Moscone tracking environmental data throughout the event. Those types of sensors are now all around us, including in our phones and in various smart home devices, and now a new Kickstarter project from ManyLabs wants to help kids get familiar with them very early on.
The project is called Sensors for Students, and it wants to build a sensor collection kit that includes a plate for an open-source Arduino board and Grove shield combo, along with one of a variety of parts for a number of different types of sensors, including accelerometers, electromagnetic field detectors, a color sensor, a plant watering kit (similar to one component of the Bitponics automated hydroponic garden), and many more.
The team behind ManyLabs consists of Peter Sand and Elliot Dicus, who formed the nonprofit with the ultimate intent of spreading low-cost hands-on tools for teaching science and math to the classroom. Sand has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, and has focused his work and research on computer vision, robotics and education.
Sand and Dicus wanted to make it possible to get kids learning data literacy and experimenting with open source hardware early on in life. Their goals sound similar to those of Adafruit, the NY-based hardware company that’s also trying to make people more comfortable with concepts around electrical engineering and DIY maker culture, beginning early on in life.
ManyLabs isn’t just supplying hardware, though, it’s also very clearly marketing a curriculum, with lessons and content being offered alongside each type of kit available to backers, along with online resources that will be made available on a yearly subscription basis. There’s no soldering required in the kits that are on offer, so these are suitable for a range of ages and skill levels, and ManyLabs hopes to put them in the hands of backers as soon as August this year, with kits beginning at $ 40. The most expensive individual kit is $ 75, and while ManyLabs requires you to supply your own Arduino, it’s still very affordable, a key value add for educational markets.
This is the Lygodium Spider Moth (Siamusotima aranea). The species was originally discovered in Thailand in 2005, but only recently described by entomologists. Did I mention it evolved with spider leg markings on its wings to fool predators? Because it has those, it totally does. The species feeds on climbing ferns, which are considered an invasive species in some areas, so the moth may be considered for pest control in the future. So remember: the next time you’re about to smash something you think is a spider, swing even harder and faster just in case it’s actually a moth and tries to fly away.
Hit the jump for two more shots.Related Posts:
Remember that picture of the TARDIS refrigerator with no other information? Well it turns out it was made by artist/engineers B.E.Johnson & Joy Alyssa Day and they’ll make one to fit your fridge for the low, low price of $ 185. Plus it doesn’t come with the Christmas lights in the windows unless you want it to. Side decals are $ 65, an ice maker telephone door $ 14, and an audio module $ 12. I want one, but all I have is the lil compact refrigerator from my old dorm room.
Customized refrigerator kit to turn your fridge into a very special Police Box. The top section is a separate structure that includes the sign, the peak roof and a working beacon.
The skin integrates best with a French Door refrigerator, because of the way the fridge doors better match the Police Box. A single door, with or without a separate freezer, also looks cool; it just doesn’t open in the manner of a Police Box.
There is the option of including a stiffened “little phone door” that can be adjusted to make it fit over the top of your ice maker, so the little door swings open to access the ice maker, but then closes the rest of the time.
There is also an audio module available that fits inside the fridge that can be programmed to play your favorite Police Box sounds whenever the doors open.
Oh man, I used to have a cat that would always come running every time you opened the refrigerator door and then try to jump in there before you closed it. He was weird. Plus he used to get in the back of the tub and stare at me while I showered. Like I said, weird. Rest in peace, Shitmittens.
Thanks to PYY, who’s been known to hide in the fridge during hide and seek and eat all the string cheese and pudding packs.Related Posts:
Nokia has announced another handset in its Series 40-based Asha portfolio of low end mobiles which compete with the budget end of Android and cheap BlackBerrys. The 2G-plus-Wi-Fi Asha 210, due to ship before the end of Q2, packs a physical Qwerty keyboard and comes painted in Nokia’s now trademark eye-popping colours (yellow, cyan, magenta), plus black and white. But the most notable addition to this BlackBerry-esque device is a hardware key on the front that short-cuts to messaging app WhatsApp — which, extending the BlackBerry comparison, is the phone’s BBM replacement.
As well as the ability to fire up WhatsApp by long pressing on this dedicated key, Nokia said Asha 210 buyers will get a free subscription to the messaging service for the lifetime of the device. On the Series 40 platform, WhatsApp normally charges a $ 0.99 annual fee after a first year of free use. Last week the messaging service said it now has north of 200 million monthly active users (this compares to BBM’s more modest 60 million). Tapping into the hugely popular social messaging craze is clearly Nokia’s aim here.
Nokia describes the Asha 210′s WhatsApp hardware key as a “world first”, although we’ve seen the mobile maker (and others) stick a Facebook button on a phone before. But before you start wondering how displeased Facebook is going to be with Nokia for two-timing it with a deadly messaging rival, the handset actually comes in two social messaging flavours, with a second variant having a dedicated Facebook key (shown below, on the black handset) instead of a WhatsApp button.
The two Asha 210 social flavours — which also each come in single SIM/dual SIM variants – won’t be offered together in the same market but will rather be region specific, presumably corresponding to where the respective services are most popular. Neil Broadley, marketing director for Nokia’s mobile phones division, told TechCrunch the WhatsApp device will generally target Asia-Pac and Middle East & Africa, while the Facebook flavour will mostly be heading to Europe and Latin America. He also confirmed that neither device will be sold in North American.Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world.
“On a market by market basis we will have either WhatsApp or Facebook,” said Broadley. “Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world and as we go on a market by market basis, some of our market teams would like to have the WhatsApp variant, some would like to have the Facebook variant. And of course we already have the Nokia Asha 205 on a global basis with the Facebook hard key there as well.”
Broadley added that Nokia is looking at the possibility of making a third variant of the Asha 210 — specifically targeting the Chinese market — with another, as yet undetermined social service loaded on the hard key (China has a variety of homegrown social services that outstrip the popularity of global offerings, such as microblogging service Sina Weibo vs Twitter). Nokia certainly has work to do to win back buyers in China. In its Q1 results last week, China saw the biggest drop of any of Nokia’s regions in terms of sales by value and volume, with $ 334 million in sales in Greater China, down 56% on the year ago quarter.Low end hardware + social software
Aside from differing social shortcuts, the Asha 210 variants have identical hardware and software, with a sub-1Ghz chip; 2 megapixel rear camera plus a dedicated camera key on the front of the device (in addition to the WhatsApp/Facebook key plus standard nav/call keys); Nokia’s Slam Bluetooth-sharing data transfer tech and its hot-swap SIM system; plus a rubberised full Qwerty keyboard which recycles the pillowed keys of 2008′s Nokia E71. The keyboard also includes shortcut keys for turning on/off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
On the software front, the device comes with Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter preloaded; support for YouTube streaming and web apps; a ‘Games Gift’ of 15 free downloadable “premium” games & apps from the Nokia Store; plus Nokia’s neat voice-guided self-portrait feature, which gets around the lack of a front-facing lens by helping users align a self-portrait when they can’t see the screen.
Nokia’s earlier Facebook-button-packing phone, the full Qwerty Asha 205, was announced in November last year. At the time, the company’s decision to introduce a phone with a dedicated Fb button revived a 2011 trend which, for the majority of last year, appeared to have run its course — without, apparently, covering any of the device maker particpants (including HTC, Orange and Vodafone) in huge heaps of gold.
Asked about sales of the Asha 205, Nokia said it has not broken out any numbers for the model but added that the number of Facebook activations for the device is “significantly higher” than for the average Asha family device. Whatever the sales figures, Nokia clearly believes there is more gold to be mined from low end mobiles by associating its hardware with the biggest brands of the social messaging space.Asha vs Android: Show me the money
The Asha 210 — along with the entire Nokia Asha range — targets developing markets and cost-conscious consumers, which explains its focus on seeking ways to reduce not just the initial outlay but also the total cost of ownership, while simultaneously amping up its core social offering by making sure it can provide access to big name apps and allow for easy social photo-sharing, as Android does.
The Asha 210 will have a $ 72 price-tag (before taxes and subsidies). The price-tag puts it in touching distance of budget Androids and while the S40 platform is not as user friendly, flexible or as app-rich as Android, Nokia has been working to strength its competitiveness against Android’s low end with additions such as its cloud-based data-compressing Xpress Browser, which ekes out up to three times as much data as non-compression browsers to help keep the user’s data costs down, plus offers such as ‘Games Gift’ and the free Whatsapp subscription.
As with other Asha devices, the 210 also boasts a long battery life — of up to 46 days on standby, and around 12 hours talk time. Nokia noted that it is using push notification technology to reduce battery drain caused by the Asha 210 checking for Whatsapp/Facebook updates. Update checking is done by Nokia in the cloud, with any new info pushed out to the user’s phone when it arrives.
One more thing…
Nokia and WhatsApp are about to hold an online Q&A about the launch of the Asha 2010 so we’ll be checking for any interesting tidbits that come out of the discussion to add as an update below. Currently, around the world, there is still plenty of regional diversity across messaging and social services – messaging apps are especially fragmented. Many of these apps inevitably compete with and come into conflict with social networking giant Facebook, which wants to own all the world’s chatter. And with Facebook having just launched its app-sidelining Android skin, social challengers such as WhatsApp are likely to be keen to find ways to increase their own visibility on mobile. Having your brand stamped on the outside of a phone sounds like a great place to start.
Updates from the Q&A, with Nokia’s Broadley and Neeraj Arora, business development, at WhatsApp:
On whose idea the WhatsApp hard key was, Nokia’s or Whatsapp’s… Broadley: “We have an ongoing relationship with WhatsApp that spans a range of Nokia Asha and other Nokia products. We are both really excited about this opportunity.”
On whether the WhatsApp hard key will be exclusive to Nokia devices… Arora & Broadley: “We are very excited to bring a dedicated WhatsApp button to Asha 210 and we will take consumer feedback for future consideration.”
On the differences between the Asha 210 and Nokia’s earlier Facebook button phone, the Asha 205… Arora & Broadley: “There is WhatsApp deep linking into social share gallery and there is more to come.”
On Nokia’s approach to phone design… Broadley: ”Starting with the Nokia 206 announced just before Christmas we’ve been progressively uniting the Nokia portfolio under a single, coherent design language… We have one stunning design approach across the Nokia range.”
On whether Nokia could introduce a Lumia product with a physical Qwerty to differentiate its smartphones from rivals… Broadley: “We don’t comment on future plans.”
- QWERTY|Tech Meets Blog
Doing things a bit differently today since there’s so much linux news to be shared! So in the FOSS spirit, here’s this week in open source. Enjoy! Join the c… Video Rating: 4 / 5Related Posts:
Tom Bingham makes custom electric guitars out of the Star Wars spaceship toys he buys at car boot (trunk) sales (aka stolen goods sales). That’s cool, but not near as ICE COLD as the ice cream bar I’m eating right now. It’s strawberry — you jealous? No? What if I told you I was lying when I said it was strawberry and it’s actually a chocolate Drumstick? Still no? Orange Flintstones push-up pop? Okay, what’s your favorite ice cream? Because that’s what it is, it’s your favorite kind. I’m totally eating your favorite kind of ice cream right now and you are not.
Hit the jump for a video of Tom playing the Millennium Falcon.Related Posts:
NASA’s got some of the sharpest minds in the world (actual, you know, rocket scientists), sure, but they’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes you’ve got to look outside for the best solution to a complicated problem. In recent years, that’s meant the organization has partnered with the likes of SpaceX to help transfer materials to the International Space Station. The desire to look outside has also taken the form of competitions, which, in the past, have sought to improve the efficiency of solar arrays and help better understand the massive amounts of data collected from various missions over a 30-year period.
This latest competition, a partnership with TopCoder, deals with the unspeakably appealing category of space robots, aiming to improve the vision of NASA’s head of menial space station tasks, Robonaut. At present, the ‘bot’s got the sort of sight problems that would have no doubt barred its fleshier counterparts from making their way through the training program.
Source: TopCoderRelated Posts:
Because drinking beer is actually the least fun thing about beer pong, arcade manufacturer Bay Tek Games is releasing Beer Pong Master, a beer pong arcade game with zero alcohol. So…it’s not really beer pong is it? It’s just pong. Jk jk, just a waste of a dollar.
Normal beer pong mechanics are in play here, but you have a set amount of time (our machine was registered at 60-second games) to sink as many balls in the still-lit cups as possible. All 10 cups begin completely lit at the start of the timer, and once your first ball connects to the rim of any cup, the clock begins winding down until you’ve sunk a ball in every cup and dimmed all the lights, or 60 seconds has passed, whichever comes first
Man, this kind of makes me want to go play carnival games. Yeah, and I’m gonna win a big prize — none of those small or medium stuffed animals for me. I’m gonna be the guy carrying the GIANT BEAR. Fun fact: did you know that nobody ever actually wins the big stuffed animals at amusement parks and the people you see walking around with them are just employees paid to do that? Well that’s true and don’t even try to say you’ve won one or know somebody who has because that makes you a dirty liar.
Hit the jump for a video of the game being played.Related Posts:
Samsung rolled out the world’s largest 4K ultra-high definition TV (UHD TV) Monday at CES 2013, offering four times the resolution of 1080p high-definition d… Video Rating: 5 / 5Related Posts: