These Robots Want Homes

Mary at The Foundary Makerspace showed me a spectrum of robots that want homes. These are all programmable robots, and some are tablet controlled. Contact Mary Keene through The Foundary’s website or Mary’s Facebook page.

We’ll start with the classroom robot kit made for programming with SolidWorks. It has a programming book as well.

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Next is the Bioloid. This is apparently a tournament soccer robot very popular in South Korea.. You control it and program it with a tablet. Programming can be very advanced.

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The last one is a faithful Lego NXT kit. This looks like a first generation, but these still work well.

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Happy new year! This is not halite.

We went for a walk around Squires Lake today. When we got there is was about 29F. It warmed up to almost 36F when we left at about 1:30. The ice we saw was incredible. The kids were fascinated with the crystal lattice expression of water, and the power it had to lift the surface of the trail two inches higher than when it was muddy. It really does remind me of finding halite in dry lake beds in the Mojave desert.

_img0855More pictures on web.bitratchet.com.

Creating Stop Motion Video

For fun today, Jesse constructed a stop motion scene with legos and a hand-drawn backdrop. Meanwhile, I wrote an animation process. I wrote it as two scripts: one to resize input from my camera, the other to actually animate the pictures.

My ImageMagick resize script is reasonably simple, and if you search for other animation techniques, you will see many scripts like this. To use all four cores on my processor, I fire off 5 resize jobs and then do a job wait for them to complete so that I do not bog my system down.

#!/bin/bash
set -x
set -e
# ----------------------------------------------------------------#
#  resize the input directory and put it in the output directory  #
#  and also re-names the files to simple numbered format          #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------#
i=0
j=1000
find 0-input/ -type f -iname "*.jpg" -printf "%f\n" \
| sort \
| while read f ; do
   g="1-resized/r-$j.png"
   echo "convert 0-input/$f -geometry 728x480! -normalize $g "
   convert "0-input/$f" -geometry 728x480! -normalize "$g" &
   i=$[ $i + 1 ]
   j=$[ $j + 1 ]
   if [ $i -eq 4 ]; then
      # wait a bit
      for job in `jobs -p`; do
         echo -n "...$job"
         wait $job 
      done
      i=0
   fi
   echo "!"
done
echo "done"

My animation script is not all that different from other animation scripts you can search for on google, either. However, mine does not loop, does no fades, and plays very slowly. The first ‘-r’ switch specifies how long the input frames should last, so in this case, about 750ms (1.25 frames/sec). The output frame rate is the second ‘-r’ switch.

#!/bin/bash
# -f : output format
# -r : frame rate
# -i : input file pattern
now=`date +%Y-%m-%d_%H%M`
ffmpeg  -r 1.25 -i "1-resized/r-1%03d.png" -r 24 "2-animated/animation-$now.mov"

I have a post of it on my G+.

Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less – Comment – Voices – The Independent

I think many teachers and parents would agree.

“…a common Chinese term used to refer to the products of their schools is gaofen dineng, which essentially means good at tests but bad at everything else.”

via Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less – Comment – Voices – The Independent.