Out of the box circuit board turns wearable tech into easy DIY project

Board could serve as foundation for new types of wearable tech

Wearable tech is all the rage these days — whether it’s the more traditional item, like a watch . . .

samsungs-smart-watch-is-a-dud-the-new-york-times-says-nobody-will-buy-this-watch-and-nobody-should

. . . or something a bit more unique, like your Bluetooth speaker . . .

DSC_2427-copy

. . . if it’s an electronic that can also serve as a complimentary accessory to one’s outfit, then it’s getting worn.

The trouble with this growing industry is the pace with which its popularity is expanding; that is, there are not enough wearable electronics available to satisfy market demand. That’s what makes a project like “MetaWear” so exciting.

photo-main

Measuring less than the size of a quarter, MetaWear makes it super easy for even the amateur hobbyist to create hardware and devices for clothing that sync to their smartphone. It operates via a tiny ARM+Bluetooth LE Platform (the only development and production platform designed for wearables) and is compatible with both iOS and Android systems.

These two features alone significantly educe overall cost and time spent prototyping ideas.

a68610bc8155a8feaec4f1217206e4c2_large

Those who order MetaWear can browse the company’s Github account, which includes API libraries, documents, and sample iOS / Android apps to help get their idea started. Its BLE radio has been CE and FCC certified, and the device is cost and BOM optimized, so if an idea really takes off, there are few hurdles in the way.

57fee5a0db3d5b527136b50fbd4f03d1_large

The folks behind MetaWear foresee a range of products that could result from it being put out to the public for research and development, including headbands that count calories and miles run, anti-theft checkers for valuables, a fake phone call trigger, etc.

Right now, the MetaWear is on Kickstarter. It has already surpassed its target goal seven times over. Those who invest $30 will not only receive the MetaWear board but also a rechargeable USB battery, coin vibrator, and a buzzer.

The campaign will be live till May 2. Good luck to the MetaWear folk!

Dude hacks guitar, giving it the ability to type out emails based on chords he plays

Advertising professional comes out with impressive music-tech project

Widen + Kennedy’s David Neevel recently came to the decision that he spent too much time at his computer typing out emails and not enough time shredding on his guitar. His solution to this problem was a most unique one—he would develop the programming / coding necessary to hook up a guitar to the computer so that he could play notes which would be converted into words; a guitar-keyboard, if you will. This way, he can get his work done AND practice the guitar at the same time.

David Neevel with his guitar keyboard

The crazy thing—it worked. Really, really well as a matter of fact. Instructional video after the jump.

Continue reading

Air Gun Hits Paddle with Ping Pong Balls at Mach 1.2—and it’s as awesome to watch as it sounds

Engineers find fun way to experiment with old technology

Paddle hit by ping pong ball at Mach 1.2

Ping Pong’s fun to play, but it’s not a great game to watch. It’s all a bit, I don’t know, repetitive. But that’s what makes this video so great—it actually makes ping pong interesting. Here’s what went down.

Mark French, a mechanical engineering at Purdue University, along with graduate students Craig Zehrun and Jim Stratton got together and built a contraption called the “de Laval tube”. Basically, it’s a modern-day version of the de Laval nozzle, an hourglass tube used to accelerate a hot, pressurized gas to supersonic speeds. They put a ping pong ball in the tube in front of this gas and found that they could shoot the ball at speeds over 900 miles per hour, or Mach 1.2.

Diagram of de Laval tube

It’s enough to—as you can see in the picture above—put a hole through a ping pong paddle.

Ain’t science grand? Video of the gun in action below (about five minutes worth of explanation prior to the gun shooting – go to 5:50 to see it shoot: