For Lady Ada Lovelace Day this year, I want to celebrate the participation of so many unsung women in technical endeavors of all kinds.
Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
I love that Lady Ada Day gives the opportunity to make women more visible. I am paying homage with some images from Maker Faires this year of girls and women of all ages participating in and helping to guide hands-on activities. Here’s to the many women who aren’t as celebrated but are still involved and making things better for all of us!
Our two “dis-integrated circuit” kits are the Three Fives Discrete 555 Timer, and the XL741 Discrete Op-Amp. These two kits are functional, transistor-level replicas of the original NE555 and ?A741 (respectively), which are two of the most popular integrated circuits of all time.
Last year, we wrote up a detailed educational supplement for the Three Fives kit, that works through its circuit diagram and discusses its principles of operation down to the transistor level. Today, we are doing the same for the XL741 kit, and releasing an educational supplement that explains how a ‘741 op-amp IC works internally, down to its bare transistors and resistors:
This ability to peek inside the circuit makes the XL741 a unique educational tool. In what follows, we’ll work through the circuit diagram, discuss the theory of operation of the ‘741 op-amp, and present some opportunities for experiments and further exploration.
I took a heap of pictures at the 2nd annual Silicon Valley STEAM Festival at the Reid Hillview Airport in San Jose today. This event brings out an eclectic mix of hobbyists, scientists, and enthusiasts showing off what they do. Below are a few of my favorite moments.
The local RC aircraft enthusiasts not only displayed their aircraft, but also put on an airshow. They also fly at Baylands Park, and encouraged coming to see them on Sundays.
In modern times, our contemporary Maker and Maker education movements have helped to rekindle our cultural interest in hands-on education, especially in the STEM and STEAM fields, in a way that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s — which is why it’s such a good time to bring this book back.
Interacting with EggBot, an art robot that can paint very intricate and precise designs on eggs. EggBot taught students about digital design, computer numerically controlled machines and robotics. This was also a fun way to celebrate National Robotics Week!
The Hill Country Science Mill is celebrating its grand opening on February 14th. It’s a new science center in Johnson City, Texas housed in a historic feed mill built in 1880 as a steam grist mill and cotton gin. This picture of their WaterColorBot is from a preview day in November. A “Fall in Love with Science” event sounds like a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
Carlyn Maw’s How to Pick a DIY Electronics Project is so much more than that! It is an excellent tool for planning for just about any project. It covers thinking about project scope, tools, skills, parts and more.
Many of the questions are phrased for electronics, but most of them are applicable no matter what project you’re thinking about. And even if you have already picked a project, you can use the questions as guidelines for ways forward and to illuminate possible stumbling blocks.
We often get asked about what project to pick, and I’m glad to have this thoughtful tool to share.
Maker Faire can be a pretty demanding environment for a project. Outdoor locations expose many projects to the weather, prototypes may have been unpacked and repacked by the TSA, and curious visitors may handle projects in new and unexpected ways. Or maybe ambitions were greater than preparation time, and the project just didn’t quite get finished before the fair opened. No matter what the reason, Maker Faire is a great place to see people in action fixing, troubleshooting, and finishing their projects. Below are some beautiful projects I caught in progress at Maker Faire New York.
The FirePick Delta pick and place machine was a victim of the TSA, and arrived less functional than when it had been packed. The team was working on it valiantly, which also provided opportunities to get a closer look at many of the components.
Components not in use were repurposed for holding down business cards in the breezy aisle of 3D village.
The maker of this robot arm soccer game was opening up one of the control boxes to check on a malfunctioning knob.
He had no shortage of willing testers after the repair.
This half-scale 3D printer assembly was at least as charming in its disassembled state as it would have been all put together. It is great to see the components along with the kinds of tools that are used to assemble and repair projects like this one.
Gertie the robot had seen quite a bit of action, first at the Bay Area Maker Faire and then in New York. Her actuators were apart and in the middle of repair when we came by.
This let Alonso show us the mechanism and demonstrate how the internal frame worked to lean and make Gertie jump in different directions.
Maker Faire exhibitors are generous with sharing tools and materials with each other, and visitors are treated to what are typically hidden activities. No one whisks away a broken prototype to hide it out of sight. Instead, the guts are happily spilled out for everyone to see and learn from.