The “Boring” Robot

Two California hotels tested autonomous service robots over a six-month period. Reviews from their customers were overwhelmingly positive (except when aforementioned customers were intoxicated). They will be rolling out their next wave of autonomous service robots, called the Relay.

A Crash Course on Linux (Just The Good Parts)

Originally, this blog post was going to be about how Linux works with its kernel and everything. That turned out to be extremely dry, and it was a jumbled mess to try to fit everything into a blog post. Just check out the Linux wiki page for all that stuff. Instead this post is going to be more about parts of Linux that people should know about. Linux is used widely for developing software and embedded systems. One example is the Zybot, partially developed by Kaitlyn and me!

Breadboard Battleship

Did you ever play the game Battleship as a child? I remember finding it incredibly fun. This weekend, I found a new take on it! The version on Instructables uses a breadboard, wires, and other electrical components. It’s designed to teach children the basics of breadboarding — and to have fun, of course!

Setting Up a LAMP Server

Now that we have Linux booted up on our computer, we can get programming. What happens if we want to create web pages? Well, we need to set-up our LAMP server. LAMP stands for Linux Apache MySQL PHP. This blog post goes in conjunction with a relevant Instructable about setting up our LAMP server, so just like the previous blog post about dual-booting Ubuntu, this is going to go over more of why we’re doing this. What the LAMP server will allow us to do it create a local host that will let us communicate with the Internet.

Plasma Arc Microphones

In a previous post, I talked about how plasma can be used to build high-fidelity speakers. Plasma isn’t limited to only producing sound– it can also be used to record it. Being made up of physical particles, plasma can be affected by vibrations through the air. This means it is possible to build a plasma arc microphone using the proper circuit. This application is far less common than using a plasma arc for a speaker, but research has still been done on the subject.

Being Green with DIY Solar Panel Improvements

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re wondering how to celebrate and add some green to your life, consider this — improving your solar panels with a microcontroller! This project from Hackaday uses an Arduino to harvest more energy from the panel than would otherwise be available.

Dual-Booting Windows and Ubuntu

If you have a computer, you may have heard of Linux. Linux is a free ad open-source operating system, where the “base” code can be used and modified by anyone. Some of Digilent’s boards (like the ZYBO) use Linux. Linux is great for programming and development, but isn’t as user-friendly as other operating systems.