Broadcast Engineer at BellMedia, Computer history buff, compulsive deprecated, disparate hardware hoarder, R/C, robots, arduino, RF, and everything in between.
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How one Lego reseller built an artificial intelligence to sort bricks

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Jacques Mattheij hoped to make some cash buying cheap boxes of used, unsorted Lego that he'd organize into more valuable assortments for resale. After acquiring two metric tons of bricks, he was motivated to build a technological solution for sorting. He outfitted a conveyor belt with a cheap magnifying USB camera and employed air nozzles to blow the bricks into various bins. The bigger challenge though was how to get the PC to identify the bricks. From IEEE Spectrum:

After a few other failed approaches, and six months in, I decided to try out a neural network. I settled on using TensorFlow, an immense library produced by the Google Brain Team. TensorFlow can run on a CPU, but for a huge speed increase I tapped the parallel computing power of the graphics processing unit in my US $700 GTX1080 Ti Nvidia video card....

...I managed to label a starter set of about 500 assorted scanned pieces. Using those parts to train the net, the next day the machine sorted 2,000 more parts. About half of those were wrongly labeled, which I corrected. The resulting 2,500 parts were the basis for the next round of training. Another 4,000 parts went through the machine, 90 percent of which were labeled correctly! So, I had to correct only some 400 parts. By the end of two weeks I had a training data set of 20,000 correctly labeled images...

Once the software is able to reliably classify across the entire range of parts in my garage, I’ll be pushing through the remainder of those two tons of bricks. And then I can finally start selling off the results!

"How I Built an AI to Sort 2 Tons of Lego Pieces" (IEEE Spectrum)

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tekvax
14 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Contraption to shoot mosquitos with laser beams

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In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! From the company site:

One potential use of the Photonic Fence is to create a virtual fence that detects insects as they cross its plane. When an invading insect is detected, our software is able to estimate the insect’s size and measure its wing beat frequency. Using this method, not only can the system distinguish between mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female. This is important to know because only female mosquitos bite humans. Once the software establishes that the insect is a valid target, it tracks the mosquito in flight, runs a safety check to ensure no innocent bystanders are in view, and then activates a laser to zap the mosquito. The Photonic Fence could be set along the perimeter of clinics or other strategic areas to control mosquitoes without endangering humans or other animals.

From Wired UK:

When Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold came up with the idea of a bug-killing fence in 2010, the intention was to use it to improve public health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, however, the Photonic Fence has become a commercial project with a particular target: the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect invader has reduced citrus production in Florida by at least 70 per cent over the last 15 years. The device has been installed on a US Department of Agriculture site in the state for its first real-world test. If all goes to plan, Intellectual Ventures aims to market the Photonic Fence to farmers protecting crops from a multitude of other pests.

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tekvax
14 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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1 public comment
satadru
19 hours ago
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I need this for my parents' yard. And why is it still not out yet? It has been in the news for 7 years...
New York, NY
acdha
12 hours ago
According to someone at IV that I talked with a few years back that was due to it not being cost effective compared to bed nets for malaria control as the original Gates Foundation grant was focused on malaria and so they tabled it for awhile. I think that was a mistake: selling them to [relatively] rich people who dislike mosquitoes seems like a great way to work out production kinks & get some economies of scale going.

32TB of Windows 10 Internal Builds, Core Source Code Leak Online

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According to an exclusive report via The Register, "a massive trove of Microsoft's internal Windows operating system builds and chunks of its core source code have leaked online." From the report: The data -- some 32TB of installation images and software blueprints that compress down to 8TB -- were uploaded to betaarchive.com, the latest load of files provided just earlier this week. It is believed the data has been exfiltrated from Microsoft's in-house systems since around March. The leaked code is Microsoft's Shared Source Kit: according to people who have seen its contents, it includes the source to the base Windows 10 hardware drivers plus Redmond's PnP code, its USB and Wi-Fi stacks, its storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code. Anyone who has this information can scour it for security vulnerabilities, which could be exploited to hack Windows systems worldwide. The code runs at the heart of the operating system, at some of its most trusted levels. In addition to this, hundreds of top-secret builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, none of which have been released to the public, have been leaked along with copies of officially released versions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Wil Wheaton Gets Reunited With His Original Wesley Crusher Uniform

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After 30 years, Wil Wheaton recently got reunited with his original ensign uniform from Star Trek: TNG, and unsurprisingly, it doesn’t fit anymore. A lot of us tend to get “thicker” as we grow older unfortunately.

And here’s another picture from 2013:

The post Wil Wheaton Gets Reunited With His Original Wesley Crusher Uniform appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Robots, Drones, And Lego Creations Invade Apple’s iPad Coding Environment For Kids #MakerEducation

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I 1 lizardbot

Via FastCompany.

At last year’s Apple WWDC conference, the company’s “one more thing” kicker at its keynote wasn’t a headline-grabber–but it was nonetheless intriguing. The company introduced Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app that let kids (and other coding newbies) write their own iOS programs using its Swift language. The goal was to teach coding in a playful, interactive, distinctly Apple-esque way.

Almost a year later, Apple says that Swift Playgrounds has been downloaded a million times. And on Monday, June 5–the day of this year’s WWDC keynote–the company is releasing Swift Playgrounds 1.5, an update that expands the programming environment’s domain beyond iOS apps by showing kids how to write code to control robots, drones, and other gizmos.

Read more.


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Dual purpose spot welder with pulse duration control

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SpotWelder1-600

Kerry Wong published a new build:

I had wanted to make a spot welder for a while. Most of the DIY spot welders use a momentary switch the primary side of the microwave oven transformer (MOT). Due to the simplicity of this design, it is very simple to make. This design however, has some inherent safety issues as the momentary switch is typically within reaching distance of the operator (unless a foot switch is used) and inadequate insulation could increase electric shock risk. Further more, the current flowing through the primary winding can significantly exceed the current rating of the switch and cause the switch to fail. Due to the inductive nature of the winding, the switch can sometimes arc over and pose significant risk to the operator.

Project info at Kerry Wong’s blog.

Check out the video after the break.

 

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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