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Charles Edward Pax

Sep 112014

The Pax Instruments T400 temperature datalogger is on Kickstarter right now! The T400 is a project of NYC Resistor’s own Charles Pax of Pax Instruments.

The Pax Instruments T400 datalogger is an open source four-channel thermocouple temperature datalogger based on the Arduino™ Leonardo platform. It is ready to use out of the box with the features you want most. Measurements can be logged to MicoSD card, printed to serial port, and graphed. The T400 is a great tool for anything from live thermal process monitoring in the lab to long-term environmental data collection in the field.

Professional design
The Pax Instruments T400 datalogger is designed to be out of the box ready for professionals and hobbyists alike. If you need a temperature datalogger that works every time, this is the device for you.

Open source spirit
The hardware and software design files are available to you at no cost to use, modify, or redistribute. This allows you and others to extend the devices capabilities or tailor it to your specific application.

Arduino™ Compatible
Arduino™-compatible hardware means while hacking on the platform you will be able leverage the work of others while sharing your own work with large community of hackers and makers. Sharing is caring.

MicroSD slot
Readings can be saved to a microSD card in standard CSV format for processing in Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice, or your favorite data analysis tool.

USB serial port
Readings can captured live via the USB serial port. This is perfect for live process monitoring in lab experiments or connecting to an internet-enabled device.

Mini-TC connectors
Thermocouples connect via standard mini thermocouple connectors. The T400 is compatible with a wide variety of K-type thermocouple sensor types from stainless steel probes to rolling surface-contact sensors.

If you’re ready to support the Pax Instruments T400 datalogger, head over to the T400 Kickstarter campaign or for more information take a look at the T400 product page. If you’d like a look under the hood, check out the Pax Instrument sources on Github.

Sep 132010

Andrew O’Malley
Hacker in Residence @ NYCResistor, Summer 2010

Hi, I’m Andrew O’Malley, a Canadian new-media artist with a formal background in Electrical Engineering.  Back in July, my wife, Deborah, and I relocated from Ottawa, Ontario to NYC for the summer, and the kind folks at NYC Resistor graciously opened up their space to me as “hacker/artist in residence” for July and August.

Before arriving in NYC, I spent a busy spring developing a line of decorative, animated light boxes built into wood and acrylic enclosures.  Some were based around LED screens from Sure Electronics populated with retro video game animations and random drawing algorithms:

While others featured diffused grids of LEDs driven with sinusoidal and random algorithms:

I set up a shop at Makers Market and have been selling these boxes on-line since the spring of this year.  A primary goal of my time this summer was to further this line of fixtures with an open-source clock kit featuring multiple animations for displaying the time both literally and abstracted. Working with NYCResistor was a perfect pairing for this project thanks to their extensive electronics resources/tools, and fabrication tools – Tool Town and the laser.

Before setting to work on the clock project, however, a great “distraction” arrived in town in the form of The Next Hope.

The conference and energy of all the attendees was inspiring, and really deserves a blog post of its own.  In short, it was a great way to get my gears going. Even the badge was memorable:

I didn’t get a chance to do any badge hacking, but was thoroughly impressed with Adam Mayer’s “doppelganger” firmware which cloned and rebroadcast the id of nearby badges . . .

Back at Resistor headquarters, my clock screens had yet to arrive so I turned my attention to a few other random projects.  The first was hacking the Disco Chip, a break-out board from Rachel’s Electronics in NYC.

The Disco Chip takes a mic or line input, and drives an RGB LED to the low, mid, and high frequencies of the input audio, most likely to drive keypad backlights in mobile phones.  I’d like to take advantage of all that small footprint filtering to control more LEDs, or anything else for that matter, so I worked on sampling the LED drive signals into the analog inputs of an Arduino.  Thus far I’ve had average results, and need to spend more time finessing the system. I’ll soon be writing a detailed post about this for my project blog.

In the meantime, an Ottawa-based deadline was creeping up on me so it was onto another project, and thankfully some of my LED screens had arrived:

The above piece was for a charity art auction called “Portraits of Bluesfest 2,” and featured two 24×16 LED screens displaying random Tweets mined from during the Ottawa Bluesfest in July.  I won’t repeat the whole back story on this one, which you can read here. This project proved a great opportunity to finally fire up NYCR’s laser cutter and make something pretty.

By this time, I’d accumulated all the parts I needed to get started on the clock project, so I soldered up a prototype:

Adafruit has a nice tutorial on the DS1307 RTC chip, so I had a simple clock up and running pretty quickly.

Next it was back to the laser cutter to fire off a nice little enclosure:

Here’s a video showing a few of the animations I’ve programmed so far:

DOTKLOK prototype preview from The Latest Artists on Vimeo.

The final kit should be ready sometime in October, and will most likely feature a black and smoked acrylic case, with the choice of a red or green LED screen.  I’m going to source some classier buttons, but their position remains undecided: along the bottom, or on the sides?  I’d love to hear people’s preferences on button placement, please share your thoughts in the comments!

I think I became what they call “laser crazy,” as I started another project based on my access to the laser cutter.  This one is a multi-panel, edge-lit design, depicting the iconic New York subway map, with a different colored subway line on each panel:

This piece is destined for an annual show back in Ottawa called Candela, dedicated to light as an artistic medium.  Here’s the formal proposal for the project which describes the entire piece, including an animated simulation written with Processing.

I had a few projects on the go outside of Resistor headquarters as well. Deb and I were able to use our mutual free time in NYC to put together a hardcopy portfolio showcasing a bunch of my previous lighting projects:

You can check out a softcopy here.

All the credit for this one goes to Deb and her awesome graphic design skillz.  For printing, we used a web-based service called Smartpress and were really happy with the cost and quality.

Lastly, I interned with Hernani Dias during his residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center to develop some hardware for his ReFarm the City project. Specifically, I designed an LED board for remote data visualization. Here’s a pic of the partially soldered board:

The board features an Atmega168 running the Arduino bootloader, wirelessly updateable via XBee, for controlling 48 Charlieplex’d LEDs. Serendipitously, days before being asked to design this board, I learned about the LOLShield at The Next HOPE conference, so a big thanks to Jimmie P. Rodgers and his documentation which schooled me in the art of Charlieplex’ing.

Speaking of thank you’s, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of NYC Resistor for their amazing hospitality, welcoming me into their extremely enabling and fun space.  It was also especially inspiring to meet the Makerbot crew downstairs, and see them hard at work, creating and reiterating prototypes for future generations and features of the Makerbot.

I look forward to sharing some of the NYCR spirit that’s rubbed off on me with the members of Ottawa’s Mod Lab at Artengine, who just recently acquired and assembled their own Makerbot.

And of course, if any of the Makerbot or Resistor gang find themselves headed to Ottawa, Montreal, or even Toronto, make sure to give me a shout!

Thanks again,

Andrew O’Malley

PS  I’m not affiliated with Adafruit, Sure Electronics, or any of the other products or services mentioned in the above blog post, I just figure it’s handy to provide the info for anyone interested.

Sep 022010

NYC Resistor will be hosting a MakerBot build party today (Thursday, September 2nd) during craft night from 6 to 10 pm.

Calling all NYC MakerBot operators! We’re building a bot farm and we need your help! Today (Thursday, September 2nd) at NYC Resistor (map) we are throwing a build party. The goal: assemble three MakerBots in four hours. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

A bot farm is a group of MakerBots available to a group of people ready to print whatever is wished. We would love to print more of the great things popping up on Thingiverse, but here at the bot cave our machines are mostly used for developing future hardware and software. To increase the awesome we need to increase the number of bot hours available for printing. We need more bots and we need your help building them.

Everyone is encouraged to attend. There will be three or more kits for assembly. Just let us know you came for the build party and we’ll get you started on a task. If you’re thinking about buying a Cupcake CNC, this is a great opportunity to experience the build process. Feel free to bring your own MakerBot and work along with us. Several MakerBot employees will be in attendance, building bots and ready to help. We’re looking  forward to seeing you there.

Aug 172010

NYC Resistor would like to thank the community for three years of awesomeness with a birthday celebration this Thursday from 6 to 9 PM. The birthday party will happen during our regular craft night. Please treat this like a regular craft night and bring your projects, but know that you may have to eat cake. We will supply cake. Additional snacks or milk are welcome. If you need help selecting a good snack, Keebler Soft Batch cookies are really good.

Jun 012010

Did you do a fun hack you’d like to share? Do you have a cool new logic analyzer everyone should know about? Have you found the perfect pair of tweezers? Do you have anything you want to show and tell about? If yes, this is the event for you.

Come hang out with interesting people and share whatever you like as we re-explore Show and Tell from a hacker perspective.

Each attendee will be given a few minutes (depending on the number of speakers) to show and tell. We’ll even provide a projector! Non-presenting spectators are welcome, but everyone is encouraged to share something. This is a non-formal event, so feel free to bring drinks, cookies, and friends. You’ll have to leave the kids at home; nobody under 18 years of age.

Sign up begins when the doors open at 7:30 PM. Show and Tell begins at 8:00 PM. If you come late, there may not be enough time to get you one stage, so come early and reserve your spot.

Brooklyn Mobile

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Dec 302009

On my way to NYC Resistor this afternoon I ran into Brooklyn Mobile, an internet video booth often found moving around downtown Brooklyn. Brooklyn Mobile is part of the Broadcaster Project, which seeks “to develop an easily duplicable open platform internet video upload appliance.” All their videos of people rapping, ranting, and saying hello are in the public domain. Check ’em out and mash ’em up.