Fun Friday: Christmas Edition! 3D LED Christmas Tree

Tracy Connery Photography - MIDAS Fab Lab - LED Christmas Tree

Get into the Holiday spirit with this cool, DIY LED Christmas Tree!

When it comes to mad maker skills, soldering is among the most important and most versatile a young do-it-yourselfer can have.

If you or your budding maker aren’t familiar, there are great guides to getting started with a soldering iron though, there’s nothing that quite beats hands-on practice on a small project.

These festively themed kits combine two Christmas tree shaped PCBs along with all of the components needed to create a cool, futuristic sparkling Holiday decoration. The kits are available for as little as $3.50 and come with all the components required to get started.

DIY soldered Christmas Tree

Step 1: Schematic and Theory of Operation

PCB Christmas tree kit!

Each of the 10K resistors and 47uF capacitors form an RC oscillator that periodically pushes the associated transistor on. The three sets of RC oscillators are transistors are connected in a loop to keep them cycling out of phase which makes the blinking appear random around the tree. When the transistor is “on” current passes through a bank of 6 LEDs and their 1K current limiting resistor causing that bank to blink on.

If you’re looking for an adventure, trying adjusting the value of one (or more) of the 10K resistors a bit to change the blink rate of the LEDs.

Step 2: Populating the Resistors

3D LED Christmas Tree

Begin soldering by stuffing the resistors. Resistors are not polarized in any way, which means that you can insert them in either direction.

Use a resistor colour code chart or app to identify the different resistor values and make sure to insert them into the correct holes.

In some of 3D Christmas Tree kits, a couple of the 1K resistors are replaced with 330-ohm resistors. When available, the 330-ohm resistors should be used for R2 instead of the specified 1K resistor. According to the numbering system that we have used, R2 is the current limiting resistor for the green LED bank (D1-D6). Using this lower resistance allows the green LEDs to glow a tiny bit brighter, which can mitigate the fact that green LEDs often appear a little dimmer than the red and yellow LEDs.

In the end, the value of the current limiting resistors (R2, R4, R6, and R7) is somewhat forgiving and can anywhere around 300 ohms to 3K.

The value for R7 is specified on the higher end (at 2K) because R7 is the current limiting resistor for the red LED D19 at the top of the tree. Since D19 does not blink, it may appear much brighter, so the higher 2K resistance balances the brightness a bit with respect to the other LEDs.

Step 3: Transistors

3D LED Christmas Tree transistors

When soldering in the transistors, be sure to align the flat side of the transistor to the flat side of the white outline on the printed circuit board (PCB). This ensures that the transistor is wired in the correct direction.

Step 4: Capacitors

3D LED Christmas Tree capacitors

Solder in the electrolytic capacitors. These are definitely polarized. There is usually a “-” marking along one side of the can and also the longer lead is positive while the shorter lead is negative. Be certain that the positive and negative terminals are matched to the indications on the PCB silk screen printing. As a double check, the solder pad for the positive pin is often square, while the negative pad is round. The square pad is sometimes called the “pin one indicator” and this applies to multi-lead packages like DIP integrated circuits as well. Leave enough slack in the leads to be able to bend the capacitor over onto its side once it is soldered into place.

Step 5: LEDs

3D LED Christmas Tree LEDs

Diodes (including LEDs) are also polarized. Be certain to observe that the long lead is positive and the short is negative. Again observe the silk screen printing on the PCB or that the positive solder pad is square. When soldering the LEDs, be sure they keep the same colours grouped together with a common resistor and transistor as shown in the schematic and parts list. If you attempt to drive mixed colour LEDs with the same current limiting resistor and switching transistor, you will likely find that one colour glows brighter and the other colour doesn’t light up at all or only very dimly.

When soldering the LEDs into place, leave slack in the leads so that the LED can be bent off to the side once it is attached. Note that we have not yet soldered in the D19 LED at the very tip of the tree.

Step 6: Test each PCB

3D LED Christmas Tree - test each PCBOnce each of the Tree PCBs is fully populated (except for the D19 LED at the tip), they can be tested by placing about 5VDC onto the “+” and “-” pads at the very bottom of the tree.

For example, you can place some AA batteries into the battery housing and touch the wires to the correct pads on the PCB.

The LEDs should blink and cycle with colourful holiday goodness. If they do not, check the polarities (directions) of the power wires, the LEDs, the caps, and the transistors. If you were careful with all of the polarities while soldering, there should be no problems.

Step 7: Base PCB

DIY 3D LED Christmas Tree base PCBDIY 3D LED Christmas Tree base PCB

Solder the power button and the power terminal onto the Base PCB. When inserting the power button, the notched side of the button should face the nearest edge of the PCB as shown. A piece of resistor lead that was trimmed off earlier may be wrapped around the power terminal and soldered to the PCB as a stain relief to make the connector more robust while inserting the power plug.

The battery pack can be bolted into the base PCB as shown. The wires from the battery pack can be fed up into the PCB trimmed and soldered to the power pads.

Step 8: Final Assembly

DIY 3D LED Christmas Tree project final assembly

Slide the two tree halves into one another being careful to bend any of the components (such as the transistors) our of the way if they catch onto one another. Once the sides are aligned, solder the pads together where the halves touch.

DIY 3D LED Christmas tree

Now the top LED (D19) can be attached and trimmed.

DIY maker 3D LED Christmas Tree assembly

Lastly, insert the tree into the base PCB being careful to observe the “+” and “-” designations on all three PCBs. Solder the tree to the base PCB.

Your 3D LED Tree can be powered from the battery pack OR the power terminal USB adapter. When the power terminal is inserted, the batteries are out of the circuit, so it is fine to leave the batteries installed while using the USB power adapter.

 

Upcoming MIDAS Courses: December, 2018

MIDAS September 2018 courses

It may be December and the Christmas craziness will be here before you know it, but MIDAS still has some great learning on tap before the Holidays kick into high gear!

In fact, there’s no place like MIDAS for helping you create something perfect for the Season, even a quick Christmas gift, decor, or ornament:

Laser Cutter Christmas

Closeout 2018 with some new skills!

Regardless of what you might have in mind, MIDAS can help you bring your new innovation or great to life!

If you’re in need of prototyping, 3D printing and fabrication, the variety of equipment available at MIDAS is geared specifically to offer you state-of-the-art resources to create exactly what you need.

Maybe you’ve already got a start using our fabrication equipment and are wanting to take it to the next level?  We’ve got you covered there, too!  Advanced certification courses are also available.

Check out our December calendar of courses and training… From woodworking on the Shopbot CNC to laser cutting (as per example above) and more, we’re sure there’s a course to fit exactly what you’re looking for as you consider your next DIY/maker project.

This isn’t all, of course!  Be sure to review the full calendar of all upcoming workshops and courses here at MIDAS.

 

 

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha) Course at MIDAS

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha)

Training on BOTH the Desktop and Alpha Shopbot CNC included.  The ShopBot Desktop has a bed size of 24″ x 18″ and a 1HP motor.  This ShopBot Alpha is a full-size CNC with a 48″x96″ table with a 4HP motor.  Both machines are run by the same programming software and have full capability to mill 2d and 3d prototypes.
With enough production capability for a three-shift factory, ShopBot PRSalpha tools are tough and sophisticated, gantry-based CNC routers using advanced technology for CNC cutting, drilling, carving and machining.  Tooling and use make this pair of CNCs perfect for soft-material CNC cutting at any size.
Register NOW!

MIDAS courses & training: Creaform 700 3D Handyscan Scanner

Creaform 700 3D Handyscan Scanner

The Handyscan is AMAZING but don’t take our word for it. Come and see for yourself! This session will demonstrate the handyscan on a number of objects: how to place tags, basic scanning, set up of a receiving software and review of captured online files. (CAD and others on demand).

This course DOES NOT cover the manipulation of captured images or printing but is intended to allow members to scan and understand the potential of this device.

Recommended for engineers, architects, manufacturers, machinists, makers and hobbyists alike.
Register NOW!

Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter courses at MIDAS

 

Trotec 120 Watt Laser Cutter

The Speedy is the ideal laser engraving machine – no matter if you are starting your own business or want to speed up current production, laser engraving wood, plastic, acrylic, fabrics and many other materials, has never been more efficient. This CO2 laser engraver has the highest quality components which ensure minimal maintenance requirements.
Register NOW!

 

 

Fun Friday: Activities to Inspire Your Kids to be Makers!

We have come to that special time of year referred to as the November Doldrums: the weather has turned gloomy, Daylight Savings has kicked in and it’s dark by supper time, the colour of vibrant of autumn has blown from the trees, and we’re still a ways off from the merriment of Christmas… or, perhaps worse, anticipating the rash of spending the Season inevitably brings!

Well, turn that late fall frown upside down, people, as we’ve come across a wonderful way to beat the November blues: making makers! There’s no better time of year to inspire the maker in just about anyone than during this autumn dead zone.

Here are some great ideas to help take a bit of blah out of the dreariness of after school:

Building with Cardboard

Cardboard box building

There’s really nothing that invites the imagination of a child like a simple cardboard box. Go with it! Cars, costumes, houses, you name it, cardboard can become it. Perfect for inspiring your little makers!

Stop Motion Video

Super easy and, thanks to modern technology, you don’t need much more than a smartphone or device with a camera and the appropriate mobile app – there are plenty of filmmaking apps out there as a simple Google search will attest.  You may want to get your hands on a tripod, too, to make this fun project just that much easier. If you can’t get a tripod, simply setup some support for the device that will allow for hand-free.

Break out the toys: blocks, legos and lego characters, action figures, Barbies. Let your imagination go wild!

Here’s an example that is probably a little ambitious – aspirational, shall we say!

For beginners:

Electronics! Projects we advocate for as often as we can involve supplying power to make things work.

Kids into Mighty Makers

How about an easy-peasy DIY flashlight to dip your child’s toe into the world of electronic gadgetry? With simple AA batteries, a piece of aluminum foil, some duct tape, a mini light bulb, and a paper roll to house everything, this project couldn’t be easier! You can find the complete instruction HERE!

easy DIY flashlight

Take something apart!

inspire your young makers

Making doesn’t always have to be about putting something together – no way! It can also be about the exploration and investigation involved in taking something apart. Super fun with a ton of learning moments, particularly if the end-game is to put it back together – also strongly encouraged!

Here are some ideas of things that can be disassembled:

  • A broken motorized or battery-operated toy. It’s a fun and educational exercise to see if, once the motor has been removed, if it can be reassembled and made to work!
  • An old smartphone – so interesting to see what’s behind the magic!
  • An old landline – explore the roots of our modern devices.
  • An old computer hard drive. For older kids, a great way to see what components are involved and maybe even what can be done to bring it back to life!

Computer Programming

making young makers - computer programming

We assume such technical proficiency in our kids. The reality is, they are actually masters at consuming technology, not necessarily what goes on to make it happen. More of us have to encourage our kids, who spend an awful lot of time on computer to use that time a little differently – make something!

Kids of all ages can get to learn the programming that goes into the computer games and activities they enjoy.

Scratch, a free programming language and online community where kids (or any programming beginners) can create interactive stories, games, and animations, is a fantastic introduction into the world of code and computer programming.

#madeatMIDAS: Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D)

Advanced BioCarbon 3D #madeatMIDAS

Advanced BioCarbon 3D, #madeatMIDAS Corporate Member and co-locator here at MIDAS marries environmental sustainability and innovation with their carbon negative bioplastics.

We are very proud of the accomplishments achieved by the growing list of Corporate Members. It’s inspiring to see each of them fulfilling their innovation and business aspirations with the help of the range of resources available in our MIT-certified Fab Lab.

A fruitful partnership we’ve excitedly been witness to between ABC3D and Selkirk College Applied Research Innovation Centre and recipients of a research grant through the SMARTS Program. SMARTS engages in research resulting in the development of innovative products or services, with the goal of expanding the offerings that local businesses can bring to market.

Earlier this year, Rossland’s Darrel Fry, CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D, and Jason Taylor of Selkirk College were awarded $300,000 through the Innovate BC Ignite Program to develop a new type of 3D-printing filament. The research project is focused on creating a new 3D printing filament to address the pressing issue of excessive plastics in 3D printing and manufacturing.

The $300,000 awarded to the project has allowed ABC3D to buy equipment and bring on employees integral to the continuing research and development.

The filament is made from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

Well beyond plastic: carbon fibre. Engineering grade AND biodegradable.

ABC3D is an advanced materials company specializing in bi0degradable plastics and carbon fibres and has taken up residence in the MIDAS Fab Lab to expand its research, development, and production.

Looking to come up with a solution for the over-abundance of plastics used, and inevitably, polluting the earth on such an incredible scale, Advanced BioCarbon 3D creates a product that is, remarkably, engineering grade and 100% biodegradable.

Safe for people, animals, and nature, the ABC3D plastics and carbon fibre are created using a closed loop system with no waste. The innovative startup’s beachhead into the industry is biodegradable filaments, in production at MIDAS, extracting resins from wood and mixing them with other polymers to make plastic.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

The goal of the business is all at once ambitious and noble. According to Mr. Fry, “We’ve been coming it at it through demand management, trying to promote less use, re-use, recycling and the like. As we all know of course trying to plug the pipe at the end never truly works. Moving to a supply management where rather than using less plastic we aim to use better plastic would seem to be a better route.”

While ABC3D is producing products in the 3D printing filament market, with their engineered grade quality bioplastics, previously unavailable, the company is seeing the huge potential to impact other markets. Specifically, Fry has his eye fixed on carbon fibre filaments to be used in industries such as automotive, airline, solar energy, housebuilding, batteries, and more.

“I don’t see how we can continue down the path of conventional plastics,” said Fry. “The planet can no longer sustain the amount of plastic being put into the oceans and across our landscape, nor can it sustain the carbon emissions from petroleum products. Everyone knows we need to take action.

“Nature has been making (natural plastic) for three billion years, and disposing of it for three billion years. Nature already has in place the bacteria and decomposition team it needs to break down plastic that is made from wood.”

Employee Ian, developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.ABC3D has taken advantage of other funding opportunities to help develop his innovative products. Through the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) Youth Employment Program (YEP) and Youth-Green Program, on behalf of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES), the company has hired Ian, who is learning the R and D ropes; developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.

Fry’s route to sustainability has begun with a blended 3D filament containing 40% of their proprietary wood product and 60% conventional plastic. The goal: subsequent iterations that lead to a truly environmentally sustainable 100% wood bioplastic.

#madeatMIDAS #metaltechalley

Listen to the rest of this amazing story HERE.

Fun Friday! Kootenay Contraption Contest | Deadline December 19, 2018!

Selkirk College GLOWS Kootenay Contraption Contest

The Kootenay Contraption Contest invites students in Grades K-8 to imagine, design and illustrate a “contraption” that solves a problem.

Calling all young innovators and problem solvers! This year’s GLOWS 2018 Contraption Contest is challenging individuals and entire classes to come up with the most creative, most imaginative “contraption” they can dream up to solve this problem:

Turn something of waste from your home into a new contraption that can be useful in our lives.

The grand prize winner receives an iPad! And winners from each entering grade will win a pizza party for their entire class!

To enter, illustrate your idea in the entry form. This is all about having fun and being creative using all manner of media: art supplies, blocks and legos, Arduino or Raspberry Pi, you name it!

Deadline: December 19, 2018

Find out more information HERE!

Check out last year’s winning entry from Hayden Persad:

Past themes:
2010:  What new technology or advancements in existing technology will we need to keep us healthy and safe by the mid-point of the century?
2011:  Imagine the year is 2050. Thinking about energy, how will we cook, heat and cool our homes?
2012:  How will we use less energy?
2013:  Imagine the year is 2050. Wind and solar energy are plentiful, but how will we store that energy to make it more useful?
2014:  In 50 years, how will we increase our food supply?
2015:  What contraption will change the way students learn or are taught in school?
2016: What do you predict will be the next big automated thing that everyone will rely on?
2017: We use energy in our daily lives from turning on the lights to playing on our tablets. What are some ideas to make or save energy so there is more for everyone?

Upcoming MIDAS Courses: November, 2018

MIDAS September 2018 courses

Whether you’re new to the Maker Movement or an old hand, MIDAS is here to bring your new innovation or that great idea you’ve been nurturing off the ground!

If you’re in need of prototyping, 3D printing and fabrication, the variety of equipment at MIDAS is geared specifically to offer you state-of-the-art resources to create exactly what you need.

Maybe you’ve already got a start using our fabrication equipment and are wanting to take it to the next level?  We’ve got you covered there, too!  Advanced certification courses are also available.

Check out our November calendar of courses and training… From 3D printing to CNC machining to laser printing and more, we’re sure there’s a course to fit exactly what you’re looking for as you consider your next DIY/maker project.

This isn’t all, of course!  Be sure to review the full calendar of all upcoming workshops and courses here at MIDAS.

Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter courses at MIDAS

Trotec 120 Watt Laser Cutter

The Speedy is the ideal laser engraving machine – no matter if you are starting your own business or want to speed up current production, laser engraving wood, plastic, acrylic, fabrics and many other materials, has never been more efficient. This CO2 laser engraver has the highest quality components which ensure minimal maintenance requirements.
Register NOW!

 

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha) Course at MIDAS

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha)

Training on BOTH the Desktop and Alpha Shopbot CNC included.  The ShopBot Desktop has a bed size of 24″ x 18″ and a 1HP motor.  This ShopBot Alpha is a full-size CNC with a 48″x96″ table with a 4HP motor.  Both machines are run by the same programming software and have full capability to mill 2d and 3d prototypes.
With enough production capability for a three-shift factory, ShopBot PRSalpha tools are tough and sophisticated, gantry-based CNC routers using advanced technology for CNC cutting, drilling, carving and machining.  Tooling and use make this pair of CNCs perfect for soft-material CNC cutting at any size.
Register NOW!

3D Printing Made With TinkerCad_2

3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad

This course will give starting tools and tips in 3D Design with TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful but intuitive to learn design program. Also, how to 3D Print these designs is instructed in this dual class!
Register NOW!

 

 

The MarkForged Mark Two course at MIDAS

MarkForged 3D Printer

This is a certification course.

The Mark Two is an industrial strength 3D printer here at the MIDAS Lab and using continuous fiber inlays together with high-performance nylons, it creates parts that can compete with metal!

You can learn more about the Markforged HERE.

Register NOW!

Tormach Metal CNC Mill courses

Tormach Metal CNC Mill

The ultimate in 3-axis metal CNC technology. Designed for aluminum, light metals and composite plastics – this machine packs horsepower. This machine is not for beginners – only experienced CNC operators can be certified, but anyone can take the course.
Register NOW!

 

 

Not what you’re looking for?  Take a look at our full calendar of upcoming workshops and courses.

Ultimate DIY Halloween Costume: Rolloween Project

DIYers create one-of-a-kind Halloween costume for 10-year-old in a wheelchair

Rolloween: Inspiring Montreal makers step up to create the ultimate Halloween costume making one boy happier than ever to trick or treat!

The Maker Movement embraces just about any challenge and looks for the best DIY way to shake things up and overcome it. In this case, a group of eager makers stepped in to produce Chad, an exciting, remarkably real not to mention practical Halloween costume solution for young Émile.

Unlike years past when Émile, born with a disability that requires him to use a wheelchair, has found Halloween to be a particularly challenging celebration, thanks to a group of Montréal makers this year he will have THE ultimate in Halloween costumes for himself as well as his wheelchair.

Having pulled together imagination, creativity, serious maker skills, as well as generosity and commitment, this group of makers created a dragon in his castle, or, simply, Chad.

Beyond Magic: A Dragon Comes to Life

Halloween costumes are not designed for children to wear sitting down and for those people requiring an assisted mobility device, getting around towns and cities is not easy even at the best of times, let alone at night, dressed in costume.


Inspired to create a fun, festive, and practical costume for Émile, the maker group collected all the necessary materials to create Chad: polystyrene for the castle to surround the wheelchair, thermoplastic to form the dragon head, silk and green polylactic acid (PLA) filament to 3D print the dragon scales, an umbrella to build the wings, foam to build parts of the costume and a set of Hallowing — programmable eyes for the dragon.

Coming together every two weeks in the months ahead of October 31st, the group spent their weekends hard at work in the garage of a member of Duct Tapers Anonymous. Other meetings took place at Milieux Make — the Milieux Institute for Arts Culture and Technology makerspace.

As the costume came together, Émile visited the garage for fittings.

This Halloween, thanks to the ingenuity and skills of this dedicaged groupe of people, Émile will BE Chad the Dragon. He will also show off the amazing creation during the Montréal Maker Faire, produced by Concordia University on Nov. 16-17.

Rolloween Project

Magic Wheelchair is a non-profit organization “that builds epic costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs — at no cost to families.” The organization started with Ryan Weimer whose son was born with spinal muscular dystrophy. When his son wanted to be a pirate for Halloween, Ryan decided to turn his wheelchair into a pirate ship.

Following the inspiration of Magic Wheelchair, Concordia University’s Education Makers and Montréal’s Duct Tapers Anonymous decided to get together to build a wheelchair Halloween costume. Education Makers had experimented with 3D printing dragon scales on fabric and with thermoplastic. Duct Tapers Anonymous offered up a wealth of know-how ranging from handymen, engineers, sculptors and seamstresses.

This project is exactly what Maker Culture is all about – seeing a challenge and turning it on its head! Disrupting how things might conventionally be done. The Rolloween project is a perfect example.

A boy who simply wanted to be a dragon for Halloween helped spur much-needed change in Halloween costume design, encouraging inclusiveness and respect for differences in the tradition of Halloween.

Fun Friday! Selkirk College GLOWS RoboGames 2019

RoboGames GLOWS Selkirk College 2018

It is NEVER too early to start planning your project and strategy for RoboGames!

This is a robot competition like no other. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for learning and exploring technology – electronics and robotics.

Through experimentation and mentoring, West Kootenay/Boundary youth will learn how to design, build and program robots that they will enter into RoboGames, a fun and free-spirited event full of prizes.

Everyone is welcome to attend! RoboGames will take place Saturday, April 27th at the Tenth Street Campus in the Mary Hall Building.

Imagination meets Technology

Open to all West Kootenay/Boundary youth ages 6 to 18, RoboGames requires only imagination, creativity, and a sense of exploration and fun – no experience necessary!

Youth in teams of one to two people will be supported with six to eight weeks of robotics programming and circuit training culminating with a competition.

For more information head over to Selkirk College GLOWS!

For a little inspiration, here’s what went down at last year’s competition:

SMARTS Program: Selkirk SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions

SME Applied Research & Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program

The SMARTS Program: Connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with research expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication. 

It’s those companies that invite innovation and embrace technology that are leading today’s competitive economy.

Selkirk College, a hidden academic gem here in the West Kootenay steps in to help, offering specific and much-needed applied research support to help businesses develop new or improved products and services.

The SMARTS program builds on the Adopting Digital Technologies program, a success story featured by the National Research Council, which provided small- and medium-sized businesses with direct support, technical training, and advisory services aimed at increasing productivity through the use of digital technologies.

Support for Development of Products and Services

The SMARTS program aims to engage in research that results in the development of innovative products or services, expanding the offerings, that local businesses can bring to market.

Businesses may be eligible for the SMARTS program if they:

  • Have less than 500 employees
  • Are growth-oriented
  • Are located in Canada

Selkirk College knows that research and development partnerships that involve marketable products or services require strict confidentiality. Businesses can rest assured that the College maintains confidentiality protocols to protect the interests of both the business and the College. Selkirk College also understands the need to complete work in ‘business time’ and will work with business to move the idea to action efficiently and effectively.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

A Sample of R&D Services

Geospatial Technologies

WEB MAPPING
– Developing custom mapping platforms for data sharing and communications

3D VISUALIZATIONS
– Generating static and dynamic visualisations of 3D geospatial data – Developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications

REMOTE SENSING
– Collecting data via UAV
– Testing sensors
– Analysing remotely sensed data from UAV or satellite – Developing workflows and algorithms

SPATIAL MODELING
– Modeling landscape impacts of environmental change

APP DEVELOPMENT AND CUSTOMIZATION
– Building customized mobile tools for geospatial data collection and sharing – Researching and testing technology options

Digital Fabrication

RAPID PROTOTYPING
– Producing prototypes
– Researching and testing prototype designs and materials

3D MODELING
– Scanning 3D objects for reproduction
– Generating 3D models for analysis and production

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING PROCESS OPTIMIZATION
– Building custom digital fabrication equipment
– Improving productivity with new workflows and equipment configurations

Funding Available for a Limited Time

The SMARTS program runs until March 2019 and is supported by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, funding is available to cover the majority of the research costs associated with approved projects. The company also contributes a portion of project expenses.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

Fun Friday! Halloween Maker Edition

MIDAS fab lab Fun Friday Halloween Edition

Halloween is only a couple of weeks away, plenty of time to create some pretty nifty, interactive, and spooky decorations that will have your friends and family jumping!

Of all the holidays, Halloween is perhaps the most fun for makers – a true makers holiday, really! So, to inspire the spooky, creepy maker in you take a look at the following fun ideas, making creative and scary use of Arduino and Raspberry PI to get the juices flowing:

Raspberry Pi and projectors make this house sing the Monster Mash

Raspberry Pi Monster Mash Halloween House

This is something of the ultimate in Halloween decorating – bringing the entire house to life to sing a fun, Halloween classic.

Through the use of Raspberry Pi and a few projectors, Twitter user @Firr was able to create this fun and impressive Halloween project using two Raspberry Pis, three projectors, some speakers, and “a mess of HDMI cables”.

One Pi handles the eyes using an HDMI splitter to project the same video of moving eyes onto a pair of windows.

The second Pi does the mouth which is a custom animation created in After Effects. This also handles the audio which is output to some party speakers playing the classic song:

For the mouth the video looper project from Adafruit was used as a base. The eyes were also adapted from an Adafruit guide, this time written by Phillip Burgess.

We’ve actually featured Burgess recently for another Halloween decoration with projected eyes, this time using spherical projectors.

While the eyes can move on their own, a joystick can be added for direct control. Firr created a switch that goes between autonomous animation and direct control.

via Gfycat

Haunted Jack-in-the-Box – Raspberry Pi

This project uses a Raspberry Pi and face detection using the Pi camera to determine when someone is looking at it. This look like a great way to scare your friends! You can make your own – learn more about it HERE.

Magic Scare Mirror

Another great project to scare the pants of your visitors. It wouldn’t be Halloween without the evil spirits – make your own!

via Gfycat

Talking Skull – Arduino

This is a classic, and another great one for eliciting jump scares! Perfect for setting the perfect Halloween ambiance to your home. Make it yourself!