Internet from Space Forever?

Electronic pilon + smartphone on map

Combining some of myfavorite topics, the end of the world and crowd funding hardware we have Outernet. A project promising to provide a low bandwidth but continual loop of the most important Internet content (as decided democratically) from space received with a solar powered satellite receiver / WiFi access point to access it. They also plan to provide real-time updates on natural disasters and political events by uploading from a few control stations. Sounds great but is it real?

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Waterproof hardware lacking waterproof firmware

Smart watch with drops of water on it

Designing a smartwatch, making it waterproof is a no brainer. The Qualcomm Toq does an elegant job on the hardware, with only capacitive buttons and inductive charging, there’s no need for any kind of wholes in the body. But I was surprised to discover that the firmware isn’t waterproof. When the watch is immersed or gets many water droplets on it as a pictured above, it interprets each droplet as a touch and the UI goes crazy, paging through menues etc. Crushed under this erroneous touch spam, it crashes and locks up pretty quickly.

Lesson: Always test everything and remember to waterproof your firmware.

Fixing the ¢2 of plastic that broke my microwave

The door on my microwave oven suddenly stopped latching securely and the internal switch that detects the door being closed ceased to register. My wife and I were annoyed because this seemed like a very inexpensive cheap part of the microwave breaking and taking our a rather expensive appliance. So, time to fix it ourselves.
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Back to Robotics!

I’ve had a great three years at Sandia National Laboratories, learning a lot about developing systems with the rigger to know that they’ll work the first time, getting seriously into FPGA programming and recently becoming an expert in electronics design for manufacturing (DFM). I am immensely grateful to the people who have taught me along the way.

Now I am excited to be heading back into robotics full time at Anki.

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ROSCore as Daemon on OSX

Any ROS based system needs ROSCore running to provide the basic OS services. My home automation building operating system is no different and for an always on, building operating system, you really want everything to run as a daemon. However, my only always on wired ethernet server is a Mac Mini, not an Ubuntu server so I figured out how to get ROSCore to run as a daemon on OSX. Continue reading ROSCore as Daemon on OSX