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ISP Programming Jig w/ pogo pegs

During one of the last projects I was working on, I found that the first programming jig I made had a serious draw back. It could only put the #1 pin of the programmer in two of the four corners. That meant that I could only program my board from one side. That was fine until I assembled the project in it's case. At that point, reprogramming was a difficult task that required disassembly, something I never considered when I designed the item and as it turned out it was almost impossible to do without destroying it. Annoying!

Three weeks ago I decided I wanted to flash some new firmware on my motorcycle remote so I could use it to put a GPS on my Kindle Fire. That meant I needed take it apart and risk destroying it. Not an exciting prospect. Then I thought, why don't I just build another programming jig like the last one only upside down. That seemed like a winner, because it was fast, but I didn't have any more 2x3 ISP headers. Bah! Since I needed to wait on a shipment from Digikey I went ahead drew up a custom circuit board and added a few bells and whistles and sent it to fabricator. 

The bells and whistles I spoke of are a pair of ISP headers which are mirror images of each other and a pair of LEDs that point to the #1 pin. When you plug into one the of the two headers, one of the two LEDs lights up pointing to the #1 pin. This function makes it easy to identify how to orient the PCB to the jig.

Below are images of the schematic and the board layout. The assembly is very easy. You just take two of the PCBs solder a pair of headers to the bottom board and pogo pegs to both and use some stand offs for strength. Check out the video for a better look at the final assembly.

You can modify the Eagle files posted below or send the pre-configured Gerber files directly to http://oshpark.com/ or your preferred fabricator to get some PCBs of your own.
Link to Eagle and Gerber Files


I drew up the board upside down for no particular reason.
Blue is the outside and red is the inside.

Simple Chemistry

Inspired by THIS

This is some dangerous stuff.
It will mess you up. 

Zn + 2 HCl        > ZnCl2 + H2


This giant masonry blade has been sitting around Freeside forever:

Rust and dust are indicators of abandonment.
Please make use of the rusty and dusty.
Note the diamond tipped edge

Let's make a giant scythe for my Halloween costume!! 
(Never too early to plan)

Thingiverse: Anatomic Human Foot

Freesider's are evermore professional printistas of sorts.  As our sprints are ramping up, there seems to be a growing interest in "organic modeling".  Things often found in nature fall into this category for CAD artists.

Here is a recent Thingiverse upload, which was made from some very simple modeling techniques in Newtek's Lighwave 3D application.  A little goes a very long way, indeed.

per Thingiverse.com:
There are 26 proper bones in the human foot; 28 if you consider the sesamoids of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint complex. That's over 25% of your body's total musculo-skeletal anatomy, hitting the ground every time you go for a walk or run! Quite impressive, really.

Read More:

This anatomic foot model was designed in Newtek's Lightwave 3D, as part of the podcast @ YouTube.com/DrGlassDPM

Anatomic study models can be quite expensive, search.anatomywarehouse.com/search?keywords=foot&x=0&y=0 so I wanted to share my printable version with the Thingiverse crowd and give a big shout out to Freeside Atlanta's Hackerspace!


I've included the individual bones with a straightforward naming convention. These parts will be replaced, as I continue to add more detail and such; for now, enjoy!

Additionally, there are FootBones.stl and FootSkin.stl, for those of you Duel Extruding.

Otherwise, I'd be impressed to see some of the techniques towards printing this and having a clean separation from support material. This (and deriviatives thereof) will hopefully rival things like: molded study models search.anatomywarehouse.com/search?keywords=foot&x=0&y=0

Freesiders Hackers Collaborate in Medical / Surgical Research

Published in the May issue of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery:

This collaboration of specialties represents an undertaking by members of Freeside Atlanta, Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, and The Podiatry Institute.  Charcot foot reconstruction remains on of the most challenging procedures in foot and ankle surgery.  These procedures are often lengthy procedures which can be riddled with complications.

With the help of Freeside Atlanta Members, institutional researchers used open source Osirix Image viewer and 3D Software such as Newtek's Lightwave or Blender to create simulated surgical reductions as well as 3D printed templates.  Freeside Atlanta members assisted in providing 3D printing solutions and know-how to the project.

Experimental test prints were done on a Makerbot Thing-o-matic, and final templates were printed on a modified ZCORP z400.  These templates were full scale replicas of the patient's boney anatomy, which were used in the laboratory for practice purposes.  (see video below)


The surgical bone cuts were trialed in advance and the the Ilizarov fixation frame was constructed and modified prior to surgery.  The combination of these two things saved the surgeons literally hours of work in the operating theater, ultimately lowering cost of care and risk of complications.

3D simulations were used for templating surgical approach on printed replicas.

Intra-operative execution of practiced surgical plan.

Application of Ilizarov External Fixation Construct

The Abstract reads as:
Charcot foot syndrome (Charcot neuroarthropathy affecting the foot), particularly in its latter stages, may pose a significant technical challenge to the surgeon. Because of the lack of anatomic consistency, preoperative planning with virtual and physical models of the foot could improve the chances of achieving a predictable intraoperative result. In this report, we describe the use of a novel, inexpensive, 3-dimensional template printing technique that can provide, with just a normal printer, multiple "copies" of the foot to be repaired. Although we depict this method as it pertains to repair of the Charcot foot, it could also be used to plan and practice, or revise, 3-dimensional surgical manipulations of other complex foot deformities.
Copyright © 2012 American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Red Bull Soapbox Derby

OH look! A package! I wonder who it is from?

Maybe it is something about the Soapbox race?

Looks like it

Oh Man! Red Bull and a note card saying "thanks but no thanks." 
 Don't they know I prefer diet?!?

Onboard Firmware of the Human Brain

Freesiders are continually tinkering with robotics and other such machinery.  Many of these embedded processors and firmware are becoming open source and every-more diversified in the wake of the modern Maker movement.

One notable boost to the hackerspace arsenal is the Arduino (an like platforms).  This offers designers an incredible power to devise not just individual devices but even the emergence of complex, integrated systems.

This evolutionary pace of modern technological systems may be significantly faster the biologic system development, but there may be a few well learned tricks yet to be mastered.  It seems that studying how nature has managed to solve many development challenges will aid in designing robotics, where efficiently counts just as much.

One  challenge, that is particularly interesting, is data processing.  Artificial intelligence is labored with processing data and producing a meaningful and useful output.  When considering the increase in sensory and input devices avaible to robot hackers, AI technology may not be able to simply apply Brute Force for all scenarios.

How does the human brain sort through data and minimize apophenia, in real time?  It delegates.

This, unfortunately is not a perfected system but it is still, (currently), better than anything man has managed to hacked together.  What's important to remember about these systems is that they are subject to some strange exploits, which we call "Illusions".  Optical illusions are centuries old and have often uncovered the curiosity within us all.

A recent study in the science journal, "Perception" has illustrated this point well.  In this, they illustrate the error of duplication.  Some such duplications do not appear to throw off any red flags in the observer.  However, try causing an irregularity to someone's face and it's a totally different story.

The human face is one of the most instant and profound "appliances" of human interaction.  Humans have evolved a very acute sense of facial recognition, which plays a vital role in our day to day goings on.

The difference between a smile and a frown, could mean the difference between a successful mate and a fight to the death.   Other mild variations in not so useful things don't trigger the same primal response.  This assumptive processing center of the brain acts somewhat comparably to a natural checksum, operating autonomously in the subconsciousness like a daemon

Often, Makers and Hackers share their knowledge and designs in a very "open" manner.  Nature itself has many lessons to teach designers as well.  A better understanding of these such integrated systems and their exploits may better help us to design technological systems which are both sophisticated and efficient.


3D printing in action.

After seeing Joshua Oster-Morris with this little box I asked him to write a post for us on how it came it to being. Worth the read.

Dateline: San Francisco, May 10 2011: Google I/O 2011 opens up with much fanfare and I, a lowly “software guy”, sit down to listen to a couple of sessions on Google Web Toolkit. I have been using it to develop a motorcycle navigation website (http://www.dualsportmaps.com) and its always good to try to pick up a few new tricks of trade. These are mainly esoteric talks about development tools, but there is also one about a new API called RequestFactory that allows state aware communication between client and server characterized by its low bandwidth. They discuss how it might be handy to use as a protocol for communicating with Android devices. To that, my ears perk up and I make my best impersonation (imdogination) of Scooby-Doo. I have been doing a little Android development for personal projects, I have an extensive craft cocktail recipe book that I have compiled through pilgrimages to the best bars around the globe, and I have created an app so I can find them quickly on my phone. I found my options for sending data back and forth a little tedious (I was just creating my own one-off APIs). My interest was diverted from GWT and I segued to sessions on Android for the rest of the day.

My First Tool Box

I was looking for ideas for tools to put in the little blue tool box I have been refinishing. I am giving this to a kid I have been working with and I was wondering if people had ideas for what tools a teen should have.

What tools would you have wanted when you were a kid? What tools are you always needing?

Here is what I have so far:
Small hammer
Metric and standard socket set
Metric and Standard Allen Wrenches
standard screwdriver bits and small screw driver.
Small hand saw with switchable blades.
Three different types of pliers.

Entrepreneur Discussion Group update

In the last meeting of the Entrepreneur discussion group, we talked about business plans for our different ideas. Most businesses (Profit/Non-Profit, Product/Service...) that require some level of investment, fit into a similar planning pattern. We looked over one planning tool that I developed in Excel as an example of that pattern, which is then reflected in the example business plan that I posted to out Dropbox share (email me if you'd like access).

The model works by developing the product and estimating it's price and market potential (revenue projections). Next, you develop the cost model (bill of materials, equipment, facility, labor, administrative). These costs are allocated by product (or service) and together, the revenue and cost projections form the key financial data (Annual Operating Expenses, Pro-Forma Income Statements, Cash Flow Analysis, Breakeven Analysis By Product, Working Capital Requirements). All of these are based on research and best-guess assumptions.

The final result is a %ROIC (Return on Invested Capital). This is the number that investors really care about, because it reflects the % return on their money. Finally, Sensitivity Analysis looks at how robust the model is. If your sales, product mix, price, materials costs, etc... don't meet your expectations, how far off can they be before your model isn't viable?

  At the next meeting on March 24th @ 6pm, we'll review the model for any newcomers and apply it to some of our ideas to gain a better understanding of how it works and what it means.