I just finished reading (exploring) Eduardo Galvani’s latest iBook, The Yellow Cab of the Universe: Mr. Albert’s Brain, and I have to say that it’s an absolutely compelling purchase/read for anyone with even the slightest interest in Physics. Here’s what I wrote as a 5-Star review on the iBook Store:
Brings physics to life and makes it engaging
Physics springs from real life - it’s the sum total of our struggle as human beings to make sense of the physical world around us and to solve real world problems. If you what to build a bridge, design a car, aim a cannon, fly a plane, or do almost anything physical, you need to understand the fundamentals of physics.
Unfortunately all too many textbooks and classes teach physics in a dry, pedantic way that sometimes suffocates students interest in one of the worlds most important topics of study.
Eduardo Galvani not only puts the ‘life’ back into physics, he makes it totally engaging and inspirint. This iBook not only teaches physics, it encourages the reader to interact and experiment with the principles cover in each section.
Through the use of color, dynamic images, sound, motion, physical interaction, interactive quizzes, and videos, Galvani brings the full power of the iBook format to bear and creates a learning experience that is difficult to put down.
I highly recommend this iBook to anyone with an interest in physics, no matter what your age, gender, nationality, or experience level.
If you’re a physics fan but are still a bit skeptical, then download the sample chapter from the iBook Store. And, if you don’t already have an iPad or Mac computer handy - beg, borrow, or steal one so that you can experience this iBook. It’s that good.
The new ROBOTIS PLAY600 PETs robot kit includes a cute bird that only took a few minutes to assemble, but provided lots of fun and excitement for our two dogs.
The kit allows very young learners to get involved in building simple robots even before they are old enough to start learning how to program. ROBOTIS expects to release the kit for sale in February.
Total assembly time for this robot was about 10 minutes. The kit includes all the parts and plans for two other, slightly more complex, animal type robots that move.
Makerbot and America Makes jointly announced “Makerbot Academy”, a new initiative to support and strengthen American schools and STEM education. A big part of the initiative centres around giving students access to technology to foster interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm in STEM.
The new Makerbot Academy, with support from donors, plans to place thousands of 3D printers in schools across the nation. Here’s the opening text of the announcement:
We’re proud to announce MakerBot Academy, an educational mission to put a MakerBot® Desktop 3D Printer in every school in the United States of America.
The first MakerBot Academy initiative includes 3D printing bundles for classrooms, an awesome Thingiverse Challenge, and generous support from individuals and organizations.
What You Can Do
1. Get the word out. Tell the teachers you know to register at DonorsChoose.org.
2. Support a school. Contribute to the effort by choosing a teacher; help get them set for the Next Industrial Revolution.
3. Participate in the Thingiverse Challenge. Develop models that teachers can use to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Responding to a Presidential Call to Action
At this year’s State Of The Union address, President Obama announced a new initiative to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. He affirmed, “3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America.”
We’re inspired by the President’s commitment to keep America at the forefront of the Next Industrial Revolution and we’re eager to do our part to educate the next generation of innovative makers who will keep our economy strong.
Let’s Get MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers into American Schools
Together with America Makes, and by leveraging the crowdfunding power of DonorsChoose.org, we’re launching our first MakerBot Academy initiative: Get thousands of MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printers into K-12 public school classrooms across the country — by December 31, 2013!
The new DARwin Mini humanoid robot from Robotis is about to rock the robot community worldwide, and give some major heartburn to competitors.
Featuring outstanding price/performance, this new robot will make it possible for a whole new sector of users to get actively involved in humanoid robotics whether it's at the educational, hobby, research, or professional use.
During IREX 2011, I had the opportunity to check out the Omni-Crawler robot developed at Osaka University. Conceptually, it's pretty amazing. It can 'turn on a dime', or more correctly, it doesn't need to turn at all. The unique Omni-Ball drive enables it to move in any direction in its plane of operation, and can make those moves almost instantaneously.
The Omni-Crawler approach will definitely be a significant benefit in some applications that can be improved by it's capabilities, and some applications that were previously impossible. At the same time, the overall complexity of the design and implementation, at least in the research lab prototype stage, raises some questions about how effectively it could be commercialized. The robot has tremendous potential, if it can be production engineered to become a reliable, cost effective subsystem.
’IREX 2011: Omni-Crawler Robot (Video)’ continues
I'm so incredibly jealous. Lady Ada over at AdaFruit Industries has all these great toys to play and experiment with, and she's figured out how to do it while enriching all of our hacker lives and making a little money to find more great stuff.
The 'toy' that triggered this post for me is some conductive rubber stretch cord that acts as a sensor. It's like being able to pull on the end of a resistor and have it's characteristics change linearly as it gets longer and shorter. Way cool! And it is incredibly cheap. She's priced it at less than ten dollars for a full meter and even includes a pair of alligator clips and a 10k resistor. Science teachers, for example, could dice it up and have enough for each student to have a piece for experiments.
The only drawback that I can see is that the sensor takes a little while to recover after being stretched, though I guess that could be compensated for in some applications by using two sensors in opposition.
As usual, the AdaFruit website has a great related tutorial page so you can learn while having fun.