Monthly Archives: April 2012

Getting physical – Arduino adventures #2

I have a very clear picture of me, in 1997, the coolest sideburns in my class (although they looked like underarm hair) at the Database Introduction class. Our teacher introduced us to the concept of “The Real World”. She sketched this cartoonish cloud, to introduce us to how to do database modeling. I remember that I felt confused and frustrated, because there was the eager of creating my own war robots (i  was 14). But instead, I was learning how to organize information for a sales office.

There was nothing wrong about it. Now I know it was necessary.

But I was missing the ability of intervening in the physical world.

My final work on my last high school year (’99) was finally something on it. I wrote this software for PC, which controlled a “building”. I could control “lights” and “air-conditioners”. It was a wood model of a building, which my father hand-crafted, and car lights, and processor coolers. Good times.

Now, with all this arduinoing, I feel like I am free to shop for parts, to go into the electronic components stores and fearlessly ask my newbie questions. And it is all amazing.

The other day I went shopping, downtown Manaus, for parts. There were these fancy organized stores, but I was really mesmerized with some others, dark, dusty, dungeon like, gadgets cemetery. It still felt like shopping for ingredients for a slow cooking initiative.

Check it out:


Let the cooking begin.

Arduino adventures #1

I am arduinoing.

It feels awesome. Ask anyone who’s been playing with it.

It kind of links to the feelings of hope I had when I first started programming. It’s been a long time, but when I was thirteen, fourteen, I know I wanted to make things. I wanted to go embedded. But then, algorithms, networks and databases came along, and, you know.. they are appealing, and you can go webbing with them, and they give jobs, etc.

But when you work with the process concept-design-code your whole life, you get used to thinking of solutions that will deliver on a screen, through software.. On a computer or on a phone.

Now I feel like I am allowed to think objects. I am free to think of tangible. It is so thrilling.

This is a reminder to self, so I will always remember the feeling of making my code move/blink/buzz/turn/sense/go.


Technology for Pai Mei Precision Interaction.

In order to perform the event of focusing on most mobile phone cameras, you need to press the tiny little shutter button half-way down? Half-way down. That is an example of how much of a surgeon dexterity one needs to interact with some technology pieces.

The funny thing is that technologists (me) are often included into the non-athletic types category. It seems their (mine) muscular structure is not as solid as it should..  I mean, they (I)  have no motor coordination whatsover. Don´t get me wrong: when they have to strike on their PS3/Xbox controllers, they are the best. But we are talking dexterity here.

Take a look at this blog post snippet from a photography expert text about the Canon Rebel..

mastering the "half-way-down" dexterity

Please note I am not criticizing the blog post above. It´s actually cool.

I think they call it a two step shutter and some seem to dislike it. Many cameras have it. Many phone cameras have it too.

These buttons measure about 1mm of height (?). The software event of starting the auto-focus process is triggered by pressing these things half-way down, which measures 1/2mm (?)! Now seriously, it is not impossible, I know. But let´s face it, we have a large and comfortable room for improvement here.

Or, we can take Pai Mei´s training and be ready to use such technology: