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Blasting space junk with a laser

In the movie gravity fast moving space junk destroyed a space shuttle - in reality this could happen, since the Russians lunched SputnikI human race went on a launching spree that left a lot of junk in space. Its space right? So it wouldn't be a problem - it will just fly away to a distant galaxy? Sadly no, space junk in low orbit are still experiencing gravity like our satellites and like satellites they will stay in orbit which will possibly result into a collision with our future space flights.

                                                   Photo from Australian National University
Astronomers at the Australian National University has a solution - zap the darn junk with laser to clean up the place and avoid the collisions depicted in the oscar-winning movie. 
Mr Green said the ultimate goal would be to zap the debris with lasers, slowing its orbit and allowing the junk to fall back into the atmosphere, where it would burn up harmlessly
Harmlessly? If those 300,000 things burns out wouldn't they cause degradation in the atmosphere? If they have a laser powerful enough to reach low orbit and slow down space junk - what if a something accidentally passed by and boom! What will you guys say? Sorry we zapped your plane to pieces :p Ide have object tracking and identification set up first before having the laser zap anything. Better yet - lets launch the laser up there, to be charged using solar power and will zap the debris while its in orbit.

Via: theage
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Electrocardiograph and Heart Rate Monitor Using an Arduino

Most of the arduino projects that takes measurements from the heart (the ones that I have seen) only takes heart rate - this one no, its arduino based yet (using a scope) it can get the plot of your heart beat for an upclose inspection /gg.


Now to start off what do you need? An Instrumentation amplifier like the INA128, an Operational amplifier like an LM741, ofc our favorite Arduino Uno (could be a clone), a 16x2 characters liquid crystal display, a5 volt voltage regulator like 7805, an 8 ohms mini speaker (to make lots of noise :p ), brigth LEDs, a diode 1N3064, two 9V batteries with connectors, a breadboard and a few jumper wires - and if you wanna go into the heart beat details you will need an oscilloscope :)

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Stick on electronic health patch

Wearable electronics are taking the lime light! Started with a few LEDs on your jacket to set a fashion trend, followed by hoodies having GPS (that your overly protective aunt gave you for your birthday) even iron man has an arc reactor to keep him alive!
John A. Rogers of Illinois and Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University figured out a way to produce an electronic patch similar to a temporary tattoo that would monitor a patients health with out having a strap-on attached to the patients belt or electrodes sticking on the patient's neck. The health patch pictured above is flexible and can wirelessly monitor the heart and brain activity of the patient - say the patient can just open up his phone and see EKG and ECG plots!
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RoboClam takes anchoring to a whole new level

Mother knows best - even in the science of holding things in place! The razor clams found on the mudflats off the coast at nearby Gloucester, MA is offering a very efficient way of anchoring - way better than throwing a big piece of rock to keep your ship in place.

Comparing the razor clam and its robot counterpart - src: BBC
Poking something like the clam on sand will only give you a few centimeters - pushing more might even cause damage to its shell. However the razor clam has a method to turn the solid seabed to a quicksand like consistency that will allow it to burry further down. The shell's movements aggitates the surounding sand making it easier to slip in.
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Asking About the Polymer Capacitors from Panasonic

So ive been very quite recently - talk about busy (lazy hehe) schedule. So a few months back I was told that capacitor experts from panasonic  Jing Liu and Christian Gellmann are willing to answer question about thier line of polymer capacitors - labrasgonewild folks won't let this once in a blogging lifetime opportunity to pass with out submitting our own questions. I didn't expect our questions would be picked - come on there are a lot of cap-geeks out there haha.

Now capacitors are my favorite components - when I graduated college I though I knew most about them like big caps are placed near the source while smaller ones are placed near the chip, ect... But in my first few months in my job as a test engineer I realized I knew almost  nothing at all about them, ive learned about X7Rs, NP0s and things like the voltage coefficient of capacitance (I was like wutda!? when I first heard about that term haha). Now Poly-caps aren't new to the market, I usually don't use them for my projects because they aren't available in the local electronics store. Ide like to try them out though - specially for supply decoupling ive heard a lot of good comments about the stability of these things. Here is the questions that we pitched in along with the answers from the experts:


Labratsgonewild.com: Polymer capacitors are usually compared to electrolytic capacitors (in terms of lifespan, price, voltage and ESR ratings). How about their thermal coefficient of capacitance? How stable is it across -40C to 125C? What temperature range is it most stable?

Panasonic: Conductive polymer capacitors have very stable technical characteristics (Cap, ESR) over full temperature range and against aging (long endurance). This make them most suitable for application in low temperature (eg. outdoor) and high temperature (eg. fanless cabin) application, where electrolytic type facing dry up problem.

Labratsgonewild.com: We usually see these capacitors in metal cans - and large SMD - is there a direction to go to 0805, 0603 sizes?

Panasonic: We already have line-ups of S size(0805) of POSCAP.

Labratsgonewild.com: We usually see these capacitors on decoupling applications - are there polymer capacitors capable of performing well in filtering applications?

Panasonic: Panasonic conductive polymer capacitors are also suitable for filtering applications due to their low ESR and large allowable ripple current.

Labratsgonewild.com: How is its voltage coefficient of capacitance compared to electrolytic and tantalum?

Panasonic: If the size and materials are same, the voltage coefficient of capacitance is almost same.
E.g. general tantalum vs polymer tantalum.

Labratsgonewild.com: Are there polymer capacitors that can par with X7Rs and NP0s in terms of filtering applications?

Panasonic: It depends on the frequency of power supply. We can propose a solution if circuit conditions are provided.

Labratsgonewild.com: Are there polymer capacitors that can be used for compensation? Say, ranging from a few pFs?

Panasonic: No, we don’t have these

Labratsgonewild.com: Polymer capacitors are viewed to be more expensive (that why we usually see them in high end power supplies etc.). Is there a direction of having cheaper polymer caps for low ender applications?

Panasonic: If you compare conductive polymer capacitors with other capacitors one by one, they might be expensive. But, conductive polymer capacitors can replace several other capacitors by one. We think less component counts will lead to less cost circuits as a total.

Labratsgonewild.com: How do Panasonic qualify the number of years polymer capacitors can last?

Panasonic: lifetime:

POSCAP:2,000 hours at 105°C/ 1,000 hours at 125°C
SP-Cap:2,000 hours at 105°C
OS-CON:Up to 5,000 hours at 105°C/ 2,000 hours at 125°C
Polymer Hybrid:10,000 hours at 105°C/ 2,000 hours at 125°C

*20°C operating temperature reduction, 10 times longer life expectance
**Arrhenius formula 10°C operating temperature reduction, double of life expectance
Labratsgonewild.com: How does Panasonic ensure reliability of the polymer capacitors?

Panasonic: We have unique technologies and know-hows acquired in the long experience to ensure reliability.

Labratsgonewild.com: What ESD tests are done one the polymer caps before they get qualified for consumers to use?

Panasonic: ESD doesn’t matter to our polymer capacitors.

Labratsgonewild.com: Does Panasonic offer special packaged polymer caps for aerospace applications?

Panasonic: We do offer entertainment solutions for aerospace applications.

Labratsgonewild.com: Most integrated circuits are rated up to 125°C. However, most of the polymer capacitors are only rated up to 105°C - do you see this as a disadvantage over the ceramic type capacitors?

Panasonic: Most electronic products work under 105°C so we have limited line-ups of 125°C capacitors. But, we are developing more 125°C line-ups to meet customers’ expectations.

Labratsgonewild.com: There were reports of tantalum caps bursting when electrically over-stressed. Is this also true for polymer caps?

Panasonic: It’s true for general tantalum, but not true for conductive polymer tantalum capacitors because polymer capacitors have self-healing functions.

Labratsgonewild.com: When using polymer caps how much voltage headroom should we use? 20%?

Panasonic: Basically, concerning applied voltage, 90% and below of the rated voltage of the POSCAP is recommended and less than the rated voltage of SP-Cap, OS-CON and Polymer Hybrid is recommended.

POSCAP 90%
SP-Cap, OS-CON and Polymer Hybrid 100%
Labratsgonewild.com:Can you compare the solder reflow tolerance on polymer caps compared to the other caps?

Panasonic: Please inquire individually on
christian.gellmann@eu.panasonic.com
+49(0)1733468235

Labratsgonewild.com: Does the capacitance shift when polymer capacitors are exposed to prolonged soldering? Do they heal in time?

Panasonic: We don’t think the capacitance shift so much because soldering time is not so long to have some impact. Please provide soldering conditions for individual checking.



If you wanna check out the rest of the questions please visit this page and click on the Q&A tab :)


Cheers,


bootfetch
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Resistor Value Identification Using OpenCV

Back in college I was taught about: "Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violeta Give Willingly" to help me identify resistor values, Black == Bad == 0, Boys == Brown == 1, ect..


Armageddon has a different way to make things easier - he pulled out a webcam and the handy dandy OpenCV and with a bit of code  made himself a resistor value identification system which he calls ResCan. ResCan can identify resistor values through the colors of the bands (like how everyone else without an ohm-meter does it) - the blue lines on the picture above are the lines where he samples the colors. He intentionally avoided the center of the resistor because the reflection of light might cause him problems. The thing is that even when tilted ResCan can still accurately identify resistor values through the color code!

ResCan Video!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33-ZbLsykfc

Downloads


Check out the ResCan Jar file here.
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BreadBoards and PerfBoards on Collin's Lab

Im a big fan of perfboards - they let me make projects in a flash, pcb designing and etching and no drilling! You will be able to check your circuit with out the risk of re-layout and stuff like that. I'm not that of breadboards - coz they don't require soldering, I kinda like to get my hands dirty with an iron. But when things needs to be fast I dont mind using em. The video above from Adafruit's Collin (Imma big fan of this guy) - In the video Collin will introduce the use of perfboards and breadboards, he will even tear a bread board for you to see the innards of the thing!
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PlotClock - writes the time for you

When it first appeared on thingverse the PlotClock was rocki n! Its not a surprise that a lot of people also built their own version (see gallery after the break). The plot clock is pretty straight forward - you got two servos to take the pen left to right, up or down and you have a third servo that would raise and lower the pen. You might wanna make a two servo version that would not need to raise the pen when writing - let me know hoe it works!



You will also need an arduino - of course to control the servos and to serve as the time keeper. The arduino can keep time but I would prefer having a dedicated time keeper like a Maxim semiconductor real time clock (RTC) to keep the time and won't die out (reset) when the main power is cut.

PlotClock Video!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLFP90DneY

PlotClock Pictures!


[gallery type="rectangular" link="none" ids="768,769,770,771,772,773,775,776,777,778,779" orderby="rand"]
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