Down with Microwaves, Up with Projectors

Recently, a friend of mine was interested in doing some power electronics and another friend wanted to learn more about switches/sensors. So, we broke open a microwave in order to understand a bit of both. We are looking to use a microwave oven transformer to power an induction heater coil (potentially) and looking at the switches to trigger (via N-channel fets) with sensor inputs. We'll see who gets shocked first... More to come... Also, mounted a projector on the ceiling.

Creating a Biking Glove with built in lights

 When biking around Cambridge and the surrounding area, it is important to have a few lights on your bike (especially at night) to make sure other bikes, motor vehicles, and pedestrians can see you. I used an old "Lilypad Arduino" kit to modify a biking glove I already had to include built in lights and a atmel MEGA328P microcontroller. I learned more about the ADC 6 and 7 pins on the MCU. And now I will sew over the electronics to make it more discrete.

Adding a computer vision component to Laser Projector

Here is a picture of some mineral I think is kinda gypsum. It's very hard and not that good for making anything beyond fertilizer really.

The main point of this post is to mention my efforts to learn more opencv. A computer program with tools which help in assisting engineers do computer vision projects. From wikipedia: "Computer vision is an interdisciplinary scientific field that deals with how computers can be made to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. From the perspective of engineering, it seeks to automate tasks that the human visual system can do." Which is a process where a camera is used with a strong processor to understand what items are present in an image and where they are in the image. I am going to add a CV component to my github repo at (
some apriltags (black and white squares) are used in robotics computer vision.

changing the batteries out on my scooter

Sewing is a nice skill, I do not have.

I am not that good at sewing. But when I was in the Mojave last weekend, I received a patch from my friend Andrew Adams after the launch. I pulled out a tiny sewing kit I have kept around for small alteration fixes and went to work. It seems you can read/watch informational content on just about anything through the internet. Which is what I did. And the patch went on my machine shop coat, turned out pretty okay I think. I hope my nana is proud of my abilities here...

Making new guitar cables

I built some new guitar cables for testing custom, breadboard pedals.

A new mono or stereo 1/4" jack cable for most electric guitars and basses can cost about $20 for a couple feet. I think this is kinda ridiculous when you consider the basic cost of the connectors and wire (+ solder).

The nicer jacks are $3.41 

The decent plugs are $2.57

Wire is a couple cents as well as solder.

So I'm guessing someone could market 'vintage' guitar cables they make themselves and sell them under the going rate to cut the current market... but who would do such a thing?...

Video from MIT Rocket Team Launch last Saturday

The flight was amazing. You can see the away team footage captured on my DSLR camera at the following youtube link

Some night photographs from Mojave

We arrived at the FAR site in the late evening. While driving from Los Angeles, you hardly notice the gentle transition between the complete lack of stars/abundance of smog to a sea of stars/dry desert air. But when you finally look up and realize the massive array of light blips, it will amaze you. The desert is generally a hot place but quite pleasant at night in July. I applied a lot of sunscreen, so I did not burn. I gathered some gypsum for making jewelry. Although the fin can suffered some structural damage during flight, some data was recovered and will be posted on this blog soonish. 

In the Desert at the FAR site

Earthquakes hit yesterday. That was pretty neat. 

Launching a rocket today. It’s going to be pretty cool.

Let’s hope my code does the right thing.

Michigander: A Euchre Engine

  I have started a Github repo for a set of functions to carry out the game of Euchre. Please check it out if this is something you are inte...