Tag: gadgets

PMT power supply

I was cleaning house a bit, and among my old files I found this, which might be worth sharing. Years ago I made a centralized power supply for a custom 2-photon imaging system I built. There were two epi detectors (for red & green fluorescence) and three trans detectors (red, green, and IR-based “DIC-like Dodt”



The breadboard you didn’t know you wanted

It’s a microcontroller built into a breadboard. Actually, TWO microcontrollers. Both are Arduino-compatible. ATmega16U2 and ATmega328P. It comes in both black, white, and pink because style matters. P.S. The bottom side is filled with Lego connectors. We love Legos, but we bet we’ll never use that feature. Still, it can’t hurt.



ReSpeaker – Funded, still-available kickstarter for adding voice control to your project

In an earlier post, we discussed how surprisingly useful well designed voice control can be. There are open source software solutions for voice control, but they aren’t integrated with hardware, and there wasn’t really a kit to help one get started. Now there is. Here’s an open source kit for adding voice control to whatever



Checking PMT performance over time

PMT performance can degrade over time. A friend asked mine recently ask for suggestions on how to check PMT performance. In a prior post, I mentioned that the Hamamatsu PMT Handbook talks a bit about the proper way to make calibrated measurements of PMT sensitivity. If you don’t need calibrated numbers, and just want to



Tibbo Project System – modular microcontroller

Tibbo makes modular microcontrollers, with plug-in modules for I/O ports (e.g. DB9), relays, sensors, digitizers, etc. They have different sizes, the largest of which is available as a Linux version.



iPad/iPhone/iOS app RayLab for optical design

RayLab is an iOS app (iPhone/iPad) for optics analysis. It has some nice features– more than I expected. It’s a nice piece of work! For many practical applications it cannot replace conventional optic design software (e.g., Zemax/OSLO/CodeV). That said, it’s a very interesting product and worth checking out. It also does ACBD matrix analysis. Here



Voice control

Voice control has just recently become interesting to me. Ikuko bought me an Amazon Echo and I’m surprised at how useful I find it. I’m also surprised at how well it works– it can decipher my commands even when I’m whispering or mumbling from across the room. But the usefulness is what surprised me the



Raspberry Pi mini monitor

Labrigger has been experimenting with Raspberry Pis. We still find a lot of uses for Arduinos for little jobs around experimental rigs. Their simplicity and predictable performance (no background processes) make them easy to implement and reliable. Given how useful Arduinos have been, it stands to reason that something with more power, like a Raspberry



Inexpensive IR viewer options

From Benjamin Judkewitz: I needed an IR viewer to see a Ti:S beam and was really surprised to find that most viewers still sell for > 1000 € (or $). Visualizing NIR used to be really simple with smartphones (enabling public installations like this one by JPL/NASA), but that was before nearly all makers started



Embrio for LabVIEW like programming of Arduino hardware

Embrio isn’t completely open. They want to sell $50 licenses. Let’s get that out of the way first. However, it is an interesting alternative for programming Arduino hardware. It’s a visual programming environment, like LabVIEW. In some ways, it is richer than LabVIEW, and perhaps more comparable to MAX in that variable values can be



Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi B plus kits for cheap

The Raspberry Pi 2 is here, and thus there are good deals on the Raspberry Pi B+. You’ll have to decide if any of these kits are a good deal for you. The Raspberry Pi 2 will be at the same price point ($35) as the prior generation. Anandtech has a nice rundown on this



Arduino + x86 power

The Intel Galileo is an interesting mashup. It’s Arduino compatible. You can hand it to an undergrad and they can download the Arduino IDE and program it on their own with relatively little training. However, it’s also a 32-bit x86 SoC, so it’s running that Arduino sketch in one thread while having plenty of processing



TriggerScope for imaging system device control

Austin Blanco has designed and built an open-source system for controlling complex imaging systems called TriggerScope. It’s highly customizable out of the box, and both the firmware and software are open.



Raspberry Pi oscilloscope

One can use a Raspberry Pi as a highly customizable 20 MHz scope with this cute little BitScope Micro. (about 120 euros, from the OE store) They have their own software too. With probes attached:



More mini computers

Raspberry Pi is the most popular mini computer right now, but there are other options. SolidRun sells two. The first is a sleek cube called the CuBox-i (pictured above). The second is a barebones board, the Hummingboard.