RPi web cam baby monitor

BabyMonitor_fullsize

Aah – the summer arrives, so now I can actually finish/document some work that languished during the academic year. Have a look at this project over on Github and build your own! This fork of the popular RPi_Web_Cam_Interface adds support for night vision via IR LED ring (including auto shutoff so you’re not blasting your tot with IR all night).

Call for papers @ FATE 2017

fate2017FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) 16th Biennial Conference
Hosted by the KCAI (Kansas City Art Institute) Foundations Department
April 6-8, 2017

FATE is a national association dedicated to the promotion of excellence in the development and teaching of college-level foundation courses. A full list of sessions for the 2017 conference can be found here.

With the conference theme “To the Core and Beyond” in mind, session chairs Tom Burtonwood (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Taylor Hokanson (Columbia College Chicago) seek abstracts from educators who promote digital fabrication in foundations level courses and beyond. This session invites papers addressing best practices for introducing, integrating and establishing digital fabrication into the art and design foundations curriculum, especially research that addresses experimental materials and collapses boundaries between disciplines. We aim to facilitate debate around a set of tools that is growing more common in our field. How have a few years of access to the technology changed how and what you teach on the subject?

Possible topics to explore:

  • Do you regard 3D printing technology/processes as equivalent to or fundamentally different from more familiar shop resources?
  • How do you address a potentially steep learning curve while avoiding easy introductory projects (keychains, etc.)?
  • What software/hardware do you use and why?
  • Where do you fall along the professional equipment/DIY tool spectrum?
  • Have you had the technology long enough for students to get four years of access? What effect did this have on their work?

To apply, please fill out this form, then email the following to tburto1@artic.edu and taylor@taylorhokanson.com by Friday, July 15.

  • CV
  • paper title
  • paper abstract (200 words max)
  • name, contact information & cv of any co-presenter (if applicable)

Manual WordPress Site Backup (Bluehost)

I found the process of learning how to backup wordpress with my host pretty confusing. On the one hand, noobs might not be aware that the files that make up the website can be downloaded directly via FTP, but that the database that houses all the text/page content must be acquired separately. Bluehost also has a couple of videos stating that free backups are performed on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, but it seems that only weekly is currently true (and, confusingly, it’s labeled as a daily backup). So…

  1. Log in to cPanel
  2. Click on File Management > Site Backup Pro
  3. Click Free > Backup and Restore
  4. Download MySQL database and Home Folder
  5. Update: Home Folder download keeps failing, so I’m just FTPing it instead.

Note: I have not tried restoring these yet, so YMMV.

Seeed GPRS v2 in Hong Kong?

It’s the classic new media problem: you’ve got a cool show abroad, but will all your technology still work over there? I need to determine whether this board and this SIM card will be compatible in Hong Kong. This page suggests that 2G (a limit presented by the board) is still available in Hong Kong, and that the 900 band is still active. I suppose my fallback will be purchasing SIM cards when I arrive, but I’d like to avoid that. It may be cheaper, however, so maybe I’ll try both.

ThreeYearContract accepted @ ISEA Hong Kong

three

The title says it all! Track the project progress here if you want all the code/schematics. Here’s more info about the show.

Adding IR LEDs to an RPi Noir Cam (WIP)

A little research online seems to indicate the potential for IR LEDs to damage eyesight. Perhaps this is the tinfoil hat squad talking, but I don’t want to take chances with my kid’s eyesight. Thus, we need to wire/program the pi so that it only flips the IR array on during active recording.

A little poking around revealed that the status of the camera (“ready” or “halted”) is held at /var/www/status_mjpeg.txt . I created a simple python script in the same directory called checkCam.py:

Lastly, edit /etc/rc.local  with nano to include  python /var/www/checkCam.py  somewhere before exit 0 . That will cause the script to run on startup.

Next up: connect pin 7 to a transistor so that it can control an IR array!

 

Multimeter Usage for Artists

Somehow I’ve managed to make it ~15 years without really understanding the multiple lead ports found on a standard multimeter. At a bare minimum you’ll see COM, V/Ω, and A. COM is the easy one, as this is always attached to the black lead. I’ve always used my meter to sense voltage and/or resistance, so I’ve never connected the red lead to A.

I learned my lesson today when I grabbed a random meter from the lab at school. Someone had been noodling with the lead attachment, so COM and A were connected. When I tried to test AC voltage coming out of the wall, I got a big spark and fried the extension cord I was testing. This happened even though I had the dial set to the correct AC range.

So what happened? I found it difficult to track down the answer online, but I finally came up with this page. Near the bottom you’ll see an image that describes what I did:

00351

Sensing current (A) requires that the meter provide no or very low resistance. Makes sense – if the meter introduced resistance, you wouldn’t get an accurate current reading. This feature can also be dangerous; turn the dial back to V/Ω, but forget to use the correct lead ports, and you’ll short the circuit through the meter. Many meters have safety features to help remind you not to do this, but cheap meters lack these fail safes. Fair warning!

6040 Progress

Just pushed some big updates to Github, where I’m tracking the process of getting a Chinese 6040 mill up and running. Check it out and participate if you’re interested.

Dave Jones

DaveJones

Got a chance to hang out with the excellent Dave Jones on Saturday night at his studio. He’s been working with video artists since the 70’s, designing and fabricating electronics for live video signal manipulation. There was so much good stuff to see, including this old school schematic that was done by hand with tape.

Signal Culture vs. Unauthorized Repairs #004