Mandy gets some street cred

The staff over at the Wolfram Community have recognized Mandy – the bright Periodic Table as one of their Staff Picks.  The forum post, which can be viewed here, highlights how Mathematica was used in various parts of the project.  In the design phase, Mathematica was used to create the layout of the periodic table, which then could be exported to Inkscape/Adobe Illustrator for final processing of an image that could be recognized by the laser cutter.  The curated data provided by the Wolfram platform is used to create the trends, and I used some notebook Manipulate commands to visualize the RGB-LED output for (rapid) rapid prototyping.  The actual operation of Mandy uses a Python-based speech recognition script that calls on Mathematica to communicate to the Arduino controlling all of the LEDs.  (Yes, this is an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ project.)

Thanks, WC Staff, for the recognition.

Mandy: The periodic table (teaser)

About six months ago, I started working on a project I like to call my piece de resistance. It combines a number of maker skills that I’ve learned over the past few years.  I call her Mandy, and she’s a laser-cut periodic table that has a bunch of three-color LEDS, an Arduino that controls the individually addressable LEDs, and a Raspberry Pi that stores information about the elements.  To make it stand out from being “just another bright periodic table”, I added a voice activation component, so Mandy is able to display different periodic trends at your verbal command!

I’m getting ready to move to a different part of the country, so I do not have time to provide more information about Mandy.  In the meanwhile, I created a teaser-trailer for your (OK, my) personal enjoyment.


Predicting elemental properties for #RealTimeChem Week

Happy #RealTimeChem week everybody.  What, you don’t know what it is?  Neither did I, untill I happened to read about it over at Compound Interest . (You guessed it, I’ve got lots of grading to do so I’m procrastinating again.) Since the theme this year centers on the four new elements that have been added to the periodic table, and I have an affinity for the table and all its secrets, I thought it might be fun to take advantage of the periodic properties of the table and predict some of the characteristics of the new elements.

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Microwolf – running Mathematica on a Pi Zero

Wolfram’s Mathematica can run on a $5 Raspberry Pi zero. While it may be painfully slow, it does open up opportunities to use Mathematica in low-power, remote-sensing applications. This blog post is a first in a series highlighting the design challenges I’ve encountered (and in some cases overcome) building Mathematica on Pi (MoP) devices. (Hey, I think I just created a new acronym.)

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A Vernier Go!Link package for Mathematica

The Go! Link from Vernier Software & Technology (Vernier), is a USB adapter for their proprietary sensors which also provides some basic features such as a buffer, sensor auto-identification and raw voltage reading conversion. Vernier provides a software development kit which allows programmers to use Go! devices in their own systems. Since Wolfram’s Mathematica software became available on the Raspberry Pi, I have been thinking about how one can build a flexible sensor system using Vernier’s products and based on the inexpensive computer and the powerful data analysis and visualization tools of Mathematica. This project isn’t new, and my earlier attempts were highlighted on the Raspberry Pi blog and I recently announced a previous version of this software package. What I’m presenting now is a more user-friendly system that makes data collection easy through the device driver framework incorporated into Mathematica.

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GoIOLink release candidate 1


GoIOLink is the flagship component of a project I call VernierPiLink which seeks to provide a variety of Vernier-sensor-Raspberry-Pi integration resources.  It relies on VS&T’s Go!Link USB adapter to perform the physical connection between an analog Vernier sensor and the Raspberry Pi.  On the software side, I am using the Go! I/O software development kit also from VS&T and the Wolfram Language which comes free (for non-commercial use) on the Raspberry Pi.

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Using Vernier LabQuest sensors on the Raspberry Pi

In the previous iteration of my website, I had some details about installing the Vernier Go software development kit on the Raspberry Pi and then using Mathematica to visualize the results.  Here is an updated set of instructions which is a little more straightforward.

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Wolfspec 2.0

Wolfspec 2.0 – Spectrometry with the Raspicam

This post is a reprint of an article I wrote on my earlier website.  I’ve tried to update the links and images, but may have missed a few.

I recently purchased the camera that attaches to a Raspberry Pi and thought about how one might be able to make a spectrophotometer using the camera as a ccd-like detector. This work is still in progress, but with relatively few steps, I was able to get an instrument up and running (and even calibrated – sort of).

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