#Making ready for COVID-19

It sounds like the CDC is going to recommend that everyone wear face masks to help fight spread of the coronavirus. Now, since the government is incapable of handling the most rudimentary of supply chain issues (probably because a few senior officials refused to recognize the thread), we are supposed to make our own. Fortunately, we can. Rozenn and I made some for the droids too. No one knows how the virus affects droids, so best to be on the safe side.

We are a prepared #MakerFamily
Just because they are droids doesn’t mean they cannot have bespoke PPE

#Make ready for COVID

There’s a lot of buzz on the interweb about 3D-printing personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of the severe shortages across the country and especially close by to me. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with sending much of our supply to china last month.) I wanted to see how easy it was to actually do.

I’ve got my 3D printer, a Prusa MK2, up-and-running in my home office. I followed these instructions for making a mask and this design for the face shield. Both designs are reported to be printable without the use of supports or other fancy settings, so I loaded them on the build plate and off I went. After 5 hours of printing (3 for the mask, 2 for the shield) I ended up with this.

Green screen added for future special effects 🙂

I’m surprised at how well these designs printed with no modifications needed. I’ve got some temperature calibration to tweak because both designs have overhangs that printed poorly but only affected the aesthetics of the final object. Double sided tape worked just fine to keep the document transparency in place. I’m now ready to fight the coronavirus … or clean the litter box.

The COVID on-line transition

As part of my mad dash to transition to on-line teaching, I’ve started making videos. Since I’m not a fan of on-line teaching, I thought I would at least try to make it interesting and play around with some film design. At the very least, I hope that it is geeky/dorky enough to keep students’ attentions for the duration of the video.

I figured out how to embed a quiz into a video, one of which is shown below. What’s really exciting is that the quiz, if it is in a learning management system like Blackboard, can be integrated into the grade center, so I can now use videos as a form of interactive pseudo-just-in-time assessment.

Take your fall

Nage-no kata, first three sets of throws, which our club uses as a test for a black belt in judo

Last millennium, while in college, I was introduced to Judo. While I enjoyed the sport, I was not the least bit athletic and didn’t take it too seriously. Fast forward to 2012 and an overweight, under-exercised, overly stressed BoBtheChemist decided he needed to get his act together (or brutally punish his body) and decided to get back in to the sport. (Actually, the real catalyst was seeing Kayla Harrison win the first Olympic gold medal for the USA in the sport. I’ve told this story before, but who checks blog archives?)

I promised myself that I would stick with it for a month. Then a month became a season, then a year. I set a goal of competing before I turned 40 (met that goal by a few months, and thankful I didn’t make a goal if winning before 40). I never set as my goal to achieve the rank of shodan – that was simply fantasy talk.

Fast forward again to February, 2019, and there I am with my fellow Judoka from Brockport taking my black belt test. My performance was considered well done, although I am a bit more critical as I know I could have done better. All that’s left is for the US Judo Federation to cash my check (which is in the mail) and it will be official.

New Year’s project

I received some servo motors for Christmas, so naturally I need to start working on a robot. Details to come on the project, but for now I’ve been trying to figure out how to (a) control two servos with an ATTiny85 microcontroller and (b) talk to that microcontroller with an Arduino that is telling the ATTiny85 how to position the servos.

It took the better part of several days (including some learning and additional trips down rabbit holes, but here we go.

Arduino communicating (via I2C) with an ATTiny85 that is controlling two servo motors (empty shot glass for scale)
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