It’s bath time at the grotto

It looks like the robin and grackle young have fledged. Today there is a marked uptick in bathing activity at the grotto. This youngster (a starling) has been dancing around the waterfall trying to find a spot where it can mimic the older birds. Robins and mature grackles dominate the two ideal bathing spots. The shaky, poor color video is due to me filming this with my SLR through the window.

The start of FeAtHEr-Cm

Today I did some electrochemistry.

A cyclic voltammogram

OK, that’s not too surprising from a person who earned is PhD doing electrochemistry; however this is different, and it has nothing to do with me avoiding cyclic voltammetry for the last decade of my career. It’s because I built this:

A potentiostat prototype, with electrochemical cell for scale.

That’s a bare-bones potentiostat built on top of the Adafruit Feather M4 Express and programmed using Circuitpython. There remains a lot of work to be done, but the fact that I could build a functioning scientific instrument for under $30 makes me think that this approach could make it possible one day to have a 1:1 student-to-instrument ratio when teaching voltammetry in analytical chemistry courses.

I’m thinking that it may be possible to build an entire suite of chemistry instrumentation based on the Feather platform, so I’m coining the phrase FeAtHEr-Cm for this project.

Zombie projects

I post many of my projects on public sites for two reasons: (a) they *might* be useful to other people and (b) they *will* get lost if I store them on my home computer. It surprises me when I have a project that has been around for a while and then, seemingly out of the blue, there’s some activity. That is the case with my goiolink package that interfaces Vernier’s Go!Link adapter (and compatible sensors) with Mathematica running on a Raspberry Pi. (Clearly, something that many, many people are doing…)

So I was reasonably surprised that within the span of a few weeks earlier this semester, I received several communications about my code. There is clearly some small interest in reproducing my setup but folks are having problems following the directions. I have little experience in distributing software, and because the Vernier/Mathematica/RPi crowd is a fairly small one, I have access to very few beta testers. If there’s any hope of others using my software, it looks like I’ll need to streamline the installation. So here it goes.

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