NASA’s squishable robot ideal for planetary exploration | Digital Trends

NASA’s squishable robot ideal for planetary exploration | Digital Trends.

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Pleo Voice-Changing Script

pleo robot speaking

The Pleo’s operating system uses 3 virtual machines running the PAWN scripting language to handle all the sensor input, animation output, and overall control of the built-in personality.

Here is my first experiment in running Pleo code in the mysterious 4th virtual machine, the User VM.

Download and unzip this file, then copy the contents of the Pleo_Voice_200 file to an SD card. On start-up the script temporarily sets the Pleo’s sound playback speed to 200%, shifting the Pleo’s voice into a higher frequency.

For those interested in the programming side of things, here are the contents of the startup.p PAWN script that was build into the startup.amx file that runs on the Pleo

// startup.p
// on start-up change Pelo's sound playback to 200% speed

public init()
return true;

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Pleo Ships!

I’m eagerly awaiting delivery of my first Ugobe Pleo from eBay. Can’t wait to start programming!

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Studio Sound Panels

Zoom audio recorder with window and passing traffic

I spend most of our 3-day weekend building sound insulation panels for my home green-screen insert stage. As you can see from the photo above the front room area I use for shooting tutorials is directly adjacent to a very busy road. My initial measurements with a Zoom audio recorder in the untreated room put the traffic noise at about -31.5 dB.

For sound panels I build simple wood 2×4 frames and faced them with dry wall. Next I back-filled the empty space with alternating sheets of Styrofoam and sound board (a denser building-board type material) and then finally some roll insulation. The idea here is that to reduce sound transmission (as opposed to sound reflection) you need to force the sound to travel through several different types of material. By alternating denser and lighter materials the sound is dispersed further with every transition, giving good results with a fairly narrow panel.

The results? With the new panels in place my traffic noise has dropped to -39.75 dB, a drop of 8.25 dB. Combined with the use of a directional shotgun microphone or a proximity sensitive lavalier mic this should allow me to record tutorials with little or no background traffic noise.

Stay tuned for some examples in the near future.

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Moore’s law of 8-bit computers

A visual example of Moore's Law for 8-bit computers

Here’s a visual example of where 8-bit computers came from and where they are now:

On the bottom, a Commodore 64 home computer motherboard circa 1984, running at 1MHz. – original cost about $600.

In the middle, an MIT Handyboard robotics controller circa 1995, running at 2MHz. – original cost about $200.

At the top, an Arduino microcontroller circa 2010, running at 16MHz. – cost… about 30 bucks.

But only one of them can play Tower Toppler.

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Linux Mint on a Sony Vaio Laptop

Linux Mint Logo

I’ve just finished installing Linux Mint on a mostly ignored Sony Vaio laptop. This machine came with one of the first distributions of Windows Vista (and with only a gig of memory, shared with the video card) so it was dog slow.

As I’m starting to develop training materials for the Raspberry Pi I figured it was time to beef up my Linux skills and the Linux Mint install is a good starting point*.

Installation is a breeze assuming you are totally overwriting the Vista install (highly recommended)! The distro disc is also a live DVD so you can boot and run a Linux Mint OS directly from the DVD to try things out with your hardware before you make things permanent. So far I’m very pleased. Running Mint the Vaio is easily 3 times faster

* – once I started using the linux shell to navigate directories, list files, etc I realized I haven’t really used a Unix system since 1988 or so in college. That pre-dates Linux by about 3 years. lol.

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Thanks for the Tip Canabalt


Apparently huge smoking metal towers that fall from the sky are bad for your health.

Rediscovering the joys of a good side scroller…

Check out Canabalt and be sure to wear your headphones!

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