Partial to things that go bump in the night, Bill built a circuit that slowly illuminates and fades a pair of red LEDs. It consists of two op amps, one producing a slow rising and falling voltage (3 - 6V) and the other functioning as a voltage comparator. In operation, a linear 3V ramping waveform is generated at pin 1 of the LM1458 IC and buffered with an emitter follower transistor stage. Make the rate adjustable by using a 100K potentiometer in place of the 47K resistor at pin 2. Install it in a skull as a Halloween prop or if spooky things aren't your thing, use it as a fancy power indicator for a home appliance.
For Bill Bowden's complete instructions to build your own Fading Red Eyes circuit, go to
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.