Friday, May 17, 2013

Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics in Oakland

The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there’s not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn’t use soil.

Instead he’s growing plants using fish and circulating water. It’s called aquaponics- a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It’s been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn’t attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish).

Aquaponics has become popular in recent years among urban gardeners and DIY tinkerers, but Maundu- who is trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Metal Construction Sets for Robotics or Project Assembly

When I was a kid, I used to make cranes, bridges,  and other devices with Erector Sets. Alas, my childhood Erector company is long gone, but a French company called Meccano produces their products in the US under the Erector name. It's not quite the same stuff, and actually is better in my opinion, but not quite compatible. Exacto out of Argentina makes some tougher pieces that conform to the Meccano Standard.

These pieces are great for constructing Arduino projects. You can mount servo's, stepper motors, Arduino boards, and displays, Load cells, or any other adaptation you can think of. You can make Arduino controlled vehicles or robotic arms.

Here's an older document that explains some of the differences, and gives some of the history of the competing standards:

Metallus - Meccano compatible

Exacto - Meccano compatible

Meccano / Erector /

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