Nixie display module is now available

Nixie Module

I have worked hard to bring a production version of my Nixie display controller to market. You can now actually order these units from my Etsy store here

Features

  • High quality gold plated surface mount PCB
  • Four digit Nixie display; product includes tubes.
  • RGB LED back-lighting on each tube independently programmable to generate multiple colors
  • The colon indicator can also be turned on and off
  • Modules can be stacked next to each other for more digits
  • Runs from 9-12V, with on-board 180V power supply
  • Easily controlled by a serial line from the Arduino or any micro-controller or laptop to display any digits
  • The board can also function as a stand-alone voltmeter
  • Based on the familiar ATMega328
  • Comes pre-programmed with open source display software
  • Easily customized via the ISP port using standard tools
  • Most spare micro-controller pins are accessible at the connector
  • Based on plug-in IN-4 Nixies which are easily replaced
  • Schematics and code are available for easy hacking

High quality streamable free-viewpoint video

free viewpointMicrosoft just recently presented the paper “High quality streamable free-viewpoint video” at SIGGRAPH. In this presentation, they are capturing live 3D views of actors on a stage using multiple cameras and using computer vision to construct detailed texture mapped mesh models which are then compressed for live viewing. On the viewer you have the freedom to move around the model in 3D.

I contributed to this project for a year or so when I was employed at Microsoft, working on 3D reconstruction from multiple infra-red camera views, so it was nice to get an acknowledgment. Some of this work was inspired by our earlier work at Microsoft Research which I co-presented at SIGGRAPH in 2004.

It’s very nice to see how far they have progressed with this project and to see the possible links that it can have with the Hololens virtual reality system.

 

Two-wheeled rolling robot

I am passionate about machine learning, intelligence, and robotics. I have a number of robot projects on the go. I wanted to build a platform that would allow me to do a lot of complex experiments on sensor fusion and creating intelligent emergent behaviors. I needed to make a robot that has quite a number of sensor inputs, but not so many that it would overload the processing capability to do anything useful. I decided to make a simple two-wheeled robotic platform that has a lot of flexibility and load it up with appropriate sensors.

One of the aspects of my robotics philosophy is that information from simple sensors can be highly informative and that current robot designs jump too quickly to complex high bandwidth data sources and they then do a marginal job of interpreting the information from those sources in software. I am inspired by insects and other small creatures that seem to have small numbers of sensors, for example eyes with only a few photoreceptors, but still have very complex adaptive behaviors which are often leagues beyond what we can do with today’s machines. Part of this is due to the efficiency with which they extract every little bit of useful information out of the sensory data, including correlations we would never think of. I am interested in applying experience gained from machine learning in order to extract from sensors information that could not easily be determined by using hand coded algorithms.

Rolling RobotMy rolling robot has two wheels and these have wheel encoders to give a feedback of position or wheel rotation speed. It also has an infra red range finder that can indicate the Continue reading

Check out the new Tree Crafter Web Site

Tree CrafterI created a graphic design app for the iPad last year called Tree Crafter that lets you create tree inspired organic vector art and animations. It is fun to play with and quite relaxing. Also you can create great designs for web graphics or for merchandise with relative ease.

Recently I built a new web site for this app: http://treecrafter.com

If you have an iPad you should give it a go and let me know what you think. I am very keen to get it reviewed, so if you are an app reviewer, I can give you a promo code if you would like to write about it.

Calculating Engine Accepted at Maker Faire

Maker FaireI received the good news that my Relay Calculating Engine has been accepted for showing at the Maker Faire in San Francisco in May. I’m looking forward to taking it down there and showing it to interested people.

Make Magazine also interviewed me about this project and plan to feature the work too. I’m excited to see what they write about it.

My main concern is to finish it and get it all working in time for May. This should not be a problem since I currently have the luxury to be able to work full time on the project and at present, I am about 90% complete.

I hope that you can come along and check it out. I will also be showing some of the other projects on which I have been working. I’ll also be attending the Seattle Mini Maker Faire, but not showing anything off there.

Analyzing the Market – Part 3

BitcoinThis is part 3 of my series of posts on the statistics of financial markets. Part 1 is here.

In previous posts, I have found that working in log prices makes sense and that the double exponential distribution is a good fit to price change data. In this post, I will look at correlations over time in price changes.

Let’s ask a simple question: Does yesterday’s price change predict today’s price change? Continue reading

Analyzing the Market – Part 2

BitcoinThis is part 2 of my series of posts on the statistics of financial markets. Part 1 is here.

I have established that a double exponential distribution fits price movements when they are converted to log prices, at least for bitcoin, Apple, and Dell. (Actually I have checked it on a few other NASDAQ stocks too.)

Once we have a statistical model, we can generate some data to see if it produces results that look like the actual price graph. Below you can see the real 2 month bitcoin price graph, together with two graphs that were obtained by using a model based on the Continue reading

Analyzing the Market – Part 1

BitcoinThis series of blog posts is intended to document some mathematical analysis that I have been doing on the bitcoin price graph and on price histories of securities in the stock market. The purpose is to understand something about the statistics of these price movements, and to learn about the behavior of the stock market in general.

One thing that is useful about bitcoin is that trading is never stopped. Because everything runs 24 hours 7 days per week, there are no artifacts to do with starting and stopping trading on specific exchanges and transitioning between financial Continue reading

Bitcoin and Credit Cards: Scams and Money Laundering

chinabitcoinBitcoin has been facing trouble this week due to a series of crackdowns by the Chinese government. First, the People’s Bank of China stated that bitcoins did not qualify as currency and barred its banks and payment systems from being involved. Later, this ruling was extended to third party payment processors, meaning that bitcoin could only be exchanged in private transactions. The initial justification given was that people must be protected from speculation and wild changes in price – but the chilling effect has led to bitcoin losing half of its value. Presumably Chinese investors must now return to property speculation.

Negative reactions from government agencies, law enforcement, and established financial businesses are to be expected because they see digital currencies as a threat to their existing systems of checks and controls over financial transactions, their ability to regulate the market, to implement monetary policy, to protect consumers, and to oppose organized
Continue reading

Bitcoin – How high can it go?

BitcoinWith all the recent interest in Bitcoin and crypto-currencies, many people have been moving money into the Bitcoin system and stories abound of people making a rapid fortune, or finding that forgotten wallets from the early days now contain life-changing amounts of money. This week has seen US Congress hearing information about opportunities and threats from digital peer-to-peer currencies. In the news, hopeful people have been quoted saying that they expect to be millionaires by next year after buying $100 worth of Bitcoin.

In this article, I examine the possible investment upside of virtual currencies, and Bitcoin in particular. I then discuss some of the threats that investors and adopters must watch out Continue reading