Nessie, the Educational Robot

At the Lifelong Learning Robotics Laboratory at the Erasmo Da Rotterdam in Italy, robots are (not surprisingly) used to teach all of the fundamentals of robotics. [Alessandro Rossetti] and the students at the lab have been at it for years now, and have finally finished their fifth generation of a robot called Nessie. The big idea is to help teach fundamentals of programming and electronics by building something that actually uses these principles.

The robot is largely 3D printed and uses an FPGA to interact with the physical world through a set of motors and sensors. The robot also uses a Raspberry Pi to hold the robot’s framework. The robot manages the sensors in hardware with readers attached to the CPU AXI bus. The CPU reads their values from memory space, though, so the robot is reported to be quite quick.

The lab is hoping to take their robot to a robotics competition in Bari, Italy. We hope that they perform well there, since we are big fans of any robot that’s designed to teach anyone about robotics and programming. After all, there are robots that help teach STEM in Africa, robots that teach teen girls about robots, and robots that teach everyone.

Android adds A2DP, AVRCP Bluetooth and more


While working towards open-sourcing Android, the team continued to work on new features in their own private development branch. These have now been published publicly in the “cupcake” branch. There’s a lot of interesting new features and bug fixes included. We’ve got a rundown of many of the significant additions after the break.

Continue reading “Android adds A2DP, AVRCP Bluetooth and more”

TISCH, multitouch framework


[floe] wrote in to tell us about his multitouch based thesis work. While many projects have focused on the hardware side of multitouch, TISCH is designed to promote the software side. TISCH is a multiplatform library that features hardware abstraction and gesture recognition. This takes a lot of weight off of widget developers since they can specify known library gestures instead of writing the exact motions from scratch. Using TISCH also means a standard set of gestures across multiple widgets, so the learning curve will be much easier when a user tries out a new app. If you’re researching multitouch, check out this project and help improve the codebase.

Why I Hate Django

[Cal Henderson] delivered a keynote titled Why I Hate Django at the first annual DjangoCon. Django is an open source BSD licensed web framework written in Python. Google has posted the keynote in its entirety to YouTube, which you can find embedded above. While the talk is humorous (and takes many jabs at Rails developers) it does provide insight into what makes a good web framework. [Cal] is Director of Engineering at Flickr and is an authority on how to make websites scale. He points out that most frameworks are designed to get projects off the ground quickly, but are lacking when it comes to building an even larger service. He talks about several things in Django that need work and improvements that could be made. It’s really an interesting look at what it takes to go big. Continue reading “Why I Hate Django”