Time for the Prize: Aging in Place

Aging in Place is a growing issue facing the world. As the population begins to live longer, healthier lives we need to continue developing assistive technologies that will facilitate independence and safe living long into our twilight years. That is the topic of this week’s Time for the Prize. Enter your idea for Aging in Place by starting a project on Hackaday.io and tagging it 2015HackadayPrize. Do this by next Monday and you’re in the running for this week’s awesome prizes.

What is Aging in Place?

I use the “define:” search term on Google all the time and for Aging in Place it turns up the Center for Disease Control’s definition:

“the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

I love this definition. How easy is it to get behind the concept of better quality of life for all as we age? Still not getting the thought process flowing? After listing the prizes I’ll illustrate a couple of projects that will give you a good idea of what people are working on.

This Week’s Prizes

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We’ll be picking three of the best ideas based on their potential to help alleviate a wide-ranging problem, the innovation shown by the concept, and its feasibility. First place will receive a RE:load Pro programmable constant current load. Second place will receive a Sparkfun Microview. Third place will receive a Hackaday CRT-android head tee.

 Hacks that Help

pill-reminderrx-timer-capsThe easiest examples I can think of relate to medicine. A lot of the time people can be independent and high-functioning as long as they take the right medicine at the right time. The simplest way to ensure this is to use technology that helps track medication schedules. Pill reminders can monitor a pill case, sending reminders to you if you miss your schedule, and alertimg family or caretakers if you don’t respond to the reminder.

We’ve also seen technology built right into the cap of the prescription bottle. These caps have a timer that resets to zero every time the bottle is opened. But anyone who has taken several medicines on different time schedules can tell you that this can still be very confusing. We wonder if anyone can prototype a system that would use computer vision to verify and log the pills each time you take them?

Of course the prescription reminders are just one of a multitude of low-hanging fruit. Safety is another aspect. Here’s an entry that seeks to give peace of mind that the stove is off for those dealing with Alzheimer’s or memory issues.

Now you see what we’re getting at. What ideas do you have that can move the goal of Aging in Place forward?


The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Time for the Prize: Environment-Related Ideas

You should already know about the 2015 Hackaday Prize, but have you submitted your entry yet? All it takes to get started is talking about one idea you have to address a problem faced by a large number of people. To help get the ball rolling we’re giving away some prizes to three entries that discuss possible solutions to Environment-Related problems.

For your chance at this week’s goodies all you need to do is document your idea on Hackaday.io and tag it “2015HackadayPrize”.

This Week’s Prizes:

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On Monday, March 30th we’ll take a look at all the entries tagged 2015HackadayPrize and choose three that best fit the topic of Environment-Related. The best will receive the SmartMatrix 32×32 RGB LED matrix along with a Teensy 3.1 to drive it. The next pick will receive a Bus Pirate and probe cable. The final prize will be a Hackaday Robot Head Tee.

An Idea is All You Need for Entry

shower-toilet-tank-ideaWe’re not messing with you; all you need to win these early prizes is an idea. One of the most powerful pieces of the Hackaday Prize is the pollination of thought. Your idea might be the tipping point for someone else’s breakthrough or vice-versa. Start a project on Hackaday.io and add the tag “2015HackadayPrize”.

Pictured to the right is a whiteboard sketch by [MechaTweak] which illustrates one very simple shower water-saving idea (we think this was prompted by our column on the topic last week). The idea here is that instead of running water down the shower drain as you wait for it to heat up, the water cold be sequestered in a holding tank and used for flushing the toilet the rest of the day. This will certainly be in the running as it addresses the issue of water conservation. Going along with our Environment-related topic you might also tackle alternative energy production, helping detect or curb pollution, making recycling easier, reducing waste, etc.

As we move along we’ll be awarding bigger and better prizes. Submitting an idea now will give you an early start on your planning. You’ll still be eligible for future prizes, and you may submit as many entries as you like.


The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Get Your Hackerspace A 3D Printer

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LulzBot is yet again giving away a few of their very fancy and well-reviewed 3D printers away to a few hackerspaces.

This isn’t the first time LulzBot has given away a few of their printers; a year and a half ago, they gave away eight AO-100 printers and they also donated one to our ‘ol buddy [Caleb] for TheControllerProject, a forum to connect disabled gamers to people who have the means and ability to make custom gaming controllers.

The rules for this giveaway are simple: Be a hackerspace, and display, “creativity and contributions to the free software and open hardware community.” It’s as simple as that. If you’re a hackerspace without a 3D printer – which would be somewhat astounding at this point – here’s your chance to get one of the best 3D printers around.

The contest will be open starting March 1 and ends on March 14, with entry requiring a hackerspace fill out a form somewhere on the LulzBot servers.

LulzBot is giving away more printers

LulzBot, the awesomely named 3D printer manufacturer and parts supplier, is giving away eight of their AO-100 printers to eight lucky hackerspaces.

It’s not so much a contest, but instead a giveaway aimed at eight community-operated hackerspaces who come up with a great idea on how to use a 3D printer. If you’re part of a well-established hackerspace that doesn’t have a 3D printer yet, this is a great opportunity to get your hands on a very nice printer.

A while back, we acquired one of these LulzBot printers to print off some custom gaming controllers for gamers with physical disabilities (and to make some other cool stuff as well). Our boss man [Caleb] says the AO-100 is a great printer, and in my dealings and purchases with LulzBot, they seem like a great company with great support. We’re sure the hackerspaces that win these printers LulzBot is giving away will be able to put them to use quickly by making some really cool stuff.

Basic Micro ATOM Nano Giveaway

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UPDATE:
As several readers have already noted, these things sold out very quickly – in less than 15 minutes!  Big thanks to Basic Micro!

If you have been considering the purchase of a Basic ATOM Nano product, but you weren’t quite ready to lay down the cash for a dev board and Nano microcontroller, boy to we have a deal for you. The kind folks at Basic Micro informed us that they have 55 Basic ATOM Nano Development boards, complete with Nano 28 microcontrollers that they would like to give away to the Hack a Day community for the low, low cost of $0.

That’s right. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

The dev boards come complete with an LCD header, a small solderless breadboard, USB connectivity, a pair of servo connectors, and more! The Nano 28 is based on the PIC16F886 microcontroller, and features an 8MHz clock,  24 I/O pins, 14K of flash memory, 368 bytes of memory, and 256 bytes of EEPROM storage.

The total value of the package is just around $50, so this is an incredible deal! Basic Micro will even ship your kit to you for free via USPS.

Just add this item to your shopping cart on the Basic Micro site, and use the coupon code “freehack” at checkout – they’ll take care of the rest.

There are a few caveats to this giveaway, and they are as follows:

1) To participate, you must reside within the contiguous United States – i.e. anywhere in the lower 48 (Sorry readers from Alaska or Hawaii!)

2) The offer is limited to one kit per individual. Let’s not be greedy here, give your fellow hackers a chance at this deal as well.

3) Once these dev boards are sold out, they are gone for good. There are no rain checks or back orders available.

4) You must build something cool with your kit and share it with us in our forums or via the tip line*

*Not really, but it would be pretty cool if you did.

[Thanks to Dale at Basic Micro for putting this together for us!]

Five Free Evalbots

If you’re a member of a hackerspace and you’ve been hoping and wishing for an evalbot to tear apart with your bare hands, you’re in luck! [Dave Bullock] is giving out five evalbots to five lucky hackers chosen at random. We thought that the $125.00 deal we saw the other day was good but this is right outta town!

The draw is on Black Friday, so you’ve got a few days to submit your details. We’ve only had a few posts about the evalbot to-date covering the initial examination of the hardware and a USB power modification. We’re interested in seeing where people take this, and we’d love to follow how each of these free ‘bots turns out. For those already working on an evalbot, keep it up and take lots of pictures!

[Photo credit: Dave Bullock from eecue]

Review: The Manga Guide to Electricity

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“The Manga Guide to Electricity”, part of “The Manga Guide” series by No Starch Press, is a novel approach to the old problem of getting over the initial mental block when trying to learn electronics.

We decided to compare this book to another introductory text: “Getting Started in Electronics” by [Forrest M. Mims].  [Mims]’ book is a handwritten masterpiece of electronic literature. The writing style is friendly and concise, the examples are simple, and the drawings are excellent. It also makes sure to keep the learning process as application based as possible. Unlike other books, it doesn’t bog the reader down with math and theory that is only useful to advanced students. Since its original printing in 1983, [Mims]’ has become the de facto standard for beginner electronic literature. Continue reading “Review: The Manga Guide to Electricity”