Latest Posts

RGB LED strips: an overview

An addressable RGB LED strip is like a one pixel high color screen. You can do awesome things with them: crazy lighting effects, information displays and even low resolution video. There are many different types of RGB LED strips on the market. Here is an overview of addressable led strips I evaluated for Stripe. I’ll tell you a bit about different controller chips, electrical specifications and software libraries to help you make a choice.

LPD8806 RGB LED strip hooked up to Arduino

LPD8806 addressable RGB LED strip hooked up to an Arduino

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Stripe: Arduino prototype

At Nut & Bolt I try to start prototyping as soon in the design process as possible. For me, it helps visualize what the end result is going to be. Also, having one or more prototypes works great as a development platform: allowing me to quickly try out different software and hardware variations and help me find and resolve issues as soon as possible.

Stripe Arduino prototype on the wall
The bare Stripe prototype on the wall in my studio.

In this post I will describe the components of the first Arduino and Python-based prototype for Stripe. Be sure to read that link if you haven’t already. I’ll give an explanation on what the prototype is supposed to do, the hardware components and the software used.

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Stripe: announcing the clock of today

Stripe: the clock of today

“What time is it?”, a question you might answer by glancing at the clock. But does looking at the clock really give you a sense of time? Wouldn’t it be nice do have a different kind of clock? A clock that tells us the time like we experience it: fluid and based on the events that happen in our lives.

Time in numbers

IKEA Pugg clock
Using their hands or digits, clocks show us a number that represents the number of hours, minutes and seconds that have passed since midnight. The hours, minutes and seconds have no real meaning, except being fractions of the 24-hour day. For me, this does not coincide with real life. I think it’s time to redesign the clock so that it is in line with how we experience time!
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8devices Carambola

Carambola

Lithuanian company 8devices has come up with the Carambola, a small circuit board (35 x 45mm) with a 320MHz processor, some memory and a built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. It runs on a flavour of Linux: OpenWrt. Now you might think this sounds a lot like an underpowered computer, but actually it is more like a supercharged Arduino. Let me explain…
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Time

Sundial

This is the first blog post in the series that will describe the design process of the Stripe clock. In this post I dive into the concepts of clock time and event time.
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Lean Mean Ubuntu Virtual Machine

I use Mac OS X for my daily tasks, but some software just isn’t available or doesn’t run as smoothly on a Mac. To design circuit boards I use KiCAD and for developing my latest product I need to compile Linux images. For both, having a Linux installation on your computer which you can fire up in seconds is invaluable. In this post I will show you how to make a small but up-to-date Linux virtual machine using the Ubuntu Server install disk and VMware Fusion.
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Welcome!

nuts and bolts

Thanks for stopping by. Starting from today, the second day of 2012, I would like to welcome you to the Nut & Bolt blog! From now on you can expect regular posts about the following:

Design, art, technology and science

Reflections on things ranging from beautiful products, through inspiring pieces of art to scientific breakthroughs that might influence our future relation with products. I will touch upon the areas of interaction design, open design, usability and design philosophy.

Project logs

The blog will mainly be a project log of the projects I do at Nut & Bolt. When designing interactive products, the process leading to the final product is often at least as interesting as the product itself. I believe in the strength of open design: being open about what you do makes it easy for people with different areas of expertise to chime in. In the project logs I will explain various steps of the design process, some parts briefly and some parts in detail.

Tutorials and technical stuff

When creating stuff that doesn’t exist yet, I often run into problems nobody has faced before. If the solutions to these problems are helpful to others, I will turn them into short tutorials and post them on the blog. A word of warning however: the posts might get a bit technical.

The above isn’t written in stone – it’s written in electrons. This blog will be a living thing: it will grow, evolve and perhaps even reproduce or go extinct. For now, have a look around the website. I hope to be able to inspire you. Enjoy!

(image at the top: nuts and bolts by Wonderdawg777)