Creative Outbursts

This page contains a listing of all my posts. You can filter them by broad topic using the submenus under "Creative Outbursts". Or you can filter articles with the tag cloud in the sidebar to the right. You can also sign up to my RSS feed to be notified of new articles.

Repairing a Duplo train

Duplo train icon

My kids recently got a Duplo trainset (I think Set # 2933-1; second-hand), which they loved so much that the button that starts / stops the train got stuck within 20 minutes of playing. It looked like an easy fix, but the first (and hardest) hurdle was to actually open up the Duplo train.

Axolotl high-speed video


A video filmed at 300 fps of an axolotl trying to snatch up a food pellet. (Unfortunately, it fails both times to swallow the pellet.) Playback is slowed down to about 10x, and then 50x the actual speed of the feeding reflex. Filmed with a Casio Exilim EX-F1. Video quality is certainly not the best, but the video is still interesting, I think.

Arduino + XBee AppleRemote prank

XBee icon

It's common knowledge that MacBooks and iMacs can be controlled with any Apple remote. This feature is turned on by default, so unless people manually disable remotes, or pair a specific remote to their computer, they are easy victims for a simple prank. You can control the volume, start/pause songs in iTunes, advance and go back a song in the library, and, most annoyingly, enter FrontRow by pressing the appropriate button on the remote. Of course, it would be nice not to actually have to approach the "prankee" with a conspicuous Apple remote. It would be far nicer to have a microcontroller mimic the IR codes and control everything remotely…

Conquering Mt. Rainier with Matlab and Meshlab

Thanks to Kevin Ford and Janneke Hille Ris Lambers at UW I recently had the opportunity to get access to a very good-looking LIDAR data set for the area around Mount Rainier, WA. They obtained a high-resolution LIDAR map of Mt. Rainier National Park from the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium. Kevin and Janneke approached me to ask whether it's possible to create a 3D print of Mount Rainier and, naturally, I was extremely intrigued by this idea.

Matlab animations tutorial

Matlab icon

Below is a PDF of my presentation and the code for a tutorial on making elaborate multi-axes movies with Matlab. The tutorial was part of the "hallway salon" series that has become a tradition in the Daniel Lab.

The code contained on this page contains a framework for saving movies from MATLAB that should be easily adaptable for your own work. I tried to add as many comments in the code, so it should be fairly self-explanatory.

Arduino - based camera trigger unit

Arduino logo

I developed the camera trigger unit in order to synchronize various events and actions during free-flight experiments with hawkmoths in the wind tunnel described in a previous post. More specifically, the goal was to trigger multiple high-speed cameras and have LEDs that indicate the exact timing of electrical stimuli delivered via a miniature stimulus chip carried by a hawkmoth. (Electric stimulation of the moth is also triggered by the unit.)


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