A chat with the creators of Arduino

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On this week’s Technotopia I talked to Massimo Banzi and Fabio Violante, the co-creators of Arduino. This pair of Italian artists saw their little single-board computers as a gateway to high-tech art but they’ve essentially created a world in which anyone – from an 11-year-old hacker to a huge corporation – can make amazing hardware in a few hours.

The pair recently returned to full-time control after a stint that placed high-tech exec Frederico Musto at the head of Arduino AG. Musto recently stepped down, allowing Banzi and Violante to return.

In this podcast we talk about Arduino’s artistic roots and what the pair expect to see in the future.

Technotopia is a podcast about a better future by John Biggs. You can subscribe in Stitcher or iTunes and download the MP3 here.

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KORN Drummer Ray Luzier Claims He Is One Of The Few People In Rock And Roll Who Has Never Touched A Drug

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Rob Ball/Getty Images

Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland was arrested buying heroin while dressed as a pimp. Red Hot Chili Peppers lost two guitarists in a row to heroin. Ozzy Osbourne locked himself in a hotel room for three months to binge on drugs and alcohol after he was fired from Black Sabbath. Travis Barker’s addiction to prescription drugs following a plane crash nearly killed him, multiple times. These stories are far too common in rock and roll, and music at large.

But one rock star who always lived above the influence in an industry where hedonism reigns supreme is KORN’s drummer Ray Luzier. Speaking with The You Rock Foundation during KORN’s summer 2017 tour, the 47-year-old revealed how he was able to steer clear of destructive tendencies while many of his friends relied on them.

Via Blabbermouth:

“[Early on in my career] I went to Los Angeles to go to a music school, and right away when I went to the music school, I saw a lot of drugs and I saw a lot of pot and I saw a lot of people just there for the wrong reasons,” Ray said. “And I’ve always been there for a hundred percent music; I wanted to better my craft, I wanted to get better at playing. So I decided, every time I’d go to a party and I’d see people partaking in these actions, in these activities, I decided not to do it, because I saw the repercussions — I saw the next day how hung over they’d be — and, to me, it wasn’t fun.

“I was the geek that was going to the practice lab and practicing and getting better at my instrument,” he continued. “And I just made that decision at a very young age that… I saw what it did to people and I saw a lot of divorces from my friends, I saw a lot of bands break up, I saw a lot of bank accounts being drained — a lot of really bad things because of substance [abuse]. So I’m one of the few rock and rollers that’s a lifer — and I will be doing this till the day I die — that has never taken a drug. And only for that reason, I saw what it did to other people.

“I have a very addictive personality, and, to be honest, I’d probably love [laughs] a lot of the things out there, a lot of the bad things out there,” he admitted. “So my whole theory has always been: if you don’t start it, you don’t have to stop it. And that, to me, is a very important thing. That has to do with cigarettes, pot, drugs, anything that’s not good for your body. That was my whole theory, and I still live by it to this day. So anyone out there that’s maybe hasn’t tried anything that’s thinking about, I’m living proof that you can be around shady situations or maybe not the most healthiest situations and you can still say ‘no’ and you can still get away from it and live your life and be even happier.

“To me, music has always… My whole thing was no drug would ever take you any higher than music, and that’s something that I clearly believe in. Because when I go to a concert or if I put my favorite record on, the feeling that I get and the emotions that I get, no drug or no substance or no artificial substance is ever gonna take that place.”

This dude needs to be featured in an Above The Influence commercial ASAP.

[h/t Blabbermouth]

 

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WiFi mesh networks can detect your breathing

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In the world of indoor security systems, motion detection usually relies on cameras or at least dedicated sensors. Both types of solution add to hardware plus installation costs, not to mention that not everyone is comfortable with having cameras pointing at them all the time. Origin Wireless, on the other hand, found a way to make use of WiFi signals bouncing around a room to detect even the slightest movement — down to something as subtle as a person’s breathing rate. What’s more, this "Time Reversal Machine" technology is essentially just some clever algorithmic work, so it can potentially be added to any existing WiFi mesh routers via a firmware update. In other words, security system vendors should take note.

A "Time Reversal Machine" setup consists of at least two hubs: one router is designated as an "Origin" transmitter, with the remaining routers acting as "Bot" receivers. A 5GHz signal is applied here (so it can be either 802.11a, 802.11n or 802.11ac), and to avoid interference, the signal consists of just CSI (channel state information) which is only used during mesh network configuration.

Due to the reflective nature of electromagnetic waves, a Wi-Fi signal would end up with over 500 multi-paths by the time it hits the "Bot" side, and they would arrive at different times as well. Normally, these multi-paths would be considered as the "enemies" of signal processing, but Origin Wireless took a different perspective and realized how much these signals could tell about the environment — more so than laser-based detectors, according to the company.

In a nutshell, the delay between these multi-paths is the magical property that defines the state of a room: if something moves, the multi-paths will obviously change and so will the delay. Origin Wireless’ software scans for such changes 50 times per second, and with a bit of calculation across delays plus machine learning, it can detect any motion with an impressive accuracy of 1 to 2 cm. Hence the "Time Reversal Machine" name.

Admittedly, I was initially a little skeptical of this technology (I mean, come on, it’s called a "Time Reversal Machine"!), but luckily, Origin Wireless had a live demo at its CEATEC booth. I was invited into a small room where I sat down with the demonstrator and remained still, and after a four-second delay, the lack of motion was reflected on a live monitor in front of us. I was then instructed to breath steadily, and soon after the demonstrator left the room, I could see my breathing rate indicated as a flat line on the live chart (I intentionally kept my breathing as quiet as possible, in case the demo cheated using a microphone).

As creepy as it seemed given the lack of vital sensors, I was left impressed by how much could be achieved by using just WiFi signals. In fact, Origin Wireless believes that its Time Reversal Machine can do much more than just home security and vital monitoring. Consider this: if a person suddenly falls down, the software would detect a rapid change in the room’s state, followed by a long "silence." This pattern could be configured to trigger a fall detection alert, which is good for elderly care — they wouldn’t need to face intrusive cameras at home, nor would they need to wear sensors. Other potential use cases include more precise intruder detection (by combining motion detection and breathing detection), indoor positioning via handheld WiFi devices, asset tracking, window or door open detection and more.

Of course, I can’t say that I’m totally convinced until I get to try this technology in real-life scenarios, but the fact that Dr. Ray Liu, the founder and CEO of Origin Wireless, is currently a member of the IEEE Board of Director (and was previously the President of IEEE Signal Processing Society) should lend credibility. More importantly, Liu’s startup has already filed over 60 patents, over 10 of which have been granted in the US. If this Time Reversal Machine is as solid as it claims to be, here’s hoping that router manufacturers will start integrating it into upcoming — and hopefully existing — devices in the very near future.

Source: Origin Wireless

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