Four short links: 20 Mar 2009

Space, Space, Micromanufacturing, and Sensors:

  1. Teens Capture Images of Space With £56 Camera and Balloon (Telegraph) — DIY/MAKE culture at its best, four 18-19 year old Spanish students (with guidance of a teacher) rigged a balloon to carry a camera over 100,000 feet (that’s twelve trillion and seven Canadian meters) above the earth, take pictures, and return to the ground. Here’s their project’s web page with a Google gadget to translate it into English. (via @erikapearson)
  2. The Robot Who Helps Astronomers Identify Stars – IO9 interviewed Fiona Romeo, about the Royal Observatory’s Astronomical Photograph of the Year contest and the astrotagging bot I linked to earlier.
  3. Clive Thompson on the Revolution in Micromanufacturing — talks about his experiences with Etsy. I was aware of the site but had dismissed it as some sort of urban-hipster thing—until I started seeing chatter about it on discussion boards for wealthy professionals and stay-at-home moms.
  4. How The FitBit Algorithms WorkThe Fitbit’s primary method of collecting data is an accelerometer. Its accelerometer constantly measures the acceleration of your body and algorithms convert this raw data into useful information about your daily life, such as calories burned, steps, distance and sleep quality. How do we develop these algorithms? Our approach is that we have test subjects wear the Fitbit while also wearing a device that produces a “truth” value. […].
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  • The balloon example once again goes to show the power of the simple idea. Just when one feels that all great-though-simple ideas have been exhausted, along comes another.

  • Falafulu Fisi

    Nat said…
    The Robot Who Helps Astronomers Identify Stars

    Actually, NASA and astronomers have been doing data-mining and object classifications for ages dating back to 80s and 90s. There was a system developed called: FOCAS (Faint Object Classification and Analysis System), once called SExtractor (Source Extractor for automated star-galaxy classification) and there was also SKICAT (a star/galaxy classification system using decision trees).

    There is no doubt that recent star classification systems currently in use by astonomers are more accurate compared to their predecessors.

  • FWIW, in #2 your closing of the ‘a’ tag is missing the ‘a’. :-)


  • @Falafulu Yes, I appreciate that there’s a long history to this technology. But it’s the jump to Flickr and the mainstream that excites me.

    @follower thanks! Fixed.