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We are currently systematically using tools to kill each other and even autonomous machines are a tried and tested method to kill humans, both soldiers and civilians. Land mines are maybe one of the best examples for such autonomous killing machines, although they are of course...Read More
Update: The media has become overwhelming. Have a look at the press section to get an impression of the coverage. The response of the media to our LEGO Minifigure study has been overwhelming. Not only did the New Zealand Herald report, but also Die Welt, Tagesschau. There has...Read More
Sounds easy, I wish it was!
I am guilty of using a Mac. It can create ZIP files directly in the Finder. But the Editorial System of Elsevier cannot handle these ZIP files. So I decided to try another tool to create ZIP files: iZIP. I uploaded that ZIP file and Elsevier still complains that the archive was corrupted. It is amazing how Elsevier continues to fail to offer a reasonable upload tool.
The BBC is reporting today on our work on the Uncanny Valley. Finally some non-LEGO media coverage.
Creating mosaics made of LEGO is a popular activity and you may enjoy looking at some examples at Mosaic Blocks or at the Flickr LEGO Mosaic Group. I started out with absolutely no LEGO mosaic experience and I wrote this tutorial along my way towards my first mosaic. I hope that the lessons I learned may also help you creating your own mosaics.
Selecting your source image does seem like an easy task, but you need to be aware of some of the constraints to make a good choice. First, you should have as little detail in the photograph as necessary. You will be heavily limited on the resolution of the mosaic. The smallest unit of a LEGO mosaic is a single 1×1 plate that measures 8×8 mm (actually 7.8mm plus 0.1mm of play between bricks). This results in a resolution of 3.175 dots per inch (DPI) or 1.25 dots per centimeter. Maybe it would be wiser to refer to this as 3.175 bricks per inch (BPI) or 1.25 bricks per cm. A large base plate is 48×48 studs, resulting in 38.2 x 38.2 cm dimension (0.8*48-0.2). Photographs often use the proportion of 2:3 and hence a 2×3 base plate design would result in 96×144 bricks or 76.4 x 114.6 cm.
For my mosaic I selected a portrait of Robert M. Pirsig, one of my personal heroes. The source image is a grey scale image, but creating colorful mosaics follows the same process as a grey scale mosaic.
I am not sure if I can claim credit for this, but my detailed documentation of Elsevier’s faulty Enhanced Upload Tool might have contributed to its removal. I received several emails of fellow academics that confirmed my report. Some of them even email Elsevier with reference to the documentation. Today I received an email from them stating that:
Dear Dr. Bartneck,
We are writing to inform you that a new version of EES (2013.7) will be released on August 12th 2013.
In this release we will be removing the Enhanced Upload Tool that authors can currently use to upload files when submitting a manuscript. This action is being taken because many authors report problems when trying to use the Enhanced Upload Tool and the large majority of our authors prefer to use the Classic Upload Tool during submission.
By removing the Enhanced Upload Tool we hope to improve the overall submission experience for our authors. Authors wishing to upload multiple files can upload a single compressed (zip) file and authors will still be able to upload large files, e.g. video files. Instructions for uploading zip files are provided on the Support Hub.
For more information about this release and other recent updates, you can click the EES version number that appears on the banner of all EES sites. Information on the 2013.7 release will be added to the Support Hub once the changes are live in EES.
If you have any questions about this update, please contact your Journal Manager or Customer Services (email@example.com).
Your Elsevier Editorial System Team
The question I have for Elsevier is: what are you doing with all the thousands of dollars you charge us? How about investing some of it in creating an appropriate upload tool. WordPress, Facebook and many other manage to create a drag and drop. Or at least a “multiple select” open dialog. Elsevier, stop wasting our money and get to work!
I am a big fan of Robert Pirsig’s Metaphysics Of Quality. For one of my next LEGO projects I am considering modelling the motorcycle that Pirsig rode across the US, as described in “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”. After a bit of research I found out that it was a Honda CB77 Super Hawk.
To be able to create a LEGO model of this motorcycle I needed a technical drawing. The motorcycle is out of production for 45 years and hence it was not directly available. Ken gave me the tip to check the Christchurch City Library and voila, they had an original shop manual in their archive. I scanned it, ran OCR over it and uploaded it as a PDF for your delight. You can now download the Honda CB77 Shop Manual.
I started a crowd funding project to create the Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Quartet card game. Please support this project by pledging as much or as little as you desire. The goal is to create a quartet card game that features LEGO Minifigures. Quartet is a card similar to Super Trumps or Go Fish. I am using the IndieGoGo crowd funding platform for this purpose. Please help!
Panoramic photography is one of my passions. With the arrival of panorama apps for the iPhone the game has changed, yet again. You can easily create panoramas right on your iPhone. Not only can you stitch them on the phone, but you can even continuously shoot spherical panos with PhotoSynth (free) or 360 Panorama (commercial). You can simply pan and tilt the camera while holding the camera in your hand, but the more elegant and more precise method is to use a motorized camera head. I build one from LEGO and used the Mindstorms NXT (no need for the EV3 for this).
The same principles that classical panoramic photography also applies to this new generation of pano apps. Most importantly, the pivot point of the camera head needs to be in the “no parallax” point of the camera. Since the lens of the iPhone is very small, it is sufficient to just place just into the pivot point. In figure 1 you see how the rotation axis of the motorized camera head roughly meet at the center of the camera.
Programming is very straight forward:
Here is a video of the motorized camera head in action:
And here is the resulting spherical panorama: