Make: a machine-learning toy on open-source hardware

In the latest Adafruit video (previously) the proprietors, Limor "ladyada" Friend and Phil Torrone, explain the basics of machine learning, with particular emphasis on the difference between computing a model (hard) and implementing the model (easy and simple enough to run on relatively low-powered hardware), and then they install and run Tensorflow Light on a small, open-source handheld and teach it to distinguish between someone saying "No" and someone saying "Yes," in just a few minutes. It's an interesting demonstration of the theory that machine learning may be most useful in tiny, embedded, offline processors. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Quality employers announce that they'll close down on election day so everyone can vote

Patagonia has long given its employees election day off, but now they're calling on other employers to follow suit. The good eggs at Adafruit heard the message: they're giving all their employees a day off to go and vote. Read the rest

Upgrade your trampoline by adding interactive LEDs

Adafruit Industries has created a tutorial to upgrade an ordinary trampoline by adding fun, interactive NeoPixel LEDs.

This is a really fun project that lights up when you jump on it! These trampolines are meant for exercising and jumping on this thing for just a few minutes feels like a working out so perfect for tiring out kids, just be sure to supervise them. It works really well and looks amazing at night, especially around a fire pit with a fog machine.

Yes, please!

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Ladyada and Adafruit featured in the latest issue of Make:

I had the pleasure of writing the cover feature, on Limor Fried (aka "Ladyada") and her company, Adafruit, for the latest issue of Make: (Volume 57). Since a lot had already been made about the company's impressive and popular open source product line and Limor as a successful female entrepreneur, I decided to focus on what I think is another rather unique aspect of the company: the fact that the open source ethos that informs the design of their hardware also informs their corporate culture.

There's a openness, a spirit of sharing, educating, and supporting, that is shot through the fabric of Adafruit Industries.

They open-source many of the details of how the company is run and post the details of what they're learning (as a company) on their Adafruit Learning System and in their newsletters. They use the feedback and ideas from their substantial online social community to crowdsource product development. And they're attempting to create a corporate culture where employees feel respected, cared for, and given room to grow. As the Founder Collective put it on Twitter this morning: "105 full-time employees, $45M in revenue, no venture capital. Adafruit is a great case study in efficient entrepreneurship."

Founded in a dorm room in 2005 by MIT engineer Limor “Ladyada” Fried as an online learning resource and marketplace for do-it-yourself electronics, Adafruit is now a highly successful community-driven electronics company, educational resource, and maker community thriving in SoHo, Manhattan.

Limor sees three keys to the success of the company: “Being focused on others, having an unconditional belief that you can be both a good cause and a good company, and seeing risk-taking as your friend and your only real competition as yourself.”

It is these high-minded tenets that make Adafruit something special.

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Make: Soviet themed launch-code box complete with missile switch covered toggles

Love puzzles, crypto, making, control panels and nuclear extinction? John Edgar Park has a maker project for you! Read the rest