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The BBC Micro:bit

Novemeber 29, 2016
Author: Nikolai K.

In an effort to further computer literacy among a younger generation, the BBC sponsored the development of the BBC micro bit microcontroller, which it handed out to students across Britain earlier this year. This is surprisingly not the first microcontroller that the BBC rolled out. The BBC Microcomputer system was released in 1981 and was also geared towards education. The UK, home to the Raspberry Pi foundation, appears to have a culture of empowering their citizens to become makers.

What makes the system appealing is its Bluetooth connector, 3-axis acclerometer, a 3-axis magnetometer, two user buttons, and a 5x5 LED display. It is geared towards education and the tutorial articles are often geared towards younger makers. The initial free distribution of the BBC Micro:bit to UK students is now finished and it is available for anyone to buy, but I have yet to find a distributor outside of the UK. Ebay has them for as low as ~$30 CAD.

For more information, take a look at the manufacturer's website here.


Nikolai Kummer Resume with Shiny

October 27, 2016
Author: Nikolai K.

I have had a lot of oppurtunity to explore R and shinyapps recently (). Shinyapps is used to create and upload interactive R visualizations that allow your readers to interact and modify parameters of your visualization. It is a move away from static images, which is said to leave the reader with a higher understanding of the points that you are trying to make.

Naturally, I tried to use the same priniciples and created an online interactive resume to help me in my job search. My design principles were to visualize as many of the text-only aspects of a resume as possible. The interactive resume can be found here:

I would love to hear any feedback that you might have at:


Raspberry Pi Camera V2 released

April 25, 2016
Author: Nikolai K.

The Raspberry Pi foundation released their camera V2 today. The original camera was released in 2013, but the OV5647 sensor was discontinued at the end of 2014 and all the cameras sold since were from large stockpiles.

This new camera has a Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor with a fixed focus and retails for $25 USD. The maximum still-picture resolution of this new sensor is 3280 X 2464 pixels and support a image transfer rate of 30 fps for 1080p and 60 fps for 720p. The V2 camera sensor comes as a visible-light and as a infrared-version (Pi NOIR) for the same price.

To clarify, all CMOS sensors detect infrared wavelengths called "near-infared", which are adjacent to the visible light spectrum. Regular visible light cameras come with an infrared filter on the sensor, which blocks these wavelengths thus allowing only visible light to be captured. The NoIR camera does not have this filter and is able to capture some of the infrared spectrum, which makes it useful for night photography or for scenes that are flooded with infrared light (by an infrared LED, for examples).

For more info and purchase link, take a look at the manufacturer website here.


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