I recently presented a class on using Finch Robots, those slightly unnerving looking wunderkinds from the folks BirdBrain Technologies. The robots are a fun way to learn how sensors and servos work in conjunction with Snap. Boy-o-boy do I love Snap. It’s an interface that scales up or down depending on the age of the user. I’m a crotchety Gen Xer and I love using level 4 just to play with stuff.
Anyway, my students were particularly interested in programing the robots to interact with each other using the sensing blocks. They also enjoyed programming the little guys to respond to keyboard input to make the robots “fight” each other.
I spilled one tiny drop of tea on my MacPro track pad and the next thing you know…Havoc! I was sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying some hot beverage when I accidentally jogged tea on my laptop. Without thinking, I dragged my sleeve around, trying to mop it up, but really just shoving the water into the cracks around my track pad. The mouse arrow starts jumping around, becoming completely unusable. I grabbed my phone and started searching for something to do about it. Rice!
- Turn off your computer.
- Get the following supplies together: handful of rice (I used sushi rice), blue painter’s tape, 5″ of saran wrap.
- Cut the saran wrap to cover the trackpad and tape it to the laptop leaving the side toward you open.
- Tilt the laptop on its back and pour the rice into the “envelope” you made.
- Seal up the open side.
- Pat down the rice to distribute it evenly.
- Leave it alone for 24 hours.
- Tear off the tape close to you and dump the rice.
- Remove the rest of the tape.
- Enjoy your working laptop!
From what I can guess, the rice acts as a desiccant. The tape helps create a very dry environment by sealing out the moist air and allowing the moisture to be drawn into the rice.
I finally feel like I have a handle on the robots I use for the “Intro to Robots” Class I have once a month. They are feisty little buggers and I had issues with several of them spinning in circles when they should have gone straight. Turns out, there were some serious issues with the placement of the encoders on the chassis, the servo connectors and the i/o pin configuration, which is just a fancy way of saying that the wires were all messed up and I had to trace the pins and the plugs to make sure left was going left and right was going right. Here is a PSA I made for the next round of classes!