Wildflowers in epoxy resin with NFC

I’ve been wanting to experiment with epoxy resin for awhile and I finally found some wildflowers from the local forest Preserve that I run in frequently. They made the perfect subject to create a balanced and visually stunning composition.

I also wanted to add a technical touch, so I embedded in the bottom layer of the epoxy a NFC chip. See the video below!

NFC in action. Most Android phone / iPhone XS and later support background tag reading.

Process:

Resources:

https://www.artnglow.com/blogs/news/7-steps-to-a-bubble-free-and-flawless-cure

Products used:

Misc Projects.

SnapChat Filter for my daughter’s first birthday.
Coffee mug I designed to commiserate the release of a major Android app at Walgreens. Illustrations on the back were done by the amazing Enrique Sanchez.
Animation I was working on for More cupcake app, never finished but always loved it.

Model train crossing/bridge controller using an Arduino Mega using C/C++

One of my favorite things about the model train hobby is getting to experiment with my love for hardware and code. One day I was playing with a crossing system I bought from a big retailer and quickly became frustrated with its shortcomings, I literally had an “ah hah” moment when I realized I could create my own, pretty easily.

The video below describes in detail why I decided to build my own, and how I went about doing it. I go over different “activation methods” and why I chose to go with sonar over voltage or light.

One additional thing I did was add a BLE chip so I could control the whole system with my smart phone (luckily I know a good iOS developer to build the app).

Grossing Gates, Turnout, and Signal Bridge

Components used:

  • Arduino Mega
  • Sonic sensors (HC-SR04)
  • NJI Crossing Gates (NJI 1164) & NJI dwarf
  • Adafruit Bluefruit LE UART Friend – Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • Innovative Train Technology Products HQ-300 (Sound module)
  • Tolako 5v Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)
  • SMAKN® 5V Active Low 2 Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino UNO 2560 1280 ARM PIC AVR STM32 Raspberry Pi
  • BLMA 3 track modern signal bridge
  • Circuitron 6000 Tortoise Switch Machine
  • Misc. servos (crossing gate and car stopping mechanism)
  • Rare earth magnets (interrupts the reed switch in Faller car)
  • Faller – Car System Start-Set MB Sprinter
  • Adafruit Speaker – 3″ Diameter – 8 Ohm 1 Watt [ADA1313]

Faller car system

Web application to easily view financial information with Chart.js

Key Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, CSV, Chart.js

I really wanted a quick and secure way to get a breakdown of my spending without having to give up my banking details to a third-party. For the longest time I was using an excel spreadsheets and doing a lot of work manually to categorize transactions and compute totals. One day I decided to just build my own tool!

  • Chase’s developer API is invite only, so used their csv data dump option
  • Lots of pre-work happens before rendering the charts, data from csv is converted to objects, grouped by months, computed for totals/averages/etc., and then categorized by user inputted data
  • The transaction list allows me to flag what category a transaction should fall under – under similar transaction will automatically be assigned that category unless explicitly overwritten.
  • Using chart.js to render the charts – this framework is incredible and really easy to use

Below is a video of what I settled on for a v1. It does everything I need it to quickly, and makes understanding where I’m spending my money clear. Some future enhancements will include:

  • Monitor Chase’s API to see if it opens up for normal developers
  • Flag transactions that fall outside a specific variance (unexpected transactions)
  • Show top 5-10 places I’m spending money, e.g. how much money am I spending at Chipotle!
  • Add pagination for transactions list
  • Show YOY information and trends
  • Add ability to layer in a second account
  • Refactor code to reduce redundancies in calculations
Example with fake data.

Porsche Paint to Sample Explorer (PTS) built with Bootstrap, Photoshop Scripting and AR QuickLook

Key Technologies: Bootstrap (HTML/CSS), JavaScript, JSON, and AR QuickLook

PTS Explorer is a quick way to find instagram photos of a given PTS (paint to sample) color. A few months ago I noticed there were many Instagram accounts centered around PTS colors – this worked well to see many examples of different colors, but what if you didn’t know all the colors, or wanted to see many examples of a certain color?

These questions prompted me to create PTS Explorer.

Responsive layout using Bootstrap. Tap image for larger view.
Filter colors by name. Tap image for larger view.
Filter colors by hue. Tap image for larger view.
View instagram photos tagged with color. Tap image for larger view.
Example 2. Tap image for larger view.
On iOS12 via Mobile Safari preview colors in AR QuickLook.
Use photoshop scripting to quickly generate swatches from JSON data file.

https://www.ptsexplorer.com

Command: a macOS app that interfaces with the NCE usb module via RS-232

Key Technologies: RS-232, Hex, and Cocoa (Mac)

Command for Mac is a [native] application I built to run DCC trains on my office layout. It works by using the USB Interface for Power Cab to bridge the gap from the computer to the NCE cab bus. The application uses the RS-232 serial interface to send hex commands to control the locomotives.

The application’s main interface can be accessed from the OS menu bar, this interface allows you to open the manage the connection, add/remove trains, and create new throttles.

Want to develop your own application? Hex command documentation can be found here.

Menu Bar Application. Tap image for larger view.
Manage Trains Window. Tap image for larger view.
Single Throttle. Tap image for larger view.
Multiple Throttles. Tap image for larger view.

US Technology patents and commemorative wooden cubes


Nov. 21, 2017
Gathering in-store employee ratings using triggered feedback solicitations
US9824323B1


Feb. 27, 2018
Drive-thru system implementing location tracking
US9904903B1


Sep. 4, 2018
Using a mobile computing device camera to trigger state-based actions
US10068221


Dec. 25, 2018
Seamless user retail experience based on location
US10163150B1


Feb. 12, 2019
Systems and methods for facilitating enhanced device functionalities within a retail store
US10204372B1