Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Path of Becoming a Master.

During my time in the educational system I have often questioned what it took to become so proficient at a skill to become a master, a leader of accomplishment. It's a simple question with complicated answers. For example, if I want to become a great pianist, am I just born with these aptitudes or over time, practice, and frustrations; does it just happen?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

His name was:

Always loved the view of the rain storms from his loft in the city. They calmed him. They were always a small grace in a world grown too big, too strained. It was a fortunate circumstance that he was able to acquire his home. High enough in the metropolis to still be able to enjoy the daylight, and the night for that matter. He was an investigator; the kind of guy that never sought work, or trouble for that matter, but he always managed to remain busy.

His name was Jon.


~~~Jacob Greenburg ~~~


Thursday, October 3, 2013


  Inspiration... Hmmm.. Inspiration ...


It's something like that. Unfortunately these things are unpredictable...

I blog with BE Write

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Master's Thesis!

My Master's Thesis:

Aha!! Completion!

Honestly, for a second there I didn't think that this was going to get done. Started sweating bullets for that last week or so of the writing. however, there was a strange sense of calm and determination that overcame me during this stressful time.

I believe the biggest credit should go to my wife. Without her patience and support it couldn't have happened. Seriously, I was a bit of a jerk (by bit, I mean a lot.) and despite a few little spats here and there, we managed to keep cool heads. She kept me on task, no matter the cost.

Furthermore, my parents. Through there support I was able to gain my second wind and keep fighting. 

But seriously, this entire endeavor would not have been possible without the support of my advisers, friends, lab mates, close family, distant family, and absolute strangers. The absolute strangers are the clerks at the coffee shop that give you a high five. It's amazing what small gestures can do for a person's day.

Now we travel beyond and head to the state of New York. Here I will be studying for my Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. I was fortunate to receive a nice offer from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Thank you everyone, It's truly been an amazing experience. 


Here's the link to get it from the University of Nebraska:
You can find the download button on the right.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Marine Life: The Jellyfish

In honor of my graduation from UNL my wife and parents had decided a trip to the Omaha Zoo. (as seen below) Now I love trips to the zoo and luckily the one here is considered to be one of the best in the nation! So I'm quite the lucky fella.

Of course with any en devour involving the potentially natural, scientific, or educational opportunity can spark my interest. This time is no different! We saw animals, plants, many a sight to behold. But of course the real gem of the trip is the aquarium. 

A tasty specimen. (courtesy: Wife.)
So, In honor of the trip I decided I would write a few small features on my research and thoughts about the things I found at the Zoo. Today, we will discuss one of the most intriguing; Jelly Fish.


Catch more after the break at the link below!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stress and Our Reactions.

Stress and Reaction.

That "AHHH" feeling.

From a purely mechanical standpoint stress can be defined as, "Pressure or tension exerted on a material object: "the distribution of stress is uniform across the bar."[1] This is an important definition to me as an engineer and scientist because it allows insight into the language that I understand. However, it is important as a person to be personal; Thus, a less rigid, more biological approach to its definition is desired.

[Catch more after the break]

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nature Revisit.

So during the rush of trying to finish my most recent accomplishment (Yay! Master of Science!!) I went for a bit of a nature hike. This is the same hike that was featured in my previous post here.

More to the point, this hike was such a stress relief for me and aided so very much in clearing my head. In fact I probably wouldn't have gotten much done if I had not take a break to go on one or two of these at the height of my stress.

I also have been helping my wife with some photo editing with Gimp a freeware version of the popular photo suite. Since I originally snapped the above photo in her name, I decided it was a good place to learn and show her how to work her project. So here's the result. A gorgeous flower I found in this massive world.

If anyone knows it's species I would love to hear from you.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


We decided to have a small fire pit with the weather being so wonderful tonight.
For a while there I thought the weather would never get better.  Good thing I was proved wrong!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Abstraction and Confirmation

Okay, so this is probably not of any interest other than a good bit of muttering nothing and a spot of fun.

here it goes....

Abstraction, [ab*strac*tion]; n. a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance.
ORIGIN: abstract, latin abstractus, "drawn away"

Confirmation, [con*fir*ma*tion]; n. additional proof that something was believed (some fact or hypothesis or theory) is correct.
ORIGIN: latin con- (with) + firmo, "to firm or strengthen"

What's the difference between the two ideas? Now, I've had some downtime so don't hate; but, occasionally I do like to ramble, as I'm sure your all aware. These ramblings extend beyond my normal oral rhetoric and into something more akin to a, "thought experiment."

So I ask again, "what is the difference?"

I believe it to be one leads to another (abstraction to confirmation), but this cannot happen without the second being there (confirmation to abstraction). To me it lays in a sort of duality. You need one to get the other.

For example, should I dream up a creative idea, I need it to be supported by previous creative ideas. This is true to the point of not be over encumbering of its self. In the end, what am I talking about?

We need to be creative, but at some point we have to prove our ideas.

Its circular in nature.


The Cloud.

So with the most recent addition to my "cloud" services, I've decided it's time to talk a little about this.

For those of you who are uninitiated into the world of "the cloud" I'll give a brief introduction. You see, this idea is nothing new really, email services can almost be considered a cloud service. But basically, it's akin to a virtual hard drive of sorts. It's a place for you to store, manage, backup, and share digital information.

While there are many services out now like Google Drive and Microsoft's SkyDrive, my favorite has been https://www.dropbox.com/ . This service is the first one I was introduced to and features a slew of features that the others don't seem to have as readily. For instance, not only is it managed on their servers, but it keeps a copy on my computer as well.

And of course it wouldn't be of any use if it didn't sync between the two automatically, which it does.

Anyways, these services are just a giant server bank somewhere managing your files as efficiently as possible. Giant computer clusters with ridiculous amounts of read only memory. Many companies are jumping on board too. For instance, the Sony PlayStation 3 has cloud saves and Microsoft Xbox 360 now is offering up their rendition.

Extremely useful stuffs!

By the way, my new service is https://soundcloud.com/ . Gots a few friends in California that publish there.

just a shoutout..  slopycopy


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dyes and Ties

So my wife and I are having a garage sell with one of our neighbors, who knew we'd be each other's best customers.
Anyways, she happened to have these nice shoe laces and that I happen to be in need of.  So I sat he'd up a few of my favorite colors and decided these will look great with a white pair already on my k-swiss sneaks. The shoes have seen better days of course; but with a quick polish and a bit of elbow grease,  I had them as fresh as a warm pastry.
Check 'em out!
I decided on the blue first. Why? Why not?! I even geek's out a bit and did a quick search on various lace patterns.
Nothing like the revival  of an old pair.

The Remnants

It's always a sad day when one has to let go of their books. A sad but sometimes necessary action.

Turns out that, along with being collections of knowledge, these things are heavy! It also happens to be that heavy things are not conducive to moving across the country. Therefore, a purge was necessary.

Sad day.

Not to be a complete pessimist this post I do have some great news!

Come August 13th my wife and I will be moving to NY to continue with my education in pursuit of a PhD. Yup, I passed my oral exam/defense and will finish polishing my thesis soon. 

Master of Science.

I like the feel.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

These sorts of things happen all the time.

Mmm.. static goodness.
Life's pretty good when you're not moving; but, what happens when you do? The dynamic case!

Of course always being dynamic can be difficult:

\mathbf{M(q)} \ddot{\mathbf{q}} - \mathbf{Q}_v + \mathbf{C_q}^T \mathbf{\lambda} = \mathbf{F},

I'd rather keep my equations derivative free if possible. So what's a person to do?

Derive Quasi-static Loading!

As far as I can tell it hasn't been done yet , not even sure of its value. Makes a nice slide show of derivations though.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mathemati ... HOOEY!

Actually this is a good update. I'm now proud to say I've finished the "rough draft" of Chapter 4: methods. This chapter was a jaw dropping 20+ pages of mathematical set, analysis, and simulations. It features several illustrations of free body diagrams, DH parameters, and frame space models. Not to mention that it covers topics of 3 different robotic systems.

And a cherry on top! It has a beautiful set of equations with expansions and n degree generalizations.

Something like that, I'm proud, get off my back!


Thesis Joys!

So today isn't such a bad day,  just a hectic one. I'm a bit worried and I know that I should be working nonstop on my thesis; but, I've got to have the chance to eat and refresh my mind. Btw, I now have roughly twenty-four hours until a preliminary copy of my masters thesis is due.

It's OK though, no really, it's okay.

My take on the situation is from one of my favorite novels "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and that is "don't panic."

That and 42.

Speaking of numbers and mathematics, I believe I've finally cracked the formula for my theory of quasi-static loading! It only took a few years and a giant looming deadline but I think I did it! The solution turned out to actually be a hybrid theory of statics and kinematics that can be simplified to a series of summation and a single 6x6 matrix.

Now just for that pesky writing...


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nature Hike and Photography.

"Come with me and a short trek into the local wilderness. It will be a journey of the most relaxing sorts, one where we can breathe and enjoy that which is around us. Come with me and we can seek the serenity of our locale forest."

I began my short stroll this evening as a way to clear my head of work and get some blood flowing. It started off stressful and hurried, as was my nature at the time, but ended with a calm and focused feeling that only such an experience could provide.
As I went about my way I recalled a recent advertisement I saw about photography using an Android phone. At first I dismissed the idea as rubbish and asked myself, "How can my phone produce anything remarkable?"

Much to my surprise I found myself snapping random photos of nature and my surroundings. This proved to be just the creative outlet I needed, something I could do and enjoy without much thought or effort. Honestly, between the walk and the few pictures I managed to snap I couldn't be more relaxed. 

Below are a few of my favorites from this evening.

The Walk Home and the Ivy Growth

A Beautiful Flower I Decided to Claim for my Loving Wife.
A Tree of Gigantic Stature that caught me by surprise.

A Quick Rambling


Since I've been working oh so diligently on my Master's thesis I have not made a post in quite some time. As a matter of fact, I may receive some flack once this post goes public. In my defense I see this medium for writing as a departure from the mundane, a creative outlet if you will. For a change of pace where I can write a touch of a prose without the hampering of "formal" dialog.

It truly is tiring to think of a certain purely logical topic for extended periods of time. Even more so when it extends beyond simple daydream of thought experiments and into a formal communication.

That all being said, I got caught red handed. Back to the grind.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Soft-bodied machines. Future of Actuation?

Squishy Robots.

Pros: Soft, Delicate, and full of possibilities. innovative air pocket design and actuation.

Cons: requires separate controller at the moment. limited force and torque capabilities?

I'm actually rather interested in soft body robots as of late. What's really interesting about these robots is how "gentle" they can be. You don't necessary have to worry about these taking your arm off or even really doing serious damage to the environment when operated. It's a brilliant concept and one that is only recently being realized.

The whole system relies on a series of air "bladders" that when inflated or compressed provide the robot with a form of actuation or movement. Through the use of the bladders an infinite work space could be considered as one is not restrained with the kinematics of rigid structures.

Moreover it currently has many challenges. The main challenge that I see is controlling the system to a point that it is independent from large and bulky pump/computer systems. This problem extends beyond grandiose control down to the lesser matters of position sensing. Perhaps visual cues with computer vision could accommodate this minor obstacle. That could just be a temporary fix though. I suppose if you know the exact way different bladders in the robot member warp it's position, one could move in a prescribed way.

Enough banter, here are a couple examples from around the web of people exploring our new squishy robot friends.

Note that there are a few more people working on this, I just couldn't find them. I sucspect with some more research and a tad bit of ingenuity this could become a useful platform.

Heck I dare say the next motion of this would be to push into a realm of hybrid robots. These would mimic creatures with a soft exterior or set of tentacles yet have a hard set of circuitry and components complementing it. For those moments that you need to squeeze really hard you could incorporate motors in certain arrangements as well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Charlieplexing and YOU!

I was in the lab last week and we got onto the topic of seven segment displays. Someone then proposed the challenge of driving it using only 4 I/Os without a driver. A very interesting challenge indeed.

After much deliberation they finally shared the secret of Charlieplexing. This is a basic way to control large arrays of LEDs using just a few pins. In fact the equation works out as follows:

L = n^2 - n

Where L is the number of LEDs controlled and n is the number of pins that are used.
Personally, I love this. I love LEDs and I love controlling them. Some possible project include using this method for larger LED cubes, 7-segment driving, and other fantastical inventions.

Anyway, The circuit is actually pretty simple and available at the end of the video above. As for the code, it is just a matter of reassigning the pins to output or input on the fly and then changing the state of the other outputs. This goes into how it works. With a 3 pin setup, one pin must be changed to an input or high impedance state. The other pins act as your outputs and depending on which one is set HIGH or LOW you can have individual control.

There are drawbacks, Can't control multiple LEDs at a time (i.e. light 1 and 5). the way around this is to actually "flicker" the LEDs involved at 60hz which is unnoticeable to the naked eye.

For more info, Visit the Wiki.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shout out to my Friends in Germany.

Hallo Freunde aus Deutschland! Es scheint, als ob ich hatte einige Besucher aus diesem Teil der Welt. Derzeit ist mein Deutsch schlecht, so verwende ich einen Übersetzer bin. Sorry, ich werde daran arbeiten.
Dieser Beitrag ist meist nur ein kurzes Hallo und ein kleines Snippet von dem, was mein Blog über. Hier werde ich für elektronische Führungen Bewertungen und Erfindungen, die ich arbeite.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Raspberry Pi setup, First Run, How to, and Good times.

Got my Raspberry Pi the other day..

Here's how I set it up for the first time.
Check out the video.

It's a pretty straight forward setup actually. Most of the instructions can be found on their website. 

Some possible projects?
Well my next installment will show you how to hook an Arduino up to it and operate it from python.
We could look at hardware considerations, make the platform MORE portable.
I'd like to get a small screen for it, maybe see if it has bluetooth support?
Anything really, Suggestions?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Adafruit Arduino Protoboard (part of today's shipment)

Today has been a Day. A day which will stick in memory for a long time. 

Pushing beyond that, Moving forward if you will, I would like to present you all this. A small compilation I created that covers the basic assembly of the Adafruit Protoboard Shield. A very impressive bit of hardware if you ask me, Highly recommended. You can pick one up here.

While you're there check out their other wares and let me know if you find anything interesting.

Oh, side note, Comments are now enabled for people without accounts. Share your thoughts!

What Mysteries await?

Here at the University I got a fairly large shipment in today and boy does it feel it Christmas!

Here's a photo of the mystical brown boxes that contain magical wonders and dreams. What could they contain? Where did they come from? What fabulous creations will come of this?

Ok, ok, calm down. We got this and I will be updating you all soon as to what mysteries they contain.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blue Sky "Doing"!

Oh, we made it hot!!!

In all seriousness though, we would most likely be considered second out of four. Not two shabby for two Mechanical Engineering students with no software background!

Needless to say, the event was a success and I look forward to the next time I can lend my talents and ideas.

I met new faces and Many, many movers and shakers in the Lincoln community. Hopefully some of these contacts can get an idea or two off the ground and into a nice start-up. Many Congratulations were to be had and even a few people seeking out advice for their firms projects. Fascinating stuff really.

Here's to Blue Sky Doing, Cheers.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blue Sky Dreaming Pt.2

I think that a good way to start this one off is with a little story.

Back in December of 2012 I had a little project with Christmas lights. Of course with any project there are fail, success, and "I wish I did this." moments.

I failed in that the system was complicated and cumbersome. This was an easy fix with more funds to buy extension cords and maybe some wireless transmitters (see XBee). The success? It worked! I also only got electrocuted once. :P

As for the innovative, great, and "I wish I did this." moment. There's no outlet on my porch and I had to leave my door cracked in the dead of winter. It was cold, Very cold.

This got me thinking, INDUCTIVE CHARGING! I emphasize the idea because it was a little bit of a eureka moment.

The Problem: No power outlet outside.
The Boundary: Glass window.
The Solution: Wireless Power Transmission

So the design would be really simple actually. Two coils opposite each other with magnetics to hold the two plates in the right position. The inside plate plugs into the wall the outside plate has a normal outlet. The part would be getting the voltage you need on the outside. This can be corrected for by stepping up the power on the inside.

It's easy and only might catch on fire.

Blue Sky Dreaming

Since it's impossible for me to have a new project everyday, I've decided to start what I like to call "Blue Sky Dreaming".

This essentially is me rambling about cool ideas and thoughts that might get the mind ticking and possibilities flowing. However, Keep in mind that this is in all actually just being silly and throwing things out there into the cosmos. (Hence blue sky dreaming)

I haven't been able to sleep well the past.. Week. I've decided that while I'm laying in bed maybe I'll "dream" of cool physics principles and applications of understood phenomina. I am not a physicist, but who cares. Call me out on it.

Magnets, How do they work?!
Let's get some basics with our friend Wikipedia.

Ignore most of that and focus on the well know fact that magets can generate electric currents and electric currents can generate magnets. Exciting right?

I was thinking about applications obviously. What would happen if we put two electromagnets in a triad type arrangement with the axis of action pointed off plane and merged at a singular point above the system? Honestly I'm not sure, but stay with me.

Provided the magnet fields play nice and the polaraties remain in the same direction, could we use this triad arrangement to create "Legs" and float a permanant magnet? I've actually seen magnetic levatation using PID control and some crazy sillyness with a single halleffect sensor and ALOT of math to back it up.

As a practical engineer I'd like to set this up. Try it out. Throw caution to the wind!

(some math might be required, but how about we avoid it as much as possible)

Imagine if you will, that this is possible. Now imagine having several of these in a 3D arrangment. Then imagine controlling them with PWM signals. Did we just create a 3 DOF (or larger) Haptic controller??

Let's put that in our pocket and hold onto it for a while. Let it sit and collect dust while we think it through.

Expect some more blue sky dreaming in the future, I've got some ideas using inductive charging. Should be thought provoking if nothing else. I've also got a buddy that's trying to talk me into vacuum tubes. So there's that.

Keyboard Phewy

Just got a new Keyboard mount for my tablet (The samsung 7.7).

Hopefully with that I can start making some more posts on a more regular basis. The future looks bright that's for certain.

On another note, Recently I have been involved in several projects of interest. The one being mentioned on this blog earlier has to do with hospital round optimization. This project might actually be in danger of being dropped.

This is only due to time constraints and the fact that I can't program more than a pretty picture in  Java. Yes, like it or not, a Mechanical Engineers forte is not programming Java.

That being said, I really do enjoy the IOIO project and overall idea of controling anything and everything with my android based device. The trouble is the overall complexity of programming it. I guess it's just "Easy for some, Hard for many".

Other popular projects include some Finite element analysis on a rover project I am working in a group with. Simple stuff, quick analysis of models they throw at me is all.

Hmmm.. Sparkfun products are hit or miss too. Ordered a power supply from them 1A and 5V. Not exactly a tall order right? Well, the darn thing broke and electricuted me when I tried to fix it. I'm done. I'm throwing it away.

Needless to say, I had to put together my own from spare parts (namely another powersupply and connector). Here's the kicker. It works better than the one I paid good money for!

Yeah, 120 Volts doesn't feel the best on your hand.

It's actually a funny story. I figured I could fix it, so I unplug and take it apart. From there, I adjust it and put it together minus a screw. Plug it in, still doesn't work. Try to unplug it, it comes apart and shocks the heck out of my hand/wrist/arms.

Moral of the story..... Actually I don't one...

Until Later, Here's a stick man getting shocked!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nook Simple Touch NST - IOIO for Android connected

Could it be possible? Is it possible? Did it happen?
Yes, Yes, and YES!

I have successfully controlled a IOIO development board using the Nook Simple Touch. Sadly, it's pretty late in the day right now for me to get a video of the sample blink program uploaded. So you'll have to take my word for it till tomorrow. I can post how I managed to do it though.

Hardware needed:
Nook Simple touch + Charging cable
IOIO for android board + Supporting hardware from Sparkfun
2gb or equivalent MicroSD Card

Software needed:

Apps from market:

Now this development took me a while, so I decided to help out by posting this.

First off, I am not responsible for you breaking, destroying, or rendering anything useless when going through this! Seriously, This is all test and prototype. What might work for me may not work for me. KEEP THIS IN MIND. However, should questions pop-up, Leave a comment. I will be in touch.

Step 1:
Follow the instructions at XDA-Developers for a proper root.

 Here's a quick overview of what you'll need to do on the nook side:
Update your Nook Simple Touch (NST) to the latest firmware (1.2.1) from B&N.
Root your nook using NookManager
Install Google Apps (Gapps) Via NTGAppsAttack

After all is said and done and the dust settles, you'll have a brand spanking new Eink Android tablet with Google Market. Google Market is key because it allows us to install software to utilize ADB

Step 2:
From here you will need to install ADB Toggle. Send it to your phone device and it'll install over wifi.

You will also need to install the .APK from the IOIO software download. To do this, simply mount your NST on your computer and transfer over the .APK. Then, find it using relauncher and install it.

Step 3:
Open ADB toggle and from there make sure ADB is enabled and "Mount on USB connect" is Disabled.

Connect NST to IOIO using your NST charging cable (No OTG cable needed).

Start IOIOblink and begin the magic!

Should everything work in the way that it worked for me, you should have a blinking status light on your IOIO!! Push button on NST, light on. Push again, Light off. From here you can utilize the other features on the IOIO like PWM, I2C, UART, Analog in, and others. 

Time for the fun! All great projects start with a blinking LED.

My Next Post will have a video I believe.

-- Jacob

Friday, January 11, 2013

Iron Man

Buddy of mine posted this video to my Facebook time line:

He also said, "Let's Make This."

I promptly agreed...

Now, time for an engineer/inventor's favorite part. Brainstorming.

Seriously though, I need some thoughts and ideas.

Movable Mask?
Crazy LCD displays in mask?
Light up power module (center of chest thingy)?
Cool mechanical sounds?
Articulating Armor?

Let's blue sky this for a moment and dream... What would make an amazing Iron Man suit?

Keep E-textiles in mind ;-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nook Simple Touch

Got some big stuff going on with the future of Nook and USB hosting/slave.

I've moved away from the typical Arduino and put in for a IOIO android board. It's rather interesting because it can work with much earlier versions of Android and doesn't require host support like the previous post does.

Here's a sparkfun link to the IOIO board that I want and probably will be getting soon.


Now the project is a little top secret to those of you who are not so close in my design group. Basically though I'm going to try to root a Nook Simple Touch to run the IOIO. This should give me basic I/O, PWM, Analog in, and other fun stuff with full support of an E-Ink touch screen.

The Nook simple touch of course can be found at Barnes and Noble.