Tiny Cicaduinos

First talk is scheduled for the day. A 15 minute quick “teaser” introduction to “Digital Naturalism” scheduled for after Kathy’s talk about Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi.
Peter meets girl named Steffie from Konstanz who is leaving today but is very interested in my work. She is part of an Ant Course that is ending today, so I did a quick impromptu lunch presentation with them also. Feeling pretty good about how quickly I am able to tap into lots of different people. I guess I was more prepared than I thought.

Yesterday, Peter and I spent the day on computers getting a backlog of work taken care of. I also busted out some ATTinies to give Peter a first glimpse of how they work, and also to reassure myself that they do still work. With any of these, even banal seeming, peices of technology I have to remain suspicious of their functionality until I can actually make them perform the plan I originally envisioned (even if I had done it 100 times before). For a quick demo, I went from a Blink Example (But with a vibration motor), to a slightly more sophisticated light controlled vibration motor. Peter then sparked on the idea, from this light sensitive device, of simulating a cockroach’s light avoiding behavior by having a bristlebot that would freak out when exposed to light, and calm down when hiding in the shadows. He basically thought up a 1-Dimensional Braitenberg vehicle. Took a brief computer reprieve in the small forest within Gamboa. Found snotty goop on tree. Single Leafcutter ant showed me how much my pinkie finger was like a leaf. To be fair i was testing how quick their jaws could close using my finger as a trigger.

Spent today trying to see if I could pack all the parts necessary for such a vehicle (Perf-board, light sensor, resistor, ATTiny85, LED, and battery) into the shell of a cicada that we found. You get some great effects with the LED in there, but the coin-cell batteries are still much to large to fit. It’s a good reminder of how small insects are (even the large ones). The whole device does still work with most components mounted on it, and the battery on a tether. Perf boards are trickier to use than I had thought. Maybe I should look up proper technique.