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2016

Cabe easter egg trace small.jpg

 

I am smitten with the idea of the beeping Easter Egg for visually impaired kids - see this post for more.

 

Despite digging around, I couldn't find any designs or diagrams for their egg. So, I designed my own.

 

Originally I thought of using a Raspberry Pi Zero, but later realized it was over the top for what's necessary. … plenty can still be made without a microcontroller. This beeping Easter Egg uses the age old 555 timer. (For those who may attempt to make one too, the 10K resistor with the star around it sets the time between beeps.)

 

Above is the “schematic.”

 

UPDATE: (3/26/2016) Couldn't build the circuit... only 555s I had were burnt out. Radioshack doesn't carry components anymore. So sad...

 

UPDATE 2: The drawing above would place the beeps out a little awkward. Try changing both resistors to 10K. Based off this site - Astable 555 Square Wave Calculator

 

UPDATE 3: I finally built the project. My original 555 time was indeed broken. Swapped out, worked perfectly! See the build here: [DIY Project] Build a Chirping Easter Egg - part 2

 

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A bomb squad in St. Charles hardwired Easter eggs to make a chirping sound so children with special needs would be able to participate in an egg hunt for the first time. (Care of Roberto Rodriguez of St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

 

I love this story.. and idea. What a great event for visually impaired kids/people. I find it very inspiring.

 

The St. Charles County bomb squad in Missouri recently used their tactical skills to tackle a new challenge. The team used its electronics background to make chirping Easter eggs that enabled visually impaired children, children with autism, and children with mobility challenges to participate in an Easter egg hunt for the first time.

 

Although Easter has its roots in the biblical story, many adults today celebrate the day with tons of sweets and candy. In fact, a recent survey revealed Americans spend more on candy for Easter than Halloween. Americans are projected to spend $2.4 billion this year on Easter alone, but children with disabilities are rarely able to participate in the fun. The St. Charles County bomb squad wanted to change that.

 

Corporal Steve Case is the bomb squad commander. In a recent interview with NPR he revealed he has an 18-year-old son with autism, and the drive to create the event for special needs kids was a personal one. The team realized that the challenge for kids with disabilities lies in their inability to see the eggs, or to more easily discern what they’re looking for. The team thought if it could make the eggs chirp, the kids could have a shot at finding the eggs; and it worked.

 

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The squad making the chirping eggs. I wish they shared their design.... (via Fox2News)

 

The team essentially hid beepers inside of plastic Easter egg shells. The eggs chirped continuously until the children found an egg, and their electronic one was swapped for one filled with candy or toys. The eggs had a fairly simple design, with a rigged on/off switch along the side and a battery stashed away in the interior. Case said while steady hands and an understanding of electronics comes with the territory of bomb deactivation, making the eggs function was still challenging for the team.

 

Still, Case would agree the payoff was well worth the effort. This year’s hunt was one of the first Case had the chance to witness. He told NPR he knows what it’s like to be excluded from events due to a child’s disability. He hopes the initiative becomes an annual one.

 

The team ran several egg hunts for children with different kinds of disabilities – vision impairment, mobility challenges, and autism. One parent told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch her son’s face lit up when he found a chirping egg – perhaps one of the first times he’s been able to participate in a community egg hunt due to autism. For Case, that makes it all worthwhile.

 

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A sample of what Operator looks like. Created by Hoefler & Co this font focuses on tricky punctuation (via Typography)

 

Typefaces affect how we see things. There's the standard Times New Roman that you can't go wrong with or the dreaded Comic Sans, which is met with derision. Not only is font an important element is reading and typing, it's also important when it comes to coding. Operator Mono, founded by Jonathan Hoefler, is a new font that's supposed to make life easier for programmers.

 

Hoefler got the idea from Monospace or fixed-width typefaces, which are closely related to vintage typwriters. He wanted a similar font to use in programming with some fine tuned adjustments. “In developing Operator,” says Hoefler “we found ourselves talking about JavaScript and CSS, looking for vinyl label embossers on eBay, and renting a cantankerous old machine from perhaps the last typewriter repair shop in New York and unearthing a flea market find that amazingly dates to 1893”

 

Operator pays special attention to things like brackets, braces, and punctuation marks, which often make or break a code. The font is also supposed to make it easier to identify the difference between I, l, and 1 or colons and semi-colons by using color and italics making them easier to spot in endless code. The font comes in two varieties: Operator which is natural width and Operator Mono which is fixed width. Both are available in nine different weight from thin to ultra and includes both roman and italic small caps throughout. Both types are supported by companion ScreenSmart fonts, which are designed for user in browsers at test sizes.

 

Those interested in the font can purchase it starting at $200 from Hoefler & Co. It's a hefty price to pay to make programming easier, especially when there are a number of alternatives out there. A quick Google search will bring up the best fonts to use for programming. They range from Consolas to Monaco. Sites like Slant will even show the pros and cons of each type of font along with where you can get it. Many of the fonts are inexpensive, some are even free.

 

Operator has good intent behind it, but people who have been programming for years may not want to pay that much to have color and italics added to their typeface. Seasoned programmers know the errors and trip ups they have to keep an eye out for, so maybe this new font won't appeal to them. But for those who are new to the field and have extra money to burn may want to look into this new typeface.

 

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