MC TOYS 1/6th scale Burglar Outfit Set is ideal for 12-inch Scott Lang as seen in "Ant-Man"

What does Ant-Man (Scott Lang) wear when he’s not in costume? This is somewhat related to the previous toy blog post as well ;p

Ant-Man is a 2015 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name: Scott Lang and Hank Pym. Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) moves in with his old cellmate, Luis (Michael Peña). Unable to hold a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis’ crew and commit a burglary. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.

This MC TOYS (F-060) 1/6th scale Burglar Outfit Set looks to be the ideal set for kitbashing a 12-inch Scott Lang figure as seen in “Ant-Man”, before he becomes the superhero. The 1:6 scale Burglar Outfit Set will come with: J-ENZO Jacket, Intercept PD Pants, Black Hoodie, Grey T-shirt, Black Leather Gloves, Icon Pack 3.0 Backpack, Socks, Black 6-inch Boots. NOTE: Head and body are not included. The great thing about this set is that this can also easily pass off as a perfect zombiecalypse survivor. Just give him some weapons and he’s ready to roll.

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The Evolution of Off-Duty Superhero Fashion featuring Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Tony Stark…

All credit to Sunglass Warehouse for this infographic (also related to previous toy blog post)

We don’t usually think of what we wear each day as a costume, but that’s precisely what they are. Those suits we wear every day to the office, or the color coordinated and logo emblazoned shirts we wear to the shop are really costumes – a particular style of dress for an occasion.

Nothing’s more natural to a superhero than to be suited up and in action. It’s when the hero is off hours, trying to blend into the crowd that the real costume is put on. Superman is a prime example of this. Unlike most other superheroes, Superman was not transformed into what he is. He was born that way, and Clark Kent is his alter ego – his costume to blend in with the crowd.

As the decades have passed superheroes still need to stay disguised, but we thought it would be interesting to look at how their off-the-clock outfits have changed from the 70s and 80s. Tony Stark has updated his suits to look more modern and thankfully has gotten rid of his permed mullet. We did find some more stubborn superheroes like Wolverine and Captain America who look slightly dated, but maybe it’s a lower priority when ageing is less of a concern. Bruce Banner, Peter Parker and Tony Stark are featured as well :)

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Related posts:
Fashion Heroes – The Costume is a Superhero’s Most Defining Characteristic and Stuck for Life posted on my toy blog HERE Continua a leggere

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Circuit Bending Basics: Two Easy Ways of Triggering Buttons on Toys

Introduction 
It may be desirable to trigger a button on a toy using MIDI or some other type of data. For instance, a toy generates sound when one or more buttons are pressed. Instead of physically pressing the buttons, note on / note off events can be used to simulate the pressing of buttons.

To achieve this, consider common the types of connections that may be found in toys in terms of button interaction. Whenever a button or a switch is pressed, normally a circuit is closed by connecting two conductors. This is commonly achieved by having a conductive pad attached to a button which, when pressed, physically and electrically connects two previously separated conductive surfaces, as in the image below.

There are a number of ways in which such a button may be wired:

1) One pin of the button is connected to a pin on the microcontroller of the toy, and the other pin is connected to the positive terminal of the battery (may also be labelled Vdd or Vcc)

2) One pin of the button is connected to a pin on the microcontroller of the toy, and the other pin is connected to the negative terminal of the battery (may also be labelled Vee or Vss)

3) One pin of the button is connected to a pin on the microcontroller of the toy, and the other pin of the button is connected a different pin on the microcontroller of the toy

4) It is unknown or difficult to tell where one or both of the pins of the button is connected to

In the methods given below, a Teensy LC or Teensy 3.1 is used to trigger the button connections of a toy using MIDI note data. This simple guitar toy is used as an example. Naturally, these concepts can be expanded to include multiple buttons, different data types etc.

Using A Digital Pin as a Trigger
If the button in question is in category 1 or 2 of the four possibilities mentioned above, then it may be possible to use a digital pin on the Teensy to directly trigger the button connection.

The idea is straightforward – on side of the switch is connected to positive or negative, and the other side of the switch is connected to a pin on the microcontroller of the toy.

When the button is pressed, the positive or negative terminal of the battery is then connected to the pin on the microcontroller of the toy, thus registering a high or low signal and triggering the sound.

The Teensy can act as a replacement for the positive or negative terminal of the battery in this instance, and provide a high or low signal to simulate the connection of the battery to the input pin of the microcontroller.

The great thing about this is that the connections from the Teensy to the toy are very straightforward, as it is simply a matter of connecting the digital pin on the Teensy to the micrcontroller pin of the button of the toy.

If there are inconsistent results, note that it may be necessary to either:
• connect the ground of the Teensy to the negative battery terminal of the toy or
• remove the battery of the toy and power the toy from the 3V pin on the Teensy (assuming a total voltage in the range of 3V – 4.5V)

Consider the simple guitar toy. The connections of one of the buttons that triggers sound on the toy are shown above. Note that the manufacturer has conveniently labelled the two pins of the button with VDD and P11. VDD is connected directly the positive terminal of the battery, and P11 is connected to the microcontroller of the toy.

As a result, whenever a high state is registered on the pin marked P11, the toy assumes that the button has been pressed and the sound is triggered. Whenever a low state is registered on the pin marked P11, the toy assumes that the button has been depressed.

In this example, it is also necessary to power the guitar toy using the Teensy.

Three connections from the Teensy to the guitar toy are necessary to directly trigger P11:
• The battery is disconnected from the toy
• Ground from the Teensy to the point on the circuit board where the negative terminal of the battery was connected (white alligator lead)
• 3V from the Teensy to the point on the circuit board where the positive terminal of the battery was connected (red alligator lead)
• Teensy digital pin 0 to connection P11 on the guitar toy (black alligator lead)

Example code is shown below. Note that if this method is used (and the code expanded upon), each digital pin on the Teensy can be theoretically used to trigger a different button on a toy or multiple toys.

A demonstration video is shown of this setup. Note that the fastest triggering rate is approximately 45ms. Ableton Live is used to drive the data.

Using a 4066 IC to Simulate Button Presses
Although the above method will work in certain situations, a more complex method may be used in the following situations:
• One pin of the button is connected to a pin on the microcontroller of the toy, and the other pin of the button is connected a different pin on the microcontroller of the toy

• It is unknown or difficult to tell where one or both of the pins of the button is connected to

This method will use the 4066 IC to simulate button presses. This chip is a fourteen pin quad switch, meaning that the switch has the facility to make and break connections for four pairs of points. Each pair of connections can potentially be connected to pairs of button pins on toys to simulate button presses

The 4066 is shown below:

The pin functions are as follows:
Vdd – positive terminal of power supply
Vss – ground
in / out – one point on a switch, labelled A, B, C and D
out / in – the other point on a switch labelled A, B, C and D
control – the control mechanism that determines whether or not a particular switch is currently open or closed, labelled A, B, C and D

By applying a low signal to the control pin of a switch, the in / out and the out / in pins are disconnected. By applying a high signal to the control pin of a switch, the in / out and the out / in pins are connected.

In terms of connecting this chip to the Teensy and the toy, the following setup is required:
• Vss Pin 7 of 4066 to Teensy ground – an orange breadboard jumper
• Vdd Pin 14 of 4066 to Teensy 3V – another orange breadboard jumper
• Control A Pin  13 of the 4066 to Teensy digital pin 0 – a green breadboard jumper
• In / Out of Switch A Pin 1 of 4066 to toy button pin (in this case P11 on the guitar) – the black alligator lead
• Out / In of Switch A Pin 2 of 4066 to the other toy button pin (in this case Vdd on the guitar) – the red alligator lead

These connections are shown below:

Example code is shown below. Note that if this method is used (and the code expanded upon), each of the four 4066 switches can be theoretically used to trigger a different button on a toy or multiple toys. The code is identical to the previous method.

A demonstration video is shown of this setup. Note that the fastest triggering rate is approximately 56m – significantly slower than the previous method. Ableton Live is used to drive the data.

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An Incredible Project

Last week I took my daughter on a college campus tour at Michigan State University.  In the middle of campus a building absolutely stuck out and took all of my attention.  The structure was the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and while I had read about it over the years and seen a picture or two, it did not shake me until I saw it up close.  The late, great Zaha Hadid designed the building and calling it iconic may be an understatement.  The first thing that stuck me of course was the glass.  The curtain wall was unique and breathtaking and then inside the oversized all glass doors with what looked like ¾” glass stopped me in my tracks.  Just the way this project utilized glass and how perfect it all looked had me completely blown away. 

So when I got back home after the tour I made sure to try and find out more and I had thought that Guardian was involved in some form or fashion.  Sure enough after a note to Chris Dolan, he not only confirmed that Guardian was involved but also shared a great video that showed exactly how deep that went.  All I can say is the glass makeup alone- a quad pane IG- featuring low e, argon, and silkscreen made me glad I was seeing this after the fact and not worrying about producing it!  Anyway the video is only about 3 minutes long and if you are glass geek, it is absolutely well worth the watch.

Side note- My conduct during this part of the tour had our guide a bit worried. I was studying every piece of glass up close, going to my knees trying to look at logos etc.  My daughter just shook her head, it’s not the first time she’s seen me go gaga on a glass and glazing project.   Oh and side note #2… despite this amazing building, Michigan State did NOT crack my daughters top 3 for colleges much to the chagrin of her mother and I who would love to have her only 2 hours from home instead of the current long trip choices she’s considering.  Obviously she hasn’t learned yet that great glass is always a big part of every decision!
Elsewhere…

–  Last week I noted that I would have more on the latest Architectural Billings Index report.  At the end of the report the AIA included some comments from firms and I wanted to share a few of them here because I think what the architects are going through absolutely mirrors our industry:

• We are in a position to turn away work that does not fit our schedule/staffing. The downside is that we having a hard time hiring competent new employees.

—80-person firm in the Midwest, institutional specialization


• First quarter was a roller coaster ride of work and no work. Hopefully moving forward the hills and valleys will lessen.

—6-person firm in the South, commercial/industrial specialization


• Labor shortage is killing us. Firms are cannibalizing each other’s staff. The way you combat this is by making the firm a great place to work.

—125-person firm in the West, institutional specialization


So workforce is an issue along with crazy and inconsistent performance in the 1Q.  While the economic side is seemingly leveling out, the labor shortage is a massive worry.  I am surprised because with all of the downsizing architectural firms did during the downturn I would’ve thought a labor shortage would not be one of their issues.  I also wonder if it’s not so much of a labor need but rather the desire to do more with less and not grow like they did previously.  Anyway I found it interesting that there’s certainly similarities between our world and the design one.

–  Previously I had written about the closing of Spectrum Glass.  Now the government is pushing down on another player in the colored glass world and they’re trying to fight back.  Click this link from Bullseye Glass for more info.  This continues to be a story to watch on many fronts.  It obviously is affecting business, and that will have a trickle down for sure.  But what about the environment?  That is surely a concern too.  When I shared this with a friend this week, she replied that does the need for something outweigh what is safe?  It’s a surely something that is not an easy call for anyone.  My heart goes out to the folks in business caught in the middle of this and hopefully something can work out for all in the end!

–  Last this week, please note that I did pick the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup here on the blog back in April.  OK, now it’s time for my normal jinx to arrive….Please.

LINKS of the WEEK

Great story of the week.. the creator of the Heimlich Manuever, Dr. Heimlich himself, used his technique on a person for the very first time….  Wow.  He’s 96 by the way.
I trust the Robot waiter at Pizza Hut more than driverless cars.
If you know me, you know I love Pop Tarts- but these new flavors are non starter for me. 
VIDEO of the WEEK

If you did not check out the Guardian video in my post above- please do so.  But for here we’ll go lighter.  I love these videos of college kids getting surprised with a scholarship.  This is a good one from Duke.

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