Category Archives: Dad Tech

Dad Turns His 6-Year-Old Son’s Drawings Into Reality – Dad Tech

I had to repost this article – check out how this dad uses technology to make his son’s imagination come to life!

Dom is six and he likes to draw. He even has his own Instagram account where he puts all his favorite pictures. But that’s not the end of the story, because once he’s finished with his mini masterpieces, his dad then recreates their real world counterparts with a dose of digital magic and a little bit of humor.
























The best thing you’ll see today.

Source: Dad Turns His 6-Year-Old Son’s Drawings Into Reality

The Cerebral Dad Show – Just JoKing Around – Episode 3

What a great interview! This week I’m joined by Josiah James (jokesbyjo), the star of the latest animated series on YouTube, Just JoKing. Jo, is a comedian, father and fellow tech nerd like myself.

We talk about some of his inspiration for the series, father hood and his appearance on The Big Picture RT. He also shares his latest bits and teases upcoming Just JoKing episodes!

Josiah and I have been friends for quite a few years, so I hope you enjoy some of our witty banter.

The Big Picture RT interview


Just JoKing on Patreon

The Cerebral Dad Show is now on iTunes, Stitcher and anywhere podcasts are listed. Please give an honest review and rating for the show, to help me gain more exposure.

The Cerebral Dad Show: SilvestreArt – Episode 2

This week I talk to Chris Silvestre, a talented animator and artist, father of 4, fellow blogger, friend and self admitted “tech nerd.”

We talk about some of the technology used to make modern day animations, and discuss the challenges of being a stay at home parent, the things that influence our children and technology we use as a modern parents.

Check out Chris’s work at


JustJoKingChris’s newest project premiered 9/10/16 – the newest comedy and animated series starring Josiah James (jokesbyjo) on Youtube!

Chris’s article:
How to Work from Home, Even with a House Full of Kids.

The Cerebral Dad Show: The Genesis of Cerebral Dad – Episode 1

Thank you for listening The Cerebral Dad Show! I hope you enjoyed my first episode. I talked about what makes me “Cerebral Dad.” A couple of projects in the pipeline, like “The Robot,” the Dragonfly and possibly a beer project.

My apologies for the background noise – new and improved equipment is coming soon.


The Robot:
Building a Robot Gathering and Planning
Assembling a Wish List

The Dragonfly

Flite Test:
Aerial Tour Flite Fest 2016

Check me out on Patreon

Cerebral Dad is on Patreon

Thank you all for all the support. I was able to meet my “propane goal” last month on Patreon! I was able to refill both propane tanks, and fire up the grill once more, Thank you. I’ve reset the goal, and added some new and interesting things. I know a “propane goal” isn’t very interesting, so if you want to see more interesting and interactive content:

Become a Patreon supporter, today!

The first supporter gets their 1st month’s pledge back in the form of an Amazon Gift Card

Patreon is like an online tip jar. It lets me know that you’re enjoying the content on Cerebral Dad.

This month, in the spirit of “Teaching”, I’m going to be teaching myself how to weld, feature some guest bloggers, start building “The Robot“, continue the Teaching kids series and working on a new drone.

I also have plans on making a CNC machine in the process of teaching myself how to weld – turns out everything is very affordable – its going to be fun putting together a few “How to” post on my process.

If any of this appeals to you, please make a pledge on Patreon, today!

Teaching Kids Computer Skills – Programming

I may have mis-spoke when I sad teaching kids to program is boring. Actually, there are several programs out there that make it fun for kids. I cant tell you how many kids I know that want to “make things” on the computer – things that they can interact with – but get overwhelmed when they’re told they need to know programming. Check these programs out – there is nothing easier!

1. Scratch

Scratch Screenshot

Aimed at students aged 8-16 years old, Scratch is one of the best ways to take the first leap into programming. Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a visual programming language. It allows students to build interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This visual approach to programming is the perfect way to teach students the fundamental concepts behind programming and software development. Scratch is free to download and runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.


2. Alice

Alice Screenshot

Alice is a 3D programming environment that allows students create animations, interactive games, or videos to share on the web. The application will help students understand key principles such as object orientated programming and 3D modelling. Programs are created by drag and dropping graphic tiles. Each instruction corresponds to standard statements in a programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. Alice is free todownload and runs on Mac and Windows.


3. Hackety Hack

Hackety Hack Screenshot

Taking programming for kids to the next level, Hackety Hack teaches the absolute basics of the Ruby programming language. Ruby is the foundation of many desktop and web applications such as Twitter, Shopify and Hulu and is a great starting point for command based programming. Students use an integrated text editor to begin building ruby apps and by the end will be comfortable with basic programming syntax. Hackety Hack is an open source application that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.


4. Codecademy

Codecademy gets you coding as soon as you open the page and is a fun, social introduction to programming for kids. Aimed at higher level students, courses focus on generic programming skills and JavaScript development. Codecademy is different to other courses in it’s very interactive approach to programming. Students work through an integrated terminal that gives feedback as they code. The social element is grown through earning badges and sharing progress with friends.


5. OpenClassroom

Openclassroom Screenshot

Run by Stanford University, Openclassroom gives students free access to Computer Science lectures. Lectures cover a wide variety of programming curriculum and generic computer skills. Videos are well structured and go from quite basic lessons to detailed science, syntax and structures. The lecture format is a great way for students to engage visually as well as introducing them to tertiary styles of teaching and learning.


6. Code School

Codeschool Screenshot

Code School offers a range of free and paid courses for students that are looking to broaden their knowledge in programming. With courses such as “Rails for Zombies” and “JQuery Air: Captain’s Log” you can see that Code School tries to keep the fun in learning. Finishing courses will give you badges to show your progress, completion videos, as well gifting you cash to purchase further courses.


7. Codea

Codea Screenshot

iPad apps would have to be some of the hottest programs being developed right now. Codea helps make the iPad development process and programming for kids a lot easier. It is a great starting point for students interested in making apps and lets students program directly on the device. Students can create games, simulations and just about any visual idea they have. Like all apps, Codea is available from iTunes and is only $7.99.



Source: 7 Sites That Make Programming For Kids Fun | Kid to Code

Teaching Kids Computer Skills – Introduction

Everything from your cell phone, to your car, to even your refrigerator has a computer in it. And they do everything from automatically track and adjust finances to reminding us to get milk and monitor expiration dates on the food we buy.

Refrigerators can interface with your phone in such a way to remind you to stop at the supermarket within a certain geo-locational range when traveling – to save you the dreaded “second trip.”

From an early age our kids show a serious interest in technology. At just under a year old my children were able to operate my smart phone to a certain extent. And now that my son is a bit older he’s expressed an interest in how these things work – which got me thinking how I can keep him interested in the “how” without him loosing interest.

Lets face it, programming is boring to most. But there quite a few computer skills that kids need as early as elementary school. Skills like typing (finding letters on the keyboard) and mouse skills have become a prerequisite to Grade School.

Kid Programming” can be fun, especially if your children like puzzles and games. There are several programming based learning systems that only use the prerequisites listed above that can lead your child to accomplishing complicated programming tasks that would otherwise seem impossible. As a father, I find enabling that sense of accomplishment in my children is important.

Whether your child is interested in rocket science or dirt, there is a relational game or program out there to teach them the proper computer skills needed to advance academically.

In this series we are going to be looking at ways we can meld the games and seemingly mindless activities that our kids enjoy and transform them into serious problem solving tools that stimulate and nurture their mental growth.

We will look at some books and products that we can get right off the shelf and also dive into a few video tutorials using MineCraft to teach STEM based problem solving and learn programming basics!

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 10.57.26 AM



Building a Robot – Assembling a Wish List

After sourcing the motors from eBay, I started to think about the basic features “The Robot” will have, and quickly started to make up a wish list of parts.cerebraldad_stickfigures-Recovered

The featured image above is only inspiration for my own design, alluded to in my swag design

I want “The Robot” to be social and robust. Not only can it do heavy duty work outdoors, but I’ll build in the capabilities to interact with social media via live streaming and post updates. This means it will need an internet connection, and I have plans for cellular integration.

If I want “The Robot” to be autonomous, it will need to know where it is, and GPS is the obvious solution (in combination with proximity sensors). By plotting a perimeter via GPS coordinates, “The Robot” will have its own invisible fence! Simply introducing the GPS feature leads to a need for a GUI (Graphical User Interface) or Web interface. “The Robot” will host its on web server and LAMP Stack development suite via Raspberry Pi 3 with 200GB of Hard Drive space and a Dynamic DNS service – implemented only at run time. Developing a simple REST/Cloud service will allow mobile integration and realtime telemetry.

So, basically “The Robot” will send awesome information to my phone while its running, along with a First Person Video feed (via a UDP/Python connection and 5.8GHz transmission) and other awesome stuff.

This is a rough list of parts:

I’m going to be designing and welding the frame from my CAD drawings (TBD)- “The Robot’s” chassis will completely be made from scratch.
That’s the dream anyway, until I can fund it.
If you’d like to help with the funding of this project, please consider buying something from my “Swag Shop.”
Share your thoughts below.

BMW supporting 2016 US Olympic Swim Team with Technology Upgrade

BMW sensors and software developed for automotive functions are now helping the US Olympic Swim Team by analyzing their startup and turning underwater, a critical aspect of the competition measured in hundredths of a second.

Back in 2012 – BMW, as the Official Mobility Partner of the United States Olympic Committee, just announced the delivery of the second vehicle-to-athlete technology transfer project, a unique motion tracking system that can help refine a swimmer’s form and technique. The system, provided by BMW to USA Swimming (USAS), utilizes underwater cameras along with BMW automotive technology to provide data to coaches to help swimmers improve starts and turns.

The technology was researched and developed at the BMW Group Technology Office in Mountain View, CA to analyze a swimmer’s dolphin kick allowed within the 15 meters of the pools edge and provide exacting performance data to participants and their mentors. Similar to the body capture technique used in film but more precisely focused, the software follows six body points of swimmers – wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and toes – allowing coaches to analyze the coordinated actions of different parts of the body, and thus modify the way they work together to increase speed and efficiency.

For the 2016 Olympics, BMW announced USAS 2.0 which utilizes LED technology to further increase the accuracy of the data being read at an already incredible rate!


BMW sensors and software developed for automotive functions are now helping the US Olympic Swim Team by analyzing their startup and turning underwater, a critical aspect of the competition measured in hundredths of a second.

Source: BMW supporting US Olympic Swim Team with technology – Torque News


Dad Tech – Build A Model Robotic Hand

I’ve been looking for something to do with Logan to start explaining how things work. I found this on the web:

Supplies include:

We traced an adult sized hand on cardboard and carefully cut it out:

We glued the bendable straws on each finger, so that the bendy part was on the hand and the long part of the straw was on the fingers. We trimmed the edges of the straw to align with the edge of the fingers.

We took our pencil and marked on the fingers of the cardboard hand the location of the joints and knuckles from the real-life hand.  Then we took the utility knife and carefully scored the back side of the hand on those lines, so that the fingers would curl and bend properly.

Using our pencil marks as a guide, we carefully sliced a section of the straw off (at 45 degree angles) where the joints are located. This helps the ‘fingers’ to bend properly as well.


When we are done with all the joint cuts, it looks like this:

We took string and ran it through each straw, leaving a long tail out both the top and bottom of the straw. We cut the rubber bands so that they would be a long strip instead of a circle. At the top of each finger, we tied the string and rubber band ends together in a small knot.


Turning the hand over, and with fingers straightened out and laid flat, we hot glued the loose ends of the rubber band down to the back of the hand. The glue should only be right at the end of the rubber band. The rest of it needs to stay loose so that it can freely move and guide the fingers. The rubber bands help the fingers to return to their natural state after being curled up.


Once the hand was completed, we had lots of opportunity to ‘play’ with it and see how the tendons in a hand function, by pulling downward on the strings.

One of the favorite things to do with the hand was to make sign language letters and spell out words and phrases….or to say “I love you”!

This was a great project and we were very happy with the outcome. Everyone who has seen it is fascinated by it, and it clearly demonstrates the movements of a hand. I highly recommend this project!

Source: “Be The One” : Apologia Anatomy & Physiology Unit Three: Build A Model Robotic Hand