These pages contain information about the electronic experiment kits in
the various forms of the
Philips. These exciting and pedagogical
kits, based on standard industry components from their respective eras,
have influenced the career choices of many. If you have questions about
these kits, or have something to contribute to this site, please do not
hesitate to contact me.
Site content written by me is in English, but transcribed or scanned original material remain in the languages in which it has been available – this includes German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and French.
The construction diagrams in PDF format which are available for some of the kits are made with the free vector drawing program Xfig. This means that they are not scans, but drawn from scratch. The method results in small files with wery high print quality, and makes it possible to improve the layout if necessary. On the downside it introduces the possibilty of errors, so please report any inconcistency you might notice.
These diagrams were actually the humble beginning of this site in the mid nineteen nineties, and their quality vary with the amount of experience I had accumulated by the time they were made.
Xfig runs under X Windows on any UNIX-like system such as the various flavours of Linux and BSD, on Mac OS X and the Amiga, and even on Windows with Cygwin. If you have a recent version of Xfig (at least 3.2) and want to make diagrams of your own, I can send you a collection of template and clipart files.
Most JPEG and PNG images used (as well as the handful of GIFs that haven't been replaced yet) have gone through heavy modification in the free image manipulation program GIMP. Apart from a few thematic graphics which are made from scratch in GIMP, images originate either as scans or digital photos.
On their way to printable files, scanned images have gone through:
dropoutsand other defects in the original print
Photos present a lower quality starting point, and require even more
heavy-handed processing. I want pictures of kits and manuals seemingly
taken from directly above. However, this is not easily done, and my
source photos normally have either a different perspective,
fisheye distortion, reflections of the camera flash, or all of
these, as well as usually very distorted colours due to light conditions
and camera limitations. Often I don't even have a picture showing the
entire object I want to illustrate.
These are of course the very conditions under which GIMP thrive.
To make a typical box picure, I start by enlarging a source photo,
preferably one without
fisheye distortion, to 5 or 6 times the
final size so that rounding errors and other detrimental effects from
subsequent transformations are limited to only subpixel damage. The next
step is the most impressive to watch: by using corrective perspective
transform, a picture taken from any angle can be
very high precision just by moving the corners of a grid from the corners
of the entire image to the corners of the target surface. A histogram
guided level correction of each of the R, G and B colour channels with
immediate preview to guide adjustments then takes care of global colour
correction. Very often, the illumination of the object varies markedly
over its extent. This is dealt with by making an elliptical selection
centered on the brightest spot, applying a feather to it of a width in the
same order of magintude as half the size of the image, and adjusting the
intensity curve both of the selection and its inverse.
After these steps which GIMP makes it possible to do almost on autopilot, quite a bit of case-specific adjustments are necessary. Many pictures on the site is made by jigsawing together the best parts of several pictures, taking special care to make them compatible in scale and colour.
I was born on the northwestern coast of Norway in 1973 and moved to
Trondheim to study physics at the university in 1991. Through Hexagon, a board and role-playing
game club, I soon met Hege, who started her chemistry studies at the same
time. We later married and both now work for UNINETT, the national
research network which provides Internet access to the academic sector in
blame for us not working within our respective areas of
stydy (the psychophysics of vision and organic synthesis) must largely be
put on the student computer clubs NVG
and PVV which hooked us on the
Internet in the very early nineties.
Most of my major interests have been present since my childhood: games
and game design, the history and structure of writing and language (runes
and Old Norse in particular), electronics, heavy metal music, and the
latecomer computing (especially human-computer interaction) which
only goes back to the golden age of home computers in the mid
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