The Twittering-plant Botanicalls project has undergone a revamp, with very nice new kits. These are still Arduino-based but are now pared down to a single green-leafed PCB. The best part of the new design is that the XPort modules and microcontrollers are preprogrammed with the code for a unique Twitter account. That means you can just plug it in and its ready to go, a lot easier than the last rev which required a bit of hacking to work. The kits are also priced 1/3 less. Its cool to see the project get better & better…so I snagged a couple and they’re in the Adafruit shop now!
XBee modems are one of the easiest ways to create a wireless point-to-point or mesh network. They have error correction, are configured with AT commands, come in multiple flavors and can create a wireless serial link out of the box! I wanted to make a wireless Arduino project but all the adapter boards on the market made me unhappy. So I designed what I think is an excellent low-cost adapter board.
The latest Arduino design is available and I’ve still got this box full of the previous revision – the Diecimila.
But my loss is your gain… you can now get an Arduino for $30! And for a limited time, you can even get a preprogrammed upgrade chip (with 2x memory & 2x storage) to go along with it for $5 more.
(In case you are wondering the difference between the Diecimila & the newer Duemilanove, the newer version automatically switches between USB and DC power where as the older version has a jumper to switch between the two. The microcontroller is the same, the pinout and shape is the same, etc.)
Next is WIRED magzine, where Clive Thompson writes about Arduino, its growing popularity and “How to make $$$ with open source hardware”
I’m excited to see that open source hardware is getting more and more coverage – I have definitely seen a big increase in OSH lately and I’m sure more press will get some of the talented engineers out there thinking about how to publish their next project.
Here is a timely project for an electronic halloween pumpkin. With a bit of hacking a $1 plastic pumpkin is upgraded: a sensor embedded in the nose detects when people get close and will randomly play scary sounds and animate the LEDs on its face. The sounds are stored on an SD card so its easy to change and customize what the pumpkin says/screams, while the code is written for an Arduino so its easy to modify the behavior. I’m going to have this pumpkin outside my door to freak out the little kids who go to daycare nearby. Boo!
This is a modified version of the project that is a little ‘accelerated’ for easy videoing: normally it only makes sound every couple of minutes
I accidentally purchased a GP2Y0D21YK0F when I meant to get a GP2Y0A21YK0F. The digital version only sends a high or low signal depending on whether there is an item within a preset distance. The analog version gives a 0-2.5V analog voltage depending on the distance (which is what I really wanted) Unfortunately, with a tight deadline & no time to reorder, I decided to see if the analog signal was still somewhere on the PCB, just not on the connector. A quick probe with my trusty scope says “yes”!
Things have been a little slow since I was untimely kicked out of my home to make way for luxury condos (sadly, a pretty standard occurrence in new york). But I’m getting back on my feet & presenting a new kit! This one is called Drawdio.
Originally designed by J Silver, when I first saw the Drawdio at Maker Faire I knew it would be a great project for beginners: A lot of fun with instant gratification! Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a simple toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.
I’ve showed a few people how to use Eaglecad and usually the schematic capture part is easy to understand. When it gets to the point of placing parts and routing the PCB, though, I always end up saying something like “For reasons I can’t explain, I know that this part goes here and oriented like this” Its just one of those things you have to watch and then experiment with, especially considering that most autorouters are kinda bad.
Running out of space in your big Arduino project? Good news! Finally, after months of backorders, one can now buy the latest improvement to the ‘ATmega8′ line of chips: the ATmega328′s.
The ’328 has 32K of flash, and 2K of SRAM. Basically its got the capacity of an ATmega32 but in a slimmer package. These chips are notable for their ability to drop-in replace the ATmega168. So that means if you have an Arduino or compatible clone, it is a easy 2 minute swap.
If you have an Adafruit wave shield or GPS/datalogging shield, and you’re annoyed that the FAT16 libraries eats up so much flash and RAM, upgrading will definitely fix the problem.
I’ve merged my previous updates to the Arduino bootloader to the most recent release and also fixed 2 annoying bugs that have prevailed this long. (1. the missing signature bytes when using the bootloader directly and 2. the broken EEPROM code). Download the ’328-compatible bootloader files here.