"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws!"
Bigger! Faster! Stronger! Arduinoer! The latest Arduinos come with a faster (57600 baud) bootloader & 2x as much flash and RAM. Yet they are only $30 at the adafruit shop. Want to upgrade an older Arduino? We have preprogrammed chips for $6. Of course, our Arduino clone the Boarduino now comes with a ’328P too.
Don’t forget to download v13 of the IDE and select the new board “Arduino w/328p” or you’ll have problems uploading
Our Tweet-a-Watt/Wattcher project is going to be on Attach of the Show (G4 tech tv) tomorrow, thanks to John Park! Tune in or watch it online. I’ve been hacking on the project a bit lately including adding some more sensor nodes. Tomorrow we’ll also release part #4 of the documentation which covers visualizations and how to turn data into gold.
After much effort, Adafruit is now a Real Distributor of wireless XBee modules! We’ve got our favvy, the Series 1 w/chip antenna in the shop now at competitive pricing, so now we’re a one-stop XBee shop. Look for more XBee-powered projects soon…
Above, a lovely photo by drew & mithi in the process of making a 3d printer. The precise motor control is aided by an opto quadrature encoder disc. Looks like they used the analog inputs to watch for interrupts and wrote some PID controller code. Hopefully they’ll post it up too!
So you have a nice little motor and maybe you want to turn it into a robotic project but, alas, it doesn’t have an encoder built into it cause it’s a cheapy thing you found at a swapmeet. Prof. Mason has a nice and simple solution that you can make for $5 and retrofit yourself: a magnet and two hall effect sensors. I bet if you used a Schmitt trigger’d comparator on the outputs you would have a pretty effective encoder that can go straight to your robot brain. I imagine this design is less finicky than optointerrupts + disc. Don’t forget to plug the signals into the microcontroller interrupt pins because they’ll be flying by rather fast!
Is there such a thing as a magnetic set-screw shaft collar? That might avoid the uneven weight problems of gluing a big magnet on.
I came across this website tonight, and checked it cause, well, I have iPod charger kits for sale too! What’s interesting about this company and product is that it seems to be a stellar example of the kind of lightweight manufacture that is becoming commonplace.
The future is: a product company is a couple people, fairly adept at designing stuff at the university-educated level but probably not 20-year veterans. There’s no injection-mold tooling guru, there’s no power supply engineer, there may not even be a CAD person. Instead, they can scan online sales-lead sites like alibaba.com and find already-manufactured products that are very close to what they want, like say this
Within a few days they can arrange to buy a sample and figure out what they have to do to get it to work the way they want (say changing around the data line impedances to make Apple stuff happy). Then contact the factory through their friendly sales person and negotiate pricing for any changes. 4 weeks later, they have 1000 pieces in hand (a paltry amount compared to what would normally be considered a reasonable run, like 10-50K) at a few $ each. Design some packaging and stickers and they can set up a webshop to turn a profit within 3 months of the original idea.
Your assignments for tonight?
1) Spend some time at Alibaba (or whatever your favvy sales-lead site would be) and come up with a hardware mashup using ready-to-manufacture products.
2) A USB-power supply such as above costs $2 in qty 1000 and you’ll get it sea-freighted to you in 4 weeks. The extra tooling/hacking costs $0.50 each. Your packaging is another $0.50. Assuming you sell 10/day at $6 each, what is your overhead for a website (include all website and paypal costs) per month? How long does it take to break even?