Happy New Year from Adafruit! We are open, taking orders and doing support in the forums and we’ll have our chat this Saturday night. We wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year – we will try our best to make 2010 another great year filled with open source hardware, electronics, science, engineering and learning! The Adafruit team is spending today and New Year’s day working on some special new kits and projects, we’ll post up some photos (check’em out throughout the day)… Thank you everyone, our friends, our customers, everyone – for making 2009 a wonderful year for us and the growing electronics community!
I recently purchased two remote control cars for my nephews from a dollar store. The cars came with three rechargeable AA batteries and also a cheap AC charger that connects to the car, but unfortunately grew hot when plugged in (a classic wall wart). So I’m giving them the cars with a solar panel and withholding the AC chargers. The best part is how easy it was to make it all work as I piggy-backed on the car’s built-in charging circuit.
6V Solar panel – 1.3 Watt – These panels come to us from Voltaic Systems, makers of fine solar-powered bags and packs. These are waterproof, scratch resistant, and UV resistant. They use a high efficiency monocrystalline cell. They output 6V at 200 mA via 3.5mm x 1.3mm DC jack connector. The substrate is an aluminum / plastic composite, specifically designed to be strong and lightweight. They can easily stand up to typical outdoor use including being dropped and leaned on.
In 24 hours we are going to do a “Christmas day ADAFRUIT KIT BUILD-A-THON” live on video you can view over the internet and in the text chat room on 12/25/2009 – Christmas day! That’s right, if you have any questions about your kits, need help or just want to pop in and see us work on some kits stop in to our video chat on the 25th! Of course you can post up in the fantastic customer support forums at any time, Christmas day will be a special event for all the makers out there that decide to start putting together their kits and projects right away!
I ordered a fine graphic LCD from the adafruit store and decided to write a little graphics Menorah to learn how it works. I am not a programmer, and am new to micro-controllers so I learned a lot in the following sketch.
Some of the topics I included are:
drawing graphics with GLCD (I did it by hand for fun, but I assume the bitmap works as well or better)
Text placement in GLCD
debouncing (this doesn’t actually work in the following sketch. If you know why, drop a comment
abstraction (an array determines what order the flames are lit in so you can change it up)
A non-blocking timer. Using delay(); made my button detection icky. I decided to try and find a different way. I’m actually pretty happy with how this part worked out. suggestions on improving efficiency will be appreciated. I found a library in arduino.cc called fuse I think. I could never get the page to load, though so I couldn’t use it.
Lastly, I made this for my wife, and I know next to nothing about the Menorah. Please trust that it was done out of respect and that any mispellings, or cultural gaffes are based on my ignorance alone. Feel free to post corrections in this regard as well.
This is it folks! If you’re looking for a last minute gift for that engineer in your life, give an Adafruit gift certificate. These gift certificates are sent VIA email so you can send these to anyone, at any time and still be a holiday hero.
They come in $100, $50, $20 and $1 amounts. Send one now, give the gift of electronics this holiday season!
If you’re looking to give to a good cause, please consider the EFF. They’re defending our digital rights, everyday. Because of the EFF, Adafruit and companies like ours will continue to thrive. We also think Creative Commons is a good one to consider, their framework has fueled a lot of innovation and sharing. We use it, we love it, more value is happening because of it. If you give to either one, let us know on your next order, we’ll toss in a fun treat!
2009 has been a turning point for the Internet of Things, when real world objects (such as lights, cars and packages) get connected to the Internet. This trend has added a significant amount of new data to the Web, so for that reason alone it is an important development. Having said that, many of the following top 10 list are not yet mainstream products. But we expect some of them to become well known over the coming years…
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform made up of open source hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
The concept of Free / Open Source Software, already well understood by LCA attendees, is complemented by a rapidly growing community focused around Open Hardware and “maker culture”. One of the drivers of the popularity of the Open Hardware community is easy access to cheap devices such as Arduino, which is a microcontroller development board originally intended for classroom use but now a popular building block in all sorts of wierd and wonderful hobbyist and professional projects. Previous LCAs have featured Open Hardware sessions including Arduino-related talks in various forms including as tutorials, paper presentations, and the Embedded Linux miniconf, and these sessions have always attracted a lot of interest from conference delegates.
The ITP winter show 2009 (a two day exhibition of interactive projects, sound and physical computing at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program Tisch School of the Arts) is always a joy to visit (see MAKE’s coverage from earlier in the week). Each year we visit the show and try to pick out a few favorites, it’s always a challenge since there are usually quite a bit. That said, here are five interesting projects from this year’s show. The video above will give you a quick taste of what the show is all about too! And here are a bunch of photos. This post will also appear on MAKE later today…
fridgebuzzz MK1 – Guitar inspired MIDI controller consisting of 32 LED pushbuttons and 6 touch plate switches. The MK1 prototype is a user programmable MIDI controller featuring 32 LED pushbutton switches and 6 touch sensitive copper plate switches. An example user mapping would have the top row of twelve buttons be designated as major chords arranged in the cirle of fifths. The row below has minor chords arranged as the relative minor to the major chords. The touch sensitive switches, arranged as if they were strings on a guitar, trigger notes based on which chord button is pressed. The eight buttons located higher on the neck play a major or minor scale in the key of the last chord button that was pressed. The headstock contains six LEDs that flash when the corresponding touch plate is activated. Paul Rothman.
The Bed.A physical visualization of conflicts. The machine reads daily data from news organizations, and detects conflicts using semantics. The location of the news is then translated from Latitude Longitude to xy, and the plotters head drips paint on the translated location. Igal Nassima.
Dynamic Ground. Step on the platform and see how the units below your feet magically come to life… The Dynamic Ground is a responsive, kinetic floor constructed from deployable units. When passersby step on the platform, the tiles shift between a contracted state to an expanded state. Each unit is constructed from 7 interconnected hexagons that move in a continues circular movement, driven by one central servo motor, which is activated by a light sensor. Adam Lassy, Adi Marom.
Historical Radio. A radio which moves the listener through time and space. The historical radio uses a familiar interface to navigate through historical radio broadcasts from multiple genres of music and news. The tracks are curated to provide an educational experience, highlighting events across time (move through time) or across the world and genres at the same time (move through space). This device would fit in at a history museum, and is designed to be understandable and usable by anone who has ever used a radio: turn the tuning knob to move through time, turn the band selector switch to move through space. By selecting an automatic mode, the curation will take the listener along a path across time or space. David MIller, Jason Aston, Lucas Werthein.
Super Duper Cubes. A tangible interface to control music and video through midi, using a set of illuminated cubes. Super Duber Cubes are a tangible interface built to control music, games or visualizations. Each cube has a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis accelerometer, plus wireless communication and built-in battery. This allows the user to turn and rotate the cubes without any wires attached. In one setup the user can change musical instruments by turning the left cube. By turning the right cube, the user can select between several parameters in the selected instrument. By rotating the left cube, the user can manipulate these parameters, e.g. turning down the volume, applying distortion or adding delay to the instrument. Nikolas Psaroudakis, Rune Madsen.