Here are some last minute gifts for under $20 at Adafruit just in time for the holidays! If you order using fast shipping you’ll most likely get them before the 23rd too (10 days from now) so here they are! Give the gift of science, electronics, open source hardware and fun this holiday season!
Make your own iPod/iPhone/GPS/etc… battery-pack and recharger! This project includes all the electronic parts necessary to build your own MintyBoost: a small & simple (but very powerful) USB charger for your iPod (or other mp3 player), camera, cell phone, and any other gadget you can plug into a USB port to charge. $19.50 in the store!
Tired of all those LCD TVs everywhere? Want a break from advertisements while you’re trying to eat? Want to zap screens from across the street? The TV-B-Gone kit is what you need! This ultra-high-power, open source kit version of the popular TV-B-Gone is fun to make and even more fun to use. This version can be used in both “North American/Asia” as well as “Europe/UK” areas (basically, the whole world)! $19.50 in the store!
The latest MiniPOV kit is for serial ports so more people can use it! If you have a parallel port, you probably want a MiniPOV2 which is identical except for the port used. A simple POV toy for beginners who are looking to learn how to solder, how to program microcontrollers, or make LED blinky toys. Because the programmer is built into the kit, one does not need a special “microcontroller programmer”. This version can be used with PCs (Linux/Unix or Windows) and Macs (running MacOS X and with a USB/serial converter). $17.50 in the store!
Our pals Scott and Lori and moving to NYC, this is great news – Laughing Squid has cataloged San Francisco and “Web 2.0″ culture through amazing images for as long as we can remember. We are looking forward to where the lens takes Scott in 2010 and the photos of the flourishing “maker” culture here in NYC! Adafruit’s previous hosting company was Laughing Squid too!
In 2010 Laughing Squid will be expanding to the East Coast. My wife Lori Dorn and I have decided to live in New York City for a while, to take on new challenges and adventures. Lori is originally from NYC and I’ve always thought about living there at some point. Of course San Francisco still remain a big part of Laughing Squid and I plan on traveling back fairly often.
I’ve recently completed a device that I’ve been idly threatening to make for years. This is a device that has no purpose other than entertainment, and it’s fairly limited in that regard too. It was fun building it, and it was a great arduino and electronics learning project for me.
For years my kids have argued over which one of them gets to push the buttons on the elevator control panels in malls and hotels that we would go to. The inside buttons are much more desireable to push than the outside call buttons and thus it would lead to debate outside the elevator and the inevitable delays involved in figuring things out. Since this provided so much entertainment for them, I’ve been threatening for years to just build a box with buttons that light up. When I finally got around to carrying it out, things got way out of hand and I wound up just building the entire elevator panel.
Thanks for coming out to the chat! Special thanks to Nathan from SparkFun who was our guest answering all your engineering questions with Ladyada! Also, kudos to Felicia Williams for the help running the show behind the scenes!
Tonight is our weekly “Ask an engineer chat” 10pm ET. It’s a special night, we will have a guest! Nathan Seidle from SparkFun will be joining us! Limor and Nathan will answer all your engineering, biz and kit questions for one hour! Tonight’s topics will also include the open source hardware list of 2009, over 125 projects in 19 categories. Currently SparkFun is one of the top producing open source hardware companies in the world! Stop in and say hi!
Visit our new “chat” section on Adafruit at 10pm ET, Saturday nights
Each year Phillip Torrone (MAKE senior editor, creative director here at Adafruit) writes a “definitive guide to open source hardware projects” for the year, 2009′s is up and it’s MASSIVE. These are all projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and “board” files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.
This year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think he’s captured nearly all of them in this list. You’ll see many kits from Adafruit, EMSL, SparkFun and more. Grab some hot chocolate, get comfy and spend a few hours checking out all the great projects!
The Tweet-a-Watt is a DIY wireless power monitoring system. The project uses an ‘off the shelf’ power monitor called the Kill-a-Watt and adds wireless reporting. Each plug transmits the power usage at that outlet to a central computer receiver. The receiver can then log, graph and report the data. This pack contains nearly everything* necessary to build a single outlet monitor and receiver. To monitor additional outlets, you will need an add-on transmitter pack. One outlet can monitor up to 1500 Watts.
Interesting strategy Yahoo, while Google is working with some companies to release power monitoring hardware, APIs and software to monitor / reduce power (Google Power Meter) Yahoo and Business Insider are making top 10 lists about how dumb it is.
This past week, SparkFun production got a serious upgrade with a new pick and place machine – the Manncorp MC384. It can place up to 4000 parts per hour and has a special vision system that allows for non-contact, on-the-fly alignment of SMD components before placing them onto the PCB. It cost us just a little over $52k, but it’s going to make our production process even smoother.
I’ve ported the TV-B-Gone code to run on the Arduino board. If you haven’t seen a TV-B-Gone, it’s a cute gadget that you point at a TV that’s bothering you, and it turns the TV off. Internally, it’s an infrared remote that broadcasts more than 100 different off codes that work on almost any TV. I figured it would be interesting to get the TV-B-Gone running on the Arduino.
Today’s passion-driven hobbyists are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs – otherwise known as hobbypreneurs, who successfully combine their passion for a particular hobby or craft with pragmatic business smarts to create new revenue streams for themselves and their families. Intuit today released the latest findings from the Intuit Future of Small Business Report series, written by Emergent Research, that focus on the “Maker” movement and the reasons that hobbypreneurs mean business. The report includes perspectives and data from a recent Maker Faire, where hobbyists identified their motives and reasons for starting their own small business.
Here’s a direct link to the PDF. Intuit, you should really set up a booth at Maker Faire and/or do a session on book keeping using QuickBooks, folks would love it.