Austin Chapman was born profoundly deaf. Hearing aids helped some, but music — its full range of pitches and tones — remained indecipherable. As Chapman explains, “I’ve never understood it. My whole life I’ve seen hearing people make a fool of themselves singing their favorite song or gyrating on the dance floor. I’ve also seen hearing people moved to tears by a single song. That was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around.”
..When Mozart’s Lacrimosa came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn’t a dry eye in the car.
…”Silence is still my favorite sound,” he writes. “When I turn my aids off my thoughts become more clear and it’s absolutely peaceful.”
Shenzhen, where some of China’s largest electronics manufacturers are located, looks set to have its minimum wage hiked by 13.3 percent from 2013, in a move that could cause a ripple effect across the world’s major technology companies.
Limor Fried is an engineer best known for her work at Adafruit Industries, the company she founded in 2005. Adafruit’s goals are simple: create the best place online for learning electronics and make the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. The company sells all kinds of DIY kits, from phone chargers and learning toys topower monitoring systems and art robots. Limor has emerged as a leader of the open-source hardware movement and is a goddess (LadyAda, as they call her) among makers. She was the first to encourage hacking Microsoft’s Kinect (even offering a $3,000 prize), and she’s fiercely passionate about getting kids to explore science and engineering. Limor talked to us about Adafruit’s workshop in New York City, her current projects, and her best productivity tricks. Want to know more?
NEW PRODUCT – Stereo 3.7W Class D Audio Amplifier – MAX98306. This incredibly small stereo amplifier is surprisingly powerful – able to deliver 2 x 3.7W channels into 3 ohm impedance speakers. Inside the miniature chip is a class D controller, able to run from 2.7V-5.5VDC. Since the amp is a class D, its incredibly efficient (over 90% efficient when driving an 8Ω speaker at over a Watt) – making it perfect for portable and battery-powered projects. It has built in thermal and over-current protection but we could barely tell it got hot. This board is a welcome upgrade to basic “LM386″ amps!
The inputs of the amplifier go through 1.0uF capacitors, so they are fully ‘differential’ – if you don’t have differential outputs, simply tie the R- and L- to ground. The outputs are “Bridge Tied” – that means they connect directly to the outputs, no connection to ground. The output is a 360KHz square wave PWM that is then ‘averaged out’ by the speaker coil – the high frequencies are not heard. All the above means that you can’t connect the output into another amplifier, it should drive the speakers directly.
Comes with a fully assembled and tested breakout board with 1.0uF input capacitors. We also include header to plug it into a breadboard, 3.5mm screw-terminal blocks so you can easily attach/detach your speakers, and a 2×4 header + jumper to change the amplifier gain on the fly. You will be ready to rock in 15 minutes!
Output Power: 3.7W at 3Ω, 10% THD, 1.7W at 8Ω, 10% THD, with 5V Supply
Passes EMI limit unfiltered with up to 12 inches (30 cm) of speaker cable
High 83dB PSRR at 217Hz
Spread-Spectrum Modulation and Active Emissions Limiting
Ask an Engineer! Every Saturday night at 10pm ET join us for our weekly live video & “chatroom.” You can ask anything about electronics, kits at Adafruit or just stop in to meet other makers who are building cool things! At the end of the chat we give away a kit from Adafruit to the winner of our trivia question!
This is a library to facilitate printing on the thermal printer sold from Adafruit. It supports printing text, barcodes, and images. Almost all functions are documented except the ones used for converting color or grayscale images to black and white. The function “printImageWithEffect()” converts the supplied image to grayscale, resizes it to one third of the printer resolution, calculates for each pixel the amount of gray and transforms it to a 3×3 grid of pixels which has some pixels black and some white effectively making it look more or less black. Enjoy!
Adafruit IoT Printer Project Pack Internet of Things printer. Build an Internet of Things connected mini printer that will do your bidding! This is a fun weekend project that comes with a beautiful laser cut case. Once assembled, the little printer connects to Ethernet to get Internet data for printing onto 2 1/4 wide receipt paper. The example sketch weve written will connect to Twitters search API and retrieve and print tweets according to your requests: you can have it print out tweets from a person, a hashtag, mentioning a word, etc! Once youve gotten that working, you can of course easily adapt our sketch to customize the printer.
The project is not very difficult but does require some light soldering, so youll want to have a little experience with a soldering iron. Youll also need a small flathead screwdriver to assemble the box. Its also best if youve had a little Arduino experience so you can feel comfortable downloading the IDE and uploading our example sketch.
This pack does not contain an Arduino+Arduino Ethernet Shield, Arduino Ethernet or Ethernet cable To complete the project you will need to add either an Arduino + Ethernet Shieldor an Arduino UNO Ethernet. If youre using an Arduino UNO Ethernet you will also need an FTDI friend or FTDI cable to upload the sketch. A plain straight-thru Ethernet cable is also required (any length)
This lovely little display breakout is the best way to add a small, colorful and bright display to any project. Since the display uses 3-wire SPI to communicate and has its own pixel-addressable frame buffer, it can be used with every kind of microcontroller. Even a very small one with low memory and few pins available!
For those of you out there who want to learn about the world of programmed logic but are not experienced enough to Build Your Own CPLD Dev-Board, you’re in luck because a fairly cheap but very powerful FPGA development board is now on the market. It’s called the DE0 Nano!
This article will take a look at how to get Altera’s IDE: Quartus II installed onto a computer and how we use Quartus II to make an FPGA program, compile it and get it onto the DE0 Nano’s Cyclone IV FPGA. The DE0 Nano has many peripherals like an Accelerometer, RAM, A/D converter and more, but we’ll stay with the basics for this intro.
DE0-Nano – Altera Cyclone IV FPGA starter board. For every day projects, microcontrollers are low-cost and easy to use. But when you have a project that needs raw power and high speed you may want to check out FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays). FPGAs are like raw chips that you can design by hand. They run very fast and very efficiently. They are designed for mass-parallel execution so they’re very good at handling a lot of I/O pins at once, especially for real time video or audio or emulation applications.
FPGAs are also a lot of fun, in that you really get to play with how chips are designed. Unfortunately, we didn’t study FPGA’s in school and so we missed out on learning how to use them. When we saw this Altera starter pack, we thought it would be a great first FPGA board – compact but not ‘bare bones’ – at a great price! There’s no paper book included, but there is a very detailed Altera FPGA training curriculum that a student could use as part of a self-taught FPGA adventure.
The package comes with a single DE0 Nano development board, mini USB cable (you can program and power the module over USB) and two CDs with the software necessary to ‘compile’ and ‘upload’ code to the board. The software is available for Windows and Linux computers (no Mac)
The module itself contains a nice collection of accessories:
This electronic instrument allows you to sequence and loop audio and MIDI data. Most of the time I used it to sequence drum samples so I can play around with different beats and rhythms. The really great thing about this instrument is that it is very portable, it fits in your hands easily, runs off a single 9 volt battery, and has a headphone jack that you can plug into. If you connect it to your computer via usb you can also use it to send MIDI data, this way you can communicate with other electronic instruments or software environments that understand MIDI.
Adalight is a do-it-yourself LED project kit that adds realtime ambient lighting effects to your computer monitor or home theater media PC. Inspired by the Ambilight feature of Philips’ LCD HDTVs, Adalight adds pop to TV shows, movies or games!
SevenBlocks is a digital clock resembling a classic red on black alarm clock, featuring a mechanic seven segment display of solid blocks moving into the viewers space. Over a hundred years ago the seven segment display was born and they became ubiquitos in our daily lifes. Thousands of segments are guiding us throughout our life, without us spending a single thought on this beautiful invention.
SevenBlocks is a digital clock resembling a classic red on black alarm clock, featuring a mechanic seven segment display of solid blocks moving into the viewers space.
The Nerdy Derby is a no-rules* miniature car building and racing competition inspired by the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby. With a larger, more undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.
The first-ever Nerdy Derby will take place at World Maker Faire New York on September 29th and 30th at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. Visitors can bring their own cars to race, choose from a selection of pre-built cars, or make their cars on site in our workshop.
The Nerdy Derby is organized by a group of students at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. We designed and built the track, and are brainstorming fun ways to “trick it out” with electronic bells and whistles. Not only that, but we’re also building our own cars to compete against each other in preparation for Maker Faire.
The ERP software we wrote to manage inventory and synchronize web orders with QuickBooks has been working pretty darn well. It certainly has its issues but for the most part it keeps us 100% on top of inventory. We actually have not taken physical inventory for a very long time. We did formally take inventory last week, and we weren’t too far off. We’ve updated the inventory counts (such that it matches what we actually have on hand) and we’ll take inventory again in a month and see how far off we are then. We made a spreadsheet that in principal should make taking inventory pretty painless – mostly by weighing the various boxes.
Saleae Logic 16 – 16-Channel USB Logic Analyzer! A logic analyzer is a device that lets you watch digital signals in your electronics project. You can watch them real-time or log the data for later perusal. Unlike an oscilloscope, its not good for measuring analog signals – but also unlike an oscilloscope, you can track 16 signals at time! So its a good complementary tool. This logic analyzer plugs into a computer and has easy to use cross-platform software. This makes it small, portable and inexpensive. If you ever have to to debug SPI, i2c, serial, CAN, 1-wire, Manchester, biphase or other digital protocols, this tool is essential!