FadeCandy – Dithering USB-Controlled Driver for NeoPixels:A new collaboration between Adafruit & Micah from Scanline, we are excited to introduce Fadecandy, a NeoPixel driver with built in dithering, that can be controlled over USB. Fadecandy is not just hardware! It is a kit of both hardware and software parts that make LED art projects easier to build and better-looking so sculptors and makers and multimedia artists can concentrate on beautiful things instead of reinventing the wheel. It’s an easy way to get started and an advanced tool for professionals. It’s a collection of simple parts that work well together:
Firmware that uses unique dithering and color correction algorithms to raise the bar for quality while getting out of the way of your creativity.
Open source hardware for connecting cheap and popular WS2811 based LEDs to a laptop, desktop, or Raspberry Pi over USB.
Fadecandy Server Software, which communicates with one Fadecandy board or dozens. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and on embedded platforms like Raspberry Pi.
The Open Pixel Control protocol, a simple way of getting pixel data from your creative tools into the Fadecandy server.
LEDs! Fadecandy works with Adafruit’s popular WS2811/WS2812 LEDs. Each controller board supports up to 512 LEDs, arranged as 8 strips of 64 each.
Fadecandy is designed to enable art that is subtle, interactive, and playful – exploring the interplay between light, form, and shadow. If you’re tired of seeing project after project with frenetic blinky rainbow fades, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to create expressive lighting!
It’s also battle tested! The firmware was originally developed to run the Ardent Mobile Cloud Platform, a Burning Man project which used 2500 LEDs to project ever-changing rolling cloud patterns onto the interior of a translucent plastic sculpture. It used five Fadecandy boards, a single Raspberry Pi, and the effects were written in a mixture of C and Python. The lighting on this project blew people away, and it made me realize just how much potential there is for creative lighting, but it takes significant technical drudgery to get beyond frenetic-rainbow-fade into territory where the lighting can really add to an art piece instead of distracting from it.
Sensory fiction is about new ways of experiencing and creating stories. Traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images. By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the Sensory Fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination. While the project explores new ways of reading with digital augmentations, this is not a product idea but rather an exploration in the context of Science Fiction stories. It is an artifact meant to provoke discussions. (read more)
There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 73,450 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!
NEW PRODUCT – VS1053B MP3/WAV/OGG/MIDI Player & Recorder (CODEC) Chip: The VS1053 is a multi-format audio codec chip, loved by many for its simplicity and power. CODEC stands for “Coder & Decoder” and that’s pretty much what this little chip does – it can decode digital audio files such as MP3, FLAC, AAC, OGG and WAV as well as encode audio into digital formats (right now only WAV and OGG are supported for encoding). For many small microcontrollers, the mathematical calculations for decoding MP3 files is too much effort. That’s where you’d use this chip.
There’s some cool extras with this chip in addition to plain audio playing & recording: there’s a built in MIDI synth with 50 instruments you can play by piping in direct MIDI (we have example code for this in our Arduino library), 8 GPIO pins (we have example code for this in our Arduino library), Bass & Treble adjust, and I2S digital output.
Every Chell costume needs a portal gun, and Redditor Pastlightspeed put one together on the cheap. She wanted to carry it during a 5K run, so it was also important that the weapon be lightweight. She put the gun together for less than ten dollars with cardboard. Her pictures on Imgur give you an idea of the process, but here are the basics:
Basic cardboard structure using layers of cardboard and sawed sections of tubing.
It was painted with black and white spray paint.
he detailing is cut-out blue and black construction paper. Logos are printed on normal printer paper, cut out with an x-acto knife, and placed using adhesive spray.
To achieve the colored inner tube, I rolled a piece of blue construction paper and secured it on either end in the inside of a flat, doughnut shaped piece of cardboard. Rolled and secured on the outside of the doughnut is a clear sheet protector (a glow stick would’ve been perfect as the inner tube if the run had been at night).
The RTK RPi M.C.B is a self-assembly kit that allows you to control DC motors with ease. Once the board is soldered up it is as simple as plugging the board on top of a Raspberry Pi and then programming Python, Scratch or any other method of controlling the GPIO pins using the Raspberry Pi. All that is required is a power source for the motors and at least one motor to get started. The board allows you to then drive the motor in both directions just by turning a GPIO Pin on or off. It also supports Pulse With Modulation which allows you to control the speed of the motors individually.
Programming the Kit
As mentioned above, programming the board to drive a motor is as simple as turning a pin on or off. Example code for Python is provided in the Tutorials section. You can also use any other programming language that works with Raspberry Pi! We also have Scratch support under the add-on name “rtkmotorcon” or you can just turn the pins high and low.
The multimeter – an engineer’s eyes & ears inside a circuit. Join Ladyada & I as we explore vital techniques for multimeter usage as well as specific meter types & their specialized tasks.
I’m proud to announce that this video marks the return of the Collin’s Lab series to the realms of the internet. Great to be back & we’ve got much more technologies, techniques, & tutorials to traverse. Do stay tuned!
To use, first remove the protective plastic wrap from both sides. Attach to your touchscreen controller (we suggest our AR1100 USB touch adapter if you need USB mouse interface, or the STMPE610 breakout for I2C/SPI) and test to make sure the screen works over all – remember that only one side will work for touch, so flip it over if you can’t get it working. Once you know which way is up, and you’ve got the touch screen talking to your controller, use double-sided tape to attach it to your screen, carefully lining up the outer edges.
NEW PRODUCT – 5.0″ 40-pin 800×480 TFT Display without Touchscreen. This 5.0″ TFT screen has lots of pixels, 800×480 to be exact, and an LED backlight. Its great for when you need a lot of space for graphics. These screens are commonly seen in consumer electronics, such as miniature TV’s, GPS’s, handheld games car displays, etc. A 40-pin connector has 8 red, 8 green, and 8 blue parallel pins, for 24 bit color capability.
This is a “raw pixel-dot-clock” display and does not have an SPI/parallel type controller or any kind of RAM. The display is supposed to be constantly refreshed, at 60Hz, with a pixel clock, V sync, H sync, etc. There are some high end processors such as that used in the BeagleBone that can natively support such RGB TTL displays. However, it is extremely rare for a small microcontroller to support it, as you need dedicated hardware or a very fast processor such as an FPGA. Not only that, but the backlight requires a constant-current mode boost converter that can go as high as 24V instead of our other small displays that can run the backlight off of 5V
For that reason, we are carrying it only as a companion to the Adafruit RA8875 driver board in the store, which is a chip that can handle the huge video RAM and timing requirements, all in the background. That’s the best way to interface this display to just about any microcontroller (including Arduino & friends) If you are an advanced electronics enthusiast you can try wiring this directly to your processor, but it we don’t have any support or tutorials for that purpose.
NEW PRODUCT – Adjustable Bent-Wire Stand – up to 7″ Tablets and Small Screens. This handy bent-wire stand was originally designed to hold up 7″ tablets but the rubberized design is great for general purpose electronics & TFT holding. We use it to hold up our HDMI displays while connected to a Pi – even though it is meant for 7″ we found that its fine for 5″ to 10″ TFTs since they’re not as heavy as a tablet. You can adjust the angle and collapse it for travel.
iPad mini, screen and Mho’s Resistance not included
NEW PRODUCT – HDMI 4 Pi: 5″ Display no Touchscreen 800×480 – HDMI/VGA/NTSC/PAL. Yes, this is a cute little 5″ TFT display with WVGA 800×480 resolution. We tried to get the smallest display that would be good for embedded computing usage and at a good price. The visible display measures 5″ diagonal and is a ‘raw’ TTL display as is used in portable electronics. We include a driver board with HDMI, VGA and Composite inputs. The display is very easy to use – simply connect a 5-12V DC adapter to the 2.1mm center-positive DC jack, then connect a digital video source to one of the ports. Voila, a display!
It is not an IPS display so its best for direct viewing, our 7″ and 10″ HDMI IPS displays are designed for any angle view.
There’s a little wired PCB with little buttons that let you enter a menu system for adjusting brightness, color and contrast. It tries to auto-detect which input you have and switches to that one or you can ‘select’ from the menu keypad which to display.
To demonstrate it, we took some photos with the display connected to a Raspberry Pi, but it will also work connected to any device with HDMI, VGA or NTSC/PAL output. It will not work with a device that only outputs DVI (without a DVI->HDMI converter) or SECAM.
For use with a Raspberry Pi we suggest editing config.txt to set the HDMI to 800×480 in case it doesn’t detect the resolution properly. You can see our suggested config.txt in the Technical details tab. The easiest way to edit the config.txt is to put the Pi SD card into an every day computer and edit config.txt with any text editor and save. For use with a BeagleBone black, we found it works when plugged in, no configuration required.
Picture this – you’ve just left the office and are getting ready to make your way home. It’s another week until payday and you know you shouldn’t be spending any more money, but you ignore the responsible voice in your head and decide to take a quick detour down to your favourite shopping haunt, ‘just to window shop’, you tell yourself.
As soon as you enter your shopping ‘danger zone’ the bag lights up with a LED light warning signal that’s triggered by a GPS chip. If you decide to ignore this and make a purchase, the bag will track your wallet being taken out and send an SMS to your nominated ‘responsible other’ to let them know you’ve had a spending relapse.
You may think that although these features are great, they’re only a deterrent and won’t actually stop you from making a purchase, so there’s also a real-time clock which locks the bag during vulnerable spending times during the day.
South Korean scientists have developed a nanorobot that both detects and treats cancer using protein sensitive bacteria.
The nanorobot is powered by a special, genetically-modified bacteria that can detect substances and proteins associated with cancer growth. Once it reaches a cancer cell, the 3-micrometer robotic device automatically sprays anticancer drugs. The robot opens the doors for a more targeted approach to fighting cancer, which is likely to have fewer side effects than conventional treatments like chemo or radiation, which attack the entire body.
Here’s a brief tutorial and review for using the free and open source audiophile operating system Volumio for embedded computers, in this case a Raspberry Pi. You can also use Volumio with BeagleBone Blacks and a few other SBCs so far.
In the shared office space where I work, there’s an old 2nd generation iMac that we use to play music. It’s hooked up to a decent set of speakers, and plays music from the web or the local network. Over the last couple of years though, software support for non-intel Macs has all but disappeared, so we’ve been looking for alternatives.
Enter Volumio. The idea is really simple. Volumio transforms a Raspberry Pi computer into an audiophile music player. Simply install it onto an SD card, put it into the Pi, and you’re good to go.
Setting up your Pi as a Volumio music player is dead easy, and the project’s website has documentation to guide you though the steps.
On the Raspberry Pi, Volumio’s main limitation is the analog audio jack on the Pi. It’s wasn’t engineered with audiophiles in mind, and you can tell. But worry not, Volumio supports a wide range of DACs (Digital to Analog Converters). For around $30, you can get real hifi from your Pi.
Another potential bottleneck is the Pi’s slow CPU. I logged into my “first batch” 256MB Raspberry Pi, and found it at 30-40% load while playing a web radio station. Not too bad. Regular “CD Quality” MP3s should play without issues, HD audio might be tricky….
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing, tiny and inexpensive computer based on Linux. Despite being small and cheap, a Raspberry Pi system packs enough power to perform network management tasks using appropriate software tools. In this article, we introduce you to such a tool called Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG) that uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to monitor network devices and draw graphs showing how much traffic has passed through interfaces over time. We will also take some time refreshing your memories about SNMP, the protocol used by MRTG. We then cover how to install and configure MRTG on a Raspberry Pi system. The ability to visually monitor traffic load on network links at a glance, as explained in this article, is very useful in a Network Operations Center (NOC) environment.