You know that kid that’s so smart she is consistently impressing you? The one who always says things like, “D’you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?” Here’s some gift ideas that will have those kids saying, “You had me at educational electronics kits.” SHOW ME THE GIFT GUIDE!
Gifts from Adafruit!
Adafruit ARDX – v1.3 Experimentation Kit for Arduino (Uno R3) – v1.3 – Interested in making neat stuff with an Arduino but not sure where to start? This kit includes all the pieces needed to complete 11 different circuits, along with a experimenter’s guide booklet & breadboard layout sheets. Basically everything you need to be playing within minutes of its arrival. No soldering required!
The Laser Game: KHET 2.0 – Card games? LAME! Board games? BORING! Add some frickin’ lasers to your game-night with the game that combines lasers with classic strategy. Players alternate turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces having two, one or no mirrored surfaces. All four types of pieces (pharaoh, anubis, pyramid and scarab) can either move one square forward, back, left, right, or diagonal, or stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist. Each turn ends by firing the real laser diode built into each player’s Sphinx piece. The laser beam bounces from mirror to mirror; if the beam strikes a non-mirrored surface on any piece, it is immediately removed from play. The ultimate goal is to illuminate your opponent’s pharaoh, while shielding yours from harm!
Bigshot Camera – DIY Digital Camera Kit – Build your very own digital camera with the Bigshot camera kit. It’s a no-solder clip-together kit to help anyone understand the electronic and mechanical systems required to build a digital camera. From Bigshot: “The enormous appeal of the camera can be used to turn it into a compelling tool for learning. We believe that a camera designed for education must have three features. First, it should be designed as a kit for assembly – putting the kit together should expose the user to a wide range of science concepts. Second, it should include features that cannot be found in other cameras, allowing the user to explore new creative dimensions. Finally, it should be low-cost, making it accessible to the less privileged. Bigshot has been designed with these goals in mind. There is another important feature that sets Bigshot apart from virtually all educational kits – once you have built it, it is a fully functioning digital camera that you can use everyday!”
MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. MaKey MaKey was invented by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum & Made by JoyLabz. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video.
Drawdio is an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw! It’s great project for beginners: An easy soldering kit with instant gratification. Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper. We also sell a pre-assembled version for all the fun without the soldering!
OWI Robotic Arm Edge – Robot arm – OWI-535 – Riding the wings of the award winning Robotic Arm Trainer, OWI has made robotic arm technology more affordable without compromising quality. With Robotic Arm Edge, command the gripper to open and close, wrist motion of 120 degrees, an extensive elbow range of 300 degrees, base rotation of 270 degrees, base motion of 180 degrees, vertical reach of 15 inches, horizontal reach of 12.6 inches, and lifting capacity of 100g. This is a pretty complicated arm to build, but we’re happy with the quality and the arm. Many hackers and makers have used it with our Adafruit Motorshield.
A National Historic Landmark named the “best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects in 2007, Fallingwater in Western Pennsylvania is a paragon of organically harmonious architecture. Now you can try your hand at constructing Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece with this amazing 811-piece Lego set. Including instructions as well as an informative booklet about the house’s design and history, this educational and challenging activity kit will delight and confound architecture fans ages 16 and up. Finished model measures 10″ long. (Not for children under 10.)
Program the ReCon Rover 6.0 to tell a knock-knock joke, guard your room, deliver a snack, demolish a Lego structure, and more. The full-color, 48-page manual includes instructions for 10 “missions,” plus illustrations, maps, tips, troubleshooting, and random facts. This robot allows kids to understand programming basics, likes sequencing and loops, while introducing more advanced concepts like Boolean logic, the Pythagorean theorem, and artificial intelligence (AI).
The ReCon Rover robot comes fully assembled and doesn’t require a computer. You supply three C batteries and help for young kids. Beginner level: Ages 8 and up.
Solar Power Vehicles Kit – Thames & Kosmos makes great kid for kids. We sell their Electronics Experiment Kit here, but are big fans of all their products including this Solor Power Vehicles Kit.
Explore engineering and vehicle mechanics as you build models like a helicopter, steam locomotive, or bulldozer. Then experiment with one or more photovoltaic cells to energize them outdoors in bright sun (or indoors with a AA battery). You can even design your own solar vehicles with the 177 pieces included in this set! It also includes a 24-page manual with step-by-step instructions for six models, plus scientific information on solar power and photovoltaic cells. Three solar cells are included that produce 1.5 volts in bright sun (not suitable for indoor use). You provide a AA rechargeable battery, which can be recharged with materials in this kit. Ages 10 & up.
Here are your 2013 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.
UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 13, 2013 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive in time for Christmas.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 19, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 20, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 23, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 16, 2013. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 22, 2013. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/13.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
NEW PRODUCT – “Three Fives” Discrete 555 Timer Kit – The “Three Fives” Discrete 555 Timer kit from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is a faithful and functional transistor-scale replica of the classic NE555 timer integrated circuit, one of the most classic, popular, and all-around useful chips of all time.
The Three Fives kit was designed by Eric Schlaepfer, in collaboration with Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. The kit is lovingly designed to resemble an (overgrown) integrated circuit, based around an extra-thick matte-finish printed circuit board. It comes complete with a tough and sturdy plastic stand that gives the circuit board eight legs in the shape of DIP-packaged integrated circuit pins.
Building the kit
The Three Fives kit is sold as an easy-to-build soldering kit [?]. It includes the circuit board, resistors, and transistors that make up the electrical circuit as well as printed assembly instructions. The kit also comes complete with the “IC Leg” stand, and 8 color coded thumbscrew terminal posts.
To build the Three Fives kit, basic electronic soldering skill and tools are required, but no additional knowledge of electronics is presumed or required. You provide standard soldering tools: a soldering iron + solder and small (“flush”) wire clippers, as well as a Phillips head screwdriver.
The kit features easy “through-hole” construction (“No surface-mount nothin’ nowhere!”), and (assuming that you have prior soldering experience) should take roughly an hour to build.
Using the “Three Fives” Discrete 555 Timer
The Three Fives circuit is a direct implementation of the “equivalent circuit” from the NE555 datasheet, built up using resistors and individual 2N3904 and 2N3906 transistors. It comes with terminal posts and solder points so that you can actually connect to it and build up classic 555 timer and oscillator circuits. Using those terminal posts and solder points, you can hook up with with bare wires, lugs, alligator clips, and/or solder joints– however you see fit. And unlike the chip version, you can even hook up probes to monitor what goes on inside the circuit.
There are a remarkably large number of excellent 555 example circuits available on the internet (for example, over 100 here). In the photo to the right, you can see a simple 555 LED flasher built up with the Three Fives kit.
After seeing this Instructable about controlling the Eggbot with a Raspberry Pi, it seemed like a great thing to bring to MakerFaire. I had a small LCD screen handy (although it’s pretty low res) so it should work perfect for computerless demos and not take up too much space.
Starting with an EggBot built from the Evil Mad Science Laboratories kit, we embed a Raspberry Pi Linux board into the EggBot. This required that we installed Inkscape, the eggbot extensions and VNC server software; next we installed VNC client app onto an iPad and an iPhone (only the iPad is shown in this video); We connect the USB from the Pi to the EggBot board and connect power to both boards; now we have an autonomous EggBot which needs no external computer, keyboard, mouse or monitor — all controlled wirelessly from iPad or iPhone.
The Original Egg-Bot! – Deluxe Kit! – The Eggbot is an open-source art robot that can draw on spherical or egg-shaped objects from the size of a ping pong ball to that of a small grapefruit– roughly 1.25 to 4.25 inches in diameter (3 – 10 cm).
The Eggbot is super adjustable, and is designed to draw on all kinds of things that are normally “impossible” to print on. Not just eggs but ping pong balls, light bulbs, mini pumpkins, and even things like wine glasses– with a bit of work. See the photos above for some examples of personalized golf balls, christmas ornaments, light bulbs, and (yes) eggs. (read more)
We used a serial-to-USB converter to be able to upload images to the computers, each of which has enough space for four different images, allowing us to create animations or just to display a rotating set of images.
For my first go, I tried a portrait of Carl Sagan. Because we only have one color, I had to find a simple portrait that was easy to reduce to a single color. I found this one on Google Images, and turned it into this.
SpokePOV Kit – v1.1 – One single SpokePOV fits in one wheel, you can add as many SpokePOVs to a wheel as you’d like get a better image. With one spoke, persistence at a speedy 15mph. Two spokes for cruising at 10mph. Three for a leisurely 7mph! Read more about specifications, full instructions, usage, etc. at the SpokePOV webpage. (read more)
We’ve been watching the work of RoboGenius for quite some time. He has created some of the neatest non-geometric work anybody has done on the Egg-Bot. Recently, he uploaded a number of his designs to thingiverse, which means you can try them out, too.
The Original Egg-Bot! – Deluxe Kit! – The Eggbot is an open-source art robot that can draw on spherical or egg-shaped objects from the size of a ping pong ball to that of a small grapefruit– roughly 1.25 to 4.25 inches in diameter (3 – 10 cm). The Eggbot is super adjustable, and is designed to draw on all kinds of things that are normally “impossible” to print on. Not just eggs but ping pong balls, light bulbs, mini pumpkins, and even things like wine glasses– with a bit of work. See the photos above for some examples of personalized golf balls, christmas ornaments, light bulbs, and (yes) eggs. (read more)
When we left New York City to explore what it would take to create a way of life in which we could be full time makers we had no idea that it would lead to a return to Maker Faire this time to launch a book about our experiences. The Good Life Lab is a manual for post consumer living. We did discover a lifestyle that allowed us to be full time makers. Along the way we learned to wildcraft, grow food, ferment, weld, build and home manufacture electronics. By developing mad skills we learned to live out of the waste stream and harvest from nature. When we applied technology to old problems we found new ways to solve them. Then we shared what we knew and put our work in the commons. In retrospect we noticed that jobs can be expensive. Especially if they prevent us from discovering the things we most love to do. What would you do if you could be a full time maker, if you didnt have to go to work tomorrow? If your in N. California meet us at the Maker Faire and tell us about it.
The Good Life Lab is pre-launching at Maker Faire. It comes out in stores everywhere June 5 and can be preordered on Amazon
Wendy Tremayne was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built an off-the-grid oasis in a barren RV park with her partner, Mikey Sklar. She is the founder of the textile repurposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama, which has spread all over the world. She has written for Craft’s webzine and Make magazine and, with Mikey Sklar, keeps the blog Holy Scrap.
Mikey Sklar is a digital homesteader, open source hardware developer and anti-griddle master. Mikey has worked for Adafruit, Hack-A-Day and Popular Science.
Wendy & Mikey are giving three presentations @ Maker Faire, San Mateo, CA
Meet the Maker Stage
Saturday May 18, 2013 03:30PM – 3:50
Homegrown Village Stage
Sunday May 19, 2013 11:30AM – 12:20
Swap-O-Rama-Rama – Talk and Book Signing
May 20, 2013 03:20PM – 3:40
Note from Ladyada & pt @ Adafruit:We’ve known Wendy & Mikey for years, we’ve visited their place in Truth or Consequences and it was one of the best experiences ever. They shared a preview of the book with us and it’s inspirational tale for all makers. If you’re at Maker Faire this weekend, go see them and either way, pick up this book!
After months of development, Adafruit Industries ushers in a new era of Arduino with the ground-breaking High Performance Computing (HPC) Shield!
The HPC Shield consists of 16 Arduino Unos connected together in a 4-dimensional “HyperCube” topology. Interprocessor communications are accomplished via high-speed hardware SPI.
Programming the HPC Shield is supported through a new version of the standard Arduino IDE that was specially developed using the open-source ParallelProcessing language.
The memory of each individual Uno is shared across the entire Shield through Adafruit’s new “Parallel Arduino Synchronous Shared Global Address Space” (PASSGAS) technology. This revolutionary technology breaks the Arduino memory barrier, and gives the HPC Shield programmer full access to a whopping 32K of combined SRAM!
Adafruit’s testing shows that a single HPC Shield can achieve an astounding throughput of 17.8MBops (millions of LED blink operations per second) using standard Arduino benchmarks. For truly mind-blowing performance, up to 128 HPC Shields can be connected in a variety of topologies via I2C.
In a prepared statement, Adafruit Founder ladyada notes that “the already modular nature of the Arduino platform made it surprisingly easy for us to bring this project together. The only real problem we had was getting the Adafruit_Hadoop library installed in the right place”.
The HPC Shield is sold as a kit, including all necessary cables. A nifty laser-cut clear acrylic case is available separately.
The Adafruit HPC Shield is now available for order directly through the Adafruit Store at a retail price of $379.95, and is scheduled to begin shipping April 1*.
*A Special Overnight shipping rate is available to anywhere in the Continental US for an additional $21.18.
NEW PRODUCT – Bare Conductive Greeting Card Kit – This is a lovely way to get started with Bare Conductive paint, with three fun electronic greeting cards. Use the included 10 mL pen to draw traces and connect components on the front of the card. Two cards have cute robots with blinkie eyes or hearts, the third card is blank and ready for your creative robot drawing (or other creature?!?)
Comes with: Three cards, one 10mL Bare Conductive pen, 3 x auto-flashing red LEDs, 1 x auto-flashing rainbow LED, 3 x 3v coin batteries.
NEW PRODUCT – Bare Conductive Paint – Bare Conductive Paint is a multipurpose electrically conductive material perfect for all of your DIY projects! Bare Paint is water based, nontoxic and dries at room temperature.
Bare Paint is the first non-toxic electrically conductive paint available to consumers today. This unique child-friendly material is designed for people of all ages to explore and learn about electronics with an inclusive, easy-to-use material.
NEW PRODUCT – Bare Conductive Paint Pen – 10mL – Bare Paint provides a dramatically different method of interacting with electronics as it can be applied to almost any surface, including cardboard, paper, wood, wallpaper, walls, textiles, and some plastics.
Bare paint can be used to replace conventional acid etching, making it a great electronics prototyping tool. Nontoxic and water-soluble, Bare Paint can be used without gloves or mask. The paint dries quickly at room temperature, and can be removed with soap and water. This means it’s also not water-proof or weather-resistant!
Application Methods Include: painting, screen printing & spray painting among others. Despite being called “Bare” conductive, it’s meant not for use on bare skin.
NEW PRODUCT – SpikenzieLabs Calculator Kit. The SpikenzieLabs Calculator Kit another one of a kind, 100% original SpikenzieLabs’ kit. Easy to solder with through hole parts that it is both useful and super cool! Comes as a kit of electronic and plastic parts, after it is assembled you will have a lovely battery-powered pocket calculator. If you’re feeling extra-adventurous, the chip is programmed with an Arduino-compatible bootloader so it’s very hackable as well. Some tools are required to assemble: soldering iron, solder, and wire cutters. You’ll also want some masking tape and a hex wrench (although we just used pliers assemble the screws).
Add, subtract, multiply & divide.
No computer is required, ships pre-programmed.
It is easily modified using the Arduino IDE.
Six bright red 7 segment LED modules.
Powered by a single CR2032 battery.
Instant-on, automatic sleep, extra long battery life.
NEW PRODUCT – Uzebox Starter Kit – v1.0 – The Uzebox is a fully open-source, DIY 8-bit game console. It is designed specifically for people who know a little bit of programming to expand into designing and creating their own video games and demos. A full-featured core runs in the background and does all the video and audio processing so that your code stays clean and easy to understand.
This electronic kit comes unassembled: it includes the PCB, pre-programmed chip, and all components including a pre-soldered video chip. All but one of the components are through-hole, so you can build it yourself without difficulty. However, it is a 1-2 hr project and its best to have used your soldering iron before this project.
Parallax Partners with the U.S. Army and Carnegie Mellon University to host the 2013 National microMedic Contest to Encourage Medical Innovation
Uncle Sam Wants You! Now’s your chance to change the way our country does medical simulation and battlefield care. The 2013 microMedic National Contest is calling the best and brightest, that’s you, to help invent new medical applications using microcontrollers. With over $25,000 in cash and prizes awarded to the winners, what are you waiting for? Contestants may use any microcontroller they desire in their application. Parallax is offering two flavors of the microMedic Application Idea Kit full of tons of sensors and cool parts; one kit has the multi-core Propeller chip, the other includes the Board of Education Shield (for Arduino).
In order to help you in your quest we’ve created a special discussion forum for the microMedic contest, provided a list of project ideas and created a bunch of mini-tutorials to help you get started with the kit sensors. We’re even giving away 100 free kits to the first qualified entries. This contest is open to participants of all ages with special prizes for educational and public division winners.
NEW PRODUCT! littleBits Teaser Kit – Curious about littleBits but don’t know where to start, or what it is? Want to offer a friend a tiny touch of magnet magic, you’ll love the teaser kit! Tiny enough to fit in your purse or pocket, but still big enough to impress. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to put the power of engineers in the hands of artists, makers and children. Contents: coin battery (rechargeable via micro usb cable) bargraph pressure sensor.