Our offices have these little peek-a-boo sections in the frosted glass. Some people stick post-it notes up describing what’s going on with them, but I wanted something more complex. I had recently picked up the Adafruit “RGB backlight negative LCD” display and was evaluating the X-Bee radios and decided to make an “almost wireless” LCD display for the front of my office. It’s not very complex – using a Boarduino (Arduino) running a little sketch that has a few modes – static text, alternating text describing what I’m working on, plus a mode that cycles through a bunch of “Burma Shave” four-liners just for silliness. The modes and backlight color are controlled from my PC via the other X-Bee. People seem to like it, so I’ll probably commit it to a perf-board and get rid of all those ugly wires.
RGB backlight positive LCD 20×4 + extras [black on RGB]. To match our popular 16×2 RGB Character LCDs (http://www.adafruit.com/products/399 & http://www.adafruit.com/products/398) we’ve now added 20×4 LCDs! Get more text, with an RGB backlight. Both positive and negative type! This is a fancy upgrade to standard 20×4 LCDs, instead of just having blue and white, or red and black, this LCD has black characters on a full color RGB background! That means you can change the display background color to anything you want – red, green, blue, pink, white, purple yellow, teal, salmon, chartreuse. This LCD looks strikingly good in person. This LCD is the most daylight readable character LCD we have and is very beautiful and easy to read no matter what color/brightness you have for the backlight.
One nice thing about these LCDs is that they are an elegant upgrade, but you can use them in existing LCD projects and they’ll still work – just that only the red LED will be used (so it will appear black-on-red). The extra two pins (17 and 18) are for the green and blue LEDs. The LCD has resistors on board already so that you can drive it with 5V logic and the current draw will be ~40mA per LED (there are two LEDs, 20mA each). There’s a single LED backlight for the entire display, the image above showing 3 colors at once is a composite!
Comes with a single 20×4 RGB backlight LCD, 10K necessary contrast potentiometer and strip of header. Our tutorials and diagrams will have you up and running in no time!
Why spend time in a crowded and cold times square when you can make your OWN Times Square LED ball? Perfect for new years eve, disco parties, weddings, raves, bar mitzvahs, or just a romantic night in. This DIY LED Disco Ball is made using Adafruit’s 12mm LED pixels, an Arduino and two 2.4GHz XBee’s (for wireless disco control!). The LED pattern is controlled by the open source graphics language, Processing so it works on Windows, Mac or Linux computers. The ball pattern is made of a dozen laser cut acrylic panels that are ziptied together and the hanging cord is also the power supply cable (HD video here).
We’ll have a full tutorial after the new year so stay tuned and get your leisure suit to the cleaners!
Last weekend I finally mostly-finished the project I’ve been working on, on and off, for the last several months. My Master Control Project, or MCP*, was designed to be a central controller and information display that would sit on my desk in my livingroom, and give me all sorts of useful information while allowing me to control various things.
The idea grew out of my DIY thermostat project – after getting a taste of what could be done with an Arduino and an ethernet connection, I wanted more!
This month Radio Shack is testing the waters for a return to its roots and the DIY revolution. Parallax is supplying 500 stores across the country with XBees, Arduinos and other maker-oriented components. If sales take off, the distribution will extend to Radio Shack’s 5,700 company locations and potentially to 4,500 other independent dealers.
This is an amazing opportunity to bring the innovative power of rapid prototyping directly to a broad audience of students, inventors, educators, weekend tinkerers and professional engineers. Here’s a complete listing of the Radio Shacks with XBees, Arduinos, etc. from Parallax. If you’re near one, then a visit along with a purchase could help put the wheels in motion for countless creative components to be available nationwide. Check the list and go!
A correction to Rob’s post we quoted here. Just to be very clear. Arduino is supplying the Arduinos to Radioshack!
And Parallax is supplying Basic Stamp and Propeller Microcontrollers as well as Xbee wireless kits, sensors (GPS,Altimeter, Gyro, Compass, PIR and Ultrasonic Distance sensor) human interface devices (Joystick, 5 position switch, LCD and servo) all are compatible with a wide range of microcontrollers, including Arduino.
The Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture & Design Acquisition Committee has approved the addition of Botanicalls to the MoMA permanent collection. This means that after the Talk to Me exhibition closes, Botanicalls will join the likes of Eames chairs the BIC pen, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Starry Night.
The latest version of the XBee Interent Gateway is available today. XIG 1.3.0 includes several groundbreaking features. First there’s a new I/O Sample mode. Starting today, an XBee radio can squirt sensor information directly into the cloud with no external microcontroller or special configuration needed. There’s also a push feature that feeds serial information down to a remote XBee from the cloud. Again, no special configuration is needed. The XIG takes care of all the complicated stuff!
Created by Didier Brun and Sid Lee for Adidas to help them promote the release of their sneaker collection MEGA, the team created a system that would allow dancers to create their own beat or music with their shoes. Although somewhat similar to Nike project by W+K and rhizomatiks, the Sid Lee team have seem to taken the concept a little further making a device like element allowing anyone to pick it up and have a play. The team also built an interactive installation in several Shops in France to allow others to play with the Megalizer.
The system is wireless, placed on each shoe (no cable running on the dancer’s leg, or belt case), efficient at a 6-7 meter range from the speakers. It includes very low latency (max 30ms), handling up to 6 shoes simultaneously. There are two force sensors for each shoe (one for the heel and one for the toe), and a wireless transmitter per shoe to capture the pressure applied on each of the sensors. The first transmitter prototype built was using a BlueTooth chip (class 3). Although the result was satisfactory at half-a-meter distance from the receiver, the latency increased with the distance. At 7 meters, the latency went as much as 1/8th second. Instead a XBee technology was used: with a low power consumption reaching minimum latency at a decent distance.
Each shoe includes A 6-pin dock to connect the sensors and charge the battery, a status LED, switch, 110 mah liPo battery, voltage regulator, XBee chip and a few resistors.
The software includes a server processing the receivers’ inputs (Processing) and an AIR application that interprets the signals, chooses and play the sounds. UI in the flash application is using Keith Petters Minimal Components.
Just finished documenting the latest example project. The Light Switch XBee is a wireless wall switch that can control lamps, fans, motors or your homemade robot using Digi’s XBee radio. It’s a model for almost any digital input device you’d like to build. If it goes on and off, you can make it wireless using this example as your guide!
Congrats Rob! Digi is very lucky to have you! Rob writes -
I just started a terrific new job! In July, Digi International invited me to join their R&D team as Collaborative Strategy Leader. My mandate is to forge stronger connections with the maker community, discover outstanding new work, help Digi contribute to those projects and support innovation in general.
Some of my cool new role will include:
building a thriving developer community
locating interesting new projects that can benefit from Digi’s support
helping makers get their devices connected to the cloud
driving the creation of new examples and kits
helping developers publish, present, workshop and teach
speaking at summits, panel discussions or other gatherings
…and pushing the boundaries with some innovative work of my own
By creating this position Digi hopes to uncover new markets and design new products that engage inventors. We’ll be looking to shine a light on your extraordinary new creative projects. There’s incredible work coming out of design labs, hacker spaces, basements and garages these days. If you’re doing something excellent with XBee radios, or connected devices of any make (we’re brand agnostic), let us know what you’re doing and how we can help you!
As someone else mentioned on Rob’s site, we’d really like to see better naming for the Xbees. We really like series one and sell only those for now, but some customers are convinced that series 2, 3, 4 or 5 is the “newer version” no matter what. Then they buy elsewhere and can’t get stuff to work they way they expect it to.
XBee, series 1 802.15.4 protocol 1mW wireless module, is good for point-to-point, multipoint and convertible to a mesh network point. There are nearly a dozen different types of Xbees. We just carry this one (its the best for all-around wireless communication) in our opinion.
Rob suggest “celebrity maker” names, but we’re not sure that will work out But, since Rob is a well known maker, reads this site – we bet we can assist him, with your help! If you have ideas for better naming, post up in the comments!
Hello adafruit industries. My name is Patrick McCabe and I am a 17 year old senior in high school. I was on the second ”show and tell” of yours. I showed off my custom controller I made. I made it so I can provide input to my robots and get information returned. It contains a LCD, Xbee transceiver, custom LCD Arduino micro-controller backpack, 3 button inputs, a potentiometer, and a Wii Nunchuck circuit board with joystick. The buttons will allow navigation through the menu system and sending simple commands within the menu. The Wii Nunchuck will allow for manual control of a robot by using either the joystick or through tilting action read by the accelerometer. The potentiometer will allow variables like speed to be adjusted on a robot.
Digi International (NASDAQ: DGII) today introduced the XBee® Wi-Fi, an embedded module that enables industry leading low power, serial-to-Wi-Fi networking in the popular XBee form factor. Because of the XBee’s common footprint and application programming interface (API), customers can now create a single board design for wireless products that supports 802.15.4, ZigBee, ZigBee Smart Energy, 2.4 GHz, 900 and 868 MHz, Wi-Fi and proprietary DigiMesh protocols.
“XBee modules offer developers tremendous flexibility and are extremely easy to use,” said Larry Kraft, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, Digi International. “By adding a low-power Wi-Fi module to the XBee product family we give customers the fastest and most flexible way to get Wi-Fi up and running on their systems.”
Ideal for energy management, wireless sensor networks and intelligent asset management, the XBee Wi-Fi offers 802.11 b/g/n networking and flexible SPI and UART serial interfaces. Because the module includes the 802.11 b/g/n physical layer, baseband MAC and TCP/IP stack, developers can add Wi-Fi to their products simply by connecting to the XBee Wi-Fi’s serial port. The XBee Wi-Fi is fully tested at manufacture and comes with modular certification for the U.S., E.U., Canada and a number of other countries, further reducing the time to market, development expense and design complexity.
One or two people have asked in online forums for code from my sensor network, and while I’m usually happy to share, it’s full of a lot of extraneous stuff (RTCs, NTP, displays, thermocouples) that might not be of interest to everyone, but more importantly, that probably only obscures the fundamentals of XBee networking and communicating with Pachube.
So with that in mind, I cut out the extraneous stuff, and just left the bare essentials: A remote sensor unit which transmits a single reading from a photocell to a base unit which connects to the internet and forwards the data on to Pachube.