Arduino is ready for Maker Faire Bay Area, the world’s most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft and science.
On 18th and 19th May 2013 at San Mateo County Events Center, in California, Arduino will present a lot of novelties, proving more and more to be one of the benchmark in the maker movement.
A new product – Arduino Robot brings you into the world of robotics. Designed with Complubot, the 4-times world champions in Robocup Junior robotics soccer, the robot allows for endless hours of experimentation and play. It is a self-contained platform allowing you to build interactive machines to explore the world. You can use it as it is, modify its software and even add your own hardware on top of it. You can learn as you go: the Arduino Robot is perfect for the novice but also for those looking for their next challenge.
As always with Arduino, every element of the platform – hardware, software and documentation – is freely available and open-source. This means you can learn exactly how it’s made and use its design as the starting point for your own robots.
A new software – Arduino has released the new version of the Arduino IDE and the new TFT screen. TCT LCD library relies on the Adafruit GFX and ST7735 libraries. Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer Limor ‘Ladyada’, Enterpreneur of the year 2012. The Arduino specific library, named TFT, extends the Adafruit libraries to support more Processing-like methods. You can write text, draw shapes, and show bitmap images on the screen in a way that should be familiar to users of Processing.
This looks brilliant, a team of self-described “lazy hackers” has come up an automated beer dispensing system named RoboKeg, a Raspberry Pi powered, NFC (Near Field Communications) triggered beer tap. A long beer line at a crowded concert or bar is not an issue anymore, with a Robokeg, sort of vending machine, all you need to do is let RoboKeg scans the chip in your wristband.
I love using python for handing data. Displaying it isn’t always as easy. Python fast to write, and numpy, scipy, and matplotlib are an incredible combination. I love matplotlib for displaying data and use it all the time, but when it comes to realtime data visualization, matplotlib (admittedly) falls behind. Imagine trying to plot sound waves in real time. Matplotlib simply can’t handle it. I’ve recently been making progress toward this end with PyQwt with the Python X,Y distribution. It is a cross-platform solution which should perform identically on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. Here’s an example of what it looks like plotting some dummy data (a sine wave) being transformed with numpy.roll().
Created during the Fall 2012 Residency season at Eyebeam, Subnodes (http://subnod.es/) is an open source initiative designed to streamline the process of setting up a Raspberry Pi as a wireless access point for distributing content and taking part in shared digital experiences. The device behaves as a web server, creating its own local area network, and does not connect with the internet. This is key for the sake of offering a space where people can communicate anonymously and freely, as well as maximizing the portability of the network (no dependability on an internet connection means the device can be taken and remain active anywhere).
I was motivated to design this receiver after reading the work  of Matjaž Vidmar, S53MV, who developed a GPS receiver from scratch, using mainly discrete components, over 20 years ago. His use of DSP following a hard-limiting IF and 1-bit ADC interested me. The receiver described here works on the same principle. Its 1-bit ADC is the 6-pin IC near the pin headers, an LVDS-output comparator. Hidden under noise but not obliterated in the bi-level quantised mush that emerges are signals from every satellite in view.
All GPS satellites transmit on the same frequency, 1575.42 MHz, using direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). The L1 carrier is spread over a 2 MHz bandwidth and its strength at the Earth’s surface is -130 dBm. Thermal noise power in the same bandwidth is -111 dBm, so a GPS signal at the receiving antenna is ~ 20 dB below the noise floor. That any of the signals present, superimposed one on another and buried in noise, are recoverable after bi-level quantisation seems counter-intuitive!
GPS relies on the correlation properties of pseudo-random sequences called Gold Codes to separate signals from noise and each other. Every satellite transmits a unique sequence. All uncorrelated signals are noise, including those of other satellites and hard-limiter quantisation errors. Mixing with the same code in the correct phase de-spreads the wanted signal and further spreads everything else. Narrow-band filtering then removes wideband noise without affecting the (once again narrow) wanted signal. Hard-limiting (1-bit ADC) degrades SNR by less than 3 dB, a price worth paying to avoid hardware AGC.
Yes, there’s a fleet of camera-equipped, remote-controlled blimps live-streaming a bird’s-eye view of Google I/O on YouTube, right now. It’s called Google AirShow and it’s taken over the airspace within Moscone Center. We briefly chatted with Chris Miller, a software engineer with AKQA (the company that put the dirigibles together for Google), about the technology used in each aircraft. It all begins with an off-the-shelf model airship that’s flown manually via standard a 2.4GHz radio.
Raspberry Pi Model A 256MB RAM – The Raspberry Pi® is a single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools. The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. (read more)
“Adding to the popular Make line of kits, like ‘Getting Started with Arduino’ the new cobranded product lineup from Maker Media and RadioShack combine Maker Media’s strength in cultivating and growing the maker movement with RadioShack’s strong retail footprint and DIY heritage,” said Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Maker Media. “Our new cobranded products are designed to give makers a path to making while they continue to develop their skills and push the limits of their creativity.” The new cobranded product lineup will be available in-store and online exclusively at RadioShack later this year. In addition, MAKE Magazine will join the MAKE book lineup and will be available in stores this fall.
RadioShack jumping completely in to the maker movement and Make as a stand-alone company co-branding with other brands – big moves in the maker business arena!
Nick Donaldson’s new hexapod robot Grinder goes for a skate on the tennis courts at the park. Approximate top speed is 6mph / 10kph when skating, 10x the walking speed. The wheels are passively mounted at an angle to the legs, allowing them to roll on the ground when the legs are spread. Find out more about Grinder at http://www.gotrobots.com/grinder/
This project focuses on a common area of power usage in the home- the humble PC. Sure, laptops are more efficient- but sometimes only a PC will do. Many of us leave a PC on just in case we need to log onto it remotely. If we’re not using it, it’s just sitting there using electricity- and usually quite a bit of it. The most efficient desktop PCs still use around 35-45 watts when idling. Gaming PCs with big video cards can easily top 200 watts!
The PiSwitch solution lets you hook up a Raspberry Pi to your PC to control your power and reset buttons. The Raspberry Pi only uses about 1 watt of power when on, so it’s more economical to leave it on all the time. In this article, I’ll walk through how to set up the Raspberry Pi from start to finish to do this.
Another great job by Sir Ben of Phenoptix Towers. He built me the original case in clear acrylic with the old style Phenoptix logo on the front access and cover panel whilst I was setting my Adafruit Mini Thermal Printer up with my Arduino Ethernet to run as a Electronic Fortune Cookie machine. It was pretty cool for a few months till everyone had played with it enough and we had gone through 3x 75ft rolls of paper printing random fortunes from a server.
I have recently been inspired Adafruit once again who brought some new life to its lovely little £40 Thermal receipt printer and created the Python Libs and files to run the Printer from the much more versatile and powerful RasPi which obviously has a far more appeal and range of uses due to being able to connect to any website, server, or database and run far more complex programs due to the almost unlimited space available compared to the measly 32KB of room the ‘Duino allowed and having it all being able to be coded in Python which is far easier to change around and cut and paste pieces.
Anyway with a bit of tweaking of their code for running a standard search f the Twitter API every 30 seconds and printing any matches to the criteria you give it, I went a little further with the API and created some custom searches and set it up so an RGB LED would be lit if a match occurred and then it prints the tweet. I have also just about got it working so depending on which search criteria it matches it displays a different color (Nothing fancy, Just Red, Green and Blue to keep it simple). It also responds to a secondary button push which also lights the RGB LED, this button is as well as the standard as set out in the Adafruit program which gives you Time & Temp printout for a tap and Safe Power Down of the Pi if you hold down for 2 seconds. Now in addition on a further momentary switch the Printer will print the last tweet from each of the 3 criteria I have set it up for depending on how long you hold the button down, each step is 2 seconds and the LED will light each of its 3 main colours for every 2 seconds its held down which match the search criteria result light colour… So hold for 2 secs and the LED Goes Red and Prints out last tweet from criteria #1 (To @RaW_Gaming) once it gets to 4 secs the LED will switch to Blue and print the 2nd criteria last tweet (From @xxxxxx) and then at 6 secs it goes to Green and prints criteria #3 which currently is (Farnell and Camera) – was keeping eye on tweets for the word as soon as Farnell put the RasPi cameras on sale, which worked well as I got the first tweet saying they were up on the Farnell site and immediately went there and pre-ordered one of the first new RasPi cameras in exactly the same way as I managed to get one of the first UK BeagleBone Blacks the week before by having the app run matches for “Farnell and BeagleBone”. After 8 Seconds the Main program kicks in and starts a safe shut down and tapping the other button still prints Weather and Time (Local).
Its a pretty cool setup!
Anyway it was starting to look a mess and I needed to hide alot of fly leads so Ben kindly once again hit the laser and cut me a new front in semi transparent Purple Acrylic (which I bought myself and had shipped to Phenptix for a project I eventually scrapped months ago and has been sitting up there with no use for ages) etched with the Twitter Logo so that its not visible and just a plain purple front when there are no notifier lights lit but the logo lights ups when the LED does with each colour and and looks pretty sweet diffused through the frosted purple!. Also replaced the two side panels with same Purple to hide the mass of wiring bundled inside the case.