We’ve learned an extraordinary amount since our campaign launched on May 2. We’ve had many breakthroughs, and we’ve made some mistakes along the way too. As we approach delivery, I wanted to take the time to share some of what we’ve learned and help answer the oft-asked question: why does every Kickstarter project seem to get delayed?
Bart writes: “The BeagleBone is awesome little controller. It is a lot like the Raspberry Pi, but it has one special feature that makes it viable for CNC. It is the PRU. This is Programmable Realtime Unit. This a part of the CPU that runs separately from the OS and gives it the critical timing required for smooth stepper motor control. People have tapped into this and LinuxCNC to make a real embedded version of LinuxCNC. Add in all the other capabilities like HDMI, keyboard, mouse networking, etc and things get amazing really fast.”
If you liked the BeagleBone, you will love the next gen BeagleBone Black! With a blistering 1GHz processor, 512MB onboard DDR3 RAM, built in 2GB storage with pre-installed Linux operating system (no microSD card required!), and best of all, the addition of a MicroHDMI connector for audio/video output. This is a ultra-powered embedded computer that can fit in a mint tin. Note: As of June 4, 2013, 1pm ET Adafruit is shipping Rev A5B.
What questions do you have about wearable electronics? Ask them now, and you could win our live giveaway!
All inquisitive askers whose questions are featured on this week’s LIVE Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern will be eligible for a special giveaway. Post your Qs in the comments here, on Google+, Twitter, or YouTube, and then tune in at 2pm ET on Wednesday for the answers and to see if you’ve won!
Soft robots can potentially do a lot of jobs a hard robot made of steel and servos just can’t do. Something composed of soft, flexible structures and actuators might be able to burrow through the dirt like an earthworm, conform to complex objects like a human hand, and go huge distances on minimal power just like organic machines (bats, bugs, dolphins, etc) do.
One reason you don’t see too many robots like these is how difficult they are to design, plan, and manufacture. Either they’re made of lots of interconnecting soft structures knitted together with glue and fasteners (each seam meaning additional labor, expense, and chances of breaking), or composed of a single skin.
I’ve been poking at easier ways to manufacture soft robots and think that these single skin designs have a lot of potential. I think that making robots this way could lower their cost while increasing their strength and durability. I’ve been calling these single skin robots plionics.
The method consists of designing your robot in CAD and working backwards from there to produce an outer mold and an inner core. Casting silicone between the mold and the core forms the robot itself and melting out the core gives you the finished product.
You can find the documentation behind a whole series of these robots here.
In this tutorial I’m going to demonstrate how to put together one of my most successful robot designs (a strange squishy creature called the Trefoil Tentacle) using a combination of 3d printing, silicone casting, an arduino, and a bit of pneumatics.
Love to dance? Illuminate your night by making your own version of LIGHTSKIN. Make like the wind and blow them away this Halloween!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Each weekday this month we’ll be bringing you ideas and projects for an Electronic Halloween! Expect wearables, hacks & mods, costumes and more here on the Adafruit blog! Working on a project for Halloween this year? Share it with us on Google+, in the comments below, the Adafruit forums, Facebook, or Twitter– we’d love to see what you’re up to and share it with the world (tag your posts #ElectronicHalloween). Tune in to our live shows, Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern and Ask an Engineer, where Adafruit store discount codes are announced– get the most bang for your Halloween buck!
A couple of weeks ago Apple announced the new iPhone 5s with Touch ID, a fingerprint identity sensor that replaces the need for a conventional PIN number or password. It got me thinking… wouldn’t it be cool to make a lockable toy box with fingerprint access for my son’s toy car collection.
At the heart of the system is an Arduino Uno and an Optical Fingerprint Sensor from Adafruit. The box uses a standard hobby servo as the latch to lock and unlock the lid based on the fingerprint detected.
Secure your project with biometrics – this all-in-one optical fingerprint sensor will make adding fingerprint detection and verification super simple. These modules are typically used in safes – there’s a high powered DSP chip that does the image rendering, calculation, feature-finding and searching. Connect to any microcontroller or system with TTL serial, and send packets of data to take photos, detect prints, hash and search. You can also enroll new fingers directly – up to 162 finger prints can be stored in the onboard FLASH memory. There’s a red LED in the lens that lights up during a photo so you know its working.
The CC3000 http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/CC3000 is a Wi-Fi 802.11b/g Network Processor from Texas Instruments. The modified API allows quasi non-blocking behavior for work with RT OS and/or watchdog timers etc.
It is build with arm-none-eabi-gcc v 4.7.3
The CC3000 should have firmware 1.11 for server mode (sockets) there can be issues with socket listen, select, accept and bind otherwise…
Some info: If an interrupt occurs, then the data is being received and handed over to the event handler. The event handler checks the affiliation of the data (e.g. if it is unsolicited) and it checks if the data is what we have been waiting for.
I have also introduced a flow_handler. This completely handles outgoing and incoming data and also the different states of the CC3000. All executive actions are handled there. In the main loop we only set the next action to execute and perhaps handle some of the payload data.(e.g. with recv and send)
There are two important variables: cc3000_desired_state and cc3000_current_state Everytime a command is sent and we expect a return, then cc3000_desired_state is incremented. If we then received the desired code, cc3000_current_state is incremented. If desired state equals current state, then cc3000_is_ready() will return 1 and the next state is set after we processed the data.
At the moment I check for the isr and also if the irq pin is low in the main loop. The goal is to only check for the isr flag, but due to some strange timing things in the CC3000 I have to check for both, because for some reason if I do not print out the debug strings, then the initialisation goes wrong. (The code also works if there is no interrupt at all and the pin is just polled in the main loop)
At any time there will be no wait states. After a command has been executed the program will immediately go back to the main loop. There are more functions (we need a function to request data and one to handle the received payload) and more buffers (which can be reduced). But overall there is more control over what is going on.
Robotic start-up companies range from the whimsical to the amazing, from futuristic to topical, and from hubs of robotic activity in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York City (a new hub) and Switzerland to far-off places around the world: Turkey, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Christchurch, Reykjavik, Singapore, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires — essentially, everywhere that programmers program and engineers tinker.
When small businesses reach a certain volume in sales, they often consider outsourcing their fulfillment operations to what’s known as a third-party logistics provider, or “3PL,” meaning that someone else takes responsibility for the packing and shipping. In part, this is because it can take a lot of time and money to build a successful in-house operation, but Ms. Zander has no interest in doing anything of the sort.
At Jimmy Beans, which sells knitting yarn online from its base in Reno, Nev., fulfillment is a critical part of the company’s customer-service operations. “I would never outsource it in a million years,” she said.
…we benefitted from talking to manufacturers before we ran our Kickstarter campaign. They helped us design for injection molding, which was new to us, but a very scalable manufacturing process. We were able to get tooling estimates that helped us decide both on our overall funding goal, and on our reward levels. We were able to decide these things based on a well-informed estimate of our production costs (based on an absolutely monstrous spreadsheet that we agonized over for days), not on guesses or a gut feeling of how much it ought to cost — or at least, we eliminated a large percentage of the guess-work. We set a goal that would cover non-recoverable expenses and allow us to break even on a batch of 300 Clydes. Any more than that, the unit costs only go down, and that puts us in good shape.
The first thing a microcontroller project must do is communicate, often with us humans. While the Trinket mini microcontroller does not have a serial monitor built in (like the Arduino Uno), it can talk over various protocols including software serial, I2C (two wire), and SPI. Adafruit sells a wide array of I2C devices including a backpack to interface with a number of nice liquid crystal (LCD) displays – perfect as it only requires two of the five Trinket pins.
Monitoring sensors is very common for Internet of Things (IoT) projects. Here we’ll select the popular DHT series of temperature and humidity sensors.
This project can be placed in a very small enclosure and used anywhere environmental monitoring is needed. The code and concepts may be used in a number of your own projects.
Yes, you’ve done it too, maybe not as dramatically or as intergalactically as some of these characters, but we’ve all had our moments. Duncan Robson scoured movies, tv and the internet to piece this collection together of people banging, screaming and heaving at uncooperative technology, be it their spaceship, their car, or their telephone, they’ve all broken down just when they’re most needed. via colossal:
I presented this exhibition in Reykjavik in June 2013, and it consisted of two different
installations, both engaging with sound’s impact in multiple ways, so that people could both feel and create music, by hearing, touching and seeing the sound.
I tried to demonstrate the power of our senses when they interact in being “triggered” simultaneously. I was interested in questions of how sight can enhance hearing, or also disturb our balance in perceiving a multimedia-based bodily experience.