27 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week


Every Friday, we take a look at some of the smartest, most innovative projects that caught our attention on Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the last seven days. 


YOUMO

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This modular power strip gives you variety of charging options, which are customizable depending upon your needs. Good Gadgets has hit its $55,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Mighty

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This first-of-its-kind device plays your Spotify music without having to be paired to a smartphone. Mighty Audio is currently seeking $250,000 on Kickstarter.

Calendar Watch

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This watch syncs with today’s most popular digital calendars so you can see your day at a glance. What? Watch is currently seeking $104,924 on Kickstarter.

OSSIC X

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This pair of headphones instantly calibrate to your anatomy for the most accurate and immersive 3D audio. OSSIC has already well exceeded its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Fishbit

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This smart aquarium monitor and controller helps keep your tank thriving and fish happy. Current Labs is currently seeking $71,750 on Kickstarter.

SumoBoy

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This programmable, Arduino-based sumo robotics kit lets you have your own Robot Wars. Guntis Kulikovskis is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

HexiWear

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This wearable dev kit enables you to build your own sleek, low-power device packed with sensors to quantify yourself and the world around you. MikroElektronika is closing in on its $20,000 Kickstarter goal.

Netpure

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This two-step system creates a child-safe Wi-Fi network for every device your children use. Netpure is currently seeking $80,000 on Kickstarter.

Reach 3D

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This all-in-one $259 3D printer can be easily modified for laser cutting engraving, plotting and light milling. Nate Rogers has blown right by his $40,000 goal on Kickstarter.

ArcaBoard

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This hoverboard is set on becoming the world’s first. ARCA Space Corporation is currently seeking $250,000 on Kickstarter.

KordBot

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This music production assistant crams a chord generator, arpeggiator and step sequencer all into one unit. ISLA Instruments has nearly doubled its $55,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Allb

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This wearable for infants acts like a babysitter that can help you keep an eye on your little ones from wherever you are. Allb is currently seeking $15,000 on Kickstarter.

Lylo

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This smart, open source router provides easy Wi-Fi and home automation for everyone. Oneby is currently seeking $166,681 on Kickstarter.

CUBILE

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This ‘invisible’ gadget doesn’t just monitor your sleep, but improves your overall health. CUBILE is currently seeking $143,287 on Kickstarter.

KeKePad

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This plug-and-play platform replaces conductive thread with tiny connectors and thin cables. Michael Yang is currently seeking $2,000 on Indiegogo.

BRAIN One

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This portable telemetry device for motorsports tracks your performance, offers feedback in real-time and stores your data to instantly share results. BRAIN is currently seeking $55,106 on Kickstarter.

YodelUp

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This smartphone-connected wearable allows you to control your music and instantly talk to a friend or a group of friends — just like a walkie-talkie. YodelTECH is currently seeking $43,719 on Kickstarter.

Father.io

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This augmented reality platform uses an app, a smartphone camera and an interceptor attachment to transform your mobile device into a virtual weapon for a game of next-gen laser tag. Father.io has already doubled its initial goal of $50,000 on Indiegogo.

Sleep Shepherd Blue

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This headband employs brainwave sensors and binaural beats in a biofeedback loop to improve sleep quality and tracking accuracy. Michael Larson has already well surpassed his goal of $25,000 on Kickstarter.

Poof Bean and Pea

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This pair of super tiny and long-lasting pet monitors will help you protect and keep tabs on your furry friends. The Poof Team is currently seeking $25,000 on Indiegogo.

MoodBox

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This wireless, Bluetooth-enabled and voice-controlled speaker features emotion recognition capabilities, allowing to predict what music you’d like to listen to by gauging your mood. MoodBox is currently seeking $40,000 on Indiegogo.

WiCAM

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This coin-sized, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-equipped camera can be installed anywhere. Armstart Inc. is currently seeking $28,989 on Kickstarter.

Panoporter

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This camera provides you with 24/7 live video chat, streaming and recording capabilities in a 360-deegree HD view. Misafes is currently seeking $30,000 on Kickstarter.

 

TuneBox2

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This unit instantly makes your classic home stereo system smarter, so you can listen to your favorite tunes wirelessly. TuneBox is currently seeking $30,000 on Indiegogo.

Tinusaur Project

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This ATtiny85 kit gives you everything you need to start your first microcontroller project. Tinusaur is currently seeking $1,729 on Indiegogo.

RevolVR

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This set of wireless VR controllers enhances the gaming experience, while providing complete immersion into the virtual world. RevolVR is currently seeking $25,000 on Indiegogo.

Tempus Fugit

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This world clock interface board can be powered by an Arduino Nano or Raspberry Pi Zero. David Saul is currently seeking $2,861 on Kickstarter.

What’s the temp in your house? This Arduino-based Nixie tube thermometer will tell you


Because every engineer loves a good Nixie tube thermometer.


If you want to know the temperature, normal digital thermometers, or increasingly the Internet, are usually good enough. Visually though, it’s hard to beat the warm glow and retro look of a Nixie tube. What better way to display this than with a three-digit tube display like Luca Dentella’s build.

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His process is outlined in a series of 10 posts that can be found here, or you can just skip to the completed version. The “brain” of this display is a Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4). It uses a thermistor-style temperature sensor, which has a resistance than changes depending on the temperature, to tell how hot it is.

The display is, of course, three nixie tubes. The first thing that’s interesting about the setup is that the third tube shows “°C.” Dentella is using an “IN-19A” tube for this purpose, which can also reveal a number of other symbols. In this case, it shows the degrees Celsius value at all times.

The other interesting part of this design, besides the generally clean layout and printed circuit board use, is that each tube has a programmable LED under it. This allows for a unique coloring, and could certainly have produce many interesting visual effects. Perhaps in another life, this type of display could serve as a sound level meter, with the LEDs pulsing on and off to the beat of the music.

 

YOUMO is a smart modular power strip


Think of it like the littleBits of charging. 


These days, people have more than one device in their arsenal. From our phones to laptops, tablets and wearables, we need more than just the standard wall socket to power up our electronics. A power strip solves that problem, but what if it could do more for you? YOUOMO is the reinvented power strip you never knew you needed until now.

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Like the littleBits of power strips, YOUMO boasts wireless charging, IoT capabilities, multi-USB ports, as well as U.S. and E.U. sockets. Due to its modular design, YOUMO allows you to custom build your own power strip with the power options you need by simply adding on the respective modules. Aptly named Good Gadgets, the Germany-based company behind YOUMO delivers a modern take on the power strip, while also offering stylish functionality.

YOUMO comes in seven base cord colors and three different lengths, in addition to various modules such as: solo (one socket and two USB ports), triple (three European plug type sockets), fiver (five U.S. plug type sockets), multi-USB (four USB ports), wireless charging (set devices on the surface of this module for cable-free charging) and the smart module. Modules could connect together, making it a power strip that is tailored exactly to your needs and is travel-friendly as separate pieces.

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The smart module enables you to wirelessly control, monitor and communicate with the electronics that’s plugged into the other modules. The accompanying app will send power updates and suggestions for those connected electronics on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. For example, you can receive a warning message if you leave an appliance on or you can schedule different times for a lamp to automatically turn on or off.

All base cords and modules are suitable for electrical systems operating 100-240V at 50-60Hz. In the future, the Good Gadgets team plans to build additional modules including a wireless speaker, nightlight, Ethernet (LAN) and a Wi-Fi access point, sensor and more.

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Interested? Then you should check out YOUMO’s Kickstarter campaign, where the Good Gadgets crew is seeking $55,560. You can expect to get your first smart modular power strip by February 2017.

The smart router is ready for IoT play


The evolution of router has reached the IoT’s doorsteps, and it raises some interesting prospects for industrial and smart home markets.


The router used to be largely a dumb device. Not anymore in the Internet of Things arena where node intelligence is imperative to make a play of the sheer amount of data acquired from sensors, machines and other ‘things.’ The IoT router marks a new era of network intelligence — but what makes a router smart?

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For starters, it employs embedded hardware platforms with DIY capabilities while balancing the performance and power consumption requirements. Next, an IoT router provides the operational status on an LCD screen while manipulating the data from different interfaces. In human machine interface (HMI) applications, for example, a smart router offers LCD and touch screen interfaces on expansion I/Os.

Take the case of the DAB-OWRT-53 smart router, which is developed by the Belgian design house DAB-Embedded. The sub-100 euro device — based on Atmel’s SAMA5D36 processor and OpenWRT router hardware platform — is mainly targeted at smart home and industrial IoT applications.

The smart router of DAB-Embedded

The IoT router supports popular wireless interfaces such as Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Z-Wave, as well as a diverse number of wired interfaces including Ethernet, USB, CAN 2.0A/B, KNX and RS-232. And all the data from these interfaces can be stored in either microSD card or NAND flash.

Anatomy of Smart Router

The Atmel | SMART SAMA5D36 is at the heart of the smart router design. First and foremost, it optimizes power consumption in the battery-operated router that features 3.7V lithium polymer battery support with charging capability over a microUSB connector. The router boasts eight hours of battery lifetime while being in full ON mode with Wi-Fi communications.

Second, the ARM Cortex-A5 processor shows a robust performance in the communications domain. For instance, the SAMA5D36 implements routing functionality to transfer data from one Ethernet port to another in a way that router designers don’t require an external hardware hub or switch. Moreover, Atmel’s MPU offers greater flexibility to run a lot of embedded software packages such as OpenZWave and LinuxMCE.

Third, the SAMA5D36-based IoT router offers users the ability to manipulate firewall settings, Disable PING, Telnet, SSH and UPnP features. Furthermore, the hardware security block in SAMA5D3 processor allows the use of CryptoDev Linux drivers to speed up the OpenSSL implementation. The Wi-Fi module — powered by Atmel’s WILC3000 single-chip solution — also supports the IEEE 802.11 WEP, WPA and WPA2 security mechanisms.

The smart router of DAB-Embedded employs Active-Semi’s ACT8945AQJ305-T power management IC, but the real surprise is Altera’s MAX 10 FPGA with an integrated analog-to-digital converter (ADC). That brings the additional flexibility for the main CPU: Atmel’s SAMA5D36.

The FPGA is connected to the 16-bit external bus interface (EBI) so that IoT developers can put any IP core in FPGA for communication with external sensors. All data is converted inside the FPGA to a specific format by using NIOS II’s soft CPU in FPGA. Next, the SAMA5D36 processor reads this data by employing DMA channel over the high-speed mezzanine card (HSMC) bus.

An FPGA has enough cells to start even two soft cores for data preprocessing. Case in point: A weather station with 8-channel external ADC managing light sensors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors and more. It’s connected to the FPGA together with PPS signal from GPS for correct time synchronization of each measurement.

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OpenWRT Framework

The SAMA5D36 embedded processor enables DAB’s smart router design to customize free OpenWRT Linux firmware according to the specific IoT application needs. The OpenWRT framework facilitates an easy way to set up router-like devices equipped with communications interfaces such as dual-port Ethernet and Wi-Fi connection.

What’s more, by using the OpenWRT framework, an IoT developer can add now his or her own application (C/C++) to exchange data with a KNX or Z-Wave transceiver. OpenWRT even supports the Lua embedded interpreter.

Next, while DAB-Embedded has built its smart router using the embedded Linux with OpenWRT framework, Belgium’s design house also offers a board support package (BSP) based on the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 software. That’s for IoT developers who have invested in Windows applications and want to use them on the new hardware: the DAB-OWRT-53 smart router.

Later, the embedded design firm plans to release smart router hardware based on the Windows 10 IoT software and Atmel’s SAMA5D family of embedded processors. The Belgian developer of IoT products has vowed to release the second version of its router board based on Atmel’s SAMA5D4 embedded processor and WILC3000 chipset that comes integrated with power amplifier, LNA, switch and power management. Atmel’s WILC3000 single-chip solution boasts IEEE 802.11 b/g/n RF/baseband/MAC link controller and Bluetooth 4.0 connection.


Majeed Ahmad is the author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future.

This 3D-printed, Arduino-powered robotic mower will take care of your lawn for you


Build your own Ardumower for less than $300.


Mowing the lawn; it’s a nice slice of solitude and exercise for some, and an arduous task for others, to be avoided at all costs. If you fall into that second category, then the Ardumower might be for you. According to its description,“With this download project you can build your own robotic lawn mower at a fraction of the cost that one would have to apply for a commercial one.”

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The mower itself is an interesting build, with a nicely sloped canopy and driving wheels that resemble something found inside of a clock. Housed inside is an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a motor driver board for control. Two 12V electrical motors are used for locomotion around a yard, while another motor turns the cutting blade.

The robo-mower is kept within your yard using a boundary wire fence to tell it when it has reached the limits of its domain. As seen in the video below, it also has some obstacle avoidance capability, though it would likely be best to keep it in an area free from animals, children, and irresponsible adults!

If you want to assemble one yourself, you can do so for about $250-$300 — a fraction of the cost of its commercial counterparts. A manual, which is available for $12.16, claims to give step-by-step directions to build your own Ardumower (or maybe two for larger lawns!), as well as info on how to create the boundary fence.

This machine can print pictures using drops of coffee, wine and other liquids


Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…


If you’ve ever been to a Maker Faire, then chances are you’ve stumbled upon the PancakeBot, a CNC machine that extrudes delicious art out of batter. A few years ago, RIT Assistant Professor Ted Kinsman decided that he wanted to print using something other than ink as well. His choice? Coffee, or any other material with low viscosity.

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The machine itself is an xy-axis printer equipped with a solenoid liquid valve, stepper motors for positioning and an Arduino, which can store images of approximately 80×100 pixels. However, despite its mediocre resolution, it does plot human faces fairly well. The drip size, the nozzle distance and the paper that the beads of coffee extract fall onto can all be changed.

“For many years I have thought about building a machine that could paint for me,” he explains. “Since I always have leftover coffee, I thought it would be a fun medium to play with.”

For what it lacks in resolution, it surely makes up for in cost — Kinsman says that it’s super inexpensive to create images. To begin, the professor snaps a picture, heightens the contrast and converts that into a PGM file that the Arduino could read. The sketch then prints a test grid, which can be modified by dropping in a PGM image and adjusting the space between drops. As MAKE: notes, the grayscale is converted to an array of dots whose darkness corresponds to the length of time that the valve of the pipette opens to release a coffee drop.

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“Each of the pixels is turned into a number from 0 (no coffee) to 256 (the largest drip size). The size of each pixel is controlled by determining how long to open the drip valve for — the largest drop (and darkest pixel) requires the valve to be open for 63 milliseconds. In this way, the machine currently can do 53 different shades of coffee,” according to PetaPixel.

A Mariotte’s siphon is employed to ensure that the depth of the coffee in the reservoir won’t affect the pressure, which in turn could influence the size of the drops. Each print requires about an hour from start to finish, but takes roughly a day to fully dry.

Looking ahead, Kinsman would like to explore the possibility of adding another stepper motor so that he can make spirographs or use a syringe that would enable him to print with thicker liquids. But until then, you can watch it in action below (note that the machine is using blue ink) and read more about the project here.

 

Atmel wireless connectivity supports industrial IoT revolution


The BTLC1000 exhibits the lowest BLE power consumption in the industry.


With both this year’s CES and Embedded World now behind us, it’ll be interesting to see which of the gadgets unveiled during these shows find a way to market — some will go to production, others won’t. I am skeptic about the smart shoe offering self-fastening mechanism… And during these two weeks, the IoT revolution has silently progressed in industrial automation. (You will be surprised if you read some very serious white papers extracted from the Internet of Things series published by Bosch.)

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While attendees flocked to Vegas, progresses were made in industrial automation thanks to hard work being done in Germany. In fact, these two worlds — consumer oriented and industrial — are both relying on wireless connectivity, including products from Atmel: the ATWILC1000, ATWILC1500 or ATWILC3000 supporting Wi-Fi and ATBLC1000 supporting BTLE 4.1,which  was recently crowned “Product of the Year” from Electronic Products.

According to Bosch’s white paper “Leveraging the Internet of Things: Companies can streamline business processes for stakeholders across the extended enterprise,” we realize that Bosch’s managers have brainstormed about the IoT to extract the added business value for the enterprise, like for example, “in manufacturing, data automatically collected from smart and connected products, give companies meaningful feedback as to how products should be reengineered, and provides opportunities for additional revenue through selling services.”

In order to become smart and connected, industrial products need to integrate either a Wi-Fi connection supported by ATWINC1500, or a Bluetooth supported by the very tiny (see above) ATBTLC1000.

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Shows the requirements for scalability on two current customer PoCs at Bosch Software Innovations. These PoCs start in year one with a very low umber of connected devices and sensors. However, in a short space of time, they scale massively upward for commercial launch and rollout.

From the above graphic, extracted from another white paper from Bosch, “Realizing the connected world-how to choose the right IoT platform,” we can derive two crucial information. The first is the fact that IoT is already a reality in the industrial market segment, not really known to be fashion driven like could be consumer electronic. The second information is about scalability. In both examples, the number of connected devices was very low, but in a short space of time they scale massively, reaching 500k devices for the first and up to 3 million for the other. A single industrial automation application can generate a very good semiconductor business, including sensors, MCU and wireless connectivity device. In our previous blog, we have investigated the ATWINCxx00 family bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to any embedded design. Let’s take a look at the award winner ATBTLC1000 device supporting BT 4.1 connectivity.

Atmel's BTLC1000

The BTLC1000 is an ultra-low power Bluetooth SMART (BLE 4.1) SoC with an integrated ARM Cortex-M0 MCU, a transceiver, a modem, MAC, PA, TR Switch, and a power management unit (PMU). It can be used as a BLE link controller or data pump with external host MCU, or as a standalone applications processor with embedded BLE connectivity and external memory. If we look at the key features list:

  • BLE4.1 compliant SoC and protocol stack
  • Lowest BLE power consumption in industry
  • Smallest BLE 4.1 SoC — Available in WLCSP (2.26×2.14mm) or QFN ( 32p 4×4 mm)
  • Optimized system cost — High level of integration on chip reduces external Bill of Material significantly
  • Wide operating Voltage range — 1.8 – 4.3V
  • Host Interface — SPI or UART
  • Certified modules — FCC, ETSI/CE, TELEC
  • Enterprise Development support & tools with the ATBTLC1000 Xplained Pro

The main reasons why the Atmel BTLC1000 has won the Electronic Design award are power, cost and certification. This chip not only exhibits the lowest BLE power consumption in the industry, it’s also the smallest BLE 4.1 SoC (see picture) offering optimized system cost, thanks to high level of integration. If companies like Bosch supporting industrial automation segment for years (if not centuries) start to be seriously involved into smart connected IoT systems, no doubt that ATBTLC1000 and ATWILC1000 devices have a bright future…


This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Eric Esteve is a principle blogger and one of the four founding members of the site. This blog first appeared on SemiWiki on January 10, 2016.