And just like that, we have a new world record!
With their eyes set on the Guinness Book, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose last month unveiled an automated machine capable of solving a Rubik’s Cube in 0.9 seconds. However, their glory was short-lived as fellow Maker and industrial engineer Adam Beer introduced a robotic contender, named Sub1, that has officially sorted the colorful puzzle in only 0.887 seconds — breaking the previous world record by a mere fraction.
Beer’s machine only requires 20 moves to unravel the cube. As soon as the start button is hit, shutters are removed from Sub1’s two webcams, each of which capture the arrangement of all six sides. These images are then relayed to a laptop, which identify the various colors and calculate a solution using Tomas Rokicki’s implementation of Herbert Kociemba’s Two-Phase Algorithm.
The solution is sent over to an Arduino-compatible MCU, which is tasked with actuating the 20 moves of six high-performance steppers that rapidly turn each side of the cube in 887 milliseconds.
OSEPP’s latest kit will help Makers create interactive projects using common sensors and modules.
Have you always wanted to build your own smart sensing device for the Internet of Things but don’t know where to start? Thanks to OSEPP, you’re in luck! The Vancouver-based startup has developed a comprehensive kit that enables Makers of any level to create interactive projects with the sensors commonly found throughout our daily lives.
The 101 Sensor Kit consists of a shield and 14 modules, including a temperature sensor, a fan motor, LEDs, a microphone, a piezo buzzer, a knob, a PIR, a photocell, a push button, a 4-digit touch sensor and more. Designed with novices in mind, the set is Arduino-compatible and requires no prior electronics experience. Simply open up the box and follow along with its step-by-step manual, which also features sample codes and diagrams.
“Whether it’s the light sensors in your smartphones and laptops, the motion sensors found to control patio lighting, or smoke alarm sensors in your home, our kit helps you understand these common sensors that encompass our lives,” the team explains. “By the end, you will have a strong foundation of understanding how to incorporate a large range of sensors for any project you can think up!”
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get started with electronics, you may want to head over to the 101 Sensor Kit’s Kickstarter campaign where OSEPP is currently seeking $8,585. Delivery is slated for June 2016.
This open source, Arduino-compatible GSM/GPRS and GPS/GLONASS device provides real-time data anywhere, about anything.
The MobileNode is an open source IoT board, which was named a semi-finalist in last year’s Hackaday Prize and is now live on Indiegogo. Measuring just seven centimeters in diameter, the circular device is equipped with an ATmega32U4 MCU at its core, a GPS/GLONASS module for tracking and a GSM/GPRS chip for data transmission.
Makers can easily attach a variety of sensors to the MobileNode, including air quality (CO, CO2, O2, etc.), temperature, humidity, fire and motion, as well as add lights, servo motors and other electronic circuits. This enables the Arduino-compatible board to monitor air pollution, reduce energy consumption, collect real-time data, and even control food production machinery. What’s more, there are four holes for M1.2 or M1.4 screws, making it possible to house the MobileNode inside a box or case.
Every MobileNode comes with an attached tag, which contains both a public and private key. As its creators Oscar Rojas and Camilo Rojas reveal, you can push data to the cloud with the private key, while accessing such information via the public key. Meanwhile, GPS coordinates are shown in a Google Map along with the board’s orientation data given by its e-compass.
Aside from all that, MobileNode features an electret microphone that lets users hear what is happening nearby, a Nano SIM card socket, TVS diodes and Bluetooth. It is also possible to connect an external antenna to the GPS module, since some applications call for the MobileNode to be used indoors.
Intrigued? Head over to its Indiegogo page here, or watch the video below.
The Qduino Mini is the first tiny Arduino-compatible board with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge.
Adding to 15-year-old Quin Etnyre’s already rather long list of accomplishments was a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign back in March 2015. The Qduino Mini — which has been on display numerous times inside the Atmel Maker Faire booths — is the first tiny Arduino-compatible board equipped with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that can notify its user when a LiPo needs a little extra juice.
“I always struggled to find a way to charge and monitor a battery, bundle with an Arduino and fit inside of every project.” Inspired by his own frustrations, the young Maker immediately went on to prototype his concept with hopes of one day bringing it to market.
Now available on SparkFun, the Qduino Mini is entirely open source and based on the versatile ATmega32U4 — the very same chip that can be found at the core of the Arduino Leonardo and several other Arduino AtHeart devices. The breadboard-friendly MCU runs at 8MHz at 3.3V and boasts plenty of dedicated digital, analog and PWM pins.
The pint-sized project is not only packed with a battery charger circuit and fuel gauge, but possesses an uber-mini, ultra-thin form factor as well. This makes the shrunken-down, lightweight ‘duino an ideal choice for DIY quadcopter or high-altitude balloon projects, in addition to a wide range of other gadgets like an NFC Smart Lock and B&W Selfie Printer.
Since its inception, the Qduino Mini has received a few minor upgrades before arriving at its latest iteration. According to Quin, these included two RGB LEDs (one for status, another that’s user programmable), a USB and power switch on the same face, and a LiPo connector on the opposite side of the board. What’s more, it has become even more “mini,” having been reduced from its original 1″ x 1.5” size to 0.8″ x 1.5”.
Sound like the tiny, Arduino-compatible board you’ve been looking for? Well, look no more as the Qduino Mini is available for $29.95 on SparkFun!
The Riots family is a low-cost, minimalistic and Arduino-compatible solution for remote sensing, monitoring and controlling your environment.
It all began when propellerhead Samuli Stenudd fearlessly went to battle against the jumble of wires. He could not fathom how cumbersome and laborious it was to create a useful device out of a kit or components, nor why he had to always physically connect a wire to it in order to program updates. As any engineer would, he decided to roll up his sleeves and tackle these problems head-on. Stenudd set out to devise a new way to easily monitor his environment and smart gadgets in an inexpensive, effective and minimalistic manner. And so, Riots was born.
The Riots family consists of a “Mama” and several “Babies.” An individual Mama is the gateway to the Internet and can manage hundreds of uniquely tasked Babies, which are interconnected within a mesh network. These nodes can also communicate with one another without any external control.
Thus far, fully-functional prototypes include sensors for temperature, pressure, light and motion, capacitive touch buttons, DC control and USB connectors.
To get started, simply attach the Babies wherever desired. Connect the Mama to the Internet and add each node to your account. From there, you can remotely link, manage, monitor and even reprogram new tasks for all family members.
For example, say you wanted to keep tabs on the humidity level inside your bathroom. Place a Riots Air on the wall and another inside the vent, and hook the Mama up to the web. These Babies could then collect and visualize real-time information on your smartphone. Other applications include recording energy consumption, tracking belongings, ensuring doors are locked, and even being informed when a loved one arrives home, among many other things right from your Internet-enabled device.
At the heart of every unit lies a Riots Core, which is equipped with an ATmega328P, an RGB LED and an nRF24L01+ radio module. The real magic doesn’t happen, however, until it is joined with a Riots Base to make it an actual Riots Product. The mesh network itself is completely expandable, and the Riots family is entirely open source and Arduino-compatible.
Programming and data are globally accessible via the Riots Cloud or locally through private wireless networks. The Riots Cloud stores data from all the deployed Riots Products, provides management features and a basic user interface. Beyond that, remote development, over the air updates and debugging of individual Riots Products can be done through the cloud as well.
Looking for an easy, affordable and open source IoT solution? Head over to its page on Kickstarter, where Stenudd and the Riots Instruments team are currently seeking $30,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in May 2016.
This small stick can turn any TV into a desktop PC.
Personal computing just got more compact and affordable with HardWhere 2.0, a PC-on-a-stick that plugs into any TV with an HDMI port. This tiny computer offers the same desktop experience without the hassle of long power cables, bulky equipment and loud, overheating fans. You can take all your computing needs anywhere in your pocket!
HardWhere comes from three Italian Makers based in the little town of Treviso. Andrea Cescon, Marco Crosera and Stefano Artuso have proven that big ideas can come from small places. HardWhere boasts a multi-user experience, with everything from its Ubuntu Linux-based operating system to user files and apps saved on a removable microSD card. To change the user, you just need to replace the microSD; ensuring privacy for each individual.
Despite its sized, its capabilities are hardly minimized. HardWhere still has the full PC experience, with cloud sync and storage, complete web browsing, HD video streaming (VLC, Netflix, YouTube, etc.), OpenOffice, as well as the Linux app market. This minicomputer even runs Android on the internal Flash memory, giving you access to more apps.
As the team touts, “many lives, one HardWhere.” This device can be useful in many situations beyond a personal computer. It can act as a family PC with each member having their own microSD; as a small server for peer-to-peer downloading and uploading; as a presentation companion that can plug to an HDMI projector; or as an entertainment where you can stream your videos, play your songs, or scroll through photos.
HardWhere’s hardware includes a quad-core ARM-based processor, 2GB of RAM and a GPU Mali-400. It also has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and comes with two micro- and full-sized USB ports for power, a microSD card reader and an HDMI 1.4 connector. What’s more, HardWhere was designed with Makers in mind. The pocketable PC enables user to code and upload sketches to their Arduino, and even control a variety of 3D printers.
Ready to take computing to the next level? Head over to HardWhere’s Kickstarter campaign, where its creators are currently seeking $8,768. Delivery is slated for February 2016.
Just in time for The Force Awakens, one Maker has built his own 3D-printed, remote-controlled BB-8.
Although we’re just days away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s safe to say that BB-8 has already become the breakout star of the film. Since first laying eyes on the soccer ball-sized droid in the trailer, it has seemingly captured the hearts of everyone — whether a fan or not.
Instead of rushing to stores and purchasing a mini BB-8 of their own, several Makers have opted to build their own cute metallic orange ball with a beeping head. Take software engineer Jean-René Bédard, for example. His version is entirely 3D-printed, hand-painted and powered by a simple ATmega328 based, Arduino-compatible robotic platform.
The Maker designed his BB-8 in SketchUp and then spit him out using two Dremel Idea Builder 3D printers — a process that took roughly 50 hours to completed and called for over 650 feet (200 meters) of PLA filament.
Although it may not roll like the one in the Hollywood flick, Bédard’s bot can balance itself on a pair of wheels and be controlled with a basic RF remote. It is equipped with authentic sounds and several Adafruit LEDs to give it the full effect along with its orange and silver nail polish exterior. What’s more, the beeping BB-8’s head moves via a micro servo actuated by the Arduino.
This project will surely awaken your Maker forces. See for yourself below!
This rocket-shaped device will add motion-activated sound effects to any LEGO or Mega Bloks project.
“What if there was a way to record our own sounds and play them back whenever we flew our Lego spaceship?” This was the simple question that prompted eight-year-old Chase Freedman to explore his imagination and resulted in the conception of the Brick Sound Kit — an attachable device that allows users to record or download sounds to enhance their playing experience.
Instead of having to actually make the typical “whoosh,””pew pew” and “pow pow” noises yourself, the Brick Sound Kit enables children (and those who are still kids at heart) to transform their toys into interactive machines. Recreating your favorite scenes from Star Wars has never been so much fun!
The BSK is built around an Arduino-friendly board equipped with an ATmega328, LEDs, light-up buttons, a AAA battery and a gyroscope, all protected by a highly durable, rocket-shaped enclosure. This casing not only functions as a standalone toy, it can easily snap onto anything you build with Lego, Mega Bloks, Kre-O and other compatible brick building sets.
Freedman’s innovation is ready for use right out of the box. What’s more, it can be paired over Bluetooth with the accompanying BSK Sound Effects App, along with other apps and games to add more interaction to the your bricks in just minutes.
And that’s not all. The Brick Sound Kits includes an FTDI USB adapter and cable so you can reprogram the gadget’s capabilities using free Arduino tools. Open source SDKs let anyone build their own apps and games controlled by the BSK. All programming is super simple for users of any age or skill, and will be supported by the team through a developer portal.
The young Maker didn’t do this all by himself; in fact, he collaborated with his father, Chuck, to bring the idea to life — and now Kickstarter. After receiving enormous amounts of great feedback from friends and family, the duo looked into how they could commercialize the invention and make it something that other people could use. The two ended up contracting Boston University Electronics Design Facility to develop the kit’s circuit board and Clear Design Lab of Boston to design the housing.
“The Brick Sound Kit is not only a device for kids. It was also developed to be used by enthusiasts and collectors, that want to enhance the device even further and create their own programs and sounds. All this comes together in a marketplace where sounds, apps and games can be exchanged between Brick Sound Kit users and developers,” dad explains.
Are you ready to make the spaceship of your dreams? Then fly on over to the Brick Sound Kit’s Kickstarter campaign, where the father-son duo is currently seeking $18,000. Amazingly, Chase is actually the second eight-year-old Maker to launch a crowdfunding campaign this year. Over the summer, Omkar Govil-Nair debuted his O Watch, which went on to garner more than $18,000.
MintySynth is a hackable, Arduino-compatible synthesizer kit that fits neatly inside an Altoids tin.
A few months ago, Andrew Mowry embarked on a side project to devise a pocketable synthesizer/sequencer capable of fitting neatly inside an Altoids tin. The Arduino-compatible kit, aptly named MintySynth, originated with hopes of becoming not only an educational tool but a fun toy for Makers and music enthusiasts alike.
The open source and hackable device comes unassembled, and generally takes anywhere from one to hours to build. It should be noted that some soldering is required. Once complete, MintySynth can be used with its preloaded software or programmed just like an Arduino.
After receiving some feedback on his first design, Mowry upgraded the kit with several revisions including fewer parts, a simplified power supply, a battery life of 150 hours (10X longer than the original), an additional photocell, and the ability to be powered by an FTDI cable when the switch is in the “off” position.
The acoustic instrument-maker by trade, tinkerer by night chose to improve the MintySynth’s software as well with enhanced LED functionality, additional waveforms, the ability to improvise using the light sensor, and a “laser tripwire” mode, which triggers music/sound effects when a beam of light is blocked.
MintySynth’s preloaded software consists of a four voice, 16 step wavetable sequencer that allows you to play around with different instruments while controlling the tempo, swing, keys and scale. Once you’ve created a song, you can enter “live mode,” which enables you to change the pitch and voice of one of the instruments in real-time so you can jam along with the other three instruments. You can even save up to four 16-note songs, relooping them over and over or reloading each one individually for a total of up to 64 notes. If you want to program the synth yourself, however, you’ll need an FTDI cable since there’s no on-board USB.
In terms of hardware, MintySynth is based on the ATmega328P and has auto-reset so you can easily upload sketches just as you would to an Arduino Uno. The kit also features a few resistors and capacitors, five thumbwheels, a 1/8″ audio jack, a 28-pin DIP socket, a six-pin FTDI header, a 16MHz ceramic resonator, two LEDs, a six-pin jumper header, a three-pin MIDI header, five buttons and runs on a pair of AAA batteries.
“MintySynth was designed to be compatible with a variety of Arduino sketches and libraries, and a jumper is used to select audio output on digital pin 3, 6, or 9, so you can use either of the 3 available timers,” Mowry explains.
Intrigued? You can head over to MintySynth’s page or the Adafruit store to get your hands on one. Keep in mind, though, that it does not ship with an Altoids tin, so you’ll have to eat some mints first and then get to work. Fresh breath first, fresh beats after.
This ATtiny167-powered lighting solution lets your imagination run wild with three programmable, full-color LEDs.
Watching fireflies certainly stands out as one of the more memorable summertime experiences as a child. Inspired by this natural phenomenon, engineer John Kicklighter decided that he’d create a simple solution that could emulate the dancing of fireflies all year round. This led to the development of TinyGlo, a tiny board with an integrated sensor that could detect when it was nighttime to trigger a blinking light show.
Following its initial success, Kicklighter has come up with an improved iteration of the board. For the next generation, he has included a larger microprocessor, more lights and colors, expandable battery capability, and additional expansion pins for external applications.
TinyGlo+ is a custom lighting controller that can be implemented for a wide range of projects. Aside from all of its original features, like ambient ight sensing, the latest unit packs three programmable, full-color LEDs that encourages Makers to let their imaginations run wild. With an optional LiPo battery and an incredibly compact form factor (1” x 1.5”), TinyGlo+ is perfect for wearable gadgetry or when tinkering on-the-go.
“Add on a microphone to make dancing lights or be the star of the rave with a custom bright LED solution,” Kicklighter explains. “With a low cost, leave TinyGlo+ in your project or combine many of them for a dramatic custom lighting feature.”
Based on the ATtiny167, TinyGlo+ is Arduino-compatible and super easy to program via USB. As Kicklighter mentions, it will prove to be an ideal platform for Makers just starting out to learn and looking to explore electronics. You can even build upon its functionality by adding on external components with the standard SPI, I2C, analog, digital and serial interfaces.
What’s more, TinyGlo+ includes a user programmable push button, an on/off slide switch, an N-Channel MOSFET for driving external applications, a 16Mhz precision crystal for reliable USB operation, and V-USB for programming.
Have a bright idea for TinyGlo+ ? Head over its Kickstarter campaign, where Kicklighter and the JACK Enterprises team are currently seeking $5,000. Delivery is slated for April 2016.