Tag Archives: Bluetooth 4.0

Get ready to race these open-source, 3D-printed toy bots

Control these open-source, 3D-printable race cars with your mobile device.

As a way to get more young Makers interested in pursuing STEM-related fields, one Cambridge startup has launched a set of customizable, open-source race car kits. Cannybot Racers are 3D-printable, Bluetooth-enabled toy vehicles that can be remotely controlled using any mobile device, or even a Raspberry Pi.


Keeping in line with the burgeoning Maker Movement, the cars are super simple to create on just about any desktop printer, and can be programmed using Arduino, Blockly, mbed, Python or Scratch. Each Cannybot is comprised of several 3D-printed structural components — such as the chassis, top cover and wheels — that every school with access to a machine can construct in their lab, along with the addition of some low-cost hardware components. This includes a small yet powerful single board controller, dubbed the BlueBrain, which is driven by an ARM Cortex-M0 processor and features a Bluetooth 4.0 module and various motor controllers. The belly of the Arduino-compatible bot is also equipped with line sensor used to detect the track as it makes its way around.


“The openness of the platform enables students and those looking to begin tinkering around delve deeper — peeking behind their visual programming to see the Arduino code that actually runs on the robots — and physically taking apart and reassembling their Cannybots to see how the components fit together and communicate,” the team writes.

Not only can users purchase one of a few tracks printed on high-quality PVC material, which range from figure-eight tracks to complicated mazes, but Makers can just as easily use standard black electrical tape (or A4/A3 paper using a home printer) to design their own raceway on any hard surface.

Intrigued? Race on over to the project’s official page, or watch them in action below!

The Wired In sign eliminates unwanted distractions in the office

Finally, there’s a Bluetooth sign that tells your coworkers when you’re busy.

Every office has that one guy. He walks around the floor, gazing into each cubicle, looking to spark a conversation. Not before long, he glances your way, makes eye contact and begins to head in your direction. As he approaches, he utters the infamous words, “It’ll be quick.” However, let’s face it, it’s never quick. An hour later, not only has he drained you of your creative energy, but you just lost 60 minutes of productivity.


With open workspaces on the rise, it’s important for companies to maintain in-office efficiency. Chances are, that by now, you’ve seen the movie, The Social Network. Recall the scene when Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield) approaches an unresponsive Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), only to learn from Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) that he’s “wired in?”

For years, headphones like those worn by Zuckerberg in the flick were pretty clear indication that someone didn’t want to be bothered. However, thanks to one Salt Lake City-based startup, the universal sign for “I’m in the zone” will literally a sign that reads “I’m in the zone” — or whatever you would like.

The device, which is aptly-dubbed Wired In, works exactly how it seems: When you want to focus on a task at hand, turn on your sign and eliminate unwanted distractions. When powered, the acrylic lights up with a series of LED lights in your favorite color, sending a clear busy signal to those around you. Once turned off, it blends right into your workspace.


Wired In features a sleek aluminum base with rounded edges and a clear replaceable laser-etched acrylic sign. What’s nice is that the signs are completely customizable. Not only can you change the color of the light, you can replace the acrylic message as well. While it comes with standard sayings like “On Air,” “Wired In” and “In the Zone,” users are encouraged to come up with their own clever text or even upload a vector image to be etched into the sign (keep in mind, this is the portion that is illuminated). Ultimately, this lets owners explore their imagination and be as unique as their own personality!

The much-needed piece — which is the brainchild of Maker trio Josh Howland, Caleb Hicks, Andrew Madsen — was devised to sit nicely on your desk without taking up too much space. Because after all, that would be a distraction in itself. The base measures about 238mm x 48mm x 25mm, while the sign adds about another 80mm in height. Wired In will come in a few different versions: one that is powered by USB connection, another by rechargeable batteries. However, for its initial model, the gadget is juiced up by a pair of AA batteries. Unlike the others, though, this one lacks any connectivity or integrations. Simply turn it on and off like a lamp.


Wired In is equipped with a fully open-soure Arduino controller and Bluetooth 4.0 which allows it to sync with any other BLE device, such as a Mac, an iPad or an iPhone. What’s more, the gadget integrates with everything from a mobile remote app to the newly-launched Apple Watch to third-party services like IFTTT and Slack. Users can easily control their sign with its accompanying iOS app, and with REST API, developers can create their own programs. The sign also works with iBeacons, which for example, enable you to brighten your sign as you approach your desk.

At the moment, pilot signs have already been implemented in a number of offices, from Walmart to Adobe. (Maybe soon Atmel?) Want one of your own? Head over to Wired In’s official Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $25,000. Shipment is slated for November 2015.

Woolet is a smart wallet that you can’t lose

A next-generation, Bluetooth-enabled wallet that keeps your cash and cards safe.

Amid all of today’s hustle-and-bustle, it’s easy to lose track of things. If you’ve ever misplaced your wallet at home or left it behind in a bar, you can take comfort in knowing that there’s now a smarter option out there to help prevent such occurrences from ever happening again. That’s because a Dover, Delaware startup has set out to create the ultimate money holder to keep men’s most essential belongings safe and secure.


Based on an ARM Cortex-M0 MCUWoolet is an intelligent wallet that syncs to your smartphone and provides five different ways to locate it. The ultra-slim, leather-crafted accessory pairs with an accompanying mobile app via Bluetooth Low Energy, which will send you a reminder anytime you may become separated from your billfold  — a range that can be set between 20-85 feet. This, of course, makes losing your wallet and all of its valuable contents nearly impossible. Great news for the absent-minded!

Once an alert has been sent to the phone, a built-in distance tracker will help the owner accurately pinpoint the Woolet’s location. Meanwhile, clicking ‘Ring to Find’ will cause the wallet’s speakers to emit a customizable tone, like a dog’s bark or a wolf’s howl.


Don’t remember where you had your wallet last? No need to fret, as your phone automatically records Woolet’s most recent location. This means you already know the best place to begin looking — something that’ll surely come in handy after having no recollection from a night on the town. If truly lost, an owner can activate the crowd detection feature, which essentially sends out an APB to other Woolet users in the general vicinity to aid in its search efforts. As soon as someone comes in close proximity, its GPS location will be instantly updated to the phone.

The wallet is also self-charging, though the company is still experimenting as to whether these batteries will charge through body movement or heat. What’s more, Woolet is available in a pair of colors — black and suede — to fit anyone’s style.


“Woolet is just 9.9mm thin, yet ready for anything. Unlike other smart wallets, Woolet is a ‘full wallet.’ This means you don’t need to compromise on what you take. Woolet has four slots to accommodate all your cards. There is a large card slot for those bigger IDs and a hidden pocket. Woolet also comfortably fits larger banknotes, including euros and British pounds, so you’re ready for any country,” the team writes.

Are you prone to losing things? You may want to check out the project’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $15,000.

Zero Tiny is a BLE board powered by an ATtiny85

Could this be the lowest-spec and cheapest BLE board ever?

Designed by Micah Pearlman, the Zero Tiny BLE is a tiny low-cost, low-powered embeddable device packed with an ATtiny85 MCU and an HM-10 Bluetooth 4.0 module.


The board was originally conceived as a way to connect sensors for the Maker’s vintage motorcycle so that his iOS device could serve as a display and data logger. Therefore, Pearlman sought a small, inexpensive solution that possessed both uC and BLE capabilities, and could be powered by a small LiPo battery.

“The HM-10 BLE was super cheap and incredibly easy to integrate. The ATtiny85 is also super cheap, requires practically zero external components when running on it’s internal oscillator and can be programmed in the Arduino IDE.”


Four of the tinyAVR’s six I/O pins were broken out on a pin header, with two used to communicate with the BTLE module. Interested? You can learn more about the board and access all of the Maker’s open-source files here. Nice find, Hackaday!