Tag Archives: Cortex-M3

Every cyclist needs this handlebar-mounted device


Dashboard is to cars as BeeLine is to bikes.


In today’s environmentally conscious society, cycling has become the main mode of transportation for many city dwellers. This method has also proven to be a faster way to get to-and-from work, compared to rush hour traffic and crowded buses. However, there are some downsides that come with biking, such as getting lost, stopping regularly to find directions on your phone, and the unfortunate, yet very possible occurrence of getting struck by a vehicle amid the hustle and bustle. Cyclists already do our environment a favor by reducing emissions, so why shouldn’t cyclists have a safer and easier commute? Two London-based cyclists return the favor with BeeLine, a smart and affordable navigation device for bicycles.

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Mark Jenner and Tom Putnam, the brains behind the navigation unit, came up with the idea when they planned to meet up for lunch, only for both to get lost on their bikes. And so, the duo decided to create BeeLine to make riding fun and stress-free. The wristwatch-sized device works quite similarly to a compass. Instead of pointing you north, BeeLine navigates you in the general direction of your destination, while also noting the distance to go. This “stripped back” concept of navigation allows for a safer and more engaged journey. It only requires a quick glance for directions, leaving you free to focus on the road and not looking for street names.

BeeLine’s setup is as effortless as its way of navigating. The gadget simply snaps onto your bike’s handlebar, and only requires the use of your smartphone to select the destination in its accompanying mobile app prior to heading out. You can save frequently used destinations for a one tap service, too. From then on, you won’t ever have to stop to find directions on your phone.

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BeeLine’s capabilities extend well beyond navigation as well. It can show you your speed and distance traveled, or act as a clock. Think of it as a sleek dashboard for your bike. When it’s not in use, the innovative design protects the screen and enables you to attach it to your keys or throw it in your bag or pocket.

Since bikes come in many shapes and sizes, BeeLine boasts a one-size-fits-all silicone strap that can go around any stem or handlebar. Its backlit e-paper display is visible under any conditions, and its tough casing makes it weather and shock proof. Housed within the BeeLine lies an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E at its core, along with an accelerometer, digital compass, gyro, and a microUSB rechargeable battery that can run for a few months. This ultra low-powered unit harnesses the power of your phone, thus cutting down its costs and making it an affordable asset to your bike. (It should be noted that for its prototyping stage, the team used an Arduino and a Proto Shield connected to an Android phone.)

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Ready to buzz through your commute? Head over to BeeLine’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team has raced right by its $92,118 goal. Delivery is expected to begin in August 2016.

Readybox may be the world’s fastest consumer 3D printer


This desktop 3D printer can extrude six times faster than existing 3D printers without any risk of clogging.


Readybox is a super speedy 3D printer reportedly capable of spitting out objects six times faster than other leading consumer 3D printers.

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The brainchild of University of Maryland engineering student Brett Potter, the ReadyBox was born out of his own frustrations with the lack of quality in most user-friendly devices. He discovered that although many of these printers are affordable, they aren’t always so reliable. Constant malfunctioning leads to ongoing maintenance and new parts, none of which are cheap. Making matters worse, the speeds associated with such 3D printers generally run on the slow side of the spectrum — not great for when time is of the essence. So as any Maker would do, Potter decided to build a unit of his own that fully satisfied his appetite and met each of his demands.

“Our dream is to push the 3D printing industry forward to the point where 3D printing is a truly household technology. In order for this to happen, consumer 3D printers need to be as fast and as reliable as the industrial printers currently on the market. Readybox is designed to be the next step in achieving this goal,” Potter shares.

As the Maker explains, a majority of 3D printer movement systems max out at around 200-250mm/second, often restricted by friction and the heaviness of its own components. Not to mention, even if a printer can overcome these obstacles and its speed, it is then limited by extrusion as most extruder motors can only apply a certain amount of force to plastic filament before the filament breaks or the motor stalls.

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Thanks to Potter’s patent-pending extrusion system, Readybox is able to avoid these constant hurdles and to apply significantly more force to the plastic. This eliminates clogging and enables the filament to flow faster than previously thought possible. This means that, although Readybox uses a larger 0.6mm nozzle, it can move at speeds much faster than existing machines on the market — we’re talking up 400mm/seconds and layers between 50 and 450 microns thick. To put things into perspective, models that would normally require upwards of 20 hours on other gadgets takes less than three hours on ReadyBox.

And not only can it produce objects with incredibly great detail, its impressive build volume allows it to take full advantage of its high speed. Designed to provide users with a professional-grade service on their desktop, Readybox will automatically calibrate itself, level its heated build plate and clean its nozzle before going on to the next job, thereby ensuring that every print is as accurate as the first. These features, coupled with the clog-free extrusion system, eradicate the most commonly experienced problems seen with other consumer printers.

In terms of electronics, ReadyBox boasts a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 core and an easy-to-use LCD screen with SD card support so that it can print by itself, even when a PC isn’t present. Additional specs include:

  • Printer size: 550cm by 55cm by 56cm (21.5” x 21.5” x 22”)
  • Print area: 33cm x 33cm x 33cm (13” x 13” x 13”)
  • Layer thickness: 0.05mm (50 microns) to 0.4mm (400 microns)
  • Top print speed: 400mm/second at 0.05mm layer thickness
  • Travel speed: up to 700mm/second
  • Nozzle: 0.6mm
  • Filament: PLA (2.85mm or 3mm)

Ready for faster prints without sacrificing quality? Head over to Readybox’s Kickstarter campaign, where Potter and his team are currently seeking $12,500. Delivery is projected for next spring.

Bikiros is a smart guardian for your child’s bike


Bikiros is a smart bicycle accessory and app that ensures children are safe while learning proper riding skills.


Learning to ride a bike is one of the biggest milestones and challenges in your child’s life. But the question is, how can you teach your kid to bike while having a peace of mind? With cycling attributed as the top cause of children’s injuries, parents need a device that helps with safety awareness and teaches their children how to maneuver their bikes without getting hurt. This is a problem that one Hong Kong startup is looking to solve. Bikiros monitors, evaluates and educates children on biking safety.

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The accessory uses four key features to teach children to be better cyclists: keeping an eye on risky biking behaviors, predicting immediate threats in the area, warning when risks are detected, and incentivizing through rewards and games. Risky biking behaviors could include late braking, tailgating, handling obstacles, high-speed cornering and more. After sensing dangerous behavior, Bikiros will then warn the biker by alerting them. After evaluating the rider’s weaknesses, its accompanying app will educate through games, comics and cartoons to teach the child better skills and ways to respond to risks while riding.

There are three components to the safety riding accessory: a rear, wheel and front module. The rear module is packed with an ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, supersonic sensors, a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, a warning LED, GSM and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and a 6000mAh battery. The wheel module is equipped with a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope speedometer. Lastly, the front boasts another ARM-based MCU and three supersonic sensors, along with a horn and buzzer, a photoresistor, and a temperature and humidity sensor.

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The sensor-laden device is able to perceive all kinds of behaviors and match them according to the current biking environment to best determine if there is a potential risk that requires looking into. Through a proprietary algorithm and the embedded supersonic sensors, Bikiros can accurately pinpoint objects that may pose threats to the biker and take the necessary actions. And should impact be detected, it will trigger followup procedures to ensure help is on its way.

Tomy Chan, CEO of Bikiros, founded the company to provide others with second chances. He stated, “Last year, I was paralyzed and hospitalized for 11 hours due to thyrotoxic periodic paralysis. I felt like I was given a second chance and inspired to do what I believe in, technology could help to protect lives. And safety awareness is most important as bad choices leads to accidents and regrets.”

Want to keep your children safe? Head over to Bikiros’ Indiegogo campaign, where the startup is raising $45,000. Their estimated delivery date is set for March 2016.

Conrod is a dev board for the automotive world


Conrod is the world’s first fully-programmable, connected app platform for your car.


Ideal for auto enthusiasts looking to personalize their ride, Conrod is a small device that plugs into the CAN bus of a VW brand car and lets users customize its features. More than just a data logger or diagnostic tool, the dev board provides developers with the ability to create their own apps and run them right in the vehicle. In other words, the days of having to write programs on a smartphone and then connect them via a dongle are over!

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Conrod interfaces with any VW car — including Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley — through its CAN bus, enabling a user to decode and manipulate messages to change the way that the vehicle operates. The fully-programmable unit can function as a standalone device, or can be paired with a 3G SIM to take advantage of its on-board cellular modem for Internet connectivity. For situations where 3G may not be an option, Conrod can sync to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0 as well.

The standard Conrod installation is designed to remain out of sight, with all of the configurations performed on a mobile device. To really let the platform shine, however, Conrod includes an add-on 3.2″ full color touchscreen for output vehicle information, which eliminates the need for a smartphone. This display comes in a self-contained case with GoPro mounting points, allowing a user to secure it in their car with any GoPro compatible mount.

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Conrod ships with several pre-installed apps for both Android and iOS gadgets, including a GPS data logger that keeps tabs on a vehicle’s location, a fuel economy tracker that monitors and records gas consumption, smart speed alerts that trigger emails and push notifications, as well as IFTTT-like logic blocks that can be defined to fit the needs and preferences of its user. For example, drivers can set it to roll up all the windows whenever the doors lock or sound the horn in the event of a sudden stop. Aside from displaying things such as oil and transmission temperatures, users can devise their own apps to view weather forecasts, tweets and just about anything else that comes to mind, all pulled down via Conrod’s cellular data connection.

In terms of hardware, the board boasts an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, 8MB of memory, GPS, a SIM socket, Bluetooth 4.0 radio, an accelerometer and gyroscope, three temperature sensors, five CAN network transceivers, OBD-II diagnostic circuitry, and an external serial expansion jack. What’s more, Conrod is completely Arduino compatible.

While a number of startups have recently launched innovative products that can turn any older set of wheels into a smart car, Conrod taps into the CAN instead of the OBD-II port.

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“Unlike OBD2, which is an open standard that anyone can read about, the CAN protocols used by specific vehicle manufacturers is not public information, and each manufacturer uses a different CAN language. We’ve spent thousands of hours decoding the CAN protocols in recent VW Group vehicles to enable Conrod to communicate with the CAN networks as if it was installed by the factory itself,” its creators add.

So, are you ready to pimp your ride? Then hurry over to its Kickstarter page, where the Conrod team is currently seeking $77,786. Delivery is expected to begin in December 2015.

Plug ’N’ IoT lets you create a smart device in just four clicks


Just plug any sensor into the board, download the necessary libraries and you have yourself an IoT device.


Created by Dutch startup Avionics Control Systems, Plug ‘N’ IoT is an extremely easy way for Makers of all levels to design connected gizmos and gadgets. Whether it’s a securing a home with motion sensors or tracking a cat through GPS, anything is possible with four clicks of the mouse on a PC.

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Plug ’N’ IoT comes in two versions: basic and premium. Both models are comprised of an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E processor, a GSM module and connectors, with the latter also including a shield. The Cortex-M3-based MCU boasts 512 KB of memory, operates at 84Mhz and features a maximum of 103 I/O pins. What’s more, the unit is compatible with just about every sensor and Arduino shield available today.

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How it works is pretty straightforward: A user plugs a sensor into the unit, drags and drops the suitable libraries, and uploads the code to the board. That’s it. What’s nice is that Plug ’N’ IoT is designed for everyone — no programing experience required. However, well-seasoned Makers have the option of devising and adding their own sketches. This opens the door to a countless applications, which range from monitoring air quality inside a home to keeping tabs on the temperature of an aquarium, maintaining optimal soil moisture or protecting an entryway. In any case, the sensor can detect a change in the environment and send a real-time reminder by way of text message to its user.

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Have an idea for an IoT project that you’d like to bring to life? Head over to Plug ’N’ IoT’s official Kickstarter page, where the Avionics Control Systems crew is currently seeking $39,733. Delivery is set for March 2016.

Oval is the world’s first digital handpan


Oval is a new electronic instrument that allows you to play, learn and perform music using any sound you can imagine.


The brainchild of one Barcelona startup, Oval is a Bluetooth-enabled and MIDI-compliant USB device with multi-sensing pads and LEDs that helps users learn, play and create music. The electronic device, which doubles as an open source music controller, pairs to a smartphone, tablet and computer to allow musicians of any level to develop new sounds and share their compositions using its accompanying app.

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Inspired by the handpan family of acoustic instruments (which resembles the classic steel drums of Trinidad and Tobago), Oval offers total freedom to make various notes and piece them together to perform an entire tune. This is accomplished through its Android and OS-friendly mobile app, as well as any MIDI-compatible software. Like a mini four track sequencer, the app lets users upload their own sounds and play them in different scales, add effects, adjust the sensitivity of its touchpads, download other songs, and pretty much anything else a percussionist would ever require.

“There are other ways to enjoy music besides listening. You are never too old or too young to experience the awesome feeling of playing an instrument and creating music. We believe that learning music should be fun and instruments have to be made to be ready to play right away. The Oval speeds up your music learning curve by leveraging the power of technology, gaming and sharing with others,” the team writes.

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The Oval takes the design, ergonomics and musical qualities of handpans to create an electronic instrument that can be as simple for a beginner to start exploring music as a means of expression, and as complex as a professional musician needs it to be for layering samples and real-time looping. Its durable yet lightweight case is comprised of all natural materials like bauxite, marble and quartz, and comes in three colors: white, red and grey.

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Designed with portability in mind, the unit itself only measures about 16” x 16″ x 5” in size and weighs roughly seven pounds. Oval is equipped with pressure-sensitive pads which illuminate to provide visual cues for tutorials, metronome mode and music-driven games. Meanwhile, housed inside its shell lies an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU for its brains, a Bluetooth Low Energy module for connectivity, and a lithium battery for recharging via USB. What’s more, the instrument comes with a jack that can be used to input pedals or an external controllers.

Whether you’re a pro musician looking for a new tool or just someone who misses the steel drum sounds of the Caribbean, head over to Oval’s Kickstarter page today. The team is currently seeking $109,492 and hopes to begin shipping units out by spring of next year.

RepRapPro launches a $300 Delta 3D printer


The Fisher Delta 3D printer is an easy-to-assemble and even easier-to-afford machine for Makers of any level.


Safe to say that the adoption of 3D printing will rely heavily upon both affordability and accessibility to Makers. And one of the companies continuing to lead the way is RepRapPro, who has debuted yet another open source machine for the DIY community. Recently unveiled during 3D Printshow London, Fisher is an easy-to-assemble, Delta style 3D printer that is expected to cost around $300 — quite the wallet-friendly price compared to many other devices on the market today.

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“In order to achieve the low price, a Delta configuration was chosen, utilizing mainly parts and processes which can be found in our other RepRap kits,” its team revels. “Although in this configuration the machine lacks a heated bed, many great features are included, such as an automatic bed probing and new compact all metal hot-end, which all combine to give the same great print quality as all our other RepRap 3D printer designs.”

One of its other notable features is RepRapPro’s Arduino-compatible, 32-bit controller. Based on an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, the Duet board is equipped with four stepper motor controllers, an SD card slot, as well as USB and Ethernet ports. Makers can drive the platform with a conventional RepRap app like Pronterface or command the platform via a standard web server. What’s more, an expansion board offers an additional four stepper motor controllers, allowing for a total of five extruders and up to eight axis controls.

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Key specs of the Fisher:

  • Build volume: 150mm diameter, 180mm height
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Resolution: 12.5um in all axes
  • Print bed: Removable
  • Extruder: Direct drive extruder with an all-metal stainless steel nozzle
  • Connectivity: Ethernet and USB interface
  • Storage: On-board microSD
  • Software: Prints G-code files provided by Slic3r and other open-source slicing programs

At the moment, the design is in its beta stage, as the team gathers feedback from end users throughout the open source community. Meanwhile, upgrades are already in the works which include a heated bed and color touchscreen kits. Interested? Head over to its official page here.