Tag Archives: nixie

21 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week

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



This ring-sized computer analyzes your daily activities to help you sleep and perform better. ŌURA has already well surpassed its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter.



This A.I. platform is an open source alternative to Amazon Echo that allows you to play media, control lights and much more. Mycroft is currently seeking $99,000 on Kickstarter.

Fotokite Phi


This GoPro-carrying quadcopter can capture bird’s-eye view photos while being leashed to your wrist. Fotokite is currently seeking $300,000 on Indiegogo.



This standalone machine learning device can detect when your drone is about to crash and deploy a parachute. North UAV is currently seeking $12,000 on Kickstarter.



This solar-powered tracker lets you find nearly anything (or anyone) using GPS. LightBug is currently seeking $77,782 on Kickstarter.



This intelligent car battery will never need to be jumpstarted, works reliably on the coldest winter days, and lasts twice as long as the average lead-acid battery. Ohm is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.



This four-in-one machine allows you to laser cut, mill, etch and 3D print a wide range of materials. Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co. is currently seeking $35,000 on Kickstarter.



This futuristic head-up display provides hands-free access to maps, phone calls, text messages, notifications, music and on-board diagnostics for your car. Exploride is currently seeking $100,000 on Indiegogo.

OnCourse Goggles


This pair of point-and-click goggles allow athletes to stay on course, swim in a straight line in open water and receive real-time feedback. OnCourse Goggles is currently seeking $60,000 on Kickstarter.



This ultra-compact, Arduino-compatible board features an integrated stepper driver and 12-bit rotary encoder, enabling it to be mounted directly on the back of your Nema 17 motor. ON Development IVS is currently seeking $8,882 on Kickstarter.



This portable battery-powered gadget can illuminate your pool or hot tub for an awesome light show along with sound through its Bluetooth speakers. Andreas Haase is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.



This pair of super small, Bluetooth-enabled buds fit comfortably in your ear without a single cord and boasts a battery life of six hours. Pear Designs has already well surpassed its $50,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Trekz Titanium


This pair of wireless, open ear headphones offer runners, cyclists, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts superior safety, comfort and high-quality sound through bone conduction technology. AfterShokz has already well surpassed its $65,000 goal on Indiegogo.



This Bluetooth tag clips and sticks onto anything you’d like to keep tabs on, all of which can easily be tracked right from your smartphone. Verti is currently seeking $10,000 on Indiegogo.



This voice messaging system is reinventing the answering machine by having you communicate with family and friends using an orb. Retropreneur Labs is currently seeking $75,000 on Kickstarter.

go-e ONwheel


This lightweight, add-on motor can transform your bike into an e-bike in a matter of seconds. Frank Fox has already well surpassed his goal of $55,253 on Kickstarter.



This smart appliance tracks, sorts and dispenses your pills whenever it’s time to take them. LITE is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Knut Water


This connected detector can sense water, temperature and humidity to protect your home from water damage. Amperic is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.



This standalone “like” button gives you the ability to express your adoration for anything and everything, while also collecting input and other forms of crowdsourced data. Luvit is currently seeking $25,000 on Kickstarter.



This smart home security kit is comprised of a central control unit, an HD camera, a motion sensor, a door/windows sensor, a smoke detector and an alarm trigger. iGia is currently seeking $10,000 on Indiegogo.



This highly-customizable, privacy-enhanced robot not only can serve as your personal companion, but can learn by doing, keep an eye on things, snap photos, receive weather and traffic reports, connect to household devices, and much more. Nxt Robotics is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

If your project is powered by Atmel MCUs and you’ve been featured on our blog, be sure to download the respective badges here for use in your ongoing marketing efforts. 

We Picked Atmel Rectangle_Yellow_updated_062315

Nixie is the first wearable camera that can fly

Remember the dronie? Recently, selfie-takers seeking to add a bit more creativity than their arm span allowed, began turning to drones like the ATmega8A Parrot AR.Drone to capture the moment. Now, a new wearable has emerged, which seems to be ripped straight from a Batman movie as with the flick of a wrist, the tiny device can take to the skies and record its surroundings.

If your selfies weren’t awesome enough, you’re in luck. A team of Makers have set out to take photography to whole new heights… literally.


Sure, smart watches bring smartphone features to wearers’ wrists, but can it fly freely and take video as it soars through the air? Stanford University researcher Christoph Kohstall, along with a team of engineers and designers, has formed a dream team to develop the Nixie. This wrist-mounded quadcopter hybrid just may hold the future of wearables, all while weighing less than a pound.

So, put away those camera-mounted helmets, selfie sticks and other contraptions, and slap the drone to your wrist. How it works is relatively simple. It sits on your wrist. You press a button. It takes off. Once it is a fair distance away, the drone turns around and captures a picture (or video) of you.

According to Kohstall, “You should be able with a gesture to tell the quadcopter to unfold. Then it’s going to take off from your wrist. It knows where you are, turns around, takes a picture of you, comes back. You can catch it from the air, [and] put it back on your wrist.”

The device is not designed to compete with the Apple’s iWatch or similar do-it-alls, but the team envisions the Nixie as a “personal photographer.” At the moment, the Nixie prototype is equipped with motion sensors that can detect the user’s location and respond to gestures-based commands before returning to the user to be extracted from mid-air and recalled back to the wrist.


Currently, there are three distinct modes of operation turn this flying device into the ultimate image-capturing robot.

“Panorama mode” sees the drone fly into the air and take 360-degree aerial images of the immediate surroundings. “Hover mode” allows Nixie to, you guessed it, hover above the surroundings and snap a series of shots. Lastly, “boomerang mode” has the flyer zoom off to a set distance from the wearer, take a picture, and then return to the user’s location. Serious due diligence on motion prediction algorithms and lightweight engineering have made these systems possible within the team’s desired specifications for Nixie. While other drones may feature similar functionality, its creators say that none promise the same level of portability or user friendliness.

“Quadcopters give you a new perspective you can’t get anywhere else,” says Jelena Jovanovic, Nixie’s project manager. “But it’s not really feasible to pilot a drone and keep doing what you’re doing.”


While the innovative device may not be embedded with an Atmel MCU, or even an Arduino for that matter, there is always version 2.0. (Right?) Nixie is still in prototype stages and there are a few challenges to be conquered before you see one at your local park. Though with the team’s impressive background and clear motivation, it wouldn’t be surprising if flying wearables like the Nixie became the norm in the near future.

This innovative idea was so impressive that it was awarded the top $500,000 prize in Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge. For more information about the Nixie, fly on over to its official website for project updates.

A retro modern Nixie clock with Atmel’s ATmega48

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, there really is nothing quite like the comforting glow of a Nixie tube. Reboots apparently couldn’t agree more, as the retro modern Nixie clock he designed clearly illustrates.

According to HackADay’s James Hobson, Reboots was inspired to build the clock after coming across an old General Electric battery charger for sale.

“The Nixie tubes he chose for the project came from a lot sale on eBay, Russian surplus IN-12 tubes. He even managed to find an English datasheet for them,” Hobson explained.

“Having decided on the Nixie tube, driver, and case, he now needed a reliable power supply. Threeneuron’s design fit the bill nicely, however it ended up being a bit noisy under load, but the TubeClock kit used a free-running transistor oscillator, which was in fact even louder under load.”

From there, said Hobson, it was a matter of testing the tubes, prototyping PCBs and programming Atmel’s stalwart ATmega48 microcontroller (MCU) for the task.

Interested in learning more about the retro modern Nixie clock? You can check out the project’s official page loaded with additional images here.

Previous Nixie-based projects featured on Bits & Pieces include “The ATtiny1634 Nixie clock,”  “Building an Arduino-powered Enigma machine,” and “Atmel’s ATmega645P goes tick tock.”