Tag Archives: Phoenard

Rewind: 14 pocket-sized projects of 2014

And who said big things can’t come in small packages?

A CD-sized printer you can take anywhere


Think printing is boring? Tedious? Annoying? You may want to check those thoughts at the door after checking out this portable, handheld printer from a team of students from Lev, the Jerusalem College of Technology. The young Makers — who together launched ZUta Labs — have debuted a revolutionary little gadget. The appropriately named Pocket Printer is an untethered robot comparable in size to a CD case that features a set of omni wheels and a printer cartridge tethered to an [Atmel based] Arduino board. Once placed down, the device begins to run along the paper, using its aforementioned wheels and a high-res optical sensor to move around, distributing ink wherever it’s needed. For multi-paged documents, simply pick up the printer and put it onto the the next blank sheet of paper.

A drone that can fold up into your front pocket


Developed by Maker Jason Lam along with his team at San-Francisco based AeriCam, the Anura is a flying quadcopter that can be folded into approximately the size of an iPhone 6. The portable drone connects with iOS and Android smartphones via Wi-Fi. Equipped with a built-in microcamera, Anura offers a live aerial view on the screen of the connected smartphone, which also serves as its remote control. In addition, the flying apparatus can soar within a range of 80-feet with a flight time of around 10 minutes per charge and a top speed of 25 MPH. The pocket-sized UAV hopes to pack some other functionalities as well, including auto take-off, auto land, return home and follow phone.

An entire band in your pants


Ever catch yourself drumming on your thighs? Your table? Your desk? Your steering wheel? Now, starting a one-man band is as simple as wearing this musical kit. As seen on Kickstarter and ABC’s Shark Tank, DrumPants transform one’s trousers into a full ensemble with 100+ built-in high-quality sounds. Though the DrumPants were designed with music in mind, the sensors do provide additional uses — they can reprogrammed to trigger actions within a wide variety of apps, ranging from answering their phone, to playing a streaming video, to controlling a game. In addition, its control box is powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M3-based MCU and features an ultra-low latency Bluetooth 4.0 chip, an embedded sound engine for 1/8-inch headphone jack, 128 instrument sample banks and a Micro-USB for connection to a laptop or PC.

A Tetris-playing business card

photo 4a

Safe to say, you’ve never seen a business card like this before. Created by Maker Kevin Bates, Arduboy is an uber-mini handheld game console powered by an ATmega328P. The device, which is roughly a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs nearly 10 hours of battery life, is equipped with a 1.3″ OLED display, capacitive touch buttons and a piezo-electric speaker. In essence, it is a digital business card which features a built-in Tetris (and Pokemon) game and several control buttons.

An open-source offline password keeper


In the wake of recent breaches, the need for two-factor authentication is more apparent than ever before. And, while log-ins and passwords are critical elements required to access the sites and services we use on a daily basis, remembering complex credentials can be quite difficult. So, in an effort to minimize the number of ways a password could be compromised, the Hackaday community recently devised an offline password keeper called Mooltipass. The crew selected an ATmega32U4 MCU to power the device, which also boasts an easy-to-read OLED screen, a read-protected smart card (AT88SC102) and Flash memory to store encrypted passwords.

A portable breathalyzer that has your BAC


Developed by the team at Edge Tech Labs, DrinkMate is a lipstick-sized breathalyzer that plugs directly into your smartphone. The project recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, where it garnered well over its original $40,000 goal. Unlike those of the past, the world’s smallest breathalyzer — which measures 1.8″ long x 0.62″ in diameter — works in conjunction with the Android phone’s app and displays his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) results instantly with no calibration, no mouthpiece and no battery. A user simply inserts one end of Atmel based DrinkMate into a phone’s microUSB port, while blowing into the other end. BAC results are then displayed instantly.

A Polaroid printer for your smartphone


Have you ever browsed through your smartphone pics and wished you could print copies in a moment’s notice? A new device, aptly named SnapJet, is now making that a reality. The open-source, instant-film printer uses Polaroid technology to let users wirelessly print their photos directly from a smartphone. Impressively, the SnapJet doesn’t require any mobile app, wires, or other connections, such as Wi-Fi, NFC or even Bluetooth. Driven by an AT90USB1286, the SnapJet also features an OLED display and other connectivity options — like USB and BLE — just in case you feel the need retouch a few pics, or for those Makers out there, the urge to reprogram or hack the open-source device.

A handheld air quality monitor


Designed by the Brooklyn-based HabitatMap team, AirBeam is a portable, palm-sized system for mapping, graphing and crowdsourcing air pollution in real-time as you make your way around city streets. While the wearable instrument may not purify the air, it does enable you to monitor what you are breathing in, thereby increasing your awareness of the budding issue. As its creators note, pollution is among the leading causes of chronic illnesses as well as contributor to a number of terminal illnesses. In an effort to share and improve the atmosphere, the ATmega32U4 based AirBeam uses a light scattering method to take regular measurements of fine particular matter (also known as PM2.5), convert the data into a more digestible form and relay it to its companion smartphone app via Bluetooth. The Android app then maps and logs the data in real-time.

A tracker for your environment


Wearables? More like air-ables! While a majority of the wearable tech space has been focused on tracking what’s inside our bodies such as activity and stress levels, a new kind of device is emerging, one in which monitors what’s going on outside of us — specifically in our environment. Similar to the aforementioned AirBeam handset, TZOA is capable of measuring air pollution and UV exposure in one’s immediate environment using advanced sensor technology. The tiny, round tracker is equipped with optical laser sensors that keep tabs on air quality, UV light, humidity, and temperature — all of which transmit data to a companion smartphone app via Bluetooth to quantify the environment around the wearer. Using this information, the wearer can determine whether they need to open a window, step outside to catch a few rays, or simply take a different route on their way to the office.

An all-in-one prototyping gadget


Fresh of a successful crowdfunding campaign, Makers Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta and Ralf Smit have created the first all-in-one Arduino-compatible prototyping gadget. While its form-factor is rather convenient, its hackability and wide-range of applications is where the so-called Phoenard truly sets itself apart. The gadget, which is powered by an ATmega2560, not only sits perfectly in your hand but can slide quite easily into your pocket. The 11.8 x 6.1 x 1.1 cm device boasts a full-color touchscreen display and an on-board battery, and is even equipped with its own operating environment. Given its incredible versatility, the self-programmed Phoenard is bound to make every true Maker’s dream a reality. As its creators note, the prototyping platform can be used as the ‘brain’ of any DIY Project. Unlike an Arduino, Phoenard encompasses several features built entirely into a single unit, which can also serve as your daily mobile device. Sure, you can buy a smartphone, but wouldn’t it be even more awesome to devise your own?

A gaming console that’s smaller than your credit card


Developed by National Engineering School of Saint-Etienne student Aurélien Rodot, Gamebuino is a retro-inspired, pocket-sized game console built around an ATmega328. No larger than a credit card, the successfully crowdfunded device gives a whole new meaning to portable gaming. With its metallic and vintage appearance, it will surely spark up some technostalgia of the Gameboy Advance of the early 2000s. According to its creators, Gamebuino is a true turnkey solution that enables Makers of all ages to begin creating their own 8-bit games — even those with very little programming knowledge. Advanced users will take comfort in knowing that the device is open-source, hackable and expandable.

Another open-source 8-bit gaming console you’ll love


In honor of Game Boy’s 25th birthday, the Microduino Studio team debuted the Microduino-Joypad, an 8-bit multi-functional game console capable of playing all-time classics ranging from Tetris to Snake. The open-source gadget allows Makers to relive some of their greatest childhood memories of clicking away at those giant buttons on a vintage Nintendo handheld. Based on both ATmega328P and ATmega644PA MCUs, the Joypad can be used for everything, from controlling a quadcopter to playing a few levels of the latest Angry Birds installment.

An interactive near-eye display


A group of researchers from Nokia and a number of universities have come together to design a gadget that has the same benefits of Google Glass, while eradicating the need to wear them around one’s face. The device, which is tethered to an Epson Android computer and an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega168), provides an eye-level display for quick, discreet access. Named after the small magnification tool commonly used by jewelers, Loupe is described by its creators as a novel interactive device with a near-eye virtual display similar to head-up display glasses. With its cylindrical shape, the chapstick-sized gadget can be held up to one’s eye when a user wants to check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such. When not in use, the device can easily be stowed away in a pocket or worn like a pendant necklace.

An open-source radiation detector


Developed by AeroSplice, the APOC Pro is an advanced open-source Gamma particle and X-ray radiation detector powered by an ATmega328. The device logs data onto a microSD card in a readable format, which is later analyzed using a custom web application and displayed to other users located throughout the world.

Tardis is an Arduino-compatible smartwatch

The Tardis Watch is a perfect DIY alternative to those either ‘boring’ wearables. 

Maker Moritz Wenzel has created an Arduino-compatible, software and hardware expandable smartwatch appropriately named Tardis Smartwatch.


“Currently, every company on the market [has] built their own smartwatch, nice small devices that makes your life a little bit easier and more comfortable. But for a Maker, a hacker, a hobbyist or a nerd who loves hackable devices and creating own projects, these ‘boring’ smartwatches are no real alternative,” Wenzel writes.


According to the Maker, the Tardis Smartwatch makes it possible to visualize Arduino projects, connecting them with either the watch itself or your smartphone via Bluetooth.


Powered by an ATmega32U4 MCU, the wearable device is comparable in size to typical watch faces already on the market (41mm x 40mm x 13mm) and is equipped with a wide-range of components:

  • 1.44” TFT color display with 128 x 128 resolution
  • USB 2.0
  • Gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer
  • Real-time clock
  • LiPo battery 
  • microSD card slot
  • Tiny speaker
  • Temperature sensor
  • Two (2) tactile switches for navigation (one for UI, another for home/reset button)


Inspired by former AVR Hero and recent Kickstarter success Phoenard, the Tardis Smartwatch features a Phoenex-compatible connector for the I/O pins. This enables Makers to effortlessly connect their development boards, DIY projects and common Arduino Shields via a board adapter to the watch.

Such compatibility allows Makers to easily and cost-efficiently create smart clothes, an area which is bound for tremendous growth. In fact, Gartner believes the emergence of these electronic textiles will potentially disrupt the wearables space, increasing these garments to 26 million units in 2016.

Wenzel notes that users won’t need to integrate a power supply (battery) and an MCU into their wearables; instead, they can simply connect their shirt, pullover, jacket or any other sort of garment trough the Phoenex-compatible GPIO Port to the Tardis Smartwatch.

“Jump with the wearable technology into the next galaxy: Your watch can be the controlling and powering unit for your clothes, and simply turn them into smart clothes.”

Interested in learning more about the megaAVR based watch? You can follow along with his build on the project’s Facebook page here.

Phoenard is the world’s first all-in-one prototyping gadget

As seen at the Atmel Maker Faire, Embedded World and most recently, Electronica booths, former AVR Hero Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta, Ralf Smit and their team have successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for their all-in-one Arduino-compatible prototyping gadget, Phoenard.

While its form-factor is rather convenient, its hackability and wide-range of applications is where the Phoenard truly sets itself apart. The gadget, which is powered by an ATmega2560, not only sits perfectly in your hand but can slide quite easily into your pocket. The 11.8 x 6.1 x 1.1 cm device boasts a full-color touchscreen display and an on-board battery, and is even equipped with its own operating environment. Given its incredible versatility, the self-programmed Phoenard is bound to make every true Maker’s dream a reality.


As its creators note, the prototyping platform can be used as the ‘brain’ of any DIY Project. Unlike an Arduino, Phoenard encompasses several features built entirely into a single unit, which can also serve as your daily mobile device. Sure, you can buy a smartphone, but wouldn’t it be even more awesome to devise your own?


Aside from being 100% Arduino-compatible, the megaAVR powered device’s on-board course is a perfect choice for Makers looking to start their first creations. As the team shares, “[There’s] no need to have programming skills or have a computer with you, as the Phoenard itself can guide you.” This curriculum is a compilation of tutorials that provide step-by-step breakdowns on how to prototype and tinker around with electronics.  

With Phoenard, Makers will no longer need to abandon their prototyping tools either; instead, the gadget can become your day-to-day device to carry out tasks such as calling, texting and storing contacts, serving as an MP3 player, and controlling wearable devices. Whether you want to play multi-player games with friends via Bluetooth or make a mini drum kit using Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint, countless ideas that can now be brought to life with Phoenard.


“Well, asking what can you do with Phoenard is more [or] less the same as asking what can you do with computer or smartphone. The functionality of the devices are defined by the software running on top of it.

Designed for Makers of all levels, ranging from students and educators, Phoenard is essentially for “everyone who is passionate about making and/or for those who is looking for a great tools to get started in electronics and programming.”


To complement Phoenard’s mobility, portability and self-sufficiency, the team has also introduced the Phoenard Operating Environment, which will enable a user to store thousands upon thousands of Arduino sketches right on-board. “Similar to developing apps for your smartphone, but instead for your Arduino,” the team writes.

Recently, we had chance to experience the latest rendition of Phoenard first-hand inside of our Electronica booth. Not only does the bootloader sit on the AVR, each of the applications – ranging from a GSM phone to an MP3 player – live on a microSD card. As we learned, Makers can now mod, add and draw icons right on the handed gadget, while the SD card remains in the socket. This allows a user to share his or her sketches without the need for any additional cables or computers, as they can now be transferred wirelessly between two Bluetooth-enabled Phoenards.


The team notes that they are also in the process of developing a way to wireless programming a Phoenard from a computer. Pretty sweet, right?

Currently, the gadget is equipped with both external (‘Phoenex’) and on-board (‘Phoenon’) extensions. The Phoenex — which comes in three variations — can easily be connected to a project. Meanwhile, the Phoenon is capable of being affixed to the Phoenard and connected to the main board through the 12-pin FPC connector, thereby allowing Makers to add innovative features to the everyday gadget ranging from an IR thermometer and capacitive touch to Wi-Fi and NFC.

Plugging one of these modules into the back of the device can add those functionalities, while switching between projects is as easy as docking it onto one of the extensions and selecting the appropriate sketch. Each extension board can be dedicated for a specific project, so there is no need to struggle around the next time you want to run that project.”


So, what if you wanted to recreate the same functionality as Phoenard using Arduino? Sure, it’s possible. However, it will consist of an Arduino Mega, five Arduino shields, three modules, and will likely be five times the size and double the cost of the handheld gadget.


The team has already been the recipient of numerous honors, ranging from our recent AVR Hero Design Contest to Maker Faire Merit Awards in San Mateo and Rome. Add crowdfunding success to the list, too! Fresh off its Kickstarter debut, Phoenard well exceeded its original goal of €20,000, having garnered over €35,000. After being released during the Hackaday Prize Party in Munich, the team had attained its funding goal in just a matter of days.

Interested in learning more or ordering an all-in-one device? Head on over to its official Kickstarter page here. If all goes to plan, the initial batch of devices are expected to be shipped in March 2015.


HackADay features Atmel-powered Phoenard

Back in February, Pamungkas Sumasta’s Phoenard won Atmel’s AVR Hero design challenge.

According to Sumasta, Atmel’s 8-bit AVR MCUs provide “the best small footprint controllers available in the market – especially when they are coupled with Arduino support.”

Recently, the Phoenard was featured on HackADay, along with a short video interview shot at Atmel’s Maker Faire Bay Area (2014) booth.

“We really like the form-factor but its hackability is where it really shines. Sumasta showed off the menu system which is quite snappy and makes it simple for you to add your own applications,” writes HackADay’s Mike Szczys.

“Software isn’t the only thing you can customize, as there’s a connector at the bottom of the phone. Sumasta showed off a breadboard attachment which was hosting LEDs of various colors. Their intensity can be altered using a simple slider app on the touchscreen.”