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 Lockand 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”.
Over the last couple of years, the Maker Movement has ushered in a new wave of low-cost hardware that enables anyone of any age and skill level to begin tinkering. Easy-to-use boards like the Arduino continue to lower the barriers to entry, while simplifying the prototyping process. Ultimately, this allows kids to explore basic electronics, learn coding, pursue STEM-related disciplines, and in some cases, even start their own business.
Here are a few young Makers from 2015 that prove age is just a number when it comes to innovation…
Omkar Govil-Nair (O Watch)
Do you recall what you were doing back in the summer of fourth grade? Chances are you weren’t creating a programmable, SAM D21-based smartwatch like eight-year-old Omkar Govil-Nair, let alone launching a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Quin Etnyre (Qtechknow)
Quin Etnyre already has quite the resume for a 15-year-old. After discovering his passion for tech, the self-taught whiz-kid has created his own company Qtechknow, taught classes at MIT, been invited to the White House and garnered over $40,000 on Kickstarter all within three years. Most recently, he introduced a tiny Arduino-compatible board complete with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge.
Jordan Fung (Pedosa Glass)
What do you do when you’re a 13-year-old app developer who doesn’t have the money to shell out for a new pair of Google Glass? You build your own, of course! Hong Kong resident Jordan Fung devised a smart glasses attachment powered by an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) that shows him data and control information via a tiny FLCoS display.
Shubham Banerjee (Braigo Labs)
Eighth grader Shubham Banerjee constructed a braille printer entirely out of LEGO as a way to improve access and literacy for the visually impaired. More impressively, his startup Braigo Labs received venture capital funding from Intel late last year.
John Wall (WΛLLTΞCH)
17-year-old John Wall loves crafting his own open source wearable gadgetry. From OLED watches to Bluetooth/NFC bone-conduction audio headsets, the future Stanford grad has done it all.
Chase Freedman (Brick Sound Kit)
“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 develop an attachable, Arduino-friendly device that lets kids record or download sounds to enhance their playtime experience.
Sahar Khashayar (Wildfire Warning System)
Jimmy Fallon welcomed 14-year-old Sahar Khashayar onto his show earlier this year. The ninth grade student had the chance to demonstrate her inexpensive device capable of detecting wildfires (and house fires, too) and sending a text alert to emergency personnel before flames rage out of control.
Nick Anglin (Strikey Sensors)
During a Maker Camp last summer, 13-year-old Nick Anglin noticed that there was a void in the market for Little Leaguers looking to learn how to pitch accurately. Whereas most middle schoolers would simply draw a rectangular box out of chalk on a brick or concrete wall and then proceed to throw the ball at the makeshift strike zone, this Maker decided to take a much more high-tech route with the help of lasers and Arduino.
Nilay Mehta (Low-Cost Robotic Arm)
With the help of 3D printing and Arduino, Nilay Mehta was able to build an inexpensive, voice-controlled robotic arm. The Irvine, California high school student programmed the unit to mimic the movements of an actual human hand, such as pinching, grabbing or holding a utensil. Using voice commands through a two prong microphone attached to the limb, the arm can carry out specific actions at the request of its wearer.
Aidan Fay (Cockpit Simulator)
What do you do if you’re a 17-year-old whose aspirations of flying an airplane have been grounded by the FAA due to a pre-existing medical condition? Having been interested in aviation for quite some time and still determined to one day earn his Class 3 pilot’s license, Aidan Fay decided to design a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator right in his bedroom. And unlike other computer programs and video games available today, the San Diego-based Maker wanted a system that would take his training to whole new heights. His life-size cockpit includes everything from pedals that control actual airplane rudders and brakes, to a steering yoke, to an Oculus Rift running Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D software for a truly immersive experience.
Emmett White (PineDuino)
As seen at the Westport Maker Faire, second grader Emmett White came up with a Pinewood Derby car that uses an Arduino Nano, an accelerometer and an LED display to collect and display information as it travels.
Guillaume Rolland (SensorWake)
Wake up and smell the coffee, literally. This is what Guillaume Rolland, an 18-year-old French entrepreneur, set out to accomplish with the world’s first olfactory alarm clock. The unit awakens its user with a scent rather than an abrupt audio alarm.
The Qduino Mini is an ATmega32U4 based board with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that’s just as affordable as an Arduino, but a quarter of the size.
Hot on the heels of a rather successful Kickstarter campaign, Quin Etynre continues to amaze us with his pure ingenuity and passion for creating things. As the quintessential example of what it takes to go from ‘MakerSpace to Marketplace,’ earlier this year the 14-year-old CEO introduced what he calls the Qduino Mini — a tiny Arduino-compatible board equipped with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that can let a user know when their LiPo needs a little more juice.
Born out of his own frustrations of having to guess when a project was running out of power, the open source dev board is based on an ATmega32U4 — the same MCU that can be found at the heart of the Arduino Leonardo, which the Maker has used to tinker around with for quite awhile. The small device isn’t only packed with a charger circuit and fuel gauge, but possesses a lightweight, ultra-thin form factor as well. This allows for it to be programmed and have its energy restored simulatenously via USB. On top of all that, each Qduino is also breadboard-friendly and has two RGB LEDs: one for status, another that’s user programmable!
The Qduino Mini measures just 0.8″ x 1.5” in size and weighs a mere fraction of an ounce, making the shrunken down Arduino ideal for drones and high-altitude balloon projects, as well as a wide range of other gadgets like Etnyre’s incredibly popular B&W Photo Booth that had been on display inside our Maker Faire New York booth.
How the selfie machine works is pretty straightforward. A user stands before a webcam mounted to a monitor, presses a button, and 20 seconds later, a thermal printer spits out an instant photo on receipt paper. The best part? It doesn’t require any ink! As you can imagine, this would be a perfect novelty item for any birthday party, prom, wedding or just for some fun around the office. (Heck, even AVR Man seems to enjoy it!)
The system itself is comprised of a monitor and two green 3D-printed parts: a button and a thermal printer, both embedded with an Qduino Mini. Pressing the round button triggers a sketch, which in turn, processes the captured image from the webcam and sends it over to the thermal printer.
Pretty cool, right? But don’t just take it from us. Watch Etnyre explain it himself in the video below! Plus, those wishing to pre-order a Qduino Mini of their own can now do so over on SparkFun.
Have you ever wanted to unlock your front door with just your bus pass, a tag or an old hotel room key? Now you can.
In today’s world, convenience is a huge factor. From mass transit to hotels, more and more devices are becoming enabled with contactless technology to expedite our days. Wouldn’t it be great to do the same at home? After all, having to search through your bag to find your keys can often times be a daunting task, and time-consuming nevertheless. Just imagine how easy it could be to unlock your front door using nothing but that bus pass, that old hotel room key, or any other item embedded with an NFC tag. Thanks to Maker Quin Etnyre, now you can. Even better, the entire project costs less than $100!
As its name would imply, the NFC Door Lock isa compact, Qduino Mini-powered door lock that senses when there is an NFC tag present, unlocks your door using a servo motor and multiple 3D-printed parts, and makes absolutely no modifications to your current door accessory. In other words, you can take it apart if needed in just a few minutes.
“This is super useful and I hope to put it on all doors of my house — it’s a relatively easy build in a few hours for an advanced user or a great weekend project for beginners,” the 14-year-old Maker explains.
Fresh on the heels of a super successful Kickstarter campaign, the Qduino Mini is ideally suited for this project. For those unfamiliar with it, the Arduino-compatible board is equipped with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that can notify a user whenever a LiPo needs a little extra juice. However, since the Qduino Minis won’t be readily available until this summer, Etynre suggests using a SparkFun Pro Micro (ATmega32U4), a LiPo battery charger, and a LiPo battery fuel gauge.
Using his ATmega2560 based Bukito 3D printer, the Maker went on to create a couple of parts for the lock, including its round mounting plate, servo head, servo mounting blocks, as well as the housing for its electronics. All of these components can be completed in a matter of two-three hours.
Etnyre then acquired hookup wire, an Adafruit NFC Shield, the Qduino Mini and some right angle male headers, before splitting off three pins from the block of male headers, and soldering them to one edge of the proto space on the NFC Shield. Throw in some cutting between the IRQ and D2 on the NFC Shield, along with a little coding using the Adafruit PN532 NFC library, and you’re well on your way to finishing the smart lock.
Next, the Maker removed the inside face of his deadbolt and mounted the servo head onto the door. He placed the entire assembly of the Qduino Mini and NFC Shield inside the 3D-printed box, attached the servo cable to its connector and ran the cable through the designated hole in the lower lefthand corner of the housing. From there, the lock is affixed to the door.
This palm-sized, Arduino-based digital pet robot is packed with an accelerometer, gyrosocope, 6x RGB LED lights, sound, and communication sensors. Plum Geek is currently seeking $12,000 on Kickstarter.
The Qduino Mini is an Arduino-compatible board with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge.
Recipient of Maker Faire awards, check. Teaching classrooms full of students and engineers, check. Mainstream media coverage, check. Showing off his work to Bill Nye, will.i.am and President Obama himself at the White House, check. It’s safe to say that 14-year-old Maker Quin Etynre already boasts a rather astonishing resume. Yet, it appears that he’s well on his way of adding Kickstarter success to the growing list of accolades in his short yet impressive career.
Recently making its crowdfunding debut, the aptly dubbed Qduino Mini is the first tiny Arduino-compatible board equipped with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that can notify a 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,” Quin explains. And so, the Qduino Mini was born.
In true Maker fashion, the Qduino Mini is entirely open-source and is based on an ATmega32U4 — the same MCU that can be found at the heart of the Arduino Leonardo. Upon delivery of the board, Quin has revealed that all of its design files, schematics and codes will be made available to the community.
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 too. This allows for it to be programmed and have its energy restored simulatenously via USB. Not to mention, the Qduino Mini itself measures just 1″ x 1.5” in size and weighs 0.18oz. Given its lightweight composition, the shrunken down ‘duino is ideal for quadcopters, drones or high-altitude balloon projects, as well as a wide-range of other gadgets like electronic dice, binary clocks and social Androids to name just a few.
Aside from its ATmega32U4, other notable specs include:
32KB Flash storage
3.3V @ 16MHz
20 digital I/O (14 dedicated)
12 analog Channels (6 dedicated)
7 digital I/O also PWM channels
SPI, I2C, UART available
LED Indicators for: On, charge status, TX, RX, D13
TPS78233 3.3V 150mA Regulator
MCP73832 LiPo battery charger
MAX17048 LiPo battery fuel gauge
In order to bring the Qduino Mini to life, Quin has partnered with our friends at SparkFun who will serve as the sole manufacturer for the campaign. No stranger to the Kickstarter world, recent SparkFun collaborations have included the highly-popular MicroView as well as MaKey MaKey. If the pattern continues, this all-in-one solution should reach crowdfunding stardom in no time!