Tag Archives: Touch Board

Rewind: 27 STEM kits from 2015

These STEM toys from 2015 are helping to inspire the next generation of Makers.

STEM education has been a growing venture in schools across the country, with even the President himself making it a priority to encourage students as young as grade-school to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. After all, these fields are changing the world rapidly within the areas of innovation, economic growth and employment. But let’s face it; these subjects don’t come easy to everyone, so how do we instill STEM in kids?

With this in mind, many startups have sought out new and exciting ways to entice the younger generation to explore their creativity and develop an interest in hands-on learning. Testament to that, here are several products from 2015 looking to inspire the next generation of Makers.

littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets


The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox, complete with motors, wheels, lights , switches, servos, buzzers and even the tools to build a remote control.



Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls the basics of coding.



Thimble is a monthly subscription service that delivers fun electronic projects with guided tutorials and a helpful community.

Touch Board Starter Kit


Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit contains everything you need to transform surfaces, objects or spaces into sensors.

Makey Makey GO


Small enough to fit on your keychain, backpack or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet. Say hello to the world’s first invention kit.



RePhone from Seeed Studio allows Makers to create a phone themselves in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.



mBot is an all-in-one, Arduino-compatible robot that supports wireless communication and employs Scratch 2.0-like coding.



Ringo is a miniature digital pet robot equipped with an accelerometer, a gyrosocope, six RGB LEDs, as well as sound and communication sensors.



Wink is an Arduino-driven robot designed to help transition students from graphical programming to more powerful written code languages. It’s also the sibling of the aforementioned Ringo.



Kano is a computer and coding kit for all ages that’s as simple as LEGO, powered by Raspberry Pi.

Primo Cubetto


Primo Cubetto is a smart wooden robot designed to teach kids the basics of coding away from the screen.



Petduino puts a DIY twist on the old-school Tamagotchi.



STEMI is a hexapod that can be built right at home and controlled via smartphone.



mCookies are quarter-sized, stackable modules from Microduino that enable young Makers to bring their LEGO projects to life.



Modulo is a set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of electronics.

The Crafty Robot


The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other — plug it into a USB port for 30 seconds, unplug it and you’ve got a moving robot.



Kamigami is an origami-style robot you can construct and program by yourself. Each one can be configured with a unique set of behaviors and characteristics through a drag-and-drop interface.



Phiro is a LEGO-compatible robotics toy that children can play with, code and innovate in various ways.



With Quirkbot, young Makers can devise and configure quirky robots (hence its name), blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws.



Cannybots are LEGO-compatible, smart toy cars that introduce kids to the worlds of robotics, programming and 3D printing.



3DRacers is a Mario Kart-like indoor racing game that lets anyone design and 3D print their own car.

Volta Flyer


Volta Flyer is the world’s first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun.



Roby is a 3D-printed robotic machine that not only drives on four wheels, but can walk on two. If it falls, it can even pick itself up again with its pair of arms.

O Watch


O Watch is a DIY smartwatch for a kid, by a kid.



LocoRobo is a cute, inexpensive robot capable of being wirelessly programmed.



KamiBot is a programmable, smartphone-controlled paper robot.

Pixel Pals


Pixel Pals are easy-to-build, fun educational kits that grow from a project to a friend you can program.

Fiat Lux


Fiat Lux is an Arduino-compatible kit specifically designed for unique wearable projects.



AZIBOt is an open source, 3D-printed robot kit for STEM education in Africa.

Creating a capacitive iPad cover with Bare Conductive

INKO is part capacitive cover, part keyboard and a whole lot of awesome. 

If you’re the owner of an iPad and have long been searching for a cover that offered a bit more functionality, you’re in luck. Designed by Alexandre Echasseriau, INKO is both a capacitive cover and a keyboard. The device is comprised of conductive paint injected into a leather sleeve that is capable of transmitting a signal from the keyboard to the iPad via a mini Bluetooth antenna.


Unveiled earlier this spring at the 2015 Saint Etienne Biennale, INKO combines fine leather craftsmanship along with Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint and Touch Board (ATmega32U4) to transform an ordinary protective shield into a working touchpad. The idea was first conceived as a way to incorporate a printed circuit board within the hide in order to establish an electrical connection that could relay a signal to its accompanying mobile device.


Initially, tattoo artist Jéremy Lorenzato was tasked with injecting the Electric Paint into the thickness of the material. However, after determining that manually inking the hide was not suitable for the project, the process was eventually replaced by a system dubbed “Tatoué,” the brainchild of French design group Appropriate Audiences. (You may recall the team and their hacked machine from last year.) The Maker trio had modded a MakerBot Replicator to create an automated tattoo “printer” that could etch permanent artwork on human skin, and now leather as well.

Meanwhile, the actual shape of the cover/keyboard was formed in a matter of just one step by leather worker David Rosenblum by employing an embossing technique to achieve that “keystroke” feel.


“I really wanted to explore the potential of Electric Paint. Tattooing the paint rather than screen printing or painting opened up an opportunity to create a sustainable and robust PCB circuit,” Echasseriau told Bare Conductive in a recent interview. “The luck was that after a little dilution, the paint could be perfectly tattooed and conducts very well.”

Intrigued? Head over to INKO’s official page here.

Bare Conductive introduces its Touch Board Starter Kit

Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit hits the MoMA Design Store.

You may have noticed that our good friends at Bare Conductive were absent from their usual spot within the Atmel Maker Faire booth, and with good reason. That’s because they were busy in New York City for the launch of their brand-spanking new Touch Board Starter Kit at the MoMA Design Store.


The all-in-one DIY box contains everything a Maker could possibly need to begin transforming things within their environment into touch sensors. The plug-and-play Starter Kit is comprised of an ATmega32U4 based Touch Board, some Electric Paint, other essential components like a microSD card, a USB cable and alligator clips, as well as a growing range of tutorials, visual guides and examples.


What’s nice is that the MCU comes preprogrammed to trigger MP3 tracks, something that will be ideal for absolute beginners and young Makers as they explore one of three featured projects: interactive wall graphics, voice-activated objects and motion-detecting alarms.

Intrigued? Head over to Bare Conductive’s official page to get started.

Bare Conductive’s Touch Board is bringing stories to life

Isn’t reading much more fun when it’s interactive? 

Who remembers the 2008 flick Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler? The movie centered around a hotel handyman, whose life changes when the lavish nighttime tales he tells his niece and nephew start to magically come true. And while literally bringing fantasy to life may be impossible, Bare Conductive is helping to enable the next best thing with its Touch Board (ATmega32U4) with a pair of recent exhibits.


First, Dataflags is a narrative series of artwork created by Fabio Lattanzi Antinori that explores the financial troubles of corporations as they head towards bankruptcy, while highlighting the pivotal role data plays in today’s society. The piece, which was originally displayed in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum back in September 2014, was brought to life through Bare Conductive’s incredibly-popular ATmega32U4 MCU Touch Board and some Electric Paint. The printed sensors were concealed by a layer of black ink, and when touched, triggered a selection of financial trading data theatrically sung by an opera performer.


“Dataflags is a series of works I am creating that deal with the notion of failing; they represent fragile corporate flags that celebrate the ups and downs of those corporations that were thought to be invincible but went bankrupt. Lehman Brothers, in this context, made up for a very good candidate, yet there are others which will be explored in the next artworks,” Antinori told Bare Conductive.

In order to program the Touch Board to announce various sets of numbers each time the sensors were touched, a series of voices were prerecorded ahead of time. The code then reassembled each sample in real-time depending on the set of figures that corresponded to the daily history of the company’s share prices.


Similar to a number of other forms of art which require engagement from a participating audience, the ATmega32U4 based board would only trigger sound when a passerby interacted with the exhibit. “One could say that there would be no work at all without the intervention of the public, which is a continuation of the metaphorical aspect of the piece,” Antinori added.The flags themselves were comprised of somerset paper, as it “preserved a sense of heritage to which we all relate.” According to the Maker, it was the perfect material to represent a flag, given that it appears solid and eternal, yet it fragile and ephemeral, especially when it is meant to be touched by hundreds of people.

Next, The Northwood’s Childrens Museum in Wisconsin recently created a storytelling tree capable of reading along with you. The old computers inside the the museum display were retrofitted with an ATmega32U4 based board. In fact, this was a welcomed replacement as one staff member said that the computers “broke constantly and hogged power, keeping us from updating sounds files periodically throughout the year.”


Unlike its embedded predecessor, the Touch Board allowed sound files to be changed in an expedited manner, and was slim enough to nestle neatly into the trunk’s design. And what would a treehouse-like exhibit be without a makeshift walkie talkie comprised of cans strung together? Creatively, a set of headphones were also placed inside the can to make it exciting for participants to listen to the story.


As previously explored on Bits & Pieces and seen inside Atmel Maker Faire booths around the world, Bare Conductive continues to inspire and enable Makers to transform touch into sound in countless ways. We can only imagine what Makers will think of next! Interested in learning more? You can head over to the team’s official page here.

Video: Enchanted puppets reenact Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite was a 2004 low-budget American comedy that centered around a socially awkward high school student from Preston, Idaho, who lived with his older brother Kip and their grandmother, and navigated through life with his best friend Pedro. Napoleon daydreamed his way through school, doodling ligers (they’re pretty much his favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic) and fantasy creatures, while reluctantly dealing with the various bullies who torment him.


Well, fans of the flick will certainly enjoy what the team at Bare Conductive recently devised using their ATmega32U4 based Touch Board and some conductive thread. Think 2005 soundboards, only better…

The project reenacts a memorable part of the film, using several audio clips from the scene, which were separated into a dialogue. Each line of the dialogue was connected to a separate electrode on the Touch Board via conductive thread.

Like the film? Then, you’ll love this step-by-step tutorial from the Bare Conductive crew.

This installation lets you play city sounds by stepping

Sound Steps is a drum kit for your feet!

Ever since the days of Tom Hanks playing the giant piano inside FAO Schwartz, we’ve all wanted to step on floor keys and make tunes. Now, what if those “keys” could emit city, pow-wow or drum kit sounds? Thanks to a new audio installation designed by Chelsea Stewart and Eden Lew at the School of Visual Arts Products of Design MFA program, you can!


Aptly dubbed “Sound Steps,” the project was designed under the guidance of Adafruit’s Becky Stern as the Maker explored the use of Atmel based Arduino units in rapid prototyping of new product interactions. Inspired from their recent move from to New York, Stewart and Lew decided to collect sounds around the city. Those wishing to recreate the project are encouraged to go out and collect a dozen or so unique sounds from their environment. Simply cut down the sounds using a favorite sound editor, e.g. Audacity, Adobe Audition and Garage Band, and export them to MP3s.


The sounds were then uploaded to its farm, which consisted of four 1.25’ x 0.75’ x 6’ wood boards, a few extra pieces for an interior bracing as well as MDF material to create the platform top. Sound Steps is comprised of a 9 x 9 fabric square matrix, with each square connected to a Bare Conductive Touch Board (ATmega32U4). The project invites bystanders to walk barefoot across the interactive platform to discover the city audibly.


Upon creating their prototype, both Stewart and Lew imagine the Dance Dance Revolution-like platform to be used in a variety of applications from sound paths to gaming mechanisms to a physical foot drum kit. Ready to ‘make’ some noise with this ATmega32U4 powered device? Head on over to the project’s official page here.

Touch Board lets you become a one-man pots and pan band

As you can tell by now, we’re quite fond of the folks over at Bare Conductive. In one of their latest demonstrations of how the ATmega32U4 based Touch Board can be connected to almost anything, the crew has transformed ordinary items found throughout the kitchen — oranges, a pan, a toaster, a coffee maker, a tea kettle and even some silverware — into sound. Put them together and well, food won’t be the only thing you’re making on the counter!

Whether you’re an absolute beginner, a programming pro or looking for a great gift for a tinkerer, you can check out Bare Conductive’s recently-released Inventors Kit, which has all the bits and pieces you need to get started with a project like this! Need some more inspiration? Be sure to browse through our archives here for some impressive creations.

Bare Conductive launches Touch Board Inventors Kit

Our friends at Bare Conductive have recently announced the launch of their Touch Board Inventors Kit, an all-in-one DIY box that contains everything a Maker could possibly need to start getting creative with the ATmega32U4 based board.


Open the box and you will find not only a Touch Board, but some Electric Paint, other key components as well as a step-by-step tutorial to help guide you. The Touch Board Inventors kit comes ready to plug in and play, and is supported by a growing range of tutorials that vary from starting out with graphical sensors to making a distance sensor drum-kit.


As the Bare Conductive team notes, “Whether you’re an absolute beginner, a programming pro or looking for a great gift for a tinkerer, this kit is for you!”

The uniquely-designed Touch Board provides Makers with the ability to transform nearly any material or surface into a sensor. Simply connect anything conductive to one of the board’s 12 electrodes and trigger a sound via its onboard MP3 player, play a MIDI note or do anything else that you might do with an Arduino or Arduino-compatible device.


As noted above, the core of the Touch Board is an ATmega32U4 processor clocked at 16MHz and running at 5V – the same as the Arduino Leonardo. It also offers 32KB of flash program memory and 4KB of RAM, plenty for most programs Makers might want to write.

The newly-announced kit consists of:

  • Touch Board
  • Electric Paint pen (10ml)
  • Electric Paint jar (50ml)
  • MicroSD card reader
  • Micro USB cable
  • Rechargeable lithium battery
  • Mini speaker
  • Touch Board stencil
  • Alligator clips x 12

Ready to start thinking outside the box? Get your Inventors Kit today!

Blast your favorite tunes with the Touch Board Boombox

Our friends over at Bare Conductive recently teamed with Jude Pullen of Design Modelling to develop a trendy boombox that perfectly demonstrates the widespread capabilities of their Atmel powered Touch Board.


As displayed inside our Maker Faire Bay Area booth earlier this summer, the Touch Board houses an ATmega32u4 processor clocked at 16 MHZ running at 5V — the same as the Arduino Leonardo. With expertise in the area of creating models for industrial or architectural design, Pullen thought this project would be an ideal way of showcasing his skills.

Jude tells Bare Conductive that he enjoys working with basic, accessible materials, and therefore, this device’s cardboard structure is not out of the ordinary for his work.


“Pretty much anyone can find a cardboard box, and preferably a glue gun and a scalpel. To produce something really great you of course need some imagination and skill,” Pullen explains. With the incorporation of some Electric Paint stenciled onto the boombox and the Touch Board running the show, the Maker was able to get this stylish creation to flood the streets of London with some of his favorite MP3s.


When speaking about the completed boombox project, Jude claims, “The boombox is simple in its formation but stands for something a bit more as it’s using materials in a fresh and unexpected way. I especially like the ‘surface mount speakers’ – which give an amazing sound!”

Evident by the video below, there’s no denying that this DIY project is boom-bastic, very fantastic! For a complete breakdown of the boombox project, you can head over to Bare Conductive’s blog and check out their 1:1 interview with the designer himself.

Atmel @ Maker Faire Day 2

Atmel’s jam-packed booth (#205) hosted Makers, modders and hackers on day two of Maker Faire Bay Area 2014.

We showcased a number of uber-cool exhibits and demos throughout the day, with various guest appearances by various personalities such as Massimo Banzi and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Our Day 1 image gallery is available here – and more Day 2 pictures below!