Teenage student creates a wearable system to reduce concussions

via Arduino Blog

For a high school science fair project, Berto Garcia came up with an idea to help reduce concussions among football players. Now a student at Texas Tech University, he holds a provisional patent for the award-winning, life-changing project.

The helmet-and-shoulder pads system consists of an Arduino connected to four sensors around the front and inside of the helmet, which is programmed to stabilize immediately after impact. When the stabilizers are not activated, players have full movement. But when a wearer suffers a hit above a certain threshold, the board activates the stabilizers, locking the helmet into place and stiffening up to reduce the whiplash motion of the neck. It doesn’t stop the impact of the initial hit, but it keeps the head from rattling around inside the helmet after the collision.

The sensors are also able to measure the amount of force with which athletes are hit and, using a radio, can wirelessly transmit that data to trainers on the sideline. Knowing that could help healthcare professionals diagnose concussions more accurately. Given recent events around concussions and traumatic brain injuries, Garcia’s idea can certainly play an imperative role in the future of sports.

Read all about the Texas Tech undergrad’s project here.


Genuino handbag will deter you from impulse buying

via Arduino Blog

Do you or your significant other have trouble sticking to a budget? Well, say goodbye to overspending with the iBag2: a high-tech wearable device that helps curb your impulse buys.

The iBag2 is equipped with a Genuino Uno, a 10,000mAh power bank, and several other interesting components. There’s a timer connected to electromagnets that lock the bag according to your most vulnerable spending moments during the course of a day, an RFID system hooked up to LEDs and vibration motors that illuminate in blue and vibrate each time your wallet is taken out, as well as a built-in GPS unit that warns you when you’re near a pre-preogrammed “vulnerable spending zone.”

Aside from curtailing your expensive bad habit, the iBag2 will also reminds you every two hours via yellow lights and small vibrations when it’s time to reapply sunscreen (you know, in case you’re shopping outdoors), and a Bluetooth tracker that pings your phone if the bag is a certain distance away from you.

The wearable prototype was created by Finder.com in collaboration with New York-based fashion designer Geova Rodrigues. Need a handbag that  knows when and where you’re likely to overspend? You can check out the iBag2 here.

Hackster Projects of the Month: August 2016

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

August’s Hackster Project of the Month follows the winners of our IoT for Everyone contest. All entrants put in a lot of really hard work, and we’re excited to showcase the winners!

The Blynk Board is a powerful little microcontroller that leverages the ESP8266 chip, so it is designed as an IoT device at its core. It was also built specifically to leverage the Blynk app, which allows you to use widgets to create your own IoT phone apps.

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More than 200 ideas were submitted to the contest, and we gave away 50 Blynk Boards. This post will highlight the third, second and, yes, the first place winner of the contest.

In third place we have Luis Ortiz, who built a system that monitors plant moisture levels and automatically waters them when they are getting dry. His Smart Modular Watering System has a collection of sensors that give him all of the information he needs to be sure the plants are healthy.

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Luis also made some pretty cool 3D-printed parts and enclosures for the project. The entire write-up is great; I suggest you check it out. If you’re like me and have a hard time keeping plants alive (Mr. Planty is in my office and doing fine), then this may be the project for you.

Second place belongs to team SUAI/IHPCNT (members Alexey Syschikov, Sergey Pakharev and Boris Sedov. They wanted a better way to understand what crazy things they were doing on their bikes.

Now, I’ve been known to do some crazy things on my bike. I want to think those days are over, but it is projects like this one that make me want to try out some new things.

The Bicycle Crazymeter is a “black box” much like a flight recorder. The idea is that it is capturing just how crazy your ride is. It uses a gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS board to measure what you are doing and feed real-time updates to a mobile app. The team even made an actual black box enclosure for the Crazymeter.

Disclaimer: Please don’t look at your phone while biking! This is designed for you to watch after the fact. We all have that friend who does it with Pokémon Go, but be warned it is extremely dangerous!

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I have always encouraged riding bikes. I don’t always encourage crazy riding, but if you are going to ride crazy, just remember to wear a helmet and track with Crazymeter.

And first place in the IoT for Everyone contest goes to … drum roll, please … The Bipedians team, submitted by Akash Chandran!

Their project is one near and dear to our hearts – an autonomous vehicle (Check out AVC 2016, coming up Sept. 17). This one just happens to also be a biped, which means it walks on two legs.

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One of the challenges in biped motion is balance, as anyone with an inner ear condition or a boat in rough seas will be able to tell you. Once balance is off, it becomes very easy to fall. Robots and vehicles don’t have the natural systems; they have to be built.

The Bipedians built a cool robot, worked hard to come up with an interesting design, and their write-up goes into great detail about all of their design decisions. The Blynk app helps them collect information about the status of the biped. As the situation changes, it can adjust its balance accordingly.

Watching the biped in motion is an experience – one that I highly recommend. They did an amazing job.

All of the ideas and projects associated with the IoT for Everyone contest were fantastic. Seeing the teams' involvement, creativity and passion was a joy. I look forward to reviewing more projects and hopefully seeing more great IoT projects out there using our Blynk Board. Check out our contest website for inspiring ideas!

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You’re a (chess) wizard, Bethanie

via Raspberry Pi

By recreating the iconic Wizard’s Chess set from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (sorry America, it’s Philosopher, not Sorcerer), 18-year-old Jambassador Bethanie Fentiman has become my new hero.

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Ron, you don’t suppose this is going to be like… ‘real’ wizard’s chess, do you?

Playing on an idea she’d had last year, Bethanie decided to recreate the chess board from the book/movie as part of her A-Level coursework (putting everything I ever created at school to utter shame), utilising the knowledge and support of her fellow Jammers from the Kent Raspberry Jam community.

After searching through the internet for inspiration, she stumbled upon an Instructables guide for building an Arduino-powered chess robot, which gave her a basis on which to build her system of stepper motors, drawer runners, gears, magnets, and so on.

Wizard's Chess

Harry Potter and the ‘it’s almost complete’ Wizard’s Chess board

The next issue she faced in her quest for ultimate wizarding glory was to figure out how to actually play chess! Without any chess-playing knowhow, Bethanie either needed to learn quickly or…cheat a bit. So she looked up the legal moves of each piece, coding them into the programme, therefore allowing her to move on with the project without the need to monotonously learn the rules to the game. 

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Hermione would never approve.

There were a few snags along the way, mainly due to problems with measuring. But once assembled, everything was looking good.

Wizard's Chess

We’ve got our fingers crossed that Bethanie replaces the pieces in time with some battling replicas from the movie.

On a minimal budget, Bethanie procured her chess pieces from a local charity shop, managing to get the board itself laser-cut for free, thanks to her school’s technology department.

Now complete, the board has begun its own ‘Wizard Chess Tour’, visiting various Raspberry Jams across the country. Its first stop was in Harlow, and more recently, Bethanie has taken the board to the August Covent Garden Jam.

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You can find out more about the Wizard’s Chess board via the Kent Jams Twitter account and website. And you’d like the board to visit your own Raspberry Jam event… send Bethanie word by owl and see what she says!


The post You’re a (chess) wizard, Bethanie appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

2016 OHSummit..

via Open Source Hardware Association

There is less than 45 days left until this years OHSummit. It is the first Summit we will have ever hosted on the west coast and we are thrilled to be going to Portland, Oregon- it is the perfect location, right between Seattle and SF.

There are still tickets and sponsorship places available. We have already a great start to our speaker line up

Hope to see you all in PDX!

OHS 2013 at MIT

OHS 2013 at MIT

DIY USB power bank from laptop battery

via Dangerous Prototypes


DIY USB power bank made from an old laptop battery from DoItYourselfGadgets:

A situation many can relate to: an empty smartphone battery and no outlet around! That’s exactly why I recycled an old laptop battery into an USB power bank.
This article will show you the basic powerbank circuit consisting of Lithium cell charging circuit, boost converter and toggle switch as well as my improved version with self activating boost converter and LED status indicator and homemade housing.

More details at DoItYourselfGadgets project page.

Check out the video after the break.