Monthly Archives: February 2015

Update: Orangutans and 3pi robot can be programmed with Arduino 1.6.0

via Pololu Blog

Update: Orangutans and 3pi robot can be programmed with Arduino 1.6.0

We have updated our Programming Orangutans and the 3pi Robot from the Arduino Environment document to support version 1.6.0 of the Arduino IDE, which is the latest stable version. Thanks to improvements in the Arduino IDE, we were able to make the instructions for getting started much easier.

Orangutan SV-328 robot controller with silver-bezel LCD.
Baby Orangutan B-48/B-168/B-328.

The Orangutan line of AVR-based robot controllers started ten years ago and has since expanded to include boards with a variety of AVR processors and on-board peripherals, from the minimal Baby Orangutan B-328 to the powerful Orangutan SVP-1284 and X2. Many of the Orangutans share handy features like a buzzer, LCD, and buttons, but the integrated dual motor drivers found on every Orangutan are what justify calling it a “robot controller”. Our 3pi robot is an extension of Orangutan concept to a complete robot, so we think of the 3pi as pretty much part of the Orangutan family.

(Don’t need integrated motor drivers? Check out our Arduino-compatible A-Star family of microcontroller boards.)

Pololu 3pi robot.

The Orangutan SV-328, Baby Orangutan B-328, and 3pi all use the same AVR ATmega328P processor as the Arduino Uno, so it is natural to want to program them from the Arduino environment. However, there are a couple of key differences to overcome. First, the boards have no pre-installed Arduino bootloader or built-in USB-to-serial adapter. This simplifies the design and frees up some resources for your application, but it means you have to program them with an external programmer like the Pololu USB AVR Programmer. Also, the clock on these boards runs at 20 MHz, while the official Arduinos are at 16 MHz, so time-sensitive code might not be compatible.

Adding support for the Orangutans and programmer to the Arduino IDE used to involve manually editing a few configuration files with a text editor. With this latest update, you can simply copy a folder into your Arduino sketchbook directory.

Another notable Arduino change is improved support for AVRs running at different speeds. Functions such as delay and pulseIn now adapt to the clock frequency specified by the F_CPU macro and should work fine on an Orangutan running at 20 MHz.

To get started, see our guide.

New Product: SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (for Arduino Uno)

via Pololu Blog

New Product: SparkFun Inventor's Kit (for Arduino Uno)

This new version of the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit brings back the Arduino Uno (the previous version had an Arduino-compatible SparkFun RedBoard).

The SparkFun Inventor’s Kit has everything you need to construct a variety of circuits that will teach you how to use an Arduino to read sensors, display information on an LCD, drive motors, and more. No previous programming or electronics experience is necessary, which makes this a great way for beginners to get started with embedded systems.

For more information, see the product page.

Radio Pt. 3 (OpenBeacon, HPSDR, Ruling Drones)

via OSHUG

The thirty-ninth meeting will feature an update on the HPSDR project, which we first heard about back in October 2010 at OSHUG #5. There will also be talks on Bluetooth Low Energy programming and OpenBeacon, and making drones play by the rules.

Low Power to the People - take back Bluetooth Low Energy control!

 —Programming BLE the hard way: bare metal programming of nRF51 BLE tokens for fun and profit.

The talk will start with a brief overview of the Bluetooth Low Energy advertisement protocol and how to implement bare-metal BLE on top of the ARM-based nRF51 chip — without using the manufacturer provided Bluetooth stack. The general development flow will be explored along with some useful examples, closing with some mischief that can be caused using this knowledge :-)

The latest version of the OpenBeacon tag design is supposed to be the ultimate hacking, fuzzing and pen testing tool for Bluetooth Low Energy. The hardware schematics and the PCB layout were released under the CC attribution license. We strongly believe that the future of the Internet of Things can be privacy enabled and can work distributed, without selling your soul to large cloud services.

Milosch Meriac has over 20 years experience in the information security business and hardware design. He is currently living in Cambridge where he works for ARM on securing the Internet of Things. In his private time he loves making and grokking things. He is currently playing with RGB strips to create light paintings.

Milosch is the co-founder of active and passive RFID open source projects like Sputnik/OpenBeacon, OpenPCD and OpenPICC, and is committed to RFID related security research. He broke the iCLASS RFID security system and was involved in breaking Mifare Classic security.

As a member of the Blinkenlights Stereoscope Core Team Milosch designed the 2.4GHz OpenBeacon-based dimmmer/Ethernet dardware that was used in the Toronto City Hall Installation. As one of the three maintainers of the former Xbox-Linux Project he helped to break Xbox security and to port the first Linux system to the Xbox. His focus is on hardware development, embedded systems, RF designs, active and passive RFID hardware development, custom-tailoring of embedded Linux hardware platforms, real time systems, IT-security and reverse engineering.

OpenHPSDR Update

A review of hardware and software progress of the High Performance Software Define Radio, an open source hardware and software project being developed by an international group of ham radio enthusiasts.

John Melton has held a ham radio license since 1984 and has developed several open source Linux applications, including ground station software for working digital satellites and software defined radios. He is a retired software engineer after 48 years developing software for several computer manufacturers including Burroughs Corporation, ICL, Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation.

Ruling Drones

The danger of drones not sticking to regulations have been a challenge that has been recently in the news. An attempt is being made to see if it would be possible to produce notification when regulation is breached. The plan is to use ArduPilotMega and use a modified version Arducopter so geofencing could be achieved in various areas and a GSM interface is going to be used communicate to the ground monitoring station. The modification of flight controller and ground controller in future would involve the ability to verify authenticity of the geofencing and update the geofencing over the air using GPRS/3G/433 Mhz link and usage of TPM to verify the changes to the code applied.

Anish Mohammed has been an electronics hobbyist and software hacker since his early teens. He spent almost a decade in research and development in security and cryptography. He has most recently developed an active interersts in crypto currency space and ethics of AI (Dexethics.com). He is currently on the board of advisors for Ripple Labs and EA Ventures. He is a confirmed UAV addict who owns a dozen AHRS/Autopilots, both open and partially closed, with interests in multicopters, fixed wings and rovers.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Starting Out: Avoiding the Equipment Acquisition Disorder (EAD)

via Nuts and Volts

Starting out in electronics — as with any hobby — requires an investment of time, energy, and finances. This is especially true in the early stages, when unbridled enthusiasm blurs what expenditures on equipment and supplies are necessary and which are detours. It’s amazing how easy it is to succumb to the equipment acquisition disorder or EAD — even on a relatively tight budget.

Starting Out: Avoiding the Equipment Acquisition Disorder (EAD)

via Nuts and Volts

Starting out in electronics — as with any hobby — requires an investment of time, energy, and finances. This is especially true in the early stages, when unbridled enthusiasm blurs what expenditures on equipment and supplies are necessary and which are detours. It’s amazing how easy it is to succumb to the equipment acquisition disorder or EAD — even on a relatively tight budget.