Monthly Archives: June 2019

This self-balancing mech is piloted by an insect

via Arduino Blog

You’ve seen self-balancing robots, where a pair of wheels suspend a mass above them in what’s known as an inverted pendulum configuration. As neat as they are, the “Augmented Arthropod” by Grzegorz Lochnicki and Nicolas Kubail Kalousdian puts a new spin on things. 

The structure for the build consists of three platforms separated on threaded rod and a couple of rather standard DC gear motors. Electronics include an Arduino Uno, a BNO055 IMU, and an L298N motor driver. 

Where things get a bit interesting, though, is that the mech is piloted by the movements of an insect placed inside a plastic case using two HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors. 

Perhaps the most valuable part of the project write-up is the discussion about how it balances via PID, or proportional, integral, and derivative control. 

Friday Product Post: gator:boards for micro:bit

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another new product Friday! This week we have four brand new boards designed specifically to expand the capabilities of your micro:bit via a SparkFun gator:bit. These four unique boards include the gator: environment, gator:particle, gator:microphone and the gator:soil. Each is different in their own way, so let's take a closer look!

Expand your micro:bit's capabilities!

SparkFun gator:environment - micro:bit Accessory Board

SparkFun gator:environment - micro:bit Accessory Board

SEN-15269
$19.95

The SparkFun gator:environment micro:bit Accessory Board utilizes the popular CCS811 and BME280 ICs to take care of all of your atmospheric quality readings. This sensor board can provide a variety of environmental data, including barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, TVOCs and equivalent CO2 (or eCO2) levels. The gator:environment connects to the SparkFun gator:bit via alligator-clip cables, allowing for easy access to the micro:bit's I2C pins.


SparkFun gator:particle - micro:bit Accessory Board

SparkFun gator:particle - micro:bit Accessory Board

SEN-15271
$10.95

The SparkFun gator:particle micro:bit Accessory Board incorporates the powerful MAX30102 sensor, enabling sensing of pulse oximetry (SpO2), heart rate (HR) monitoring and particle (PM) detection. The idea is to pulse the different LEDs and detect what shines back. Based on the reflected signature, it's possible to detect different types of particles or materials (such as oxygenated blood, or smoke from a fire).


SparkFun gator:microphone - micro:bit Accessory Board

SparkFun gator:microphone - micro:bit Accessory Board

SEN-15289
$6.95

The SparkFun gator:microphone is an accessory board that integrates an electret microphone into SparkFun's gator:bit, enabling it to be easily interfaced with the micro:bit or other microcontrollers. It provides not only an audio output, but also a binary indication of the presence of sound, and an analog representation of its amplitude.


SparkFun gator:soil - micro:bit Accessory Board

SparkFun gator:soil - micro:bit Accessory Board

SEN-15272
$5.95

If your plants could talk, would they call out, "water me, Seymour?" Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) plants have yet to develop the ability to speak. But thanks to the SparkFun gator:soil micro:bit Accessory Board, you can now measure the moisture level in soil without any vocal clamoring from your leafy lads.


That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

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Remembering Andy Baker

via Raspberry Pi

We are immensely sad to learn of the death, on 1 June, of Andy Baker, joint founder and organiser of the brilliant Cotswold Raspberry Jam. Andy had been suffering from brain cancer.

andy baker pistuffing

Together with co-founder Andrew Oakley, Andy worked incredibly hard to make the Cotswold Jam one of the most exciting Jams of all, with over 150 people of all ages attending its most popular events. He started working with Raspberry Pis back in 2012, and developed a seriously impressive degree of technical expertise: among his projects were a series of Pi-powered quadcopters, no less, including an autonomous drone. Many of us will forever associate Andy with a memorably fiery incident at the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend in 2016, which he handled with grace and good humour that eludes most of us:

Raspberry Pi Party Autonomous drone demo + fire

At the Raspberry Pi IV party and there is a great demo of an Autonomous drone which is very impressive with only using a Pi. However it caught on fire. But i believe it does actually work.

Andy maintained his involvement with the Raspberry Pi community, and especially the Cotswold Jam, for several years while living with a brain tumour, and shared his skills and enthusiasm with hundreds of others. He was at the heart of the Raspberry Pi community. When our patron, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, kindly hosted a reception at St. James’s Palace in October 2016 to recognise the Raspberry Pi community, Andy joined us to celebrate in style:

Cotswold Jam on Twitter

@ben_nuttall @DougGore @PiStuffing @rjam_chat Cheers, Ben! Fab photo of Prince Andrew being ignored by @davejavupride & Andy Baker @PiStuffing who are too busy drinking… “It’s what he would have wanted…” :-) https://t.co/FK7sk1CoDs

Andy suggested that, if people would like to make a donation in his name, they support his local school’s IT department, somewhere else he used to volunteer. The department isn’t able to accept online donations, but cheques in pounds sterling can be made out to “Gloucestershire County Council” and posted to a local funeral director who will collect and forward them:

Andy Baker memorial fund
c/o Blackwells of Cricklade
Thames House
Thames Lane
Cricklade
SN6 6BH

We owe Andy immense gratitude for all his work to help people learn and have a great time with Raspberry Pi. We were very lucky indeed to have him as part of our community. We will miss him.

The post Remembering Andy Baker appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New product: more Silicone Tires for Pololu wheels!

via Pololu Blog

Silicone Tire Pair for 40×7mm (left) and 32×7mm (right) Pololu Wheels.

We are now offering replacement tires for our 32×7mm wheels and for our 40×7mm wheels. These are intended primarily as replacement parts for our wheels, but they can also be used as nicer tires for other similarly sized wheels.

Pololu wheel 32×7mm on a micro metal gearmotor.

Mini plastic gearmotor 90-degree 3mm D-shaft output with Pololu 32×7mm wheel.

Pololu 40×7mm wheel on a micro metal gearmotor.

Along with the tires we released last month for our larger Pololu wheels, we now have replacement tires available in four sizes that can stretch to work with six different sizes of Pololu wheels:

From left to right: Silicone Tire for 32×7mm, 40×7mm, 60×8mm/70×8mm, and 80×10mm/90×10mm Pololu Wheels.

Simple digital clock with PIC16F628A and DS1307 and 7-segment LED display

via Dangerous Prototypes

DigiClock1

A simple digital clock with PIC16F628A + DS1307:

In this new project I am again using PIC16F628A microcontroller. The goal is simple digital clock with 7-segment LED display and the clock will have no additional functionality – no alarm, no seconds digits, no date. The latter can be added in the software though. For the RTC chip I chose DS1307. For the LED display I used Kingbright CC56-21SRWA.

More details on DIYfan blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Building gas thruster-controlled drone

via Arduino Blog

In the Earth’s atmosphere, a drone can adjust its heading by varying the speed of the propellers, and thus the thrust output of each. If you wanted to land something on a lunar surface, or maneuver a spaceship, the lack of atmosphere means a different technique must be used.

While not going to space (yet), Tom Stanton decided to create a demonstrator for this technique, similar to how the manned Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) operated in the 1960s and ’70s. Stanton’s device employs a central electric ducted fan (EDF) to hold the craft up, while three compressed air nozzles provide most of its directional control. 

In action, an RC flight controller’s signals are modified by an Arduino Nano to accommodate this unique control scheme, pulsing out bursts of air via three solenoid valves.

Check out the build and experimental process in the video below, culminating with untethered tests starting at around 17:30.