Enhance your keyboard with the SlideBar

via Arduino Blog

Using a keyboard and mouse usually gets the job done, but if you want to navigate around a website or video, the process could be a little more efficient. It may not be a big deal to reach over and use your mouse and scroll wheel, but if you had this control on your keyboard, that tiny bit of time savings could add up over the thousands of times you do this.

For this purpose, Imgur user “Electricrelay” added a motorized force feedback slider to his keyboard using an Arduino Nano for control. This easily customizable device can scroll through pages, or switch between open browser tabs or programs. It can also act as a mechanical display, shaking for notifications, or sliding with keystrokes like an old-school typewriter. The Maker even created a plugin for timeline scrubbing in Adobe Premiere.

Check out lots of example animations on the project’s Imgur page here and see it in action below!

Friday Product Post: A Breath of Fresh Air

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Hello there! It’s Friday, and that means more brand new products! We are very happy to bring you two SparkFun originals that you are sure to love. We have developed a breakout surrounding the brand new CCS811 air quality sensor, as well as a more reliable passive infrared sensor that we have dubbed the OpenPIR! Let’s jump in and take a closer look.

What does the VOC say?! ~sigh~ We love 4-year-old references…

SparkFun Air Quality Breakout - CCS811

SEN-14193
29.95

The CCS811 Air Quality Breakout is a digital gas sensor solution that senses a wide range of Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs), including equivalent carbon dioxide (eCO2) and metal oxide (MOX) levels. VOCs are often categorized as pollutants and/or sensory irritants and can come from a variety of sources like construction materials (paint, carpet, etc.), machines (copiers, processors, etc.) and even people (breathing, smoking, etc.). This breakout is intended for indoor air quality monitoring in personal devices such as watches and phones, but we’ve put it on a breakout board so you can use it as a regular I2C device.

SparkFun OpenPIR

SEN-13968
14.95

The SparkFun OpenPIR is a highly customizable Passive Infrared (PIR) sensor based around the NCS36000 PIR controller. Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors are able to detect motion in a small/local area –– they’re the sensor of choice in security systems, home automation and proximity-sensing applications. The OpenPIR allows you to set the sensitivity, trigger time and pulse mode of the motion sensor so you can tailor-fit it to your application!

That’s it for this post! Be sure to check back with us next week, when we’ll have something big in store that we’re excited to finally reveal! See you then!

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Ten-Tec 1254 Receiver Display Upgrade Kit

via Pololu Blog

Edward Cholakian (call sign KB1OIE) makes and sells a Ten-Tec 1254 Receiver Display Upgrade Kit that is designed to upgrade a Ten-Tec 1254 shortwave radio receiver.

One of the main features of the kit is that it provides a backlit 2×20 character LCD to replace the receiver’s original 5-digit 7-segment display, allowing much more information to be shown. The kit includes a clear plastic window to replace the receiver’s original smoked dark plastic window, and a black plastic display mask. Edward gets both of these pieces made using our custom laser-cutting service.

Two laser-cut pieces, a clear window and black display mask, shown on top of the Ten-Tec 1254 receiver’s original face plate.

Ten-Tec 1254 receiver with Edward Cholakian’s display upgrade kit installed.

The display/control board in the kit uses the P-Star 25K50 Micro as its processor. Edward, a consulting engineer who designs embedded hardware and firmware, told us that he chose the P-Star because he was already using a Microchip processor similar to the P-Star’s PIC18F25K50 in one of his previous designs, and it was more economical to buy the P-Star than to hand-assemble his own board. He said the P-Star’s cross-platform USB firmware upgrade software was also a plus since his own bootloading software does not support Linux and macOS.

The kit comes with software for Windows that can control the receiver over USB. The software provides a graphical user interface and uses WinUSB to talk to the P-Star’s native USB interface.

USB control program for the Ten-Tec 1254 Receiver Display Upgrade Kit

For more information, see the Ten-Tec 1254 Receiver Display Upgrade Kit page.

Beacon Keyer

via Dangerous Prototypes

pics-20161224_BeaconKeyer_RevB_004-600

Lukas Fässler from Soldernerd published a project writeup showing how he built a PIC-based beacon keyer:

This is likely the first ham radio related project that I document here on this blog
But my very first PIC project was a beacon keyer that I made for my father, HB9BBD. That was in 2013. A beacon keyer is a great project to get started with microcontrollers since it’s not much more than a fancy way of blinking an LED.

Project info at Soldernerd homepage and the GitHub repository here.

Raspberry Jam round-up: April

via Raspberry Pi

In case you missed it: in yesterday’s post, we released our Raspberry Jam Guidebook, a new Jam branding pack and some more resources to help people set up their own Raspberry Pi community events. Today I’m sharing some insights from Jams I’ve attended recently.

Raspberry Jam round-up April 2017

Preston Raspberry Jam

The Preston Jam is one of the most long-established Jams, and it recently ran its 58th event. It has achieved this by running like clockwork: on the first Monday evening of every month, without fail, the Jam takes place. A few months ago I decided to drop in to surprise the organiser, Alan O’Donohoe. The Jam is held at the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire. The format is quite informal, and it’s very welcoming to newcomers. The first half of the event allows people to mingle, and beginners can get support from more seasoned makers. I noticed a number of parents who’d brought their children along to find out more about the Pi and what can be done with it. It’s a great way to find out for real what people use their Pis for, and to get pointers on how to set up and where to start.

About half way through the evening, the organisers gather everyone round to watch a few short presentations. At the Jam I attended, most of these talks were from children, which was fantastic to see: Josh gave a demo in which he connected his Raspberry Pi to an Amazon Echo using the Alexa API, Cerys talked about her Jam in Staffordshire, and Elise told everyone about the workshops she ran at MozFest. All their talks were really well presented. The Preston Jam has done very well to keep going for so long and so consistently, and to provide such great opportunities and support for young people like Josh, Cerys and Elise to develop their digital making abilities (and presentation skills). Their next event is on Monday 1 May.

Manchester Raspberry Jam and CoderDojo

I set up the Manchester Jam back in 2012, around the same time that the Preston one started. Back then, you could only buy one Pi at a time, and only a handful of people in the area owned one. We ran a fairly small event at the local tech community space, MadLab, adopting the format of similar events I’d been to, which was very hands-on and project-based – people brought along their Pis and worked on their own builds. I ran the Jam for a year before moving to Cambridge to work for the Foundation, and I asked one of the regular attendees, Jack, if he’d run it in future. I hadn’t been back until last month, when Clare and I decided to visit.

The Jam is now held at The Shed, a digital innovation space at Manchester Metropolitan University, thanks to Darren Dancey, a computer science lecturer who claims he taught me everything I know (this claim is yet to be peer-reviewed). Jack, Darren, and Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder and Trustee Pete Lomas put on an excellent event. They have a room for workshops, and a space for people to work on their own projects. It was wonderful to see some of the attendees from the early days still going along every month, as well as lots of new faces. Some of Darren’s students ran a Minecraft Pi workshop for beginners, and I ran one using traffic lights with GPIO Zero and guizero.

The next day, we went along to Manchester CoderDojo, a monthly event for young people learning to code and make things. The Dojo is held at The Sharp Project, and thanks to the broad range of skills of the volunteers, they provide a range of different activities: Raspberry Pi, Minecraft, LittleBits, Code Club Scratch projects, video editing, game making and lots more.

Raspberry Jam round-up April 2017

Manchester CoderDojo’s next event is on Sunday 14 May. Be sure to keep an eye on mcrraspjam.org.uk for the next Jam date!

CamJam and Pi Wars

The Cambridge Raspberry Jam is a big event that runs two or three times a year, with quite a different format to the smaller monthly Jams. They have a lecture theatre for talks, a space for workshops, lots of show-and-tell, and even a collection of retailers selling Pis and accessories. It’s a very social event, and always great fun to attend.

The organisers, Mike and Tim, who wrote the foreword for the Guidebook, also run Pi Wars: the annual Raspberry Pi robotics competition. Clare and I went along to this year’s event, where we got to see teams from all over the country (and even one from New Mexico, brought by one of our Certified Educators from Picademy USA, Kerry Bruce) take part in a whole host of robotic challenges. A few of the teams I spoke to have been working on their robots at their local Jams throughout the year. If you’re interested in taking part next year, you can get a team together now and start to make a plan for your 2018 robot! Keep an eye on camjam.me and piwars.org for announcements.

PiBorg on Twitter

Ely Cathedral has surprisingly good straight line speed for a cathedral. Great job Ely Makers! #PiWars

Raspberry Jam @ Pi Towers

As well as working on supporting other Jams, I’ve also been running my own for the last few months. Held at our own offices in Cambridge, Raspberry Jam @ Pi Towers is a monthly event for people of all ages. We run workshops, show-and-tell and other practical activities. If you’re in the area, our next event is on Saturday 13 May.

Ben Nuttall on Twitter

rjam @ Pi Towers

Raspberry Jamboree

In 2013 and 2014, Alan O’Donohoe organised the Raspberry Jamboree, which took place in Manchester to mark the first and second Raspberry Pi birthdays – and it’s coming back next month, this time organised by Claire Dodd Wicher and Les Pounder. It’s primarily an unconference, so the talks are given by the attendees and arranged on the day, which is a great way to allow anyone to participate. There will also be workshops and practical sessions, so don’t miss out! Unless, like me, you’re going to the new Norwich Jam instead…

Start a Jam near you

If there’s no Jam where you live, you can start your own! Download a copy of the brand new Raspberry Jam Guidebook for tips on how to get started. It’s not as hard as you’d think! And we’re on hand if you need any help.

Raspberry Jam round-up April 2017

Visiting Jams and hearing from Jam organisers are great ways for us to find out how we can best support our wonderful community. If you run a Jam and you’d like to tell us about what you do, or share your success stories, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email me at ben@raspberrypi.org, and we’ll try to feature your stories on the blog in future.

The post Raspberry Jam round-up: April appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Introduction to Operational Amplifiers – Making a Case for Analog Electronics

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

What started out as an introduction to operational amplifiers using LTSpice ended up becoming a two-day expense redesigning the LM386 Audio Amplifier – on the transistor level – and designing a tool for busking (a mini portable guitar amp). I did have fun building LM741 projects, getting into what the electrical characteristics listed on data sheets mean and learning how to replicate them in LTSpice. There’s some information, a few projects, new tips for running simulations in LTSpice and a page full of fun resources to help you get started with op amps.

Busking for Op Amps

If you would like to see how easy it is to build a mini portable guitar amp, head over to the Introduction to Operational Amplifiers with LTSpice tutorial.

Introduction to Op Amps tutorial

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