Exploring the vast underwater world is exciting, and personal breathing devices such as SCUBA allow for people to descend far further than usual. However, robots can be even better since they can operate much longer and more efficiently than a person. And because these underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can be so expensive, Ranuga Amargasinghe wanted to construct his own DIY version that costs less.
The chassis of the ROV was fashioned from a series of 50mm PVC tubes that vary in size from 70mm all the way up to 450mm in length. A rectangular base acts as a skid and helps prevent rough landings from injuring the robot. Above that is a small box which houses a 12V lead-acid battery, along with the electronics. Commands are sent from the surface control box via UART to the Arduino Nano within the ROV, which in turn activates a bank of relay modules that turns on both the vertical and horizontal thrusters for planar movements.
Back on the surface, Amargasinghe built a small controller that has four buttons for adjusting the thrust vector of the robot by checking if certain combinations are pressed. There is also a central rocker switch for telling the robot to shutdown immediately if the user needs it to. Once the camera and a couple of white LEDs were attached to the front of the ROV, it was tested in a small pool of water and balanced based on the results of those tests.
As a maker, you probably have a third hand for your soldering station. They come in handy when you need to hold a component, PCB, solder, and soldering iron all at the same time. But an extra hand would be useful for a wide range of other everyday activities. That’s why this team of researchers created a compact robotic third arm called AugLimb.
While robotic augmentations aren’t a new idea, they aren’t often as usable as AugLimb. This robotic arm is lightweight and compact, making it comfortable to wear. It can’t lift much weight, but it is very dexterous thanks to seven degrees of freedom and an extendable gripper. It attaches to the wearer’s bicep and folds up when not in use. When it is time for action, AugLimb unfolds and reaches further than the user’s own arm.
An Arduino Mega board drives AugLimb’s various motors. Those include two shoulder servos, an elbow servo, two wrist servos, a scissor extension motor, and two gripper servos. The scissor extension increases reach by up to 250mm. At this time, a second human operator has to control AugLimb’s movement. But the team hopes to introduce control schemes that let the user operate the robotic limb on their own.
AugLimb is a prototype, but Haoran Xie, a member of the team behind the project, said “We believe that AugLimb will be as popular as smart watches in the near future, as anyone from an elder to a child can comfortably wear it for the whole day.”
Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday Product post! We have a lot of new (and some experimental) products to showcase, starting with the new FS3000 Air Velocity Sensor Breakout. This board is a highly accurate sensor that can detect and measure air velocities up to around 16 miles per hour (~25 KPH). Following that, we take a look at our new kit for the RTK Express – now you have pretty much everything you need to get surveying right away. We wrap up the day with a few new SparkX products, including a MicroMod Thing Plus and a new button. Now, let's jump in and take a closer look!
Need to keep track of the airflow in your data center or around your servers? How about making sure your HVAC and air control systems are functioning at full capacity? Or what about figuring out how fast your RC airplane is going? Well, the new SparkFun FS3000 Air Velocity Sensor Breakout can help you with all that and more! It's super easy, super quick (Qwiic!) to hookup, and super fun to play with.
The SparkFun RTK Express Kit has everything you need to get centimeter-level global positioning measurements using GNSS RTK. We've created a handy carrying case to protect the most expensive bits, allowing you to quickly attach the L1/L2 antenna and RTK Express housing to the pole or tripod of your choice. The kit includes all the antenna parts, cables and chargers you need to jump right into the field.
If you already own an RTK Express or RTK Surveyor, the RTK Kit Carrying Case helps protect your valuable high-precision GNSS receiver from the harsh elements of the field. Custom slots are molded into the case for the RTK receiver, TOP106 multi-band antenna, a 915MHz radio and antenna, as well as a large open slot for power supplies, cables and adapters.
The MicroMod Thing Plus from SparkX brings the ability to use the MicroMod ecosystem with the popular Feather footprint. This board breaks out the MicroMod Processor Board's pins on the M.2 connector to 0.1" spaced PTH pads on the edge of the board. This Carrier Board is great if you're interested in testing out different MicroMod Processor Boards for your application.
Do you need power? This breakout for the 915M30S module from EBYTE is a 1W (30 dB) LoRa transceiver. LoRa is great for long range (miles), low power (in sleep), and low data rates (~500 bps). This breakout board is designed to connect to any platform that has SPI and six available GPIO. We include a robust edge mount RP-SMA connector to connect large LoRa (915 MHz) antennas. In addition, the on-board U.FL connector can be used if you need to get outside a metal enclosure.
This IR proximity contactless button makes for a good replacement for typical push buttons in situations where touching the button isn't required or desirable (especially in this day and age). This button includes a built in microcontroller to handle interference or noise, a red/blue status LED gives the user visual feedback that a "touch" has been registered, and two potentiometers on the back of the device allow you to adjust the read range from 3-15 cm and adjust the "open time" from 0.5 to 20 seconds.
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! Please be safe out there, be kind to one another, and we'll see you next week with even more new products!
Inspiration Labs are an exciting new concept designed for students and educators to get hands-on experience. with the joy of making new discoveries. They’ll explore, design and learn electronics, coding, and programming with real-world connections. It’s all about enhancing future skills, having fun, and the joy of making new discoveries.
Technobel is a training and vocational center in Ciney, Belgium. Together we’ve created a dedicated space for teachers and students to learn with the full range of Arduino Education products in an engaging, exciting environment.
What can you do at the Inspiration Lab?
There’s something for everyone at the Inspiration Lab.
A dedicated space within Technobel, accessible to the public.
Teacher training with workshops on Arduino Education solutions; on demand, and on- or off-site.
Teacher coaching on how to create new lessons, with an emphasis on community sharing.
Specialized courses for 15 to 18-year-old students with official Arduino certification.
What Can You Learn at the Inspiration Lab?
As well as exploring, designing, discovering and learning electronics, coding and programming, the Inspiration Lab offers the following.
Promote a culture of technological innovation and development.
Create an advanced technology facility that supports product innovation and design.
Provide mentorship and certification programs for teachers and students.
Help develop design-focused thinking, product design and innovation skills through technical support and training.
Incubate product ideas to help realize them as real-world commercial products.
Prepare students to participate and compete in Arduino Technology challenges and competitions across the globe.
You know we love a good cyberdeck around here, and we think you’ll love this video game emulator fresh from the latest issue of HackSpace magazine, out now.
We’ve only just finished printing a series on building a games cabinet using the RetroPie games emulator on a Raspberry Pi… and now something comes along that makes our plywood, full-size arcade machine look old hat.
This mostly 3D-printed cyberdeck features a 5-inch 800 × 480 touchscreen display, as well as the usual ports available through the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ that powers it. Quite how useful the screen’s portrait orientation will be for Sonic The Hedgehog is anyone’s guess, but if you’re playing any sort of top-down shooter, you’re laughing. The maker describes this project as a “video game emulator with some edge” – we think it’s pretty impressive for a project that began as an excuse to learn 3D design.
HackSpace magazine issue 47 out NOW!
Each month, HackSpace magazine brings you the best projects, tips, tricks and tutorials from the makersphere. You can get it from the Raspberry Pi Press online store or your local newsagents.
As always, every issue is free to download in PDF format from the HackSpace magazine website.
Nicla is Arduino Pro’s new family of modular, intelligent products that are easy to use, versatile and accessible – whether you are an advanced user working on industrial applications or a budding maker looking to prototype your first intelligent solution. No wonder it’s named after the Greek word for “victory of the people”!
To herald the range, we have just released the Nicla Sense ME: a tiny but mighty board, co-developed with Bosch Sensortec to enable sensing and intelligence on the edge. With low-power sensors, a high-performance processor and small footprint, it offers a winning combination that can answer our community’s and clients’ needs and open up to opportunities for infinite new solutions.
What makes the Nicla Sense ME so special? Let’s dive into some details.
Sense motion and the environment
At the Sense ME’s heart, you’ll find Bosch Sensortec’s BHI260AP AI sensor system with integrated motion sensor, BMM150 magnetometer, BPM390 pressure sensor, and the unique BME688 4-in-1 gas sensor with AI and integrated high-linearity, and high-accuracy pressure, humidity and temperature sensors.
In short: it’s everything you need to monitor and interact with any type of motion and environment – hence, the “M” and “E” in the name.
Double the innovation
The Sense ME is the first product in Arduino Pro’s Nicla line, as well as the first product to introduce Bosch Sensortec’s new sensors on the market. So if you like innovation, you’ll love this little board.
Low power, high performance
The Sense ME’s Cortex-M4 nRF52832 CPU is capable of hosting intelligence on the edge, bringing AI and machine learning anywhere you need it – even off the grid, because it can be powered by battery as a completely standalone solution.
Made to fit in
The Nicla Sense ME is a mere 22.86×22.86 mm packed with features. The whole Nicla family is based on our smallest form factor to date, yet is compatible with both MKR and Portenta products – effectively leveraging the combined power of Arduino’s ecosystem.
Ready now, ready for the future
Versatile, easy to configure, quick to set up: you can integrate the Nicla Sense ME in the solution you are designing or the one you already have in place. And because it’s designed with Bosch Sensortec’s industrial-grade, state-of-the-art components, it’s ready to explore any application in the emerging IIoT, AI and ML fields.
Small, smart, and ready to deploy constant data monitoring and AI capabilities anywhere, for anyone.
Here are just a few examples of the applications we can already envision the Nicla Sense ME will enable.
Monitor environmental parameters, from humidity and CO2 in your home to toxic substances released by industrial processes such as dry washing. Monitor air quality and safeguard people’s health.
Capture the information embedded in motion: from person-down systems and avalanche warnings that save lives, to fitness apps that check your posture to make sure your exercise routine gives you results as soon as possible.
Let the different sensors in the Nicla ME bring together a variety of data for complex solutions: stabilize robots and rovers, ensure safety working with cobots, make your home more comfortable with automation, accelerate physical rehabilitation and much, much more.
What will you create, develop and deploy with the new Nicla Sense ME?