Building a Mesh Networked Conference Badge

via Hackaday» hardware

[Andrew] just finished his write-up describing electronic conference badges that he built for a free South African security conference (part1, part2). The end platform shown above is based on an ATMega328, a Nokia 5110 LCD, a 433MHz AM/OOK TX/RX module, a few LEDs and buttons.

The badges form a mesh network to send messages. This allows conversations between different attendees to be tracked. Final cost was the main constraint during this adventure, which is why these particular components were chosen and bought from eBay & Alibaba.

The first PCB prototypes were CNC milled. Once the PCB milling was complete there was a whole lot of soldering to be done. Luckily enough [Andrew]‘s friends joined in to solder the 77 final boards. He also did a great job at documenting the protocol he setup, which was verified using the open source tool Maltego. Click past the break to see two videos of the system in action.


Filed under: hardware, wireless hacks

Developed on Hackaday: Olivier’s Design Rundown

via Hackaday» hardware

The Hackaday writers and readers are currently working hand-in-hand on an offline password keeper, the Mooltipass. A few days ago we presented Olivier’s design front PCB without even showing the rest of his creation (which was quite rude of us…). We also asked our readers for input on how we should design the front panel. In this new article we will therefore show you how the different pieces fit together in this very first (non-final) prototype… follow us after the break!

This is the bottom PCB, containing the main micro-controller, the Arduino headers and the FPC connector for the OLED screen. Finding low profile standard .1″ female connectors was one of our longest Google searches. The ones you can see above are pass-through connectors, which means that the pins can go through the PCB.

This is the CNC-milled prototype case. On the bottom you may notice two slots having a smaller depth to the other end, positioned right on top of the Arduino connectors. As previously mentioned in our Developed on Hackaday articles, we want to give the final users the ability to convert their secure password keeper into an Arduino platform. As you may have guessed, converting the Mooltipass will be as simple as cutting this thin plastic layer (see top of the picture) to access the Arduino headers and unlock the platform.

This is how the bottom PCB fits into the case. 4 screws can be used to keep everything in place. The large elevated plastic area serves as a flat surface for the smartcard:

The OLED screen then rests on the case’s sides:

Enough space is left behind the screen for the flex PCB to comfortably bend. Finally, the top board fits in the remaining space and the acrylic panel is put on top of the assembly:

As our last article stated, we obviously still have some things to perfect. In the meantime, we are going to hand solder a few prototypes and ship them out to our current developers.

Want to stay informed? You can join the official Mooltipass Google Group or follow us on Hackaday Projects.


Filed under: Featured, hardware

The most advanced Lamp/Speaker is open source and also Arduino at heart

via Arduino Blog

cromatica digital habits

Interacting with objects in a new way has always been the main focus of Digital Habits, a design studio based in Milan.  Today we are proud to announce they’ve become a partner  of the Arduino At Heart program with their new project called Cromatica (it was exhibited at the coveted Fuorisalone Milan Design Week in the Superstudio Temporary Museum for New Design and started the crowdfunding campaign just some days ago!).

Cromatica is half speaker and half desk lamp: it can be controlled through a natural gestural interface, touch sensors or remotely via the Cromatica Android and iOS app. Designed to deliver both light and sound functions, Cromatica features wireless 4.0 Bluetooth connection for streaming music and a RGB lamp for multiple ambient effects.

Cromatica is embedded with an Arduino allowing for a highly digital, multi-sensory music and desktop working experience.  It blends  light and sound functionalities in unexpected ways, taking IoT products to a new level of quality.  For example you can download the app for natural awakening: light will rise and music streaming will start allowing you to wake up to your favourite playlist, perfect for early mornings.

Take a look at the video for the Natural Interaction:

In the video below you can see how you can create your favorite ambient  to match with your mood:

Innocenzo Rifino, Director of Digital Habits, told us:

“The Cromatica is a multi-purpose light-speaker but it is also our vision of the evolution of electronics, a vision that is moving in a more human and open direction. Crowdrooster have helped tremendously by opening our product up to a wider community whilst giving us the chance to generate enough funding to share our concepts more widely.”

The Cromatica is also true to its maker roots being Open Source and hackable, opening the doors for endless innovation from the maker community as it can be adapted to integrate with other tech and the Internet of Things. To enable this there will be a special ‘Maker Edition’ campaign reward complete with digital file to 3D print the shell.

Take a look at their campaign Crowdrooster and make your pledge!
Crowdrooster, the new ‘all tech’ crowdfunding site, introduced Cromatica as the first maker project available for funding on the site.

Engineering Roundtable – Interactive Hanging LED Array

via SparkFun Electronics News Posts

In today’s episode of “Engineering Roundtable,” SparkFun Creative Technologist Nick Poole is here with his Interactive Hanging Lightbulb Array. This project started as the brainchild of Nick and our videographer Gregg and grew into an impressive art installation that is housed in our main conference room. Check out the video:

Nick also wrote a tutorial about his project so you can build one in your workshop, garage, dormroom or wherever an extra-heavy dose of geeky flair is just what the doctor ordered.

As always, feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comments section below. Thanks for watching!

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Books, the digitising and text-to-speechifying thereof

via Raspberry Pi

A couple of books projects for you today. One is simple, practical and of great use to the visually-impaired. The other is over-complicated, and a little bit nuts; nonetheless, we think it’s rather wonderful; and actually kind of useful if you’ve got a lot of patience.

We’ll start with the simple and practical one first: Kolibre is a Finnish non-profit making open-source audiobook software so you can build a reader with very simple controls. This is Vadelma, an internet-enabled audio e-reader. It’s very easy to put together at home with a Raspberry Pi: you can find full instructions and discussion of the project at Kolibre’s website.

The overriding problem with automated audio e-readers is always the quality of the text-to-speech voice, and it’s the reason that books recorded with real, live actors reading them are currently so much more popular; but those are expensive, and it’s likely we’ll see innovations in text-to-speech as natural language processing research progresses (its challenging: people have been hammering away at this problem for half a century), and as this stuff becomes easier to automate and more widespread.

How easy is automation? Well, the good people at Dexter Industries decided that what the Pi community (which, you’ll have noticed, has a distinct crossover with the LEGO community) really needed was a  robot that could use optical character recognition (OCR) to digitise the text of a book, Google Books style. They got that up and running with a Pi and a camera module, using the text on a Kindle as proof of concept pretty quickly.

But if you’re that far along, why stop there? The Dexter team went on to add Lego features, until they ended up with a robot capable of wrangling real paper books, down to turning pages with one of those rubber wheels when the device has finished scanning the current text.

So there you have it: a Google Books project you can make at home, and a machine you can make to read the books to you when you’re done. If you want to read more about what Dexter Industries did, they’ve made a comprehensive writeup available at Makezine. Let us know how you get on if you decide to reduce your own library to bits.

Free Elektor magazine April 2014

via Pololu - New Products

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s April issue with your order while supplies last. This offer is only available for orders shipped to USA or Canada. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR0414 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 7 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

April Caption Contest Winner

via SparkFun Electronics News Posts

Last week, we posted our monthly caption contest and you responded with great aplomb. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and today we have just that. So without further ado, here is this month’s winner:

alt text

You’ll notice, our new model is black, with a yellow border.

Congrats Member #543343! We love a good bit of topical humor. We’ll be in contact shortly with your prize ($100 in SparkFun credit).

We’ll be back soon with another contest!

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MakerBot Academy | Explore the Great Pyramid of Giza

via MakerBot

gizapyramid_blogpost_041114_headline

We launched MakerBot Academy last year to equip teachers with the resources they need to give their students a world-class education. In March, we released a 3D printed dissectible frog kit to guide students through basic anatomy without all the messy guts and formaldehyde. Now, the latest content pack from MakerBot Academy takes students beyond the natural world to give them a glimpse of an ancient civilization.

Explore the World’s Most Famous Tomb—From Your Classroom
Have you ever wanted to peer inside a pyramid? How about one that stood as the world’s tallest structure for 3,800 years? Get your students in touch with the past with Great Pyramid of Giza content pack from MakerBot Academy.

The content pack includes a two-part print of the pyramid and a lesson plan that explores the engineering, design, and construction process behind this legendary structure.

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Feel the Effects of Thousands of Years
Three walls of our 3D printable model represent the pyramid’s modern appearance. But the fourth wall presents the ancient wonder as it would’ve looked in 2560 BC, gleaming with polished limestone that was later stripped to build other pyramids. Students will learn how erosion and human interference created the worn, jagged look the pyramid is left with today.

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Explore the Mysteries Inside
Open the model to reveal a detailed diagram of the multi-chambered tomb and guide students through the most complex internal structure ever discovered in a pyramid. This lesson will bring Egyptian culture to life, and show how it influenced the mummification process, other burial customs, and the pyramids themselves.

Don’t let ancient curses or mummies get in the way of a great lesson: download the Great Pyramid of Giza content pack from Thingiverse today.

MagPi issue 22

via Raspberry Pi

I’m about two weeks late to the party on this one – massive apologies to all at The MagPi. It’s been a bit busy around here so far this month. Right now, Picademy’s underway in the office space we’ve got set up as a classroom, and 24 teachers are busy making blooping noises with Sonic Pi while Clive booms at them in Teachervoice. It’s distracting but curiously enjoyable.

Alongside the preparation for Picademy, this month we’ve seen the launch of this new website, and the announcement about the new Compute Module. While all this was going on, the April edition of The MagPi came out, and I didn’t notice because I was too busy glueing Raspberry Pi logos on sticks and sending boxes of jam to Johnny Ball (true story).

MagPi April 14

As usual, The MagPi is full of wonderful things like internet-enabled garage doors, night lights that repel under-bed goblins, reviews, competitions, tutorials and much more. My favourite article this month discusses a solar cell (this month’s cover star) that tracks the sun to provide 140% more energy than a static cell. Go and read it online for free: you can also order a printed copy for your personal library or for your school. Thanks MagPi folks – I promise to be more timely about letting people know about next month’s issue!

Thanks for making our birthday so great! #ArduinoD14

via Arduino Blog

ArduinoD14

It’s been a couple of weeks since we celebrated with all of you the beginning of our tenth year. We’ve been receiving videos and pictures and want to share them in this post (Explore the tagboard of #ArduinoD14).

The first Arduino Day around the World was a huge success largely due to the dedication of each of the communities joining the party! We had more than 240 community events sharing with us this moment of celebration and we sincerely appreciate the efforts and thank you again for the support within the Arduino Open Source Community!

Once more we realised the importance of community by saying “Arduino is you.” Hardware, software, tutorials, and logistics aside, people enjoying time with Arduino are exemplary of the folks who make it fulfilling for us to continue with this adventure. Thank you!

Here’s some awesome visual reports we received:

    • Antonius was at ITP in New York together with Massimo Banzi and Tom Igoe and made this video:
    • David Cuartielles featured in this video from Arduino Day Zaragoza:
    • Richard from Wevolver in Amsterdam organised a Show and Tell in collaboration with Ifabrica:

(take a look also at the video interview they did to Gael Langevin of Project Inmoov!)

Developed on Hackaday: The Top PCB dilemna

via Hackaday» hardware

The Hackaday community offline password keeper is slowly coming together. A few days ago we received the top PCB for Olivier’s design (shown above). If you look at the picture below, you may see the problem we discovered when opening our package: the soldermask was the wrong color! Given the board is meant to be placed behind a tinted acrylic panel, this was quite a problem…

After using some spray paint, we managed to get to the point shown in the bottom left of the picture. The next task was to find the best way to illuminate the input interface with reverse mount LEDs. Using a CNC mill we machined openings (top right PCB) but also removed some epoxy on both PCB’s sides, thinking it would provide a better light diffusion. We then wrote part of the Mooltipass PWM code and took these pictures:

Using the FR4 to diffuse the light

Cut through openings

We hope you agree that the ‘FR4 version’ looks better. The other version, which has the cut openings, illuminates unevenly because the smartcard isn’t under all of the LEDs. This raises several questions that we hope our dear Hackaday readers can answer:

  1. Can this kind of machining be done in standard PCB fabs?
  2. Instead of leaving the bare FR4 on top, should we cover it with white soldermask?
  3. Instead of leaving the bare FR4 on top, should we cover it with white silkscreen?

Keep in mind that we would only need to machine one PCB’s side.

Another concern is the top panel. As previously mentioned we’re currently using a tinted acrylic panel, which may not be the best solution to prevent scratches. We’re thinking to use glass in the future (corning gorilla glass?) so we may also hide everything around the display’s active area. Do you guys have any experience with this? Would it be expensive in relatively small quantities?

As you can see, we still need to find the best compromises and we hope you can help us. Please post a quick message in the comment section below or contact the team in the official Mooltipass Google Group.

 


Filed under: Hackaday Columns, hardware

DIY Linear Actuators For A Flight Sim

via Hack a Day» hardware

linear

[Roland] has already built a few very cool and extremely realistic flight sims, but his latest project will put his current rig to shame. He’s building a six degree of freedom simulator based on homebuilt linear actuators of his own design.

The actuator is powered by a large DC motor moving timing belts along the length of the enclosure. These timing belts are connected to a shaft that’s coupled to the frame with a few bungee cords. The bungee cords are important; without them, the timing belts would be carrying all the load of the sim – not a good thing if these actuators are moving an entire cockpit around a living room.

Also on [Roland]‘s list of awesome stuff he’s building for his flight sims is a vibration system based on the BFF Shaker. This board takes data in from sim software and turns it into vibrations produced by either unbalanced DC motors or one of those ‘bass kicker’ transducers.

It’s all very cool stuff, and with all the crazy upgrades [Roland] is doing to his sim rig, he’s doing much better than paying $300/hour to rent a Beechcraft Baron.

 


Filed under: hardware, robots hacks

ISPnub – A Stand-Alone AVR In-System-Programmer Module

via Hack a Day» hardware

[Thomas] tipped us about his latest project: a stand-alone AVR programmer module named ISPnub. As you can see in the picture above, it is a simple circuit board composed of a main microcontroller (ATmega1284p), one button and two LEDs. Programming a target is a simple as connecting the ISPnub and pressing the button. The flashing operation success status is then shown using the green/red LED.

ISPnub gets its power from the target circuit so no external power supply is needed. It works over a wide voltage range: 1.8V to 5.5V. The module also features a programming counter which can be used to limit the number of programming cycles. A multi-platform Java tool is in charge of embedding the target flash contents with the ISPnub main firmware. The complete project is open source so you may want to check out the official GitHub repository for the firmware and the project’s page for the schematics.


Filed under: hardware

A-Star 32U4 Micro

via Pololu - New Products

The A-Star 32U4 Micro is a tiny programmable module featuring Atmel’s ATmega32U4 microcontroller. It packs a Micro-USB interface and 15 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 8 as analog inputs) onto a board measuring only 1″ × 0.6″ and comes preloaded with an Arduino-compatible bootloader.