Tag Archives: kickstarter

The MeArm Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Encouraged by the continued success of the original MeArm kit, a pocket-sized robot arm that quickly became one of the most successful of its kind for budding Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, the Bens (Gray and Pirt) are back with a new Kickstarter project: the MeArm Pi.

MeArm Pi Kickstarter Video

The Kickstarter video for the MeArm Pi – check it out at http://mime.co.uk/r/mearm-pi-kickstarter

Here’s Ben Gray with more:

The original MeArm project was designed to be simple and open source, requiring just three ingredients: servo motors, screws, and the laser cut parts. This allowed the design to spread around the world, quickly appearing on every continent except Antarctica! It was massively successful, and is still popular. Children loved it, but we could see that many parents were scared by the complexity of the build.

MeArm Raspberry Pi

We wanted give children a MeArm that was simple enough for them to build by themselves. Twinning the new design with the Raspberry Pi gave us the hardware and processing power to make the whole experience pleasant, fun and simple. It takes just over 30 minutes to build the MeArm, connect it to the Pi, add that to your WiFi network and start programming in Scratch, Snap, Python or JavaScript from your browser. A great way to make learning to code a fun experience!

We’ve tried to keep the workings of the MeArm as straightforward as possible. The servos are driven directly from the GPIO pins. The joysticks use an I2C ADC to communicate directly with the Raspberry Pi. There’s an on-board RGB LED, driven directly from the GPIO pins, so that if you want to play around with it, you can. We’ve found that the standard 2A Raspberry Pi power supplies work without any issues, but if you’re plugging more things in you might consider using the 2.5A supply. The HAT has a micro USB power input, so the same power supply will power both the arm and the Raspberry Pi. The HAT follows the reference design for Raspberry Pi HATs. We’ve written a Node.js app to perform a few key tasks, including controlling the servos in the arm via the GPIO pins, and reading the state of the joysticks via the ADC. It’s all open source. We’ll continue to develop the library, adding new features based on your feedback.

We think this is a great kit for anyone wanting to step into the world of digital making, regardless of their age or experience. We’re not alone: the Kickstarter backing target was met, and doubled, in just a few days. If you’re interested in learning more about the MeArm Pi, visit the Kickstarter page.  The campaign will run until March 8th.

Good luck, Ben and Ben!

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QuadBot is a 3D-printable walking robot for everyone

via Arduino Blog

If you think building a walking robot is impossible, perhaps this little guy will change your mind!

With platforms like the various flavors of Arduino, robotics has become accessible for many more people. Walking robots, however, can still be challenging. Especially when it comes to electronics and programming, one has some fairly complicated mechanisms to figure out. Perhaps none is more frustrating than four-legged walkers, as they seem very stable, but that all changes when one foot is removed from the ground.

QuadBot aims to change this with an Arduino-compatible robot that, with clever cutouts for servo motors and plug-in headers on its main board, should be fairly easy to set up, yet capable of being expanded as needed.

The 3D-printable, open-source bot is designed for Makers of any skill level. It works right out of the box and can be programmed using graphical blocks, ideal for beginners. Every aspect of QuadBot can be customized and modified, though, from the 3D design down to a single line of C++ code, opening it up to more advanced users as well.

QuadBot was made for you to do real deal robotics. This means that you learn coding techniques that are scalable to bigger and better projects, rather than an oversimplified and limited alternative (such as Lego Mindstorms). A robotics platform that sets up young and experienced Makers like this has not existed until right now.

QuadBot doesn’t just walk either, it can dance, light up, and with sensors, can follow you, avoid obstacles, and even play songs. The project is the brainchild of Jack Scott-Reeve and Josh Elijah, who graduated with master’s degrees from the University of Manchester’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Interested? Head over to Scott-Reeve, Elijah and the team’s Kickstarter page to learn more or back QuadBot for yourself!

Cubetto is now available for purchase worldwide

via Arduino Blog

Our good friends over at Primo Toys have just rolled out their Montessori-approved, Arduino AtHeart coding toy for children ages 3 and up. The Cubetto Playset, which you may remember from its incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, is a screenless system powered by a revolutionary coding language made of colorful blocks that lets kids write their first computer programs.

The playset consists of a friendly wooden robot named Cubetto, a physical programming console, a set of expandable coding blocks, a collection of illustrated maps, and an activity book. It’s the first programming toy of its kind to work without a digital interface or display, enabling children to explore the world of coding through storytelling, adventure and collaboration–even before they can read or write.

By placing the blocks in different patterns on the control panel, kids can create sequences of instructions that program the robot’s movement. In the process, they develop computational thinking skills that help them understand the basic principles of coding–all of this, in a very age-appropriate way that respects a child’s natural way of learning.

The London-based startup, which was founded by Filippo Yacob and Matteo Logli, is a graduate of the PCH Highway1 accelerator and has had the support of high-profile names including our very own Massimo Banzi and Randi Zuckerberg.

Cubetto is now available for purchase on its website for $225, or $245 when bundled with the Cubetto Activity Pack, which offers four additional world maps and matching story books. Check it out here!

Square Off is a chess board with a high-tech twist

via Arduino Blog

If you love chess, but aren’t thrilled about playing it on an app, the InfiVention team has just the board for you.

The origin of the game chess is a fascinating and somewhat unknown tale, stretching continents and many hundreds of years. In the last 25 or so years, however, it has gone from a game played on a beautiful board with finely crafted pieces, to something played on a computer or smartphone. Perhaps this is a good thing, since finding competition is as easy as signing into the correct game.

On the other hand, this type of play looses a lot of charm, and you can’t exactly pass the app on your beat up smartphone to your kids one day. Attempting to fill in the gap is the amazing automated board called “Square Off.” With an Arduino Mega 2560 at its core, it automatically moves the pieces, and detects where you move, allowing you to play in the real world with someone remotely–even if he or she is merely using a tablet!

Square Off is all set to redefine the world of board games, starting with chess. Bringing to you the world’s smartest, most connected and the most evolved chess board. It enables you to play your favorite game against a fellow chess enthusiast from anywhere in the world. The automated board is designed to reflect the move of your opponent with precision. Not just that, you can challenge the artificial intelligence of the board, too.

Intrigued? You can learn more about Square Off on its nearly-funded (as of this writing) Kickstarter page, as well as on the Arduino Project Hub!

ESLOV is the amazing new IoT invention kit from Arduino

via Arduino Blog

For years, the open-source philosophy of Arduino has been the inspiration to robots, drones, medical and space research, interactive art, musical instruments, 3D printers, and so much more. Now, Arduino is on a mission to radically simplify the way you build smart devices. Introducing ESLOV, a revolutionary plug-and-play IoT invention kit.

ESLOV consists of intelligent modules that join together to create projects in minutes with no prior hardware or programming knowledge necessary. Just connect the modules using cables or mounting them on the back of our WiFi and motion hub. When done, plug the hub into your PC.

ESLOV’s visual code editor automatically recognizes each module, displaying them on your screen. Draw the connections between the modules on the editor, and watch your project come to life. From there, publish your device to the Arduino Cloud and interact with it remotely from anywhere (including your phone). The Arduino Cloud’s user-friendly interface simplifies complex interactions with sliders, buttons, value fields, and more.

The ESLOV modules and hub can also be programmed with the wildly popular Arduino Editor — you can use either the online editor or the desktop-based IDE. With the provided libraries, you can customize the behavior of the existing modules, enhance the hub’s functionalities, as well as modify the protocols of both the hub and the modules.

With a total of 25 modules buttons, LEDs, air quality sensors, microphones, servos, and several others the possibilities are endless. Sample applications include everything from a monitor that lets you know if your baby is safe, to a washing machine notifier that tells you when your laundry is finished, to a thermostat that you can adjust while out of the house.

In line with the core values of the Arduino community, ESLOV’s hardware and software are open-source, enabling you to produce your own modules. Additionally, Arduino will welcome third-party modules from partners and other certified programs.

To accelerate its development in the open-source spirit, ESLOV — which began as part of a three-year EU-funded PELARS project — is now live on Kickstarter and needs your support.

The toolkit is offered in a variety of sizes, depending on the number of modules. Prices range from ~$55 USD to ~$499 USD, with multipacks and other opportunities available as well. Delivery is expected to get underway in June 2017.

In terms of hardware, the main hub is currently equipped with a Microchip SAM D21 ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU at 48MHz and built-in WiFi (just like the MKR1000). Each of the modules are small (2.5 x 2.5cm), low-power (3.3V), single-purpose boards featuring the same processor found at the heart of the Arduino/Genuino UNO: Microchip’s ATmega328P.

The modules can be reprogrammed via I2C bus or with an external programmer. ESLOV’s hardware includes firmware from our factory, dedicated to the specific function of each module.

The ESLOV connector has five pins (one more than standard I2C) for automatically configuring the module and handling the sleeping states to boost battery life. Tests can be performed on your computer via USB. The modules’ firmware and the hub’s software can be updated both using the USB cable and over-the-air (OTA).

Those heading to World Maker Faire in New York on October 1st-2nd can learn more about the kit inside the Microchip booth in Zone 3, as well as during Massimo Banzi’s “State of Arduino” presentation on Saturday at 1:30pm inside the New York Hall of Science Auditorium.

Want to learn more or back ESLOV for yourself? Check out its Kickstarter page!

Raspberry Shake – your personal seismograph

via Raspberry Pi

There are some applications for the Raspberry Pi that were a very long way from our minds back in 2009, when we were trying to come up with a computer to get kids programming again. I think it’s fair to say that we did not think we were building a personal seismograph.

Raspberry Shake has blown past its Kickstarter target of $7,000 to raise ten times that amount, and it’s still got a couple of days to go.

Raspberry Shake is sensitive enough to detect earthquakes of magnitude 2 and higher at a distance of 50 miles, and earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater from 300 miles away. Angel Rodriguez, the maker, says:

It will also record earthquakes of larger magnitudes farther away but it will miss some of the subtleties. Raspberry Shake can detect and record short period (0.5 – 15 Hz) earthquakes; the farther away an earthquake, the less of that range of frequencies can be recorded.

Raspberry Shake seismograph

At the heart of this kit is a geophone: a device that converts movement into voltage. (Think of it as being a bit like a microphone for geology.) Inside the little geophone a coil moves relative to a magnet, creating current. Angel has a nice demonstration of how a geophone works:

What’s inside a Geophone

In order to get data coming from the ground we need a sensor able to detect these data. A geophone is a ground motion transducer that convert ground movement into voltage. Raspberry Shake use a geophone and in this video we are going to show you what’s inside of it.

The little add-on board amplifies and digitises the signal from the geophone, and feeds it to your Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi time-stamps the data and stores it in a seismic industry standard format and sends it in answer to client requests. Those requests are displayed on your smartphone or computer monitor. The complete system is called a seismograph.

Angel and the other instrument builders behind the Raspberry Shake make seismographs and other equipment for a living. This device is the little brother of a seismograph his team makes for universities and other earthquake observers. It runs the same open-source software that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) uses.

Angel says:

Don’t be fooled by the size and the price. Raspberry Shake is better than many of short-period seismometers in current use by the local networks of the USGS and many developing countries. Several software vendors have, for the first time, provided personal no-cost licenses for this project.

Raspberry Shake will make observatory quality data that can be shared in the worldwide standard SEED format. All modern automated seismology programs used by observatories can use the data from the Raspberry Shake. It’s the Volkswagen of seismometers – yes there are Lamborgini seismographs but both the Lamborghini and the Volkswagen will get you from point A to point B.

To prove it, here’s some data from a Raspberry Shake ($99 if you back the Kickstarter now) against data from a $50,000 professional seismograph. In this image the Raspberry Shake’s data is displayed at the top. Both devices are showing data from the same regional earthquake.

Raspberry Shake (upper) and Nanometric Trillium Compact (lower)

Data from Raspberry Shake (top) and Nanometric Trillium Compact (bottom)

Bringing the affordability of a piece of kit like this down to consumer levels is a real achievement: previously this sort of equipment has only been available to universities, governments and other bodies with the ability to make very big investments. As you’ve probably gathered, we love it: head over to back Raspberry Shake on Kickstarter quickly, before the opportunity’s gone!

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