Tag Archives: kickstarter

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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ZeroBorg: teeny tiny robotics from PiBorg

via Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi robotics aces PiBorg are known for quality robots and add-ons, from the tiny PicoBorg board to the somewhat terrifying DoodleBorg. Now they’re bringing their magic to the Raspberry Pi Zero with ZeroBorg, a small but powerful motor controller and sensor board. We weren’t surprised to see their Kickstarter campaign hit its target quickly; there’s still time to jump on board.

ZeroBorg robot

ZeroBorg costs from £15 and is barely larger than a Raspberry Pi Zero, and a Zero + ZeroBorg + 9V battery weigh as little as 65g, but it doesn’t pull its punches. You can control four motors independently, or more if you stack multiple ZeroBorgs over I2C (ideal for animatronics projects or CNC machine servos); I2C communication also means you can connect it to other add-on boards to pile on extra functionality, and there are two analogue inputs so you can connect any sensors that your project demands. It’s available with an infrared module, so you can control it via a TV remote, and a DCDC regulator for powering the Pi Zero. And, as with PiBorg’s other boards, they will provide open source software for controlling the board, so you can set up your robot exactly the way you choose.


PiBorg told us,

We love making boards and kits for the Raspberry Pi, mainly because the Pi community is like one big growing family. The support we’ve received so far with this Kickstarter has been phenomenal and we can’t thank the community and the Raspberry Pi Foundation enough.

Many people are learning about programming, electronics and robotics with the Pi. Every day a new Pi project appears, and the community jumps in and helps develop ideas and solve problems.

Already there are really awesome projects such as a Zero that makes tea in the morning, and a robot that feeds your cat while you are away. We can’t wait to see what people build with the ZeroBorg!

Neither can we. Take a look!

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Fail of the Week: OpenMV Kickstarter Project Hits Manufacturing Snag

via Hackaday » hardware

Making stuff is hard, especially when you are making lots of stuff. The OpenMV Cam project knows this, because it has hit a problem while putting together their cheap machine vision module. The problem is with the BGA solder balls that connect the image sensor to the main board.

openmv-thumbWe’ve covered this intriguing project before: the aim is to build a small, cheap module that can run image processing algorithms to easily give robots sight. The sensor is a Ball Grid Array (BGA) package, which means there are a grid of small solder balls on the back that form the electrical connections. It seems that some of these solder balls are oxidized, preventing them from melting and fusing properly with the board. This is called a head-in-pillow defect, because the ball behaves like your head when you lie down in bed. Your head squishes the pillow, but doesn’t merge into it. There are 38 balls on the OV26040 image sensor and even a single bad link means a failure.

The makers of the project have tried a number of solutions, but it seems that they may have to remake the ball links on the back of each sensor. That’s an expensive process: they say it will cost $7 for each, more than the actual sensor cost initially.

A few people have been posting suggestions in the comments for the project, including using solvents and changing the way the sensors are processed before mounting. We’d like to see them overcome this hurdle. Anybody have any suggestions to quickly and cost effectively move the manufacturing process forward?

Thanks to [eDgE] for the tip.

Filed under: Fail of the Week, Hackaday Columns, hardware

Meet my Pixel Pals from Soldering Sunday

via Raspberry Pi

I’m always on the lookout for fun physical computing gadgets to teach young people basic electronics, soldering skills, and of course how to code. If they work with a Raspberry Pi then I get even more excited. Some time last year I happened across a Kickstarter campaign that ticked all my STEAM boxes from a small company called Soldering Sunday established by a group of adventurous makers from Monroe, New Jersey, USA. Their campaign was called CHIP – an electronics kit with character and immediately grabbed my attention. Thankfully I was not alone and the campaign was successfully kickstarted.

Thanks to @solderingsunday for my #chip kit. I upgraded his leds to multi colour!

A video posted by Miss Philbin (@missphilbin) on

Chip is part of a group of ‘Pixel Pals’ designed to grab the attention of young makers, encouraging them to explore new skills and to play with technology in a new way. He consists of a circuit board, two LEDs, two resistors and some connecting pins. I had to build him myself before connecting him to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins and programming his eyes with Python. I enjoyed the activity so much that Chip now accompanies me everywhere.

File_002 File_001 Carrie Annd with Pixel Pal Chip

In fact, he has made many a long trip. He appeared in Australia for PyCon as part of my Physical Computing talk to teachers and has even featured in the background of a BBC Technobabble episode back home in Cambridge! I’ve been worrying that during my travels, Chip might be getting a little lonely. Lucky for me then that Soldering Sunday have launched their latest Pixel Pal, called Buzz!

Buzz – A New Pixel Pal

Soldering Sunday is raising funds for Buzz – A New Pixel Pal on Kickstarter! Buzz is an easy and fun educational kit that builds STEAM / STEM skills and grows from a project to a friend you can program.

The latest Pixel Pal kit includes a Buzz kit (like Chip but with a buzzer), a Pixel Power Kit, and a Pixel Pal Pi adapter kit. Its creators say:

When you plug Buzz into a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino, you can control his eyes and his sounds with programming. Buzz is an excellent way to get kids involved in Computer Science and take part in the Hour of Code initiative. We already have Arduino and Raspberry Pi tutorials online for Chip and with your support we will have the Buzz tutorials available shortly.

Please help to support the Buzz Kickstarter campaign so that I have more toys to play with. You won’t be disappointed!

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