BulletPixels are powerful LEDs that can produce light of varying intensity and color.
Most LEDs are too simple: just one color, and one setting - on or off. If you’re looking for a bit more flexibility, the BulletPixel 8mm LEDs from Samurai Circuits are just the ticket. These powerhouses somehow cram an integrated circuit and three diodes (RGB) into a single LED enclosure, allowing you to program variable intensity and color for each LED. The possibilities are pretty darn cool: fade intensity or change color as battery life declines, indicate when an iron is hot for soldering as BulletPixels creator Tully Gehan does... You can also daisychain these LEDs together, and each remains individually addressable through serial communication.
Samurai Circuits provides extensive documentation, including this Arduino library and this data sheet for the WS2811 chipset that powers BulletPixels.
Bluetooth, the wireless data transmission standard used widely in computers, cell phones, and open-source electronics, has a new production qualification standard in place since February 1st.
The new production qualification standard and listing process is designed to provide funding for Bluetooth development and promotion through fees paid for the use of the Bluetooth trademark.
Fees for product qualifications have risen to $8,000 for businesses that are entry-level members of the Bluetooth consortium, although small businesses and start-ups can qualify for discounted prices of $2,500 for licensing two products.
These changes won’t affect businesses that use pre-assembled Bluetooth components as part of their products. As before, these companies will be responsible only for passing the Bluetooth qualification requirements (not required for some products) and registering an End Product Listing with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group - a process that is free of charge.
The Phi-Panel family of products from InMojo seller Dr. Liu allows for interactive data entry
Ever since the OSHW movement took off with the introduction of Arduino, users have been looking for simple, intuitive user interfaces to integrate into DIY projects. Dr. John Liu has been offering a series of intuitive interfaces - a line of LCD panels and keypads that can communicate with an Arduino over the serial bus.
In 2011, Dr. John Liu introduced his phi-panel family of products - a set of joint LCD-display and keypad data-entry modules that can connect to Arduino-based projects and provide for data entry at its simplest by leveraging Dr. Liu’s Phi-Prompt User Interface Library, a free code.
Now, users who don’t want to learn the library can integrate these panels into projects like home automation systems or anything that requires a user interface to read and manipulate data. “People love the simplicity of being able to add a professional looking user interface within a few lines of code,” Dr. Liu said when asked about the phi-panels.
This particular product, the Serial LCD Backpack, allows you to connect a keypad to an LCD display, and is available in various assembled and kit forms on Dr. Liu’s InMojo store. We think it’s a great product, so take a look.
What if you could replace all those Arduino shields with just one device - something that you already own? That is the promise of 1Sheeld - a new project that promises to provide an interface to all your smartphone's sensors!
It's pretty simple - just plug the 1Sheeld shield board onto your Arduino, then download and install the app on your Android phone. The board will connect to your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to access the shield of your choice through your phone.
Basic shields available in the app include GPS, keypad data entry, camera, wifi, gyrometer, accelerometer, push button, LED shield, gamepad, and much more to come. We are really excited about this project and look forward to the great hacks this project will enable. Take a look and learn more on the 1Sheeld Kickstarter page.
The RPi900 allows for powerful data transmission between Raspberry Pi-powered devices in locations without wired or wireless networks..
If you're looking for reliable, configurable data transmission over long distances for your project, check out the RPi900 Long Range Radio.
Originally designed for applications using solar power and telemetry in remote locations where connectivity to the grid and the internet is difficult or impossible, the RPi900, when mounted on a
Raspberry Pi alongside a DNT900 transceiver module from RFM, can communicate at more than 20 miles (line-of-sight) to send information to and from other units.
Maker Matthew Hollingworth, who developed the RPi900, has one of his units rigged up in a weatherproof CCTV enclosure along with a camera module and solar controller. The enclosure is connected to an external solar panel and battery, and installed at a remote location to record and upload periodic images and photograph sunset timelapses, which are then transferred to another RPi900 unit installed on the roof of his house. Pretty cool!
"The RPi900 can be used anywhere a remote, low-power linux installation is desired for telemetry, monitoring and control of equipment," writes Hollingworth. "Examples include industrial and agricultural settings, as well as weather stations and webcams. RPi900 is also useful as a compact radio base station--for example, as a ground control station for an autonomous aerial vehicle (UAV) or high-altitude balloon."
And the best news of all: the RPi900 is on sale for 33% off until December 25th. A unit normally costs $45, but with the sale you can get your hands on an RPi900 right now for $30.
You can learn more about the RPi900 and browse a full set of tutorials for installation and use at RPi900.com.
Arduino and similar products are great for prototyping and tinkering projects, but they don’t meet all needs. If you’ve ever wanted more control over the boards you use in your projects, there is a great new resource that can help you make your own boards.
Make Zine has just released a new guide to creating a board from scratch, using the free EAGLE software program to design the circuit board that can be custom printed for you. The Make Zine guide uses the Really Bare Bones Board (RBBB) as a basic design. RBBB is a simple board that has been used in tons of awesome projects (like this fireworks ignition system and this super-smart puzzle solving robot).
Anyone (hardware newbs and pros) interested in learning more about how circuit boards are designed will enjoy taking a look at this guide. Comprehensive step-by-step instructions can be found at the Make Zine website.
A vector-graphics program is used here to add an image that will be screen-printed onto the final version of the Really Bare Bones Board. Photo from MakeZine.
InMojo supports the Open Source Hardware Definition v1.0