The latest creation from LP Research is an orientation-/motion-sensing device that uses open-source Bluetooth 4.0 BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology to wirelessly transmit 3D orientation and acceleration data to connected devices. BLE is notable for its extremely long battery life, with some applications achieving years-long operation from one small battery.
The LMPS-BLE prototype, first seen early this month, shows an LPMS motion sensor and battery linked to a Bluegiga BLE113 wireless transmission unit - the latest iteration of a board that we've mentioned before. The BLE113 module consumes 30% less power than the previous design. The BLE connection also allows low latency, sports fast connection speeds, and doesn't clog up bandwidth when using multiple sensors on different channels.
Check out the video of the prototype sensor in action here.
LP Research produces professional products for business use, but also features "maker edition" bare sensor boards perfect for integrating into your projects. You can learn more about the company and check out their products on their website www.lp-research.com. Their expertise lies in producing electronics for a wide range of applications in aerospace, robotics and sports.
We, in the OSHW community, don't spend too much time thinking about patents. We'd rather be making. Not to mention, the idea of disallowing others from using your designs goes against the Open Source ethic.
But, by stifling innovation, patents have had a huge impact on the open source community. Often, companies refuse to make public details of their hardware and software programs (details that would be invaluable to open-source enthusiasts seeking to, for example, create open-source drivers for proprietary hardware) because of fears that they are accidentally or knowingly infringing on the patents of competitors, and that publishing such details would expose themselves to expensive lawsuits.
One innovative response to recent ongoing patent wars is the Defensive Patent License, or DPL (an homage to the GPL free software license). The DPL is a legal mechanism to protect innovation by bringing together patent-holders in a network. Participants agree to license their patents, royalty-free, to all other members of the network, and in exchange receives the same licences from other users’ patents. Everyone in the network is forbidden from using aggressive patent litigation against other members.
A recent discussion on the hackerpaces listserv might be leading some in the OSHW community to join the DPL. Matthew Senate of Oakland, CA-hackerspace Sudo Room has also suggested the creation of a "DPL design challenge" (which, in typical open source fashion, was immediately made into a web call-out by another list user) - a system by which makers can impliment prototypes of patents listed under the DPL as a form of active participation in the network.
The DPL plan has been kicking around since 2009, but is finally scheduled to be released in November at a kickoff event in Berkeley.
If all this patent stuff sounds like gibberish to you, a good explanation of it all was published by Network World in 2009.
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.
InMojo supports the Open Source Hardware Definition v1.0