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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Inhale 3D

Link: Inhale 3D

Techniques in 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing, and embedded development.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Introduction to Data Types in Arduino Programming

Article: Introduction to data types in the Arduino

Computers, including the Arduino, tend to be highly data agnostic. At their core, the heart of the device is an arithmetic-logic unit, which performs (fairly) simple operations on locations in memory: R1+R2, R3*R7, R4&R5, etc. The ALU doesn’t care what that data represents to a user, be it text, integer values, floating point values, or even part of the program code. All of the context for these operations comes from the compiler, and the directions for the context get to the compiler from the user. You, the programmer, tell the compiler that THIS value is an integer and that value is a floating point number. The compiler, then, is left trying to figure out what I mean when I say “add this integer to that floating point." Sometimes that’s easy, but sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it SEEMS like it SHOULD be easy, but it turns out to yield results you might not anticipate.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

MAKE: 555 Timer Weekend Projects

Link: MAKE: 555 Timer Weekend Projects

The 555 timer IC is often considered one of the most successful integrated circuits of all time. That success stems not only from its sheer production volume — with approximately a billion made annually — but also for its ease of understanding and the diversity of its applications. Over at Weekend Projects, we’ve used the 555 in everything ranging from beginner-friendly breadboard experiments to advanced weekend-long builds. Continue reading after the jump for some fine examples of the 555 in action.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Udacity Global Meetup Day

3 ways to make your Global Meetup Day event amazing!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I2C Bus Technical Overview

Article: I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) Bus Technical Overview

Based on the I2C FAQ by Vince Himpe

In the early 1980's, NXP Semiconductors developed a simple bi-directional 2-wire bus for efficient inter-IC control. This bus is called the Inter-IC or I2C-bus. At present, NXP's IC range includes more than 150 CMOS and bipolar I2C-bus compatible types for performing communication functions between intelligent control devices (e.g. microcontrollers), general-purpose circuits (e.g. LCD drivers, remote I/O ports, memories) and application-oriented circuits (e.g. digital tuning and signal processing circuits for radio and video systems).

All I2C-bus compatible devices incorporate an on-chip interface which allows them to communicate directly with each other via the I2C-bus. This design concept solves the many interfacing problems encountered when designing digital control circuits. I2C has become a de facto world standard that is now implemented in over 1000 different ICs and is licensed to more than 50 companies.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to make an Arduino shield with Eagle CAD – Tutorial

Tutorial: How to make an Arduino shield with Eagle CAD

There are many CAD developed to assist the electronic designers during drawing of PCBs and schematics; often they are integrated in complete suite to project, simulate and realize a whole electronic system.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bottle Radio

Complete Instructions

Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This "bottle radio" take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the "window of opportunity" to experience this remarkable technology is dwindling. The "crystal" in question is contained inside a germanium diode, and is used to rectify the radio signal so that our ears can hear it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Article: How to Read a ROM

ROM is an old term for “Read-Only Memory”. Nowadays these chips are often more correctly referred to as “non-volatile memory”, but it boils down to the same thing: they’re chips that store data even after you unplug your computer. When a digital device turns on, it effectively has amnesia. The only information it has about the world is what’s stored on its ROMs. So the first thing many devices do when they wake up is start reading instructions from a ROM.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thingverse: Adafruit

Thingverse: Adafruit

Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor "Ladyada" Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. We've expanded our offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. We pride ourselves on having great prices, the best customer service, technical support and fast shipping. We hope we can assist you on your journey of learning - At Adafruit we celebrate engineering happiness!

Brain Monkeys

Link: Brain Monkeys

Founded by Katie Tilton, a certified school teacher, artist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur who saw the need to increase the number programs that support discovery based learning.

Brain Monkeys is out to redefine the reality in which education happens. Our students will be free to stretch, re-invent, and improve the curricula we set out to teach.

We will hand them tools instead of rote memorization because we believe that creativity, intelligence, and critical thinking are best nurtured by challenge and interaction. We will measure learning through projects and team efforts so that students come out with a portfolio of all the incredible things they have invented and the worlds they have conquered.

Brain Monkeys is designed to develop self-reliant and responsible college-bound students. Clear expectations and high standards are in place for all students for whom critical thinking and problem solving skills will be a focus.

Instructors provide an inquiry-based curriculum which promotes understanding across the disciplines and emphasizes depth over breadth. Teachers act as facilitators by providing students with an atmosphere in which they are encouraged to think for themselves, pose questions, investigate hypotheses and pursue solutions. Students become writers, scientists, researchers, explorers and artists as they consider open-ended questions that stretch cognitive abilities and honor individual learning styles.

At the Brain Monkeys, students and staff pursue the integration of intellectual and technical endeavors. Staff are committed to immersing students in a learning environment that will engage their interest in all content areas including literacy, math, the sciences, social studies and the arts.

How a lead-acid battery works

Engineering Guy Bill explains the essential principles of a lead-acid battery. He shows the inside of motorcycle lead-acid battery, removes the lead and lead-oxide plates and shows how they generate a 2 volt potential difference when placed in sulfuric acid. He explains how the build up of lead sulfate between the plates will make the battery unusable if it discharged completely, which leads him to a description of how to make a deep cycle battery used for collecting solar energy.

Tutorial: Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR)

From: Adafruit Learning System

Force Sensitive Resistors are sensors that allow you to detect physical pressure, squeezing and weight. They are simple to use and low cost. This guide will show you how to wire an FSR, connect it to your Arduino, and give you some project ideas.


OpenROV is a
 Do It Yourself telerobotics community centered around underwater exploration and education. We have developed a low-cost telerobotic submarine that can be built with mostly off-the-shelf parts.
The goal of OpenROV is to democratize exploration by allowing anyone to explore and study underwater environments. The 
OpenROV community is also laying the foundation for globally-connected citizen scientists to share their data and findings.

Our Passion is Robotics

Dexter Industries develops robotic sensors for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT that are easy to use, fun, and have real-life applications for scientists and engineers . . . and those aspiring to be.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CadSoft Eagle: Schematic Design: Tutorial 1

Article: Tutorial 1 for CadSoft Eagle: Schematic Design

The first in a series on designing a complete PCB using the Eagle CAD software.


I am currently working through several courses on Udacity.

"Udacity was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we've connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world."

CS101 Intro to Computer Science is a beginning level programming course in which Python programming is taught through the creation of a web browser. There is no need for external software, a Python programming environment is available on the Udacity Programming Interface. I have done ahead and installed Python IDLE for Python 2.7.3 with the 64-bit version of Google's PyScripter (a free and open-source Python Integrated Development Environment).

I am enjoying the course and am working through the PH101 Intro to Physics course as well as the ST101 Intro to Statistics course.

The goal with taking these courses not only for my pleasure, but so that I may encourage my students to work through these courses as well. The three courses listed above are at a Beginner level, but Udacity offers Intermediate and Advanced Courses as well.

I enjoyed the CS373 Artificial Intelligence course this past spring.


BatchPCB is a PCB pooling service. It's a pretty simple concept. You submit your PCB design, we add your design to the batch of orders. When the batch is big enough (usually around 2-3 days), the batch is set off to be manufactured. 10-14 days later, the individual boards are received by us. We then split the orders up and mail your order to you.

Beginning Embedded Electronics (11 tutorials)

SparkFun is pleased to introduce our budding Department of Education! We're still working on getting everything up and running, but if you're just getting started in electronics, are interested in taking or teaching classes, or are just curious you might head over to and take a look!

Lecture 1 - Background and Power Supply

Lecture 2 - How to Get Code Onto a Microcontroller

Lecture 3 - What is an oscillator?

Lecture 4 - UART and Serial Communication

Lecture 5 - AVR GCC Compiling

Lecture 6 - Soldering Basics

Lecture 7 - SMD Soldering

Lecture 8 - Eagle: Schematics

Lecture 9 - Eagle: PCB Layout

Lecture 10 - Eagle: Creating a new part

Common Mistakes, Tips and Tricks

According to Pete (7-2-12): Inductors

According to Pete 7-2-12 from SparkFun on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grishin Robotics Has $25 Million to Invest in Robot Startups

Article: Grishin Robotics Has $25 Million to Invest in Robot Startups

Robotics today is like the Internet in the 1990s: Fuel it with the right combination of technology, people, and money, and it will explode into a formidable new industry that will profoundly reshape people’s lives.

Putting Projects in Motion with the 555 Timer IC

Article: Putting Projects in Motion with the 555 Timer IC

Motors are the driving force behind many maker experiments, from hobby projects to more sophisticated robotics applications. Curious if it would be possible to reduce these generally complex motor controllers to a handful of common components, we set out on our latest hack, Projects in Motion: Control Three Types of Motors with 555 Timers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time To Apply The First Law Of Robotics

Article: Isaac Asimov would not be proud.

Seventy years ago, Asimov created the “first law of robotics,” the idea that robots of the future would obey a rule rooted deep in their programming: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” By the year 2015, as his short stories predicted, even outmoded droid models would obey that maxim.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Bilibot Project

The Bilibot Project started at MIT through the exploration of what could be done with the new Kinect sensor. Besides being a great sensor for gesture technology, the Kinect is a powerful robotic sensor - so much so that robotics laboratories at universities across the world are replacing their $5000 sensors with the $150 Kinect! The Bilibot project takes advantage of this new technological breakthrough to provide a research quality robot at a hobby robot's price.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Arduino Projects For Radio Controlled Cars

Article: How To Read an RC Receiver With A Microcontroller - Part 1

Its a very common question, 'How do I read and RC Receiver with my micro controller' and the answer is often very simple however the simple answer is close to useless in a real world application. The approach outlined in this series of posts has been tested in an RC Race car running at 40+ Kmh at a range of 100 meters. The approach is reliable, resilient, easy to understand and easy to modify. It has been tested using using 27Mhz AM radio equipment and entry level electronics. Use of better quality electronics and radio equipment will provide improvements in range and signal quality however as the development process has demonstrated, even low end equipment can be interfaced with Arduino for control of an RC Race car.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lowtech Sensors and Actuators

Lowtech Sensors and Actuators for artists and architects by Usman Haque [] and Adam Somlai-Fischer []. (A research project sponsored and commissioned by FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool, U.K)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gears and Wheels

Gear and Wheels Part 1

Gears and Wheels Part 2

Motorized Toy Car Challenge video devloped to illustrate concepts in the curriculum: gear speed and direction, circumference, diameter, radius, combining different size gears, driver gear vs driven gear, gear trains, gear ratio, gear friction, gear pairs (compound gears), lever arm, torque, rim force.

Big Thinkers - Rodney Brooks [Roboticist]

Rodney Brooks is Panasonic Professor of Robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Chief Technical Officer and sits on the Board of iRobot Corp. From July 1, 2003, until June 30, 2007, he was director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; prior to that, he was director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Mini PIC Dev Board

Mini PIC Dev Board

The goal of this project is to build a development board for any of the PIC 18F 40 pin series so that it can be powered up, programmed and used while also connected to a bread board.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Breakout is a prototyping tool for exploring the intersection of the web and the physical world. The popular Arduino platform and the Firmata protocol are leveraged to enable users to access physical input and output purely from javascript. This makes it easy for anyone familiar with javascript and basic web development to explore the possibilities of using physical I/O in their web applications. Furthermore, the Breakout framework includes a growing library of hardware abstractions such as buttons, leds, servo motors, accelerometers, gyros, etc enabling the user to easily interface with a range of sensors and actuators using just a few lines of javascript code.

MIX Engineering

MIX Engineering

My name is Sophi Kravitz.
I work on electronic engineering projects which mix functional engineering, science and art.

Sunday, January 22, 2012



The BeagleBoard is an ultra-low cost, high performance, low power OMAP3 based platform designed by community members.

Learn Programming and More




OpenROV is a DIY telerobotics community centered around underwater exploration & adventure.

Monday, January 2, 2012

MATLAB Support for Arduino

Arduino Matlab

MATLAB Support Package for Arduino enables you to use MATLAB to communicate with the Arduino board over a USB cable. It is based on a server program running on the board, which listens to MATLAB commands arriving via serial port, executes the commands, and, if needed, returns a result.

This allows you to:

Start programming right away without any additional toolboxes
Work in the MATLAB environment for interactive development and debugging
Interactively develop programs to acquire analog and digital data, and to control DC, servo, and stepper motors
Run control loops at up to 25 Hz (not real-time)
Introduce mechatronics, signal processing, and electronics concepts in classroom labs