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15 Sep 2011

Octolively: Digital interactive LED surfaces @ Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. [via]

Octolively is an all-new, open source interactive LED surface kit that we’re releasing today. Octolively features high resolution– an independent motion sensor for every LED, stand-alone operation, a variety of response functions, and easy scaling for large grids.

Octolively: Digital interactive LED surfaces – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

Driving an adafruit VC0706 TTL Serial JPEG Camera with a Netduino @ Fabien’s Bit Bucket. [via]

Earlier this month, AdaFruit released a nice little TTL camera, perfect for security and remote monitoring applications. The camera supports three resolutions (640×480, 320×240 and 160×120), has a built-in motion detection circuit and can output an NTSC signal, all in a fairly compact form factor. The communication with the camera is done over a TTL UART @ up to 115200 bauds…

As I’m working on a security-related project involving the Netduino, it was the perfect opportunity to put this camera to the test, starting with writing a C# driver. While interfacing with the camera over the TTL UART of the Netduino is straight forward, the datasheet describing the protocol and commands required to control the camera functions is painfully sketchy and sometime inaccurate. In some instances, some camera functions such as OSD (text overlay) are not supported in the firmware even though the datasheet documents them or only behave properly if called in a particular sequence, which of course, is not documented…

Driving an adafruit VC0706 TTL Serial JPEG Camera with a Netduino – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

adafruit.com writes:

We’ve updated our excellent character LCD tutorial to include a section about RGB-backlit LCDs, with wiring images, video and example code!

Arduino Tutorial – connecting a parallel LCD – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

Apps4Arduino – [via]

We created Matatino, a framework that lets you communicate between your Mac applications and your Arduino. You can follow our tutorials to get started with adding Matatino to your project.

To see Matatino in action, check out Meters for Arduino.

We will be adding more examples, libraries and tutorials for the Android ADK, iOS Redpark Serial Cable, Processing and OpenFrameworks in the future! You can stay informed about updates through RobotGrrl’s blog Apps4Arduino category feed.

Do you have a hardware project that you need some great software for? Tell us about it, and we would love to help you out!

Apps4Arduino – [Link]

15 Sep 2011


So-called “magic eye” tubes are display devices, which indicate signal level by the projection of wedge-shaped shadows on a glowing view screen. They were developed in the 1930′s for use as tuning indicators in radio receivers, and as alternatives to the then-expensive-to-manufacture meter movements.

Because they haven’t been produced in decades, and because they degrade and wear out with use, the supply of functional eye tubes is dwindling. I thought there might be value in coming up with a potential substitute– something that acted like an eye tube that could replace them in applications like antique radio restoration and general experimentation.

It turns out that convincing eye tube behavior can be simulated with one or more LED’s mounted on a rotating disk. The electronics to drive the LEDs amounts to little more an an op-amp, a transistor, and some timing components.

This video demonstrates the appearance of a real eye tube in operation, and introduces the principles involved in simulating one through electro-mechanical means. The video shows that the display generated by the electro-mechanical equivalent can be fairly convincing.

Simulating Magic Eye Tubes With Spinning LEDs – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

voltaicsystems.com writes:

Solar chargers use solar energy to power my electronics, neat! How do they work?

Short answer: Sunlight hits solar panels -> solar panels generate electricity -> electricity flows into battery -> battery outputs clean power on demand to your device

Long answer: We’ve created a five part tutorial to take you through every stage of the process. Solar is obviously much less predictable than plugging into the grid so we’ll be focusing both on specifications and what to expect in the real world. Bring along a multimeter and some parts from Radio Shack and you can get a pretty good idea of how exactly how solar charger work.

Solar Charger Tutorial – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

Electronics design engineers across the globe are burdened with lengthy and disparate design processes – from concept to pre-production – all-while balancing the need to bring products to market faster.  In short, the ability to save hundreds of hours in the design process is critical to advancing designs.  

As part of an ongoing effort to better understand the needs of design engineers, element14 today unveiled findings from a global study conducted by TFI looking at the critical challenges throughout the design process.  The study revealed several pain points – increasing time pressures, incomplete/inaccurate information from relevant sources, and difficulty comparing options. Additional findings include:

  • Over 70% of design engineers rely heavily on online forums, blogs and engineering communities
  • Engineers spend about 50% of their research time online
  • A majority of respondents cited the earlier stages of design as the most challenging (consuming an average of 41% of design time)

“Design with Efficiency: Toward a Streamlined Process for Electronics-Industry Design Engineers” – [Link]


15 Sep 2011

Saelig Company, Inc. (www.saelig.com) has introduced a new version of the successful MSR145 miniature datalogger, now with storage capability for storing over one billion readings from temperature and other parameters simultaneously with 12-bit resolution. The award-winning, unique MSR145 mini datalogger, previously limited to only two million measurements, is now available with a slot for a removable microSD card (4GB). This increases the storage of the logger to a record-breaking 1 billion measurements. The MSR145ʼs SD card can be easily changed during on-going experiments, representing a significant benefit when undertaking extremely long-term measurements. This allows users to evaluate the saved data at any time, whenever it may be necessary.

MSR145 Universal Datalogger – [Link]

15 Sep 2011

Jonathan Thomson writes:

I made a device that charges my cell phone and plays an audio alert when it detects the phone is vibrating. I think this is useful for people who forget to take their phone off vibrate while it’s charging or the hard-of-hearing. It’s much louder than my cell phone’s speaker so it makes it easier to hear someone is calling even if the ringer is on. If this sort of device was more common people could leave their phone on vibrate almost all the time without worrying about missing a call.

Vibe2Tone – using an ATtiny85 available – [Link]


14 Sep 2011

Ransomhall writes –  [via]

Thanks to this nice tutorial http://ladyada.net/make/solarlogger/ I’ve done a substantial upgrade! Now I can monitor and save the following data:

  • Voltage: Panel, Battery, Load
  • Current: Panel and soon battery (waiting on parts)
  • Temperature: battery, in case it gets too hot.

Solar MintyBoost – [Link]





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