Snapmaker, The Modular & Multi-Functional 3D Printer

Snapmaker is a Kickstarter project with a lofty goal: to be the holy trinity for at-home makers by using detachable modules to convert between a 3D printer, a CNC carver, and a laser engraver. In retrospect, the idea seems almost obvious. All three devices need three-axis motors to work: so why not combine them into one?

But Snapmaker doesn’t just stand out for its modular nature — it’s also impressively cheap. The default Snapmaker costs $299 on Kickstarter, and includes just the 3D printer. The laser engraver and CNC modules then each cost $75, making the entire package cost $449 — which would be a pretty good price for just one of these devices, let alone all three.

Snapmaker also claims that it’s offering a fairly high-quality printer for the price, with an “all-metal” construction and 3.2-inch color touchscreen. When it comes to actual specifications, the 3D printing module can print items up to 125 x 125 x 125mm in size at a resolution of 50–300 microns. When it comes to engraving, the laser module offers a 500mW beam that can work with wood, bamboo, leather, plastic, fabric, and paper. And the CNC module can carve wood, acrylic, and PCB at speeds between 2,000 and 7,000 RPM.

Obviously, these are some pretty big promises to be making, especially at the relatively low price point that Snapmaker sells for. And as a first time, crowdfunded project from a new company that has yet to ship a product before, the burden is on Snapmaker to show that they can actually deliver. And while the company has posted videos to YouTube demonstrating the various modules in action, at the price that Snapmaker is selling, it’s possible the whole thing is too good to be true.

The crowdfunding campaign still has 35 days to go, and is already 130% funded! Check out the technical details at the official website.

Source: The Verge

ICP12 USBSTICK, A New Tool for Signals Control & Monitoring

iCircuit Technologies had produced the iCP12 usbStick, a mini size 28 pin USB PIC IO development board and a good tool for signal monitoring (as oscilloscope), data acquisition and circuit troubleshooting at 1mSec/Samples period.

The iCP12 usbStick is a PIC18F2550 based USB development board that comes preloaded with Microchip’s USB HID bootloader which allows users to upload an application firmware directly through a PC’s USB port without any external programmer. It provides access to its I/O pins through 0.1″ pitch headers. A slide switch is also provided on board to select the operation of the board in Bootloader or Normal mode.

The features of iCP12 are listed as following:

  • Mini size, easy interfacing, high performance and user friendly device
  • Used with PIC18F2553 28-Pin Flash USB PIC MCU
  • Excellent flexibility that allows user to expand the board with plug and play modules
  • Peripheral Features:
    • 13x IO Port (6x 12bit ADC pins, 2x 10 bit PWM/Freq/DAC pins)
    • Serial port emulation (UART Baud Rates: 300 bps to 115.2 kbps)
    • Supported operating systems (32bit/64bit): Windows XP ,Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Linux, Mac OS X and Raspberry Pi
    • Maximum Voltage: 5Vdc
    • 100mA current output at VDD pin with over-current protection
    • 20MHz oscillator
    • Green LED – power on indicator
    • 2x LEDs (Green, Red) – status indicator
    • ICSP Connector – on-board PIC programming
    • Switch Mode Selection – Boot or Normal mode

The iCP12 usbStick board is shipped with a preloaded data acquisition firmware that emulates as a virtual COM port to PC. Thereafter, the communication between the PC and usbStick is serial. The firmware also supports basic I/O control and data logging feature. They provide a PC application named SmartDAQ that is specially developed to communicate with the usbStick and control its I/O pins, PWM outputs, and record ADC inputs.

SmartDAQ has a very friendly GUI with real-time waveform displays for 6 analog input channels. The time and voltage axes scales are adjustable. SmartDAQ can log the ADC data in both text and graphic form concurrently. One can utilize this feature to construct a low-cost data acquisition system for monitoring multiple analog sensor outputs such as temperature, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetic field sensor, etc.

SmartDAQ v1.3 Features:

  • Sampling channel: 6x Analogs (12bits ADC/1mV Resolution) + 7x Digitals (Input/Output)
  • Maximum Sampling rate: 1KHz or 1mSec/Samples
  • Sampling voltage: 0V – 5V (scalable graph) at 5mV Resolution
  • Sampling period:
  • mSec: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500
  • Sec: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30
  • Min: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60
  • Trigger Mode: Larger [>], Smaller [<], Positive edge [↑], Negative edge [↓]
  • Sampling Mode: Continuous, Single
  • Logging Function:
  • Save Format: Text, Graphic, Both
  • Start Time: Normal, Once Trigger, 24-Hour Clock (Auto Run)
  • End Time: Unlimited, Data Size, 24-Hour Clock (Auto Stop)
  • Recorded Data format: Graphic | text | excel

iCP12 is available with the PIC18F2550 for $15, and with the PIC18F2553 for $24.5. You can order it through the official page where you can also get more details about iCP12 and its source files.

You can also see this product preview to know more about its functionality.

ReRAM, Process Data Where They Are Stored

Because data storage and processor are separated from each other, moving data between the storage and the computation unit became a main factor in computing.
Many techniques were developed to speed up this process, such as pipelining, caching, and look-ahead execution, but “ReRAM” appears as a new technique to solve the root of the problem by merging memory and processor together.

Resistive RAM, which known as RRAM or RERAM, is the new generation of memories. Its cells are simpler than classic transistor-based memory cells, they are non-volatile, switch fast and can run from low voltages. Researchers now have managed to make RERAM cells store more than just a ‘0’ or a ‘1’, enabling in-place computations.

The first small memory devices based on this technology is the MB85AS4MT, that was developed by Fujitsu Semiconductor with Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions. MB85AS4MT is a 4 Mbit ReRAM chip that operates with a supply voltage in the range from 1.65 to 3.6 V and has an SPI interface. One of the stand-out features of this technology is its low operating current, just 0.2 mA, at a maximum read speed of 5 MHz.

Using so-called RERAM crossbar arrays, researchers have demonstrated the in-memory execution of binary matrix computations frequently encountered in high-performance computing, algebraic cryptanalysis, combinatorics and finite geometry data, and in general large scale data analysis. Although we are only at the beginning of this technology, the results are already promising.

More mathematical details can be found in this paper.

Source: elektor.

5V to 12V @400mA Boost Converter

The circuit presented here is about a boost converter based on LM2698. It is a PWM boost converter from Texas instruments. LM2698 can also be used as a flyback converter. The current mode architecture is a special feature of LM2698, which provides superior line and load regulation. This circuit is capable of a supplying a output voltage of 12V for a input range of 4.5V to 5.5V.

Specifications

  • Input voltage: 4.5VDC to 5.5VDC
  • Output voltage: 12VDC
  • Output current: 0.4A
  • PCB:45mm X 30mm

5V to 12V @400mA Boost Converter – [Link]

Amplifier requires no dc bias

john guy @ edn.com writes:

Intrinsically capacitive transducers and other high-impedance signal sources usually require ac coupling and a buffer amplifier to condition the signal for further processing. Buffers take many forms, but most of them compromise signal quality through the use of external resistors that provide a dc path for the input bias current. Recent improvements in op-amp technology allow ac-coupled inputs without the need for bias resistors.

Amplifier requires no dc bias – [Link]

LiFePO4wered/Solar1 – Solar power supply for IoT devices

Patrick Van Oosterwijck @ hackaday.io writes:

Solar power is not trivial, especially if it needs to be reliable and have a long lifetime for outdoor deployment such as IoT sensor nodes. This project is an effort to create a complete, easy to use solar power system that provides the following features:
– LiFePO4 battery for high charge cycle count, high temperature performance and 3.2V output voltage (compatible with most chips used in IoT).
– Switch mode MPPT charge controller for high efficiency, 5-30V solar input range.
– Charge and output current up to 2A (depending on the battery capacity).
– Automatic heater control to bring the battery up to temperature before charging, ensuring maximum battery life.
– Low voltage cutoff disconnects the load from the battery when the battery voltage becomes too low, again ensuring maximum battery life.
– User can set MPPT voltage, charge current and connect an external thermistor if desired.

LiFePO4wered/Solar1 – Solar power supply for IoT devices – [Link]

Easy ARM Programming With 1Bitsy & Black Magic Probe

1 Bit Squared executes hardware and software design, development and manufacturing for a wide range of micro to nano UAV systems available on the market: from quadcopters to multicopters as well as airplanes, helicopters and transitioning vehicles. A Kickstarter campaign was launched to unveil  the new Black Magic Probe V2.1 with its companion demo platform 1Bitsy V1.0.

The Black Magic Probe is a JTAG and SWD Adapter used for programming and debugging ARM Cortex MCUs. It’s the best friend of any ARM microcontroller developer. It works like a brain tap, it allows you to inspect and affect any aspect of the program you are running on your 1Bitsy without having to add special code. 1Bitsy is a user friendly open-source ARM Cortex-M4F Development Platform.

Check the campaign video to know more about the new products.

The Plug & Play JTAG/SWD ARM debugger features:

  • On board implementation of JTAG (Joint Test Access Group) protocol
  • On board implementation of the SWD (Serial Wire Debug) protocol
  • High speed data interface to the Device Under Test 4.5MBit
  • On board implementation of the GNU Debugger Server protocol (no need for OpenOCD) works with stock arm-none-eabi-gdb (no patches or plugins needed)
  • Automatic detection of the Device Under Test (no need for config files)
  • Frontend Level shifter. Usable with targets that run on voltages as low as 1.7V and as high as 5V.

In efforts to demystify ARM programming, you are now able to do the following applications while using a Black Magic Probe:

  • Interrupt program
  • Inspect and modify registers and variables
  • Watch variables (the program gets interrupted and reports a variable value change)
  • Breakpoints (you can set a point in your code that will cause the program to stop as soon as it is reached)
  • Call stack and backtrace (you can see what functions, with which parameters brought us to the current point and state of the program)
  • Disassembly (see the machine code and find out exactly what your program is doing)
  • Dump memory (download the RAM and/or flash content to a file)

1Betsy & Black Magic was available as an early bird combo for $65. The campaign has exceeded its $10,000 goal with $47,841 and should be delivering rewards now. More technical details can be reached at the campaign and the official website.

Niryo One, Your Next Affordable 6-Axis Robotic Arm

Two French engineers who are passionate about innovative use cases made out of new technologies and building accessible and collaborative robot, are now mixing last technology progresses in mechanics, electronics and computer science to deliver a new product: Niryo One!

Niryo One is an accessible 6 axis robotic arm, made for makers, education, and small companies, and powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi and ROS. The 3D printed robot will be customizable since you can print out your pieces and customize them the way you like. STL files will be open source soon.

In a mission to democratize robotics, Niryo One team is working on making it affordable and user friendly. Endless number of applications are possible by using Niryo One, like drilling, pick and place operations, and many other options thanks to the 6-axis available.

Niryo One can be controlled in many ways, whether using a web and mobile application, a joystick, or just your hands in its learning mode. Also you can control it using G-code if you want to use Niryo as a CNC.

Connected with the cloud, each update and project you do with Niryo will be synced there, with the ability to share it with the online community. More gadgets and tools will be added to the cloud and you will also get free app updates.

Technical Specifications

As makers ourself, we love 3D printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Those are great to learn robotics, with the help of the online community. We want to go a step further, by embed those technologies and electronics platforms in Niryo One, to show to the world that, yes,  we can make a real useful product with 3D printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. We hope that more people will be interested in learning these technologies when seeing what our robot can do, so it will reinforce the community around robotics projects.

Niryo One is now live on Kickstarter and still has 35 days to go. You can pre-order a mini Niryo One kit for $119 and the early bird Niryo One maker kit for $549. More details can be found at the official website.

Body Heat Provides Wearables With Eternal Power

The first watch to make use of the body’s natural heat to uphold battery charge in wearables is now even being crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Who else but researchers from Texas A&M University (a hot place) came up with the solution.


In today’s wearables battery life is a bottleneck, as increasing amounts of technology gets packed into lightweight designs comfortable enough for everyday wear. That’s why Texas A&M professor Choongho Yu and his PhD student, Suk Lae Kim, designed a thermally-chargeable solid-state supercapacitor.

Despite having no apparent links with the researchers, a smartwatch which uses the same thermoelectric concept has arrived on Indiegogo seeking crowdfunding. The MATRIX PowerWatch claims to be the world’s first smartwatch that you never have to charge.

Thermoelectric technology converting heat to electric power is based on the Seebeck effect discovered in 1821. In the absence of an applied voltage gradient, an electric current can still be generated if there is a temperature gradient. A thermoelectric material must have a low thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity to function efficiently.

PowerWatch runs off your body heat and when you take it off, your data is stored in memory and it goes to sleep. When you put it back on, the watch resumes where you left it. It’s got a power meter that tells you how much electricity your body heat is producing.

The standard Indiegogo pricing is $139, the crowdfunding page is here. On January 14, 2017 the product  was 937% funded.

Source: Elektor

SimpleLink MCU platform Launched By TI For Scalable Product Development

Texas Instruments has announced the SimpleLink MCU platform, which is transforming the pace of product proliferation by uniting a robust set of hardware, software and tools under a single development environment.

The SimpleLink MCU platform offers a new software development kits (SDKs) based on a shared foundation of drivers, frameworks and libraries to enable scalability with 100% code reuse, which will reduce design time and allow makers to invest once and leverage across multiple products.

Developers will be able to choose from any of the 32-bit wired and wireless ARM-based MCU devices, making their products easily adapted to changing design or application requirements.

Features of SimpleLink SDK:

  • 100 percent code compatibility across SimpleLink MCU portfolio
  • TI Drivers offers standardized set of functional APIs for integrated peripherals
  • Integrated TI-RTOS, a robust, intelligent kernel for complete, out-of-the-box development
  • POSIX-compatible APIs offer flexible OS/kernels support
  • Encryption-enabled security features
  • IoT stacks and plugins to add functionality to your design

At the same time, TI also announced a new generation of Wi-Fi chips and modules, the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3220 wireless MCU and CC3120 wireless network processor.

The CC3220 features a 80MHz Cortex-M4 application processor, with 256k of RAM and 1Mbyte of flash, and a network processor with a hardware crypto engine. While the CC3220 supports Wi-Fi, the range will be extended in the coming months with devices supporting Bluetooth Low Energy and sub GHz communications, as well as a Bluetooth LE/sub GHz dual band part.

“Developers need to ask what needs to be protected, what they are protecting against and what are the exposure points. The CC3220 provides more than 25 security enablers to handle such aspects as key management and code protection.” Mattias Lange, general manager of embedded connectivity solutions, noted.

The SimpleLink platform delivers the most security features, along with the broadest connectivity protocol support and advanced analog integration, combined with the industry’s lowest power wireless MCUs. Bringing together all of TI’s low-power, connected ARM MCUs, including MSP432™ devices, the platform offers:

  • Bluetooth® low energy: CC2640R2F and CC2640R2F-Q1 wireless MCUs
  • Dual-band (Sub-1 GHz and Bluetooth low energy): CC1350 wireless MCU
  • Host MCU: MSP432 MCU
  • Sub-1 GHz: CC1310 wireless MCU
  • Wi-Fi: CC3220 wireless MCU, CC3120 wireless network processor

The CC3220 wireless MCU LaunchPad development kit [CC3220SF-LAUNCHXL] is available for $49.99 and the CC3120 wireless network processor BoosterPack plug-in module [CC3120BOOST] is available for $29.99. The CC3220 will be priced at $4.99 in 1,000-unit quantities.

SimpleLink Microcontrollers and Network Processors

You can learn more details and discover all SimpleLink processors, development kits and tools at the official website.