NI and Mouser Throw Curveball into PCB Design Ring

This is big news. Really big, and not just because there’s a new PCB Design program or because it’s sponsored by Mouser and… free.

It’s big news that it’s an increasingly good time to be an electronics maker, and the big names in the industry are noticing. Mouser recently announced a free version of National Instrument’s MultiSIM Circuit design and testing software. Read More

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Maximize Your TV’s Potential With The MaxMyTV

The Internet of Things has been showing up quite a bit lately, with many devices offering you the ability to turn your home into a smart house. If you don’t know what the Internet of Things is, it is essentially the interconnecting of various devices serving purposes ranging from sensory to controlling. By bringing together these devices, one can automate many functions of their home or learn more about their presence in the house. However, one entry in the Internet of Things race is the MaxMyTV, which utilizes your TV and probably your attachment to it.

The MaxMyTV does more than simply upgrade your TV. It transforms your home into that smart house, offering you absolute control from the comfort of your command center: your couch. You can connect the MaxMyTV Smart Hub in between your TV and your primary set-top box, without needing to choose one over the other. The Smart Hub then serves two purposes: bringing together your TV services with the MaxMyTV software and giving you more control of your house, shop, etc. from your TV. Read More

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McThings Reaches The End Of Its KickStarter Campaign

The suite of BLE sensors and controllers regarded as McThings reaches the end of it’s Kickstarter campaign, earning well over its $50,000 CAD goal. WestWork Technology Ltd. developed this collection of devices and software to measure and control anything you need and even connect to the cloud. WestWork envisions that homes, shops, etc. “…will have a large number of low-cost, low-power easy to setup sensors and controllers that will improve efficiency, quality of life and minimize power consumption.” And these sensors and controllers will connect to the cloud and fully integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and more. This integration can already be seen on household appliances like refrigerators you can tweet from.

McThings comes together to create a low cost and low power infrastructure with fill internet connectivity. The main control board, called a McModule, will run for years on a coin cell and runs on a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor with a 2.4GHz multi-protocol radio and a 128-bit AES encryption co-processor. A McRouter and McPlug will also be available for backers and in preorders. Read More

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The Voltset Smart Multimeter Begins Its Kickstarter Campaign

Last September, we wrote about an interesting product we saw at the World Maker Faire NYC. It was a conveniently sized multimeter that connects to your smartphone and uses custom software to give you mobility and ease with your electronics measurements. This multimeter is known as the Voltset and the team behind it have begun a Kickstarter campaign to promote and raise money for the device.

From the article we wrote previously, the Voltset has evolved from the Mini-Voltset and the Mega-Voltset into the Voltset and the Voltset PRO. These multimeters are in the CAT II measurement category. This includes small devices and the outlets within a home. The Voltset team is striving to make the multimeter CAT III capable, allowing for the measurement of higher power systems including a home distribution panel. Read More

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The Hummingbird Duo: A Robotics Kit for All Ages

BirdBrain Technologies introduced the Hummingbird Duo this week on Kickstarter, offering an electronics kit that can be used by primary education students all the way up to the adult maker, with different levels of learning. A development from the original Hummingbird robotics kit that won the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, the Hummingbird Duo is a 2-in-1 board, capable of operating as an original Hummingbird controller or as an Arduino Leonardo with an integrated motor/servo shield and improved connectors.

Future Hummingbird kits will feature the Duo controller as the core along with a variety of additional components including motors, servos, vibration motors, LEDs, and sensors. The kit components are easily secured to the Duo controller via clearly labeled spring-loaded terminal blocks. Read More

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Give Your Devices Flexibility with Paper-Thin Printoo Boards and Modules

Flexibility is the key to creativity and those pesky physical limitations of creating hardware can impede the production of truly unique devices. Ynvisible from Cartaxo, Portugal wants to help relieve creators from the pains of physical design limitations by introducing the Printoo; flexible low-power boards and modules that are Arduino compatible. These paper thin boards are sure to fit into any design you can come up with Ynvisible aims to provide a wide selection of boards to choose from. And the board designs are open source as well!

One of the challenges for many hardware developers is the aesthetic design for their devices. Meaning that as important as functionality is, so is finding a proper enclosure for the device. The enclosure is critical to the success of the device with more casual users and to the safety of the device against electrostatic discharge. However, designing a proper enclosure is difficult, especially for complex devices requiring a multitude of modules or mechanical components. Read More

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Smart All-In-One Tool For Makers Hits Kickstarter

2014 is turning out to be the year of the smart oscilloscopes. Red Pitaya was announced on Kickstarter last year and DSLogic is a new Kickstarter that reached its funding goal and was officially funded today. Just recently, a new contender hit the scene. A new team from Belgium called LabNation is offering a 50 MHz bandwidth digital “smart”-oscilloscope for a very reasonable $179. It’s called the SmartScope. Marketing spent most of their budget on that one.

The SmartScope is pretty reminiscent of the average USB based digital oscilloscope. It’s a small box with two co-ax connectors for two 100 MS/s analog signals, a USB connector, and power. But, wait… there’s more! Read More

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Mooshimeter Is the Multimeter We Always Wanted

We took a look at innovative multimeters at the Maker Faire in New York in September when we previewed the Voltset, a smartphone based multimeter.

As I said in the Voltset preview, multimeters have not changed in design for a few decades. You might question why a design that works should be altered, but a new project on Dragon Innovation’s crowd funding website will definitely leave you wondering what other tools need a modern retouch. Read More

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DesignSpark: Better Than Eagle? – A New Look At PCB Design Software

The PCB design software market is admittedly a little stagnant. Newcomers often traverse old forum posts where PCB veterans suggest the same few design applications for the same few superficial reasons. The bottom line is that until recently, there were only a few good offerings and most engineers choose by experience or comfort with a particular brand of PCB software.

EAGLE is one very popular PCB design software created by Germany-based Cadsoft Computer GmbH. The name “EAGLE” is almost ubiquitous with amateur PCB design, probably due partly to its freeware option but certainly mostly due to the fact that everyone keeps mentioning it whether for better or worse. Yeah, I’m guilty too. Read More

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New Kickstarter Brings an Oscilloscope to your Wrist!

At the Maker Faire in New York, I had the pleasure to meet electrical engineer Gabriel Anzziani. His company, Gabotronics, is dedicated to making super-small tools for makers and engineers at a reasonable price. He told me he has spent the past four years developing his products: a line of miniture and portable oscilloscopes which he dubs “the world’s smallest”. A number of these covered the entire surface of his table at the Faire, for the most part little screens with little white squiggles. What’s fascinating about these squiggles is that they can represent a live electrical signal at a very reasonable accuracy.

The Xprotolab pictured above could possibly be the smallest oscilloscope. With the additional features of a waveform generator and protocol sniffer, not to mention its $49 price tag, it makes for an enticing package for anyone looking to get there hands on some signal analysis for their small AVR projects. Read More

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