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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VoltSet: A Smart Multimeter For Smart Phones

Most engineers are familiar with the multimeter, a rather ubiquitous tool in any laboratory recognizable for its brick-like shape and radial mode selector.

Multimeter design has been somewhat of a stagnant craft, the basic look and layout being maintained for a several decades. A company we met at Maker Faire New York is bringing multimeter design into the 21st century. Read More

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