Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Maximize Your TV’s Potential With The MaxMyTV
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 7.24.2014 News

FeaturesThe 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.

Using the concept of the Internet of Things, MaxMyTV also consists of a fleet of peripherals ranging from various sensors to a power outlet and camera. Each of these modules works in sync with your TV and offers you the ability to monitor various aspects of your home and program the modules to react accordingly. For example, you can monitor how much power you use from certain outlets using the power outlet. Or you can have your TV alert you when someone approaches your door or even when there is a break in. The MaxMyTV uses a system of rules to automate the behavior of devices, so you can program you house to react to your every move.


The Smart Hub is equipped with Zigbee, Bluetooth, and WIFI wireless capabilities. The MaxMyTV sensors communicate using the Zigbee protocol, which allows for the integration of a wide variety of different sensor devices in the future. Using Zigbee, you will be able to add your own sensors to your MaxMyTV fleet.

So far, the team has hardware prototypes built for the Smart Hub, Smart Power Outlet, and the sensors. The software has also been developed to include HDMI input processing, support for Android apps, the overlaying of social media and a camera feed on the TV. The team plans on optimizing the batteries for the sensors as well as including security features. And if it wasn’t enough that the MaxMyTV is a jack-of-all-trades, the team also plans on including smart phone app integration.

The MaxMyTV seems to get the right idea on what many people would want out of their home automation systems: the ability to relax on the couch, enjoy a night in, binge watch something on Netflix, and receive alerts when the pizza guy is at the door. And with since the Smart Hub is based on Android and uses Zigbee, users can work to create their own sensors and device, designing unique home automation systems of their own.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the MaxMyTV so you can go from couch potato to couch commander.



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McThings Reaches The End Of Its KickStarter Campaign
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 7.22.2014 Tech Marinade


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.

Are you a beginner at programming? The McModule uses a rule engine for instruction and a wizard to define those rules. You don’t need to be a pro to use McThings as programming is not required.

Hosting a variety of sensors including temperature, acceleration, moisture, biometrics, and more, the McModule can handle any kind of measuring you may need. It can even control, indicate or log things such as send a text message when the temperature of you home increases and turn on the AC with a reply. You can even log almost anything and keep track of useful information like the temperature of various rooms in your house or anything else you can think of.

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page, the McThings page, and WestWork’s site for more information and how you can preorder if you missed out on backing it.


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Hathway Has Assembled the Team for Their Inaugural Internship of Things
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 6.3.2014 News


As college students head into the summer months, either beginning their internships or drastically searching for one at the last minute, there are five who will be doing more than simply fetching coffee. A different internship is starting at the digital agency Hathway.

Located in San Luis Obispo, CA, Hathway builds consumer brands and enterprise businesses online. This is accomplished by creating mobile strategies and applications that will entice consumers into discovering the client companies. These strategies and applications are also supplemented with web development and social application support. Hathway has worked with companies such as BEHR, Amway, Mindbody, and more.

However, what Hathway seeks to build goes beyond the reputation and the interactivity between consumer and client. This Internship of Things (IoT) has gathered five outstanding students in the fields of engineering and marketing to work together on building innovative devices connected together for the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is a term for connected devices such as Google Glass, Tile, iBeacon and Nest that transform everyday things into network-connected wonders. These devices allow users to lock their doors, change their home temperature and a host of other activities by using their mobile device.

Florent Ferere, Head of Innovation at Hathway and director of the IoT program, said he hopes the program will end with a crowdfunding campaign for the final product.

“This is an amazing and exciting program where students will be creating a product over the summer,” Ferere said. “It’s like starting a company in a garage, but with the support of Hathway and leading technology companies. We are looking forward to working with the team and helping them launch their crowdfunding campaign.”

These interns will work through the entire product-development process this summer, from inception to development to release. They will also be supported via sponsorships from companies such as Indiegogo as well as notable Cal Poly alumni. Through these sponsorships, Hathway will provide insight, guidance, and mentorship to help the students succeed.

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The Voltset Smart Multimeter Begins Its Kickstarter Campaign
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 5.27.2014 News


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.

The key difference between the Voltset and the Voltset PRO is the range of readings that each can make. While the Voltset includes the ability to measure voltage, resistance, diodes, and conductivity; the Voltset PRO includes additional measurements of capacitance, frequency, and current.

Although it is odd that the measurement of current is unavailable to the Voltset while it is a staple in many multimeters, the software provided by the Voltset will include automated calculations that can compute the current. The software provided will also be able to chart and export data to Excel. If a user were to use the Voltset on an outlet or battery, the software will also be able to tell you additional information. The software for the Voltset is open to expansion and customization with support from the Voltset community.

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The Hummingbird Duo: A Robotics Kit for All Ages
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 5.20.2014 News

8ae513f143c2125d14469bec810ff2cf_largeBirdBrain 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.

The kit is also available with additional components (based on the rewards). These include an HS-311 Servo, a Pololu Gearmotor, single color, and tri-color LEDs. There will also be a collection of sensors available as well including light, temperature. distance. and ambient sound.


The Hummingbird Duo supports a wide range of programming environments from easy to learn to advanced. The CREATE Lab Visual Programmer is the original way to program a Hummingbird. Originating from the research program, Arts and Bots at Carnegie Mellon, it implements a story-boarding concept to programming robots. Other supported visual programming tools include Scratch 2.0 and Snap!. The Hummingbird Duo also supports Arduino IDE, Java and Python APIs, and Raspberry Pi.

For future reach goals, BirdBrain seeks to add Pixy integration, 3D printable parts, curricular resources, and a new sensor pack. Moving forward, BirdBrain also aims to support K-12 education. They have a partnership with ITEEA/Engineering by Design to produce a standards-aligned module for using the Hummingbird in the 6th grade. They are also developing a network of professional development partners to provide training workshops to school districts and organizations. Additionally, 1% of BirdBrain’s net profits go to the Computer Science Teacher’s Association.

You can read more about the work BirdBrain Technologies is doing from their site. Or you can directly support the Hummingbird Duo from the Kickstarter page.

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A Further Look at DSLogic
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 1.29.2014 News

Mentioned previously, small all-in-one tools are gaining ground on the Kickstarter scene. This is a further look at the DSLogic, a multifunctional instrument developed by DreamSource Labs based out of Beijing. This project recently completed its funding, earning more than ten times the goal ($111,497 with a goal of $10,000 to be exact). The project has also reached every one of its stretch goals, meaning an even better product for backers and future consumers.

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