Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Add Temperature Sensing to Your Raspberry Pi
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 7.10.2014 News



We were recently tipped off about a new temperature sensor board for the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi Temperature Controller by Robogaia Industries uses a thermocouple, which you can see as the green cord in the image above, to sense temperature around the board. It also includes two motor drivers that can be used in conjunction with temperature sensing. The Pi’s IO pins are pulled through for easy access, as well.

The Kickstarter was successful, so you can pre-order one from the kickstarter page for $49 or purchase a partially assembled version for less.

Get it here!

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What Can You Learn From This Video About Automatic Audio Leveling?
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 6.28.2014 Hacks

Watching a video like this is a great way to not only learn how to build a circuit, but also see how the right tools make testing easier.

Youtube user w2aew explains the parts of a circuit used to attenuate an audio signal to a constant amplitude. For example, audio leveling is used in music production to minimize the range of volume of the track. In another case, audio leveling can level out the volume two tracks in your playlist so you don’t have to manually adjust the volume of your player. An overview of the more complicated concept of Dynamic Range Compression can be read at your favorite information source, Wikipedia.

I think it’s worth noting the use of the function generator and four-channel oscilloscope in the video. It’s really nice to be able to visualize the functionality different parts of your circuit, which will make finding problems that much easier.

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A Short Film All Makers Need to Watch
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 6.9.2014 News


Last Monday, I had the great opportunity to watch a screening of a new short film for the maker sphere. Connecting: Makers features a number of interviews that take a look at the importance of design in technology, the state of the industry, and the responsibilities makers must shoulder when designing for the future.

The film runs for about 20 minutes. While the topics discussed are geared towards industrial design, I can heartily recommend it to every maker.

You can watch the entire film on their website.

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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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