Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Weekend Crowd Fund Picks
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 9.7.2014 Crowd Fund

It’s a great weekend to browse a few crowdfund sites for new projects. Here are three projects you should consider backing.

CANBus Triple

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Modern cars are packed with electronics: engine diagnostics, dashboard panels, GPS units, satellite radio, cameras, sensors. Computers on wheels, basically. Simpler models might have a few dozen processors, whereas complex luxury vehicles can have well over 100. In order to allow the many diverse electronic units in the car to talk to each other, cars use a standard communication protocol called Controller Area Network Bus (shortened to CAN Bus).

As makers, we ask: how can we get inside this vast array of little car computers? The CANBus Triple – now funded on kickstarter – provides an answer. It’s an Arduino-compatible device with three CAN bus controllers. If you know how to install a car alarm, you can open up your car’s electronics to the CANBus Triple. For a $75 pledge, you will receive a first-run CANBus Triple from their campaign. Read more about it at the kickstarter.

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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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Give Your Devices Flexibility with Paper-Thin Printoo Boards and Modules
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 4.19.2014 News

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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!

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OpenKnit Makes Clothing Open-Source
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 4.15.2014 News

Fashion is becoming a more accessible art form as many are finding a liking to hand crafted clothing. Offering to bridge the gap between mass produced and hand crafted is OpenKnit, an open-source digital fabrication tool that allows users to create their own clothing from digital files.

This gives tailors the ease to try different designs and produce clothing to their liking. The open-source aspect of OpenKnit can help create a marketplace for these digital files. People can set up their own online boutiques without having to carry inventory; they can simply sell the digital files to customers with their own OpenKnit. Granted, that would require customers to have the system in place, but the seller could also easily have the clothing knit and sent off.

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The Kyub Is A Literal Music Box For Three-Dimensional Jamming
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 4.3.2014 News

6efc73788c209b7872a2921e903e62b9_largeMusic based projects and products bring an eclectic flavor to the Maker community. Using a marriage of creativity and technology yields some of the most unique devices imaginable. One of these devices is a literal “music box” that looks like a wide-eyed dice and adds a quirky flair to MIDI keyboards. The Kyub is an open source feather touch MIDI keyboard that makes use of capacitive sensing and an accelerometer to make music creation more active and dynamic.

Started by Keith Baxter, who has also developed a popular servoelectric guitar, the Kyub features 11 fully programmable feather touch keypads, a three axis 3G accelerometer, a Teensy AVR microcontroller with native USB MIDI support, and three open source programs for experimentation and playing. The Kyub is also compatible with many software synthesizers including Propellerhead Reason Essentials, and iPad based synthesizers. For the past four months, Keith has been working with Petyr Stretz, a hacker and electronic music expert, and Peggy Brown, an industrial designer, to create an innovative product with a slick design.

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Teensy Takes Big Step Forward With The Release Of 3.1
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 12.12.2013 News

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The USB microcontroller development system by PJRC, implemented in projects such as a wall of light, a MIDI controller, and even a giant Penrose Triangle underwent a recent evolution into it’s 3.1 form. The aptly named Teensy, requiring only a standard “Mini-B” USB cable and a PC or Macintosh with a USB port, beefed up it’s stats compared to the Teensy 3.0 for less than a dollar increase in price.

The Teensy 3.1 is very similar to 3.0 physically, sporting the same size, shape, and pinout. It also supports code written for Teensy 3.0 and is supported on Arduino IDE with Teensyduino, making the upgrade simple to integrate into your projects. However, some slight adjustments have been made beyond the technical improvements of this update. Compared to the Teensy 3.0 tin plating finish, the Teensy 3.1 is dressed in gold for easier soldering. The Teensy also hosts a myriad of new features.

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