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.

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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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SoundsCape: Connecting All of Your Audio Devices with a BeagleBone Cape
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 4.11.2014 News

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The sleek new future seems to be reaching a wireless state, with Bluetooth devices cropping up everywhere providing need ranging from helping you use your collection of credit cards to a “LoJack” for your luggage. In contrast to these complex designs, the simpler tools provide the most possibilities. Take the SoundsCape for example. This BeagleBone Cape developed by Simple Media Networks provides a Bluetooth and audio I/O interface that will allow users to connect audio devices wirelessly.

The SoundsCape uses an ADAU1361 audio codec that includes that standard Stereo Line Input, Stereo Line Output, and Stereo Headphone Output with Mono Mic In. The codec supplies >98db Signal-to-Noise Ratio for both the inputs and outputs with the outputs supported by 3.5mm stereo jack. There is also compatibility with the LCD display interface. Unfortunately, you would have to choose between this interface and the Bluetooth interface due to General-Purpose I/O limitations on the BeagleBone.

As for the Bluetooth, the SoundsCape provides a Blue tooth 4.0 interface using the PAN1323 module from Panasonic. With it, users will be able to develop streaming by Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, Headset via Hands-Free Profile, and controls with Bluetooth Low Energy.

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The Fin Swims Ahead For Touchless Technology
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 4.8.2014 News

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The wave of the future is upon us and technology is making its way into resembling that which we see in science fiction. One of these picturesque developments is that of gesture based technology. This dance-like method of interacting with our devices has seen developments in the forms of Leap Motion, Xbox Kinect, the Nintendo Wii, and more. A team has decided to create their own portable gesture device, with an aesthetic flair to boot.

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Mooshimeter Is the Multimeter We Always Wanted
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 1.9.2014 News

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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.

That project is the Mooshimeter by Mooshim Engineering.

Like the Voltset, the Mooshimeter plans to take advantage of modern smart devices to expand the capabilities of traditional multimeters. By shifting the burden of display and control to another device, the Mooshim team could afford to make improvements in other areas of the Mooshimeter. While the Voltset makes a convenient pocket-sized multimeter to carry anywhere and take any sort of measurement, the Mooshimeter is a rugged data-collection device, designed to be placed in tight spaces or hard to reach places (where no multimeter has gone before!).

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The All-In-One Card Startup Coin Offers An Arduino Bluetooth Low Energy Developer Kit
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 11.14.2013 News

coin_productIf you haven’t already heard, there is this new card that has been developed, and it isn’t of the Pokemon or Magic variety. This card can act as a representative of your entire wallet and be programmed to swipe as your credit, debit, or loyalty cards and more! This convenient marvel that does away with thick wallets is called the Coin. By using the Coin mobile app and a swipe dongle on your smartphone, you can upload your various cards onto both the app and your Coin device. All you need to do is swipe your card through, take pictures of both sides, and fill in the rest of the details. The mobile app can hold an unlimited number of card data and you can add up to 8 cards onto your Coin device. When it comes time to make your payment, you can simply choose which card you need using the interface located on the card and swipe. And if you happen to stray away from the card, the mobile app will warn you that you may have lost your Coin device. This is done via a Bluetooth Low energy (BLE) module that Coin developed themselves and now offers a kit for others to use!

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Tutorial Roundup #2
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.1.2013 Features

Once again, we’ve created a list of three tech tutorials curated from the annals of the internet. I’ll keep the introduction short. Comment below if there are topics you would like to see covered in the next Roundup.

AVR Tutorials by abcminiuser

The tutorials forum at AVR Freaks is a goldmine of information for AVR programming. Dean Camera (know by his username abcminiuser) is a Moderator and frequent contributor to the forum and writes some of the most useful tutorials there. This Roundup tutorial is therefore not a single tutorial, but three useful tutorials for anyone who wants to get the most from their Atmel chips. Since most Arduinos use AVR microcontrollers, and the Arduino library is merely built on top of avrlibc, these tutorials are completely compatible with your Arduino Uno or AVR board of choice.

  1. Newbie’s Guide to AVR Timers (Part 2)
  2. Using the USART with AVR-GCC
  3. Newbie’s Guide to AVR Interrupts (Part 2)

Simple Bluetooth Communication

Have you ever wanted to use bluetooth but didn’t know where to start? Bluetooth is actually very hands-off. In fact, a single forum post in the Arduino forum explains how to make two Arduinos talk to each other. Just connect a bluetooth module to the serial port and 3.3V power on each Arduino, and use the code here. Don’t forget to make the correction in reply #4!

Atmel Studio Tutorial

It’s hard to find a good Atmel Studio tutorial on Youtube. In fact, the best tutorial I could find for both setup and programming with Atmel Studio was a video by user sonictj demonstrating the older AVR Studio 5. Beside the name, the program’s basics have not changed significantly. Check out this video to get started using Atmel Studio to program your AVR chips.

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