Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
MetaWear: Make Wearables in 30 Minutes or Less!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 4.1.2014 News

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You can’t send an Arduino to production, but you can send a MetaWear!

A new Kickstarter by the team at mbientlab (mbientlab.com) features a device that promises to cut prototyping times and hardware development costs for hardware projects. Their device, the MetaWear, is a small development board, 17mm by 26 mm in size, that packs a Cortex-M0 microcontroller and Bluetooth 4.0. A simple API for iOS and Android makes it easy to utilize the MetaWear without writing a line of firmware.

The Mbientlab team launched a Kickstarter for their previous product, the Cubit, back in October. They learned the hard way that crowdfunding can fall short of goals if the product does not fit the market in just the right way. This did not discourage Laura Kassovic or Matt Baker, co-founders of Mbientlab, who saw an opportunity in using a generalized version of the Cubit’s electronics to create a device that could drastically speed up development time and reduce costs for many hardware startups. A few iterations later, the MetaWare was born.

Mbientlab wants the MetaWear to remove the hassle of hardware design so they designed it to be fully cost-optimized and production ready. Unlike an Arduino and breadboard prototype, the MetaWear needs no re-design after the prototyping stage and can be used in products that are ready-to-ship. Ideally, anyone can use Bluetooth Low Energy technology in their designs without the need of a professional electrical engineer.

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Smart All-In-One Tool For Makers Hits Kickstarter
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 1.23.2014 News

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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!

LabNation touts the SmartScope as “for makers, by makers”, and it shows. The SmartScope also features digital logic analyzer capability as well as a function generator. It’s basically the Swiss Army Knife for maker tools. The 100 MS/s rate should allow you to capture 50 Mhz digital signals, which covers most Atmel microcontroller clock speeds. On the other hand, 50 MHz will only provide a good analog measurement of waveforms up to 17 Mhz or so, but that will cover the majority of your communication interfaces such as SPI or I2C.

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Sphero 2.0: Gyroscopic Robot Brings VR Into the Real World
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 9.28.2013 News

Sphero might possibly be my new favorite toy.  It’s a robot, a controller, and a virtual reality game all wrapped in one.  When we caught site of it at the Maker Faire in New York, Kyle and I knew we had to write an article on it.  Of course we had to try it out, too.

It's like a hamster ball without the hamster.

Major Ramp Action.  This ball has some horsepower.

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Run-n-Read Promises Steady Treadmill Reading Bliss
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 9.6.2013 News

Have you ever stepped on a treadmill prepared to jog a few miles and catch up on the Ender’s Game only to find reading while on a treadmill shaky and gut-defying? You thought it would be different this time, right? Maybe you wouldn’t get all of that motion sickness if you take longer strides or maybe just hold tightly to the treadmill frame because you just want to finish the paragraph without throwing up. If you did not have to be so health conscious you could kick the treadmill and spend some quality time on a sofa with your book.

Fortunately for you, Weartrons Labs has developed a device that promises to end shaky treadmill reading forever. The Run-n-Read is a small, wearable motion tracking device that connects to your iOS or Android device and moves the text on screen in sync with your movements. The Run-n-Read takes the shape of a small, colored box with a clip. It can be worn on a shirt, on pants, or on a headband. The movement of the device is sent to your phone or tablet, which mimics the movement by shifting the text on the screen. Hence, from your perspective, the text appears stationary. The device also acts as a basic fitness tracker, with the capability to count steps, measure distance run, and track calories burned. As an added convenience, the user can tap the Run-n-Read to flip pages of the book they are reading (no more awkward reaching for your tablet screen!). The complementary iOS and Android apps add Run-n-Read capability to books, documents, and even web pages on your device.

Weartrons is running a crowdfunding campaign on Dragon Innovation. As an early supporter, you can secure a Run-n-Read for as little as $55 or party with the founders for $500. What a deal. According to their website, the Run-n-Read will ship by January 2014.

If you are still not convinced, check out the video below:

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