Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
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 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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Smart All-In-One Tool For Makers Hits Kickstarter
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 1.23.2014 News


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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Tutorial Roundup #4: Instruments!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.15.2013 Features

Instrumentation is expensive. A decent desktop oscilloscope can run well over $300. When you don’t have the cash to spend on instrumentation to test your creations, what must a Maker do? Build your own, of course! This week, we have collected three tutorials to help you Make the tools you need to analyze and test your projects. Continue Reading

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Tech Marinade’s Trip to the World Maker Faire! (Part 2)
by Kyle Patrick Cayabyab ▪ 9.26.2013 Editorial
Busting some moves

Busting some moves

Returning to the World Maker Faire with tired legs and shorts this time, Tech Marinade seeked out the Makers that were missed on day one. Check out Part 1 of this feature if you missed out!

Faigle Labs

Making it possible for anyone to build a ridiculously large quad-rotor.

Making it possible for anyone to build a ridiculously large quad-rotor.

Faigle Labs introduced a take on the quad rotor as it presented its first product. What looks like  a mix between GI Joe and Power Ranger Megazords is essentially a kit providing users with the ability to construct their own custom quad rotors. This kit comes with just the control board, users will have to find their own RC helicopters or construct their own rotors. On the bright side, a phone app is available that will allow for increase customize-ability and configuration options.

Non professionals can obtain this kit for free once it hits launch! There will be a charge for commercial use.


World's Smallest Oscillascopes

World’s Smallest Oscilloscopes

Sporting the world’s smallest oscilloscopes, electrical engineer Gabriel Anzziani and his company Gabotronics seek to provide small tools for makers and engineers. The Xprotolab may be the key to making electrical analysis more accessible and open up the door to more DIY innovations. Anzziani has also recently begun a kickstarter for a more stylish take on the Xprotolab. An oscilloscope watch. You can also read more about Gabotronics here.

You can pick up the Xprotolab for $49.

E&M Labs – Skallops

A fun way to create on the fly

A fun way to create on the fly

Offering creative pathways for children and adults alike to build entertaining contraptions, E&M Labs presented Skallops. These clam-like pieces act as versatile connectors for card based creations or anything else one can imagine. Tech Marinade had a joyous time making planes and a hat that ended up become a mask reminiscent of Bane. E&M Labs have launched a series of successful Kickstarters and is a company to look out for.

You can grab the Junior Set for $19.95!

Vision Education & Media – Robofun

Promoting tech to children, one robotic step at a time

Promoting tech to children, one robotic step at a time

For over 15 years, Laura Allen has been working with teachers and children promoting technology based learning. To accomplish this, Robofun, an educational program teaching robotics and game design to children was started by Vision Education & Media. There are currently over 60 programs around the New York area with funding from many partners and affiliates. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to let their child explore their technological interests.


Making smart phones even smarter

Making smart phones even smarter

Bringing more ease to the maker and engineer, Tom Wang created the VoltSet smartphone multimeter. This device being no larger than a deck of cards allows for increased effectiveness and lowered encumbrance that many of the brick like multimeters cannot provide. The VoltSet is currently available for preorder from the main website. You can read more about our thoughts here.

More to come…

We have seen some fascinating creations at the World Maker Faire and have met even more fascinating people! Detailed articles on our finds, even ones mentioned here, will be rolling out over the next week.

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New Kickstarter Brings an Oscilloscope to your Wrist!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 9.23.2013 News

At the Maker Faire in New York, I had the pleasure to meet electrical engineer Gabriel Anzziani.  His company, Gabotronics, is dedicated to making super-small tools for makers and engineers at a reasonable price.  He told me he has spent the past four years developing his products: a line of miniture and portable oscilloscopes which he dubs “the world’s smallest”.  A number of these covered the entire surface of his table at the Faire, for the most part little screens with little white squiggles.  What’s fascinating about these squiggles is that they can represent a live electrical signal at a very reasonable accuracy.

Six Gabotronics Xprotolab oscilloscopes.

Six Gabotronics Xprotolab oscilloscopes.

The Xprotolab pictured above could possibly be the smallest oscilloscope.  With the additional features of a waveform generator and protocol sniffer, not to mention its $49 price tag, it makes for an enticing package for anyone looking to get there hands on some signal analysis for their small AVR projects.

Even more incredible, Mr. Anzziani plans to one-up the Xprotolab with a new product displayed at the Maker Faire and as of today, open to funding on Kickstarer: the Oscilloscope Watch.

The Official Kickstarter announcement image. Pretty slick for a prototype.

The watch will feature the same powerful features of the Xprotolab.  This includes:

  • An oscilloscope
  • A waveform generator
  • A logic analyzer
  • A protocol sniffer
  • A frequency counter

He also mentions in his kickstarter video (see end of this post) that it can be programmed with some simple video games. (But, what’s more fun than a logic analyzer?)  The video also demonstrates that it includes all of the basic oscilloscope functionality such as triggering, cursors, and dual signal input.  With an input voltage range of -14V to 20V, you won’t be able to replace your Agilent Oscilloscope anytime soon, but it will be more than sufficient for Arduino or any AVR work.  Not to mention it does tell the time and has an alarm like any proper wristwatch (take that, Agilent!).  Mr. Anzziani estimates the watch can run on its battery for 30 days when the oscilloscope is not used, and up to 12 hours while taking measurements.  He told us that the battery will be charged by its USB connection.

The watch is priced at $125 according to the kickstarter, or $100 if you are one of the first 100 backers.  Compared to any lab-grade device, it’s an absolute steal.  Even in light of other hobby-level devices (such as the Red Pitaya), Gabotronic’s Oscilloscope watch could be the low-cost oscilloscope alternative that brings electronics analysis to the masses.  Mr. Anzziani has two successful kickstarters under his belt and with pcb designs already crafted, he plans to design and ship the device within six months after the campaign.

So, if you’re in need of an oscilloscope for your Arduino project that won’t break the bank, or you are enticed by the idea of displaying a waveform on your wrist as a fashion accessory, check out the Oscilloscope Watch Kickstarter here.  Also, check out Mr. Anzziani’s website for his entire lineup of tiny oscilloscopes:

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