Episode 20 of the Weekly Roundup we have radios, IMUs, audio boards and a couple of new SBCs.
There's a real mish-mash of stuff on Kickstarter this week.
The StingRay is yet another wireless sensor board. Very similar to all the other ones around, but packs in pressure, temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen, and IMU sensors as well as bluetooth, Cortex M4F MCU and LiPo charger.
They claim a 50Hz sample rate, which isn't incredibly fast, but usable in 99% of applications.
This one is odd in that you don't actually get the product when the campaign finishes. All you get is the chance to purchase it at a reduced price. Hmmm.
UPDATE: This is one Kickstarter campaign creator to avoid. He has a string of 3 campaigns with failed delivery. You have been warned!
The DacBerry One is interesting for me as I am working on a project that begs the question “Does a PWM controlled LED emit ultrasonic frequencies that a mouse can hear?"… OK, long story…
Anyway, it's a high quality DAC that fits on to a Raspberry Pi and is capable sampling up to 384kHz at 32 bit resolution. It uses the Wolfson WM8804 chipset which has been in other Pi products before, but this one provides coax in and out or BNC stereo out, headphone jack and TOSLINK out.
The VGAduino 2 is an upgrade on the previous Kickstarter and gives you VGA output for an Arduino.
This one now handles up to 400x300 resolution at 60Hz and 256 colours per pixel.
It uses the LPC1756 ARM chip and Xilinx XC95144 CPLD for handling all the sync grunt work. Communication is via standard UART so you could really use it on anything.
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For a bit of bedtime reading you could always pick up “Deep Learning fo Computer Vision” written by Adrian Rosebrock. You might know him. He's been a round a bit having written a previous book on “Practical Python and OpenCV” and is really a guru on machine vision.
If you're in to marine robotics, then the T200 thruster might interest you. It's an upgrade on their previous Kickstarter with double the forward and reverse thrust, but also double the power requirements. This one requiring between 6 to 20 volts with a max current of 25A.
HoneyComb is another STEM teaching aide that provides lego compatible, magnetically interlocking hexagon blocks.
This Kickstarter has three kits:
The music kit - which gives you capacitive touch, and a basic synth.
The camera kit - with a 120 degree fish eye camera, SD card and a bunch of sensors allowing you to control capture of video and photos.
One of the team members reminds of Ivan Vanko from Iron Man…
The DIY mini Lego drone seems to have taken off. It looks good, but no indication of what or how you program it. Or in fact what it actually contains. I'm assuming it's the same kit as the one on their website, but at a cheaper price.
And a few honourable mentions like this…
digital I/O expander card giving you an additional 32 GPIOs via I2C…
… and an attempt to mass produce some practical IoT shields for field use…
… and a non-jamming filament roller sensor allowing you to pause prints when you run out of filament.
And some stuff on IndieGoGo that isn't a scam for once.
The Eyebo looks interesting. It's a spherical display with capacitive touch and motion sensors.
If they can pull it off then it'll be something that everyone will want. If it wasn't being sponsored by Arrow Electronics I'd think it was a hoax, but you never know.
It's still in prototype stage with delivery expected at the end of 2017.
If you're the sneaky type then the MalDuino is a small USB device that will act as a keyboard and push out simulated keystrokes once inserted.
It has so many uses… well the only thing I can think of is to annoy someone.
This isn't really a Maker product, but I've included it in the list because of the hacking potential. The Moodo gives you the ability to generate smells on demand. So far they have only a small range of smell cartridges that you can use, but it'll only be a matter of time before some hacks it to produce more interesting smells.
If you missed the Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns the QuadBot is in “in demand” status on IndieGoGo so you can pick it up there still.
Only one interesting thing on Crowd Supply in pre-launch. Which is this mains power monitor kit based off the ATM90E26 chip. Not much information part from that.
If you're in to robotics, then there's a new Intel Joule compute module for the AeroCore 2 family. Contains an ARM Cortex M4, running NuttX RTOS, header for Intel Joule, 9DOF IMU, 40 pin GPIO on top of the usual I2C, SPI, ADC and 8 PWM outputs and also optional GPS, and LTE modem.
Remember the Pine64 reviews I did? Seems I've been accused by more than one person of single-handedly contributing to the demise of that board with my realistic reviews.
Anyway, things seem to be moving on in the Pine64 camp and apart from that small hiccup last year they now have a product called the SoPine, which aims to take on the Pi compute module. Contains the usual 64bit quad core ARM MCU, 2G DDR3 RAM, SD slot, and 128M SPI flash all in a small SODIMM form factor.
They also have the SoPine baseboard, which contains various ports that they don't mention. I'm assuming it's the same as the original Pine64.
It's probably about time I revisit this board.
Last week I seemed to have missed out the whole Tindie section. Sorry about that everyone.
So this was last week's.
Over at Tindie there's a great VHDL training board which contains a CPLD, FTDI, 7 segment display, buzzers and buttons to get you in to CPLDs. Nice cheap little unit!
This little buck converter will accept a wide 7 to 35 volt input voltage and generate a clean 3.3 and 5 volts out the other end at up to 1.5A.
If you want a bunch of DACs and ADCs for your Pi, then this one contains a plethora of them as well as PWMs, relays and digital oscillators. You'll never run out of analog lines with this one.
The Espruino Puck is a basically an expensive switch… Well… it is a switch and it is expensive, but it also contains an nRF52832 based SoC, NFC, capacitive touch, magnetometer, IR transmitter, thermometer, light and battery sensors.
AdaFruit currently have a page but no stock, so just get it from Tindie!
EEPROMduino is another board based on the ATmega329p, but it also contains an additional 256KB of EEPROM and an RTC.
Works off standard 5v supply or coin cell battery.
And for this week on Tindie…
The Nano Dot Matrix contains 1000 red LEDs in a high density format. The board ends up quite small. Good if you want to quickly make some name badges or why not chuck one in a tie?
RoboPi is a kit that allows you to offload a lot of the real time control to a sub-processor which is the Parallax Propeller. This is an 8 core RISC processor designed specifically for real time applications.
It contains onboard voltage regulators, ADCs, and expansion headers for Mikronauts.
It's compatible with almost every SBC out there.
DiXI has to be the smallest Arduino board on the planet!? This board has all the basics; a SAMD11 MCU, button and GPIO solder points. What else do you need?
If you want a quick and easy soil moisture and temperature sensor then AprilBrother has a fairly neat bluetooth iBeacon based one. All powered from a coin cell battery for up to a year and a half.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
Over at DFRobot they have a large 64x32 RGB LED matrix panel that can be used outdoors. That's 2048 RGB LEDs! It'll of course require a fair bit of juice, around 4A and 5 volts.
I'm not sure on the control mechanism. I'm assuming that it's an 8bit parallel interface.
I mentioned this one in last week's roundup, but now AdaFruit have the Espressif ESP32 Wrover kit in stock on their site.
Seeed have a fairly flashy ReSpeaker Pro case which will make your ReSpeaker look much better.
If you're in to wireless communications and I mean really in to it, then the bladeRF at SparkFun will seem a reasonable price. Yes, it's expensive, but it transceive any protocol from 300MHz to 3.8GHz.
You can get it to speak RF, GPS, bluetooth, WiFi, LTE, GSM, ATSC… anything. Pretty good package at that price.
Or something completely related… the Haptic Driver motor breakout at SparkFun which is accessible via I2C. So it's not just a simple driver for ERM and LRA motors.
The Cheap Side
It's the Chinese New Year celebrations at the moment so not much happening over there.
BangGood do have a fairly cheap 40 LED circular WS2812 based display.
And a nice 4 channel 16bit ADC with gain amplifier running off 2 to 5.5 volts.
And one thing that always bugs me is the annoying 3D printed or laser cut acrylic cases. This one is a proper injection molded ABS case for the Orange Pi Zero. Nice. I'm getting one.
Over at ICstation they are still mad about bluetooth modules, or someone forgot to update their website, but they have added in a bunch of cheap NodeMCU LUA boards.