Weekly Roundup #40 - New Maker Products // News


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In Weekly Roundup #40 we're seeing sensors, wireless, SBCs and the demise of a Polish physicist.


Crowd Funding

KickStarter

MATRIX Voice: Open-Source Voice Platform For All

The Matrix Voice was an IndieGoGo campaign I mentioned back in Weekly Roundup #25. It was successfully funded there, but now they're back on Kickstarter. Not sure why, as this board is exactly the same as IndieGoGo at the same price. Have they run out of money for production? Who knows? But it's not gaining the traction it did on IndieGoGo.

e-skin Smart Apparel

This next one looks like promising alternative to using a motion capture suit. It uses flexible strain sensors instead of IMUs to determine movement of limbs. Not sure how accurate it is, but from the demos it seems to be able to be used in golf swing analysis and game play.

Pixel Mini - The Tiny Arduino Compatible Smart Display

This next one is a small Arduino Zero compatible board from Rabid Prototypes. Contains a small 96x64 OLED display and microSD in a small 33mm squared package. Can be powered from USB or direct 3.3v supply.

SmartiPi Flex for Raspberry Pi

If you have a Pi Zero and want to use a camera, then this case allows you to contain both whilst giving you a flexible head to position the camera anywhere you want.

Protractor: A Proximity Sensor that Measures Angles

The Protractor is a cool idea. It's a proximity sensor board designed for robotics that allows you to measure angles between objects up to 10 degree accuracy. This gives you much better obstacle avoidance for your robots. It's powered from 6 to 14 volts with 85mA average consumption.

NanoSound - All-in-one HIFI Audio DAC Board for Raspberry Pi

The NanoSound is a DAC sound hat for your Pi that contains a PCM5122 DAC which is capable of 24bit, 384kHz sampling rate and an ultra low noise regulator giving you some decent sound output. Also has 6 buttons, IR receiver and small OLED. So is ideally setup as a media player.

SmartMote - Alexa enabled smart home made affordable

The SmartMote is a universal IR remote with on-board Alexa connectivity. Has 5 IR LEDs to give you full coverage as well as headers for additional IR LEDs and an ESP WiFi module pre-programmed with IR codes for popular devices.

Swidget™ Outlet: The Smart Home Device for All Platforms

The Swidget is something that allows you to embed smart home devices into your existing power outlet. They have a number of modules from Bluetooth speakers, USB chargers, IR and motion sensors. It seems to be only for the US market, so everyone else is out of luck, but a good idea anyway.

Algobrix | The Ultimate Coding Learning Game

The Alobrix looks promising. It's a STEM education kit that can be placed on normal Lego trays that are used to program the movements of a small Lego robot. It seems to be one of the more complete kits giving you some coding concepts such as multi-threading, logic, loops, parameters, sensors and functions. So far I haven't seen any kit aimed at this young age group capable of teaching such complex coding concepts.

RetroBall: Build-It-Yourself Pixel Fun For Upto Four Players

This is a blast from the past. Good old pong kept us amused for hours as kids. Until my dad got annoyed enough to cut the power cord to the TV. The RetroBall is a DIY kit giving you a 32 by 32 RGB LED matrix, potentiometers, buttons, PIC MCU, on a 240mm squared circuit board. It also has headers to plug in an Arduino to extend out it's capabilities. Nice.


IndieGoGo

Nothing interesting on IndieGoGo this week apart from spinners, but…


Crowd Supply

on CrowdSupply, the …

Spora

Spora is another IMU based sensor running off a coin cell battery. There's a lot of them around these days, but this one promises interchangeable components, such as Bluetooth, sensors and also the MCU, but I'm not sure how they're going to pull that off. Will be interesting once it goes live.

Tiny PAT

Then there's the TinyPAT which is pegged as a handy tool for USB-C power adapter testing. No more info apart from that on this one.


Honorable mentions

Z-turn Lite

MyIR are back again with another FPGA board, but this one is a cheaper version. Called the Z-turn Lite it packs a Xilinx Zynq 7007 SoC, which runs an ARM Cortex-A9 SoC and FPGA, 512M RAM, 4G eMMC, USB, GbE and SD slot. They are currently taking pre-orders for $69 US.

CubieBoard7

And the CubieBoard7 has finally hit the market. This one is a step up from the previous model, with a Semi S700 quad core Cortex-A53, 2G DDR3 RAM, 8G eMMC, SATA 3, HDMI out, RTC, LiPo header, WiFi Bluetooth via the popular AP6212 and GbE. A nice board, but will be interesting to see what this alternative Cortex SoC is like.

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Ubuntu Core on NanoPi K2

I mentioned the NanoPi K2 back in Weekly Roundup #31, but now FriendlyElec have released an UbuntuCore O/S image. You can pick up the latest image from mediafire.

Intel Curie Module, Arduino 101

Back in Weekly Roundup #31 I mentioned the demise of several Intel Maker flagship products. Well guess what? They are now abandoning the Arduino 101 and Intel Curie. This means that Intel have now exited the Maker scene completely and will affect the recently released UDOO X86 SBC. They have until July 2018 to change their designs but I would see it as a minor design change and there's plenty of alternatives. Still a shame.

Intel® Movidius

However, Intel have just released a product called the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. So who knows, maybe they aren't ditching the Maker scene. This is a pretty cool device designed to provide visual processing and deep learning capabilities that would be impossible for most SBCs. Accessible over USB, so you can extend processing power by adding more. _The only catch is that it requires an x86 64bit SBC and not supported under ARM. _[Edit update: Apparently the Pi is now supported! Woohoo!]

RTL8195AM MJIOT-AMB-02 module

Another RTL8195 module joins the market this one from Minjun IoT. This one is slightly different in that it also provides on-board NFC.

STM8S001J3 STM8 MCU 8pin

And ST Micro has finally come out with a competitor to the ATtiny with the, very easy to say, STM8S001J3! Of course! This is a small 8 pin package that provides almost a capability match to the ATtiny at around 20c for volume orders. It's always nice to see more options.

HTTM Backlit Capacitive Touch Switch

And this one I picked up from Peter Scargill‘s blog, which is possibly the cheapest touch switch around. You can pick 10 units up for around a dollar a piece. Or rather you used to be able to. Seems everyone has bought them out, but ICstation have them still. At $2.80 each they are still pretty cheap.


Maker Shops

Tindie

Over at Tindie there's a bunch of interesting things.

TSYS01 ±0.1°C Temperature Sensor

If you want a super accurate temperature sensor, then this I2C based breakout delivers .1 degree accuracy over a -5 to 50C range. It's not a huge range, so can only be used in applications in moderate temperatures.

Automatic Optical/SPDIF Audio Switch

This is pretty cool. It's a an optical SPDIF audio switch. Can handle 4 optical and 3 SPDIF inputs, but the cool thing is that it'll auto-switch to whatever channel is active. Nice. It also has an optional high quality DAC support using the ES9023 Sabre DAC and the firmware updated over USB. Also Volumio support as well!

OPTOFASTBI

If you're in need of a opto-isolators, this board provides 4 bi-directional channels.

Microhub

Or this board probably is the smallest USB hub I've seen.

miniPCIe to USB breakout

And if you're running out of USB ports, why not use the mini PCie slot's USB port and extend it out with this board. This is actually quite handy and I'll pick one of these up.

evive

Evive looks pretty cool. It was the HackADay 2016 automation challenge competition winner and no surprise as it contains everything you want in a beginners electronics kit. Very similar to all those old 120in1 electronics kits in the 80s, contains breadboard, TFT screen, Arduino Mega 2560, variable power supply, data acquisition channels, DAC, RTCs, motor drivers, touch sensors. This has absolutely everything! Coming in at over $100 US it may seem expensive, but it's actually very cheap for what it is. You can also pick up the Evive Starter Kit which is a bit cheaper.

C12880MA MEMS u-Spectrometer

At the other end of the spectrum is this very expensive MEMS Spectrometer breakout. For almost $400 US you get a very accurate C12880MA sensor used for such things as fluorescence spectroscopy. It's a device that's used in Peter Jansen's open source Tricorder project. You can also pick this sensor up from Seeed Studio.

Irdroid IoT SmartHub

The irdroid is an RF gateway running the RT5350 SoC running OpenWRT, 2 ethernet ports, WiFi and two 433MHz RF modules. A pretty complete package for the price.

Hornbill ESP32 Minima

The original Hornbill was seen on Crowd Supply back in Weekly Roundup #21, well now on Tindie there's the Hornbill Minima. Which is exactly the same as the original, but in a wearables format.

LoDuino

The LoDuino is another Arduino and LoRa breakout. It contains an ATmega328 along with the RN2903 LoRa module. Also has LiPo charging and can draw 30uA on standby. This one has the u.fl connector and this one has a soldered copper antenna.

SMD Challenge

If you want to practice your SMD soldering, then this is really cool. Contains a sample of all the SMD package types you will potentially bump into from 1206s down to 0201s. That's pretty tiny and you'll need good eyes for that. If you're successful, then you should be able to light up all the LEDs.

Arduino IDE and 433 MHz RF switch

Another Arduino Pro Mini compatible board, this one containing an RFM69 LoRa module. Can run off a CR2450 battery or USB and is MySensors compatible.

LoRa Arduino Nucleo Shield

And here's another LoRa shield for an Arduino based on the RFM110L LoRa module. Don't confuse this with the RFM110W module as that one is an OOK RF transmitter.

Low Cost LoRa USB Dongle with STM32

and from the same Tindie store, these LoRa module boards can accept an STM32 board, sometimes called the Blue pill.


AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

Over at the major store fronts, …

Sonoff RF Bridge 433MHz

ITead have come out with a Sonoff RF bridge that will seamlessly bridge all your 433MHz RF devices to a WiFi network. This is a pretty good bang for your buck and is one of those set and forget devices.

Renesas S5D9 IoT

Meanwhile over at Seeed Studio there's an IoT dev board called the Renesas S5D9. For $35 US you get a Cortex M4F MCU, 32MB flash, 100MbE, a bunch of motion sensors and microphone, and Grove and PMOD expansion headers all running a 5.1 to 24 volt DC input.

EMW3166 WiFi Module

They also have in the EMW3166 WiFi module,

MiCOKit-3166 Development Board

and development board. Both of which were mentioned back in Weekly Roundup #38 and is a competitor to the ESP8266s.

EMW3239 Combo Module

There's also the EMW3239 WiFi module,

MiCOKit-3239 Development Board

and development board which is a competitor to the ESP32s.

Raspberry Pi 2 on sale!

And something must be brewing in the Raspberry Pi foundation as Seeed are wanting to dump all their stock of Pi 2s at a reduced price of $20 US. However, it's only v1.1 of the Pi2, so not using the current generation of 2837 SoC as exists in the Pi3.

Adafruit GEMMA M0

AdaFruit have updated the Gemma M0 from at ATtiny85 to the SAMD21 MCU and also contains LiPo battery support on a sew-able PCB.

MP2636 Power Booster & Charger Module

While over at DFRobot, they have have a LiPo charging and boosting module based on the MP2636.

Water Turbine Generator 5v

and a water turbine generator that output a constant 5v @ 150mA from a 4L/min water flow. It'll start to push out 2.5v when hitting 3.5L/min.


Honorable mentions

A few random bits and pieces that I didn't include in my video.

Bella Dear The Engineer

ALL Controller

Coding Unicorn Shield

Polyfuge

MIRON 4 multi-tool 3d printer

The Game of 21

iOS Kernel Exploitation Training Course

SparkMaker - The Most Affordable Desktop SLA 3D Printer

Aurora - A High Powered, Large Volume, DIY Laser Engraver

STRIVER STEM - Learning Kit for All Ages

24’’ x 12’’ Laser Cutter/Engraver by Light Phase Technologies

WiCarL: Replace your NXT/EV3 Brick for making RC lego cars

Easycube : Freely Assembled Electronic Toy Cubes

Pi:Traffic Light Shield for Raspberry Pi 3

Mustang-200: affordable, scalable adv. computing accelerator

PCPanel - The best way to control your computer's audio

JuiceBox Zero - Raspberry Pi Zero Battery Management Board

NB-IoT BLE Gateway & Soil Sensor for Vodafone Network

Seeeduino Lotus V1.1


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