Weekly Roundup #42 – New Maker Products // News

This week’s Weekly Roundup is pretty special, because it’s episode number 42! It also has FPGAs, SBCs, even more FPGAs and something that goes up to 11.

[youtube https://youtu.be/8KMCUhei1v8&w=640&h=360]


There’s not a heck of a lot happening on Kickstarter at the moment.

Nixie Tube Driver

WR-NMP42p1but, here’s another simple Kickstarter campaign for a Nixie tube driver using the HV5122 driver from Microchip. A fairly decent one and this also has RGB LED backlights.

The Arduino Coin Processor Set

WR-NMP42p2and a coin slot processor kit created by Patrick Thomas which is his 24th campaign. It’s a board based on a PIC18F1220 IC and provides connectivity to an Arduino or similar and a freestanding mode allowing control over door locks and actuators.

Turtle Rover

WR-NMP42p3This next one is interesting. The Turtle Rover is a small robot designed on the Mars Rover. It’s a Raspberry Pi powered robot with Rocker-bogie suspension and water-tight chassis allowing it to cross some hostile terrain.
Even with added features such as WiFi, 1080p video streaming and robotic gripper arm it is expensive coming in at almost 1700 euros, but they offer a beta-tester option where you can drive this thing remotely on 3, one and a half hour missions of various complexities.


WR-NMP42p4And here’s another campaign for a button and display board for the Pi. Has 6 buttons, 1.3″ OLED display, power switch, IR and 3 I2C ports. Not sure if they are 3 separate buses, or just a daisy chained connector though.

FPGA add-on for RaspberryPi

WR-NMP42p5And my prediction of FPGA boards hitting the main-stream Maker is starting to happen. This board is a Pi hat containing a Xilinx FPGA, which will happily emulate a NES in silicon, although the SMD footprint will allow higher density FPGAs giving you more grunt. If you’re a retro gamer, then I’d start becoming very interested in FPGAs as you will be able to emulate even the more complex arcade and console games that are currently impossible to play on existing hardware.


WR-NMP42p6This next one isn’t really a Maker product, but there seems to be a rise in smart keyboards, which are just USB keyboards with programmable buttons. I’ve been looking for things like this as I want to build my own video editing console. This was interesting as it uses a capacitive touch OLED display with conductive transparent buttons on top. So you get the tactile feel of buttons with a cheap OLED display underneath.

UPDATE: It’s also on IndieGoGo!


Surprisingly, nothing on IndieGoGo, and …


CrowdSupply only has one interesting thing.

AAduino Zero

WR-NMP42p7The AAduino is a small board containing an STM32 MCU, LoRa RFM69 and TMP102 temperature sensor. It fits into the same space as a double A battery. So all you need to do is put it into a one of those double A battery packs, connect up power and ground and you’re away.

Forum comments to this post...

  1. OK, major kudos for the DEC 42 = * comment.
    Also, great round-up as ever.

  2. Another good roundup. Never hear of FPGA until you brought it up (dont get out much :-)). Now seeing comments all over the place. Would love to learn more as cannot fathom what's the fuss / how to use. Looking for suitable dev board and I found this chap (was on kickstarter/indiegogo) which is now available though one of the big distributors, so must be good. http://uk.farnell.com/matri...

  3. Thanks mate.
    I'm pretty confident that FPGAs will be the next big Maker buzz. The only thing that is stopping it is the cost of FPGA build tools. They are waaay beyond the price of the casual Maker; costing upwards of $2k-$4k for licenses.

    The other thing is education; FPGAs aren't as easy as hacking something up quickly in Python, but it could be made to be.

  4. Mick, could this be an opportunity for a future video possibly? The FPGA equivalent of 'hello world'. I'm also in the 'these seem to be the next big thing but I haven't a clue what they're used for' camp.

  5. Yes, this looks to be too much like a blank canvas at the moment. This is Picasso or even Dali territory all mixed in with a bit of Turing wizardry. I stumbled across this page today while looking for something else (quite a good listing I thought):


Continue the discussion at forums.mickmake.com

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