Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wishlist: Raspberry Pi 512MB

With the recent release of the latest Raspberry Pi (512MB version), I thought it would be fitting to add it the Wishlist. This newest version was announced just this week and I was fortunate enough to snag one before they sold out.

If you've thought about diving into Linux and physical computing, this beauty would be the perfect gateway. Really, for me it's become greatly addictive. Also, it would be an awesome gift to get someone started.

The minimum requirements for it is a 4GB or greater SD card and a 5v power supply. A monitor or a TV with HDMI isn't necessary; you could run it headless. You can also get some really cool accessories like cases (like the Pibow below), WiFi cards, USB hubs, or some breakouts for the GPIO. Newark and Adafruit offer various accessories to help you along.

You can check out the specs from the Raspberry Pi foundation's website or take a look at what I've done with their previous version.

For now, enjoy some eye candy!

Raspberry Pi 512MB.

The Pibow Raspberry Pi case fits snugly! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Project: Sneak Peek!

Here's a sneak peek of our latest project!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wishlist: Wearable Electronics

Side-stepping from holiday gift and wish lists, I thought it would be fun to share some products off my personal wishlist.

So what exactly are wearable electronics? Some might refer to them as e-textiles, wearable tech, tech togs, or fashion electronics. Essentially, these are electronic components incorporated into clothing and accessories. You can make a simple baseball cap come alive with some LEDs or spruce up the back of that old denim vest with a mini light show. Design ideas are endless. And with so many projects and tutorials already out there, it's easy so get started! \breakdance

Bluetooth Roomba Part One

A few weeks ago my dad called to let me know he had found a Roomba Discovery with the SCI (serial port) for $15. The first one I received that he found didn't have the serial port so I gave it away. All that  was missing was the remote, so he got it for $10. What a deal! Unlike the first one, the battery was not recoverable at all. So the weekend before last while visiting the Raspberry Pi tour at HackerDojo, I stopped by Fry's Electronics to pick a new battery and a few components to add Bluetooth to the Roomba. Currently I am using Bluetooth since that is what I have on hand, later on I will probably convert it to Wifi or Xbee.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Upcoming: 100th Post Giveaway!

My first post was 12/07/2010, almost two years ago. It was a slow start, but things really picked up this year after the Maker Faire. Over the past two years I have gone from the basic Arduino starter kit to building Robots and programming weekly. I have learned more about electronics than I thought I ever would which has me wanting to completely change my major and my career. All because of the simple Arduino Kit I picked up at Fry's. Every new project has me pushing my limits and expanding my knowledge, keeping my brain hungry for more. Now the Raspberry Pi has me becoming more proficient with Linux and venturing into other languages like Python. Thanks to the idea of starting a blog early on, I have been able to document my progress while giving me an avenue to share my work and meet other makers. It has been the motivating factor to put myself out there in the maker community and be apart of the open source movement. As well as work on new projects to share. As this blog grows along with my knowledge and experience, I strive to evenutally do something like LadyAda at or Ian at make this a full time career.

To celebrate this milestone, I want to do a little giveaway. This post marks the 95th post. At post 100, I will post the official giveaway. It will probably be later this month as I already have a few posts in draft form. Plus, the Thursday Wishlist posts.

I plan to continue this blog as long as possible while hoping for growth and expansion  This year the number of daily visitors has grown and I hope that my readers enjoy it as much as I do. I do have one challenge for my readers and that is to provide feedback in the comments. I really look forward to comments. Especially to know if my readers are finding my projects interesting and or helpful. I also enjoy hearing about any related projects.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe via E-mail to be notified of the giveaway and the new project. I will post in small parts until I reveal the entire scope of the project. I also use Twitter to tweet cool things I find around the interwebs. Also don't forget I am on IRC on freenode in channel #MobileWill.

I want to thank the following companies: Arduino, Adafruit, Dangerous Prototypes, Sparkfun\BatchPCB, Pololu, DSS Circuits, DFRobot, Seeedstudio, and others who have enabled the hobbyist like myself to have access to hardware. Especially breakout boards which help have access to ICs what would be hard to use otherwise. Some of these companies also provide the best tutorials which really help us who don't have an EE background, yet. These companies have helped make the Open Source movement what it is today and inspired many to push their limits. I'd also like to thank my good friend and engineering whiz, Warren, for filling in the gaps. If you haven't started making, pick up a kit from one these companies and get started! That is all it takes to open a whole new world regardless of age or expertise.

Here are some kits to get you started:

The MintyBoost Kit from Adafruit

Thanks for taking the time to follow along with me here! I have a major project that will be posted soon and it's with this project that I plan to take this to the next level.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ARM-Powered Arduino DUE

Far removed from the legions of 3D printers featured at this year’s Maker Faire in New York was a much smaller, but far more impressive announcement: The ARM-powered Arduino DUE is going to be released later this month.
Instead of the 8-bit AVR microcontrollers usually found in Arduinos, the DUE is powered by an ATSAM3X8E microcontroller, itself based on the ARM Cortex-M3 platform. There are a few very neat features in the DUE, namely a USB On The Go port to allow makers and tinkerers to connect keyboards, mice, smartphones (hey, someone should port IOIO firmware to this thing), and maybe even standard desktop inkjet or laser printers.
The board looks strikingly similar to the already common Arduino Mega. That’s no mistake; the DUE is compatible with existing shields, so connecting a RAMPS board for your 3D printer should be a snap.
Here’s a PDF the Arduino and Atmel guys were handing out at their booth. A few DUE boards have already made it into the hands of important people in the Arduino community, including 3D printer guru [Josef Prusa]. Sadly, the folks at Arduino didn’t think media personalities needed a DUE before its release, so you’ll have to wait until we get our hands on one later this month for a review.

Source: Hack A Day

Wishlist: Solar Charger & Battery Pack

Last Thursday, we showcased a tent designed to look like a circuit board. Incidentally, this week's wishlist item is sold at outdoor sport stores, for campers and hikers alike. But it doesn't have to be used just for camping. On the contrary, the Solar Charger & Battery Pack sold on SparkFun, can be hacked! It could be greatly utilized to power microcontrollers as an environmental logger, or as an on the go power source for projects, or even power a small robot. Really, there are so many possible uses.

Check out sparkfun's product showcase, where Robert disassembles the pack at 1:40.

Reasonably priced, this neat solar charger would make a great gift for campers and hackers, or both!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Raspberry Pi and Cosm

Over a month ago I decided to give a try instead of using my own MySQL database and graphing in Python. Since this was awhile ago I don't remember everything I did to get it working but I will post the code and libraries I am using that work.

Here is a simple library to making sending to Cosm easy.

Here is the full code I am using to log the PIR sensor to Cosm, after the jump.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Raspberry Pi and Motorola Lapdock

Last month I jumped on the fire sale clearance at Verizon for the Motorola Lapdock 100 (for the Razr). First thing I wanted to do is connect it up to the Raspberry Pi. To do this I had to order some cables and adapters. Here are the cables I ordered plus and the adapter to later use it with an Android stick.

HDMI To HDMI Female F/F   - For the Android stick or connecting to a regulator HDMI cable.

5FT 1.5m Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable - Convert Micro HDMI to full size.

Micro HDMI Type D Female to Micro HDMI Type D Female - Join the HDMI cable to the Lapdock.

USB 2.0 A Male to Micro USB 5 Pin B Male adapter cable - Donor for RPi USB data lines.

Micro USB B Male Female M/F Extension - To connect to Lapdock and to splice into for data lines.

Ti Stellaris LaunchPad

Last week two of these arrived at my doorstep. It's the newly launched Texas Instruments Stellaris LaunchPad.

I pre-ordered directly from Ti a few months ago.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Raspberry Pi Tour Photos

Here are a few photos from the RPi Tour. I was able to capture them while spending the afternoon at Hackerdojo in Mountain View. It was great getting to meet Rob, from the RPi foundation, as well as the other makers who attended.

Fun noodle-thing-a-bob art sculpture