Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Arduino based high altitude balloon data logger

One of the more interesting experiments you can do above surface of earth is fly balloons in to stratosphere. Fun thing is that whole experiment isn’t very expensive and can give tons of fun. Probably most expensive thing here is balloon itself. The other parts can be used as you desire. Spaceshark have shared his experiment and build details on his instructable. He used Arduino Uno for logging various basic sensors detecting latitude, longitude, altitude, wind speed. He wanted to keep things simple and self contained, because at heights above 60000 ft some sensors start failing, e.g. GPS. Batteries are also another issue due to cold air above. He used authentic Arduino to make sure it works bellow -40 degrees Celsius. Fake ones can fail even at 0 degrees. Same applies to other modules. Better use original and tested parts. Apart Arduino, he used SD data logger to record all sensor data in portable media. The only thing is missing here – balloon tracking. It can get to heights of 100000 feet and probably will get out of sight. Wind… Continue reading

Safer self driving solution for autonomous tricycle

We constantly hear the news that self driving cars are trying to concur the roads. But something always goes wrong in various situations. This is no surprise, because self awareness require cutting edge technologies, high processing power and good AI. This is no doubt we will see a breakthrough in this area, but while we wait, why not going simpler with somewhat more accessible technology – bicycle. In fact tricycle because two wheels and AI would be too challenging. The crew from University of Washington with Professor Tyler Folsom in front has been developing a self driving tricycle. They’ve chosen an Arduino for prototyping the brain. This is because it is accessible everywhere and demonstrates that things doesn’t have to be complicated and powerful to achieve goals. The autonomous tricycle is capable of doing basic motions autonomously and also accept commands from remote control. The other information is still scarce. There is of course a way to go, but the concept is right. While car industry is working on self driving cars, why not focus on very light transportation which… Continue reading

Arduino based smart wristwatch that accepts gestures

Smart watches normally have small displays and so controlling them can be trickier than smart phones or other devices. There are also lots of situations, when you need to control the watch, but both of your hands are occupied. Darthmouth team has been looking for a solution to this problem and came out with WristWhirl smart watch prototype. They integrated smart control capability in to watch strap where they put 12 IR proximity sensors and piezo vibration sensor that would accept biomechanical gestures. The watch is equipped with 2’’ TFT display. Inside the watch an Arduino DUO is ticking. As a smart watch it can do lots of things including Google map navigation, music player where user can scroll through playlists with simple gestures. No watch would be great without games. There is an experimental Tetris which accepts wrist swipes, wrist extension and wrist flexion combination. Continue reading

Affordable EEG biosensors to control physical things

It seems that biofeedback is a thing of future. By having brain activity feedback, you can train meditation, attention, improve sleep, control gadgets, artificial limbs, carts for impaired, and even computer I/O. Everything starts with proper biosensor and controller. Biological signals are very low voltage – microvolts. In order to distinguish them from noisy environment, a precision electronics is required. Brain activity signals are somewhat different from myograms or ECG, they can be analyzed as power spectrum that represent brain activity phases like Alpha, Beta, Theta. There has be a numerous modules developed to acquire brain signals. If you want low to develop sensors by yourself, you could grab a Neurosky platform which is a small size PCB with sensor and microcontroller interfaces. With it you can read raw EEG signals with sampling 512Hz and do with them what you want. USART interface enables you to connect it yo Arduino or Raspberry Pi where you can calculate all sort of things and extract control signals. Of course you can read processed power spectrum as well to detect activities like attention,… Continue reading

Chronio – an arduino smart watch that looks great

There are many attempts to build custom smart watches. Many of them have nice characteristics, but lack the finished look. If you are going to wear it, then design and feel is very important factor. Max.K introduced his 3D printed watch version. His design called Chronio is an Arduino based custom built watch featuring Atmega328p microcontroller, Real time clock DS3231, 96×96 pixel Sharp Memory display and is powered by CR2025 160mAh battery. The watch has overcome several revisions and already has a bunch of useful features that include efficient power saving that leads to 20uA power consumption, 3 button interface (no touch screen functionality), displays time, date, temperature and battery information on main screen. Other apps include stopwatch, experimental Flappy bird game. And additionally to that case fits standard 22mm watchbands, so you are free to choose the one that fits best for you. The inspiration to this project was Pebble Time watch which looks more advanced from inside, but appearance is similar. Chronio can’t beat Pebble Time in its features, but it seems that battery time is 6 times… Continue reading

Arduino based FM radio with digital volume control

niq_ro have shared his Arduino based FM radio design on insrtuctable. TO catch FM waves he used TEA5767 FM chip which can be interfaced to Arduino via I2C interface. To adjust volume he used MCP4261-502E/P – dual digital potentiomer controlled via SPI on 8 bit steps. He made some effort to implement pretty nice interface on Nokia 5110 display. Here you can see the frequency of band, volume level, signal strength gauge. The only thing is left to do is to put everything in to enclosure. Continue reading