Spark Core Shield: Toilet Hack

Another great use of shields for creative electronics especially for  offices and shared flats is the toilet hack that we created during an internal hackathon event at the office.

Well, it most certainly is very useful: who doesn’t know the situation when you really need the toilet only to find that it is - occupied. Again. But those times are over now. Your mobile phone becomes even more useful and indispensable as the toilet hack app enables you at any given time to see right from your seat if the toilet is occupied or not. If your workmate is taking too long, just use the app and the toilet hack knocks the door for you.

IMG_7560

Bildschirmfoto 2014-07-24 um 17.34.02

What is needed to bring it to life? Use the Spark Core Microcontroller and the according shield made by us. Further ingredients are: some cables, a tilt sensor, a little solenoid motor and something to hold the motor.

Attach the tilt sensor to the shield where it says lock and the motor where it says knock. Then just get creative and build something to hold the motor in place to knock at the door; we used a styrofoam block for it, made a hole for the motor and just taped it to the door.

Find all source files in the project gallery!

A whole bunch of new tutorial episodes!

Stefan

Hey Fritzing folks!

As you might have noticed we are currently busy busy bees producing new tutorial videos for you! You can find the first five already on the blog but many more are yet to come.

They will all concern the Fritzing Creator Kit and its different chapters, aiming to support you not just with our Beginners Book, but also through additional video information.

Of course we will publish not only German but also English videos.

The Fritzings hope you will like them and we are, as always, looking forward to your feedback.

 

Touch Sensitivity And Gesture Control For Your Projects

https://vimeo.com/94026132

You can now very easily add touch and gesture control to your electronic projects! How? With Hover!

Hover is a development kit that lets you control your Arduino projects in a whole new way.  Wave goodbye to physical buttons.  Hover detects hand movements in the air for touch-less interaction.  It also features five touch-sensitive regions for even more options.

The little capacitive touch sensitive PCB fits a standard breadboard. The gesture detection range is up to 5 inches / 13 cm and it needs a 3.3V power supply. For $39 you can order it here.

Hackers, win a trip to SPACE!

Hey hackers, engineers and designers! Your chance to WIN A TRIP TO SPACE!

https://vimeo.com/92960084

The DIY page Hackaday.io offers a maker competition where you can actually win a trip to space (or take the cash option of nearly $200,000 instead)! Even if you don’t win the Grand Prize, to be left with a milling machine, 3D printer, a flight to Japan or or or is not too bad either.

But what do you actually have to do? The hackaday guys wondered about that too: „We’ve been vague up to this point on purpose, because spouting specific categorization stifles creativity. We want you to Build the Future — not fit inside of a tiny box made of disqualifying restraints.“ So your official task is to build the next evolution of hardware.

Heat up your soldering iron and start hacking!

Auf die Plätze, fertig, loooooos!

 

Printoo: Paper-Thin, Flexible Arduino-Compatible modules!

Yet another very interesting project is up on Kickstarter: The Printoo project consists of various modules with connections to join them together in order to “give intelligence to everyday objects”. Nothing new so far, but: the circuit boards are made of a very thin, flexible and therefore bendable, low power plastic plate with all the wiring printed on it with conductive ink. This now enables us to use Arduino & co in new areas that were not possible before. You can acquire an Atmel Atmega328 module, very thin sensors, batteries and internet modules… basically everything you need to bring your 3D objects to life.

https://youtu.be/Xgsp_xm08W8

Nice idea by Ynvisible.

Mapo Bridge - "The Brigde of Life"

For 8 years now South Korea is the number 1 of the OECD nations – concerning the suicide rate. Alone 1090 suicides were committed by jumping off the Mapo Bridge in Seoul.

The company Cheil wanted to put a stop to all those deaths and came up with a concept: “Our idea was to light up the railing by installing lights that react to a persons movement.” Using  LED lights and ultrasonic sensors messages like “Where have you been?” or “What is troubling you?” as well as pictures of happy people appear and follow the person along his or her way on the bridge, keeping company – and as it seems also effectively keeping people from jumping off the bridge. After the opening of the installation in September 2012 the average suicide rate fell by 77%.

The Bridge of Death has become the Bridge of Life.

https://youtu.be/LYMWPSKpRpE

ZUtA Labs: The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer

Mini Mobile Robotic Printer

Ever needed to print out that one document very urgently but a printer was nowhere near to be seen? No more hectically running around to find the closest copy shop because here it is: a tiny mobile print robot! Yay! Finally.

https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/917027/video-371249-h264_high.mp4

Unsurprisingly it is not (yet) as fast as your average giant home printer and the resolution of 96 x 192 dpi has still room for improvement but this is a promising start.

To use it, you simply place it on a sheet of paper with the tip pointing at the spot where it should start the printing process. It will then roll over the paper by the help of a wheel system.

Even without mobile use I’d be happy to call that little printer my own - who wants those big and ugly printers anymore, filling up our rooms, constantly getting clogged with dust far too quickly and going haywire way too soon and too often? And those cables!

Agreed? Check out ZUtA Labs Kickstarter campaign!

 

littleBits Cloud Module

littleBits_Cloudmodule

“Make everyone an inventor” was littleBits mission, when they started their project in 2011. For far too long have only large companies, programmers and engineers been able to use technology in a creative way and whereas 3D printing and software development have made a big step forward in the last years, tools to build complex electronics weren’t as quick to come by. For two years littleBits worked on their attempt to “democratize electronics” and enable makers, artists, students and designers to build their own gadgets easily.

So far they have developed several, colorful modular kits to tinker with; let yourself get inspired by the project ideas on their website. They created for example the Synth Kit, an analog synthesizer with different modules that you can simply stick together like Legos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vDxz8bpqOMU

This week they announced the release of the Cloud Module for later this year which will be, as they say, “the easiest and fastest way to create internet-connected devices” and also to connect them amongst each other (keyword here is of course the Internet of Things) without any soldering or programming. Sounds yummi, right?

You can get more infos here.

 

The MicroSlice - A Mini Arduino Laser Cutter & Engraver on Kickstarter

MicroSlice_Kickstarter

The MicroSlice is a DIY-at-home mini laser cutter & engraver and right now up for backing on Kickstarter. It is able to cut paper and engrave wood & plastics on a working area of 5 cm x 5 cm.

The MicroSlice works with an Arduino UNO, which is included in the full kit together with all the other necessary parts. The software is open source and free to use for personal usage.

https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/755836/video-335605-h264_high.mp4

 

Hopefully in the future there will be the possibility to not just engrave but so cut wood and plastics with it at home…how cool would that be?

Check it out!

HPSTR Pyramid

HPSTR

The HPSTR Pyramid is an attempt to create an alternative — but native to digital world — interface, to conventional knobs and slide controls. It’s an approach to have the same basic and generic functionality a knob has but to achieve it with a more natural interaction.

The HPSTR Pyramid has no visible interface but is the interface itself. The tetrahedron is played by pressing or tapping its sides and by altering the spatial orientation.

https://vimeo.com/63228955

For somebody who does not know what the instrument does and how it is operated it is nearly impossible to find out by only looking at it. But once the pyramid is played or seen in action the functionality becomes very obvious.

You can recreate the Pyramid electronics with the data on our Website.

The HPSTR pyramid was developed by Flavio Gortana within the scope of the “Musical Interfaces” class 2012/13 at FH Potsdam.

Twitter: @flaviogortana   Mail: [email protected] 

Fashiontech by Anouk Wipprecht

What does fashion lack? “Microcontrollers” – this states dutch fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht on her website. And if you have a look at her portfolio, you will most certainly agree.

Intimacy for example is the name of a dress which thanks to smart e-foils becomes transparent based on personal interactions.

https://vimeo.com/29952304

Another one is the Pseudomorphs dress: At first an innocent white, it soon becomes unique  and quite colorful, when ink trickles out of diverted medical equipment and tubes to find its way down the dress, creating a new pattern every time.

https://vimeo.com/44149906

New Website and New Fritzing Version 0.8.5b Released

New_Fritzing-Website

Hey Fritzing-folks!

Good news! We have updated the Fritzing website and made it look nice and shiny. And even better: You can now also check out the brand new Fritzing 0.8.5b, released on Dez. 15, 2013.

[gallery columns=”4” link=”file” ids=”1010,1007,1009,1008”]

Here is a list of changes to the new release:

  • Fritzing gets a facelift! (special thanks to Christian and Fabian)
  • new Welcome view
  • new Fritzing Creator Kit examples (in both English and German)
  • Tips and Tricks updated
  • First Time Help now a separate dialog
  • binaries built using Qt 4.8.5
  • updated Dutch translation (thanks Dave)
  • updated German translation
  • new parts:
    • Breadboard BB 301 (contributed by Jeremy)
    • RGB LED WS2812
  • bug fixes:
    • Mac OSX Mavericks Parts Bin Hover crash
    • Saving files with custom parts: sometimes the fzp did not list the latest svg files
    • Boost 1.54 bug no longer crashes Fritzing
    • Many part tweaks

This is a high-level summary of changes between each release. If you’re interested in the detailed changes, take a look at the individual code changes.

The Melodic Scribe

How can you make music visible? Jihye Kang and Victor Gonzalez explored this question and developed the Melodic Scribe, which drops paint on  porcelain plates according to the melodies and notes of the music played.

melodic

Every platte pattern is unique like the music is with every different musician.

melodic scribe #1 from Jihye Kang on Vimeo.

You can access the Fritzing Data and Arduino Code on the Fritzing Website and build one yourself!

Melodic_Scibe_Machine

A project of the FH Potsdam, class “Musical Interfaces” by Stefan Hermann, 2012/13.

melodic-scribe.jux.com

Who wouldn't want to try the Pee Analyser?

Wow! That is an awesome idea!

In 2012 alone Singapore had to face over 2100 cases of drunk driving, some with disastrous endings. The club Zouk engaged an agency to keep their guests from driving when they definitely should not drive anything anymore by themselves and they managed to come up with a fun way to do so: the Pee Analyser.

https://youtu.be/e2OdA7DUOAQ

Former parking cards were replaced with RFID cards. As soon as the drivers used the toilet the cards got activated through a urinal testing device that measures the alcohol level in the urine. If they were hammered, they got the strong recommendation to take a taxi or could even use the clubs’ drive home service.

The Little Black Midi

Howdy!

We thought we should delight our readers a little by showing some dainties of creative electronics. Yummy.

 

doku deckblatt

This week we want to start with the awesome Little Black Midi.

The Little Black Midi is a dress for singers and instrumentalists performing on stage. Equipped with copper plates, it will activate midi samples being played when the singer touches the plates with his/her copper ring. The dress enables the musician to combine singing, making music as well as dancing while being on stage.

The Little Black Midi was developed by Naomi Knopf while doing a class on musical interfaces held by Stefan Hermann in 2012/13 at the FH Potsdam.

Here you can see her performing a song with the dress:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6yY9UieIcjM

The dress was realized with the Arduino software, a teensy, the Ableton programme and a lot of patience and trial and error. Congratulations on the dress, Naomi!

 

MiniMetalMaker

We have heard a lot about synthetic 3D printers for home use - now we are entering the home use metal age! A US startup wants to make metal printing available at a small cost and is presenting its project on Indiegogo, where you can get the  MiniMetalMaker already from 500 $ on.

https://vimeo.com/78961565

The MiniMetalMaker prints 3D objects from digital files in metal clay, such as copper, bronze, steel, silver and gold but also ceramic and porcelain clays.

For now, the printable size is still quite small compared to the synthetic 3D printers:  the object can have a size of max 6 cm x 6 cm x 6 cm. The extrusion trace is around 0.5mm. Nevertheless the team around founder David Hartkop states on their Indiegogo project page that with the monies raised this will be improved. This shouldn’t be a problem now as their campaign has currently raised already more than 15.000 $, which has been 1.5x their actual goal.

 

Reichelt Elektronik now sells the Fritzing Creator Kit

Fritzing Creator Kit

From now on you can get our Fritzing Creator Kits also at the Reichelt elektronik online store! Reichelt sells them in English language version as well as in German.

German Edition: www.reichelt.de English Edition:  www.reichelt.de

Reichelt elektronik is one of the largest electronic distributors in Europe. A big plus is that you can order from Reichelt also in very small quantities without any disadvantage concerning the price - it will stay the same per item, whether you buy one or hundred.

Check it out!

Light up your flat with Charles' planetary gear system

Today, we got a visitor in the Fritzing Lab: Our neighbour, Charles Oleg, came by to show us his new creation. Charles is working on a project to bring more light into his flat by using a rotating mirror system.

charles1

This system includes, besides two mirrors to reflect the sunlight, also some planetary gears driven by a 1 to 10 Watt motor. The system knows its position  via GPS signal as well as the current position of the sun and can move accordingly.

Charles showed us two of his planetary gear prototypes: one was laser-cutted and one was 3D-printed out of PLA.

charles2

He told us that those kinds of systems that track the position of the sun and move corresponding to it to receive as much sunlight as possible are currently used in solar parks  as well as in telescopes. These are large projects with huge gear-wheels, whereas Charles aims at making his lighting system affordable and open source - so that everybody can use it.

Charles scripted the gear-wheels in python and has uploaded it on GitHub. So if you want to build your own solar light system, check out his blog or his GitHub folder.

charles3

Here you can find some more pictures of the gear-wheels.

Fritzing at the MakeTechX

Fritzing at the MakeTechX conference 2013 – for the first time Fritzing had a booth at the „conference of tech things that matter, where those who make a difference meet, think & create.“ What a nice slogan, and nice it was indeed.  makeTechX1 For me it was the first conference I could attend with Fritzing and so I was superexcited and curious what would await us there. We met in the morning at our „headquarters“ to pack some last things and finally hailed a taxi at 9 a.m. to drive to the Platoon Kunsthalle in Berlin Mitte where the conference would take place. This was already a great start to the day, our taxi driver seemed to like entertaining his passengers and gave us a lot of secret insights into the Berlin taxi business and we will definitely follow his advice to not only try Red Bull with vodka but also with cherry brandy.

The Platoon Kunsthalle is a very interesting building – actually it is more like a huge and fancy cargo container, created as an experimental space for artists and therefore perfectly fitting the location just next to the White Trash.
The interior felt surprisingly comfortable, the front part consisted of the – definitely necessary to mention – gorgeous café-restaurant-sort of thing with a nice sitting area and the larger back served as presentation and workshop area. There were several booths, and we had one of them! Besides us there was also the Open Tech School, Bitcoin, the Fab Lab, who brought us there initially by ordering some very special Fritzing Kits in a metal case to do an Arduino workshop, and many more, including and not forgetting a whole lot of 3D printers and a transformable mountain/racing/citybike! Awesome!

makeTechX0 So, as you can guess, maker mood was in the air! Stefan and I prepared the booth with six Fritzing kits as we had prepared a little workshop to make the visitors familiar with Arduino and Fritzing. Soon after the first conference attendees arrived and the speakers started their talks – we then asked ourselves how we should do a workshop while being placed almost on the stage ourselves? Luckily the organisers Lizzy and René Herzer had thought of everything and used a concept I hadn’t experienced before – they handed out headphones to the audience and so everybody could listen undisturbed and to their own volume. Though I couldn’t listen to the talks anymore at least we now had some peace and quiet to do the workshops (besides that it is really awesome to go to the toilet and still being able to listen to the speaker on the stage…). makeTechX2 At first I was a bit nervous in assisting in the workshops without being a real Fritzing crack yet, but in the end it wasn’t necessary at all. Stefan took over the harder-to-explain bits wonderfully and I learned a lot myself by explaining how it all works. We had a very interesting mixture of workshop participants – some knew the Kits very well already and, after solving our tasks in a mere minute, grabbed our Fritzing book eagerly and started contentedly getting lost in the more complex exercises. What made me very happy was that there were also a lot of people who never came in contact with an Arduino before and discovered how easy and fun it actually can be while saying before „No, no, this is really not my strength, I could never do it in physics lessons.“ 10754613853_d1027ebd66_o So we left in the afternoon to go back to work, armed with tasty bread rolls and a very good mood, with the feeling of not only us but many more people having had a very interesting and enjoyable Fritzing day.