Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Plug & Play

SuperDroid Releases Robotic Snowblower

This remote control, 4WD snow blower is made to order in six to eight weeks. Photo courtesy of SuperDroid Robots.

Using a snowblower certainly beats shoveling, but you still have to push the darn thing along. A new snowblower from SuperDroid Robotics offers an easier solution: a 4WD, remote-controlled machines that can conquer any driveway. While the snowblower won’t create a wall of snow bricks, it’s still …

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Set Up Shop with the Hack Pack Workshop

With the Hack Pack Workshop Supply Kit you can quickly set up shop! Photo courtesy of Sparkfun.

Sparkfun’s new Hack Pack Workshop Supply Kit is ideal for those setting up a new communal shop. With enough gear for five workstations, the kit comes with all the basics for your shared hacker space or electronics classroom. The kit includes five variable temperature soldering irons plus stands, …

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iRobot Releases Programmable Robot for STEM Education

The Create 2 from iRobot is designed to give kids an inexpensive platform to learn about programming and hardware. Photo courtesy of iRobot.

iRobot has found a great use for old Roombas: STEM education. The company announced today that it is selling remanufactured Roomba 600s, as programmable, expandable robots for students and developers. Called the Create 2, the robots come with all of the lights, sensors, and behaviors that …

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Bring Holiday Cards to Life with Chibitronics Circuit Stickers

LED stickers and copper tape are used to create crafts that light up and make sounds. Photo courtesy of Chibitronics.

With circuit stickers from Chibitronics, crafts and cards can easily be turned in to working circuits. Chibitonics offers a variety of stickers, including light, sound, and trigger sensors. Effects stickers can also be added to make the LEDs twinkle, fade, blink, or mimic a heartbeat. Micro-controller …

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Robot Art: Thymio Paints By Barcode

Thymio Robots run along strips of barcodes were used to create an interesting form of robotic art. Photo courtesy of Thymio.

The Thymio team has taught the bot how to paint 8-bit-style pictures, by interpreting barcodes. The system largely relies on 39 LEDs and two ground sensors. One ground sensor allows the robot to follow a greyscale line on the ground. The other decodes barcodes. Each barcode sets the robot’s LEDs differently, …

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Spark Photon Improves Upon the Core

The Photon WiFi module is cheaper, smaller and faster than its predecessor. Photo courtesy of Spark.

The Internet of Things movement has inspired many promising new products that simplify bot building. An assortment of small circuit boards can now connect our bots to the networked world, quickly and easily. One such product is Core ($39). Released by Spark in 2013, Core features …

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EZ Kit Provides Speech Recognition, Color, and Face Tracking

With the EZ Robot Developer Kit, makers can create a robot that performs many tasks, including responding to voice commands, tracking faces, and avoiding obstacles. Photo courtesy of EZ Robot.

The EZ Robot Developers Kit is an open-ended kit for folks who want to make a customized robot, without dealing with the hassle of finding main components that will definitely work together. The kit includes the core of what you’ll need for a mobile robot, including four HD servos with …

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Simplify Programming Your Arduino Uno with FTDI SmartBasic

Save yourself a lot of hassle debugging code for your Arduino Uno with the FTDI SmartBasic. Photo courtesy of SparkFun.

The FTDI SmartBasic makes it easy for Arduino Uno users to program their board even if they have something else connected to board only hardware serial port. Normally, if the UARTT is connected to another piece of hardware, the port can’t be used for programming and you’ll get …

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Kiddie’s First Soldering Project

This giraffe is one of six light-up animal scenes that come in the Zoo Animals kit.

Parents who love robots are a different breed. We dream of the first build with our child, and eagerly await the day when our kids will be old enough to handle a soldering iron (with adult supervision, of course). When they are ready, it’s up to us to pick …

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LocoRobo: A Robot Designed to Grow with a Child

LocoRobo offers different levels of control for programmers of all ages and abilities. Photo courtesy of LocoRobo.

Another educational robot for children has entered the arena: LocoRobo. The basic version of the bot features ultrasonic sensors, differential drive, lithium ion batteries, LED lights, and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) dongle for downloading code. The more expensive version of the robot also includes motor …

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Patin: The Open Source, Customizable Home Robot

Patin's lighting and planing units hook into a rolling, artificially-intelligent base (right). Photo courtesy of Flower Robotics.

Flower Robotics of Japan is developing an artificially intelligent robot called Patin, which features swappable components. With the lighting component, for example, the robot can analyze conditions near humans and move to the ideal location to create optimal lighting. A concept video of Patin also shows the “planting service unit” which appears …

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Upgrade Your Appliances with littleBits Smart Home Kit

With the littleBits Smart Home Kit, you can upgrade your appliances and devise your own inventions for around the house. Photo courtesy of littleBits Electronics.

LittleBits Electronics released a new kit Tuesday, intended to make it easy for anyone to make old, dumb appliances smart. The Smart Home kit includes 14 components, called Bits, which can be magnetically snapped together for easy inventing. Want to get a text message when your husband leaves the freezer door open …

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Little Robot Friends: A Cute Way to Learn About STEAM

Let your creativity flow with these tiny STEAM machines. Photo courtesy of Aesthetec Studio.

Made by a small Canadian company called Aesthetec Studio, Little Robot Friends combine a cute aesthetic with the basics of electronics and programming. The tiny critters light up and chatter in a truly adorable way. The bots feature an Atmel ATMega328p microprocessor, MEMS microphone, two full color LEDs, a speaker, …

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