Congratulations to the KiCad development team on the release of KiCad 6.0.0 and a big thanks to everyone that contributed! 🎉
The KiCad project is proud to announce the release of version 6.0.0. This is the first major version release of KiCad since 5.0.0 was released in July of 2018.
KiCad binaries are available for download for Windows, MacOS, and Linux or will be in the very near future. See the KiCad download page for guidance.
There have been many important changes that make this release a substantial improvement over the 5.x series and a worthwhile upgrade for users on all platforms. There are hundreds of new features and improvements, as well as hundreds of bugs that have been fixed. Below are some of the highlights of the new release.
Thank you to all the developers, packagers, librarians, document writers, translators, and everyone else who helped make this release possible. We hope you enjoy the latest release of KiCad.
All Jay Tavares wanted was for his Bose Cinemate speakers to turn themselves on and off as needed. It seems like a reasonable enough request, and indeed, is exactly the point of HDMI’s Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) feature. But in this case, it would take a bit of custom hardware to get similar functionality.
Unfortunately, the speakers [Jay] has only support optical audio; so any interoperability with HDMI-CEC (hacked or otherwise) was immediately out the window. Still, he reasoned that he should be able to detect when the TOSLINK audio source is actually active or not, and give the speaker system the appropriate signal to either power on or shut down. You might think this would require some kind of separate stand-alone device, but as it turns out, all the necessary information was available by reverse engineering the connection between the receiver and the subwoofer.
After some investigation, [Jay] found that not only was the content of the TOSLINK audio source being sent over this DB9 cable, but so were the control signals required to turn the system on and off. So he designed a simple pass-through device with an ATtiny85 and a couple passives that latches onto the relevant lines in the cable.
A furry companion robot that can purr? For me, a roboticist who can’t have pets, my newest bot will make the winter months so much more cozy! I’ve designed this module in KiCad to provide a soothing purring interaction, complementing my Companion Core. It runs on 5V and can power two or four haptic vibration motors.
We enjoy following the journey of Applied Ion Systems to develop plasma and ion thruster systems for nanosatellites at a hobbyist-level budget. Xometry published a case study on AIS:
More than half a century later, at 5:30 pm EST on March 22 of 2021, Michael Bretti was sitting in his living room. He was eagerly watching a live stream of a satellite launch. The satellite, christened “Care Weather Hatchling Veery 1U Cubesat”, was equipped with an AIS-gPPT3-1C Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster. This plasma thruster would help the satellite make very small maneuvers in orbit. Michael built that thruster through months of trial and error. And he did it in the basement of his New York home.
“It was unreal. What started as a hobby led me to build something that is now in orbit. I got to see the payload separate from the rocket. When you know something you built and touched is now floating in the atmosphere, it’s a cool feeling.”
The short of it is you just need to use a 555 timer and you qualify for this contest.
The longer story is that we want to see just about anything 555-related. In fact, projects that don’t use a 555 are fine as long as they are based on the idea. So, if the global chip shortage has you struggling to even find one of these, just build the parts of the internal circuit yourself and you’re golden. The real trick here is to explain what you’re doing and why.
[Staacks]’s Blender plugin to animate growth is behind the sweet animation seen above. It’s an add-on that cleverly makes creating slick growth animations easier when using Blender. It isn’t limited to PCB images either, although they do happen to make an excellent example of the process.
The idea is that one begins with an image texture with a structure showing a bunch of paths (like a maze, or traces on a PCB), and that gets used as an input. The plugin then uses a path finding algorithm to determine how these paths could grow from an origin point, and stores the relevant data in the color channels of an output image. That output is further used within Blender as the parameters with which to generate the actual animation, resulting in the neat self-creating PCB seen above. That PCB isn’t just for show, by the way. It’s the PCB for [Staacks]’s smart doorbell project.