We’ve always been delighted with the thoughtful and detailed write-ups that accompany each of [Tommy]’s synth products, and the background of his newest instrument, the Scout, is no exception. The Scout is specifically designed to be beginner-friendly, hackable, and uses 3D printed parts and components as much as possible. But there is much more to effectively using 3D printing as a production method than simply churning out parts. Everything needed to be carefully designed and tested, including the 3D printed battery holder, which we happen to think is a great idea.
This little cloud may look mean, but we promise it’s fun and easy to solder up!
This is a super fun and simple storm cloud blinky board. It has 3 self-flashing LEDs that act as the clouds lightning bolts! It also has an on/off switch and includes a CR2032 battery.
Why did you make it?
Robyn made this board for people to have a fun, easy project to learn how to solder. This is her second design and thought going with an angry storm cloud would be a fun opposite of the original happy rain cloud.
What makes it special?
This board was made using OSH Park’s After Dark Service so the black substrate and clear soldermask shows off the copper beautifully, check out the back! Please checkout Hackaday for solder instructions and more info! You can order 2 and follow our instructions on Hackaday on how to make them into a pair of flashy earrings!
The new boards feature a PCA9685 IC, which allows for the control of up to 16 channels of 12-bit PWM over i2C, perfect for the size of the display. Since this IC can’t source enough current to drive the electromagnets, it was paired with a ULN2803 Darlington Transistor Array, capable of delivering up to 500mA to each electromagnet.
Field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs are wonderful little devices. In a nutshell, they are a whole load of logic blocks, wired together with interconnects. These logic blocks can be wired up however you like, to create simple, or complicated circuits. Anything from a simple XOR gate, to a CPU, to an entire system (if you have enough money to buy the biggest ones). Think of them as a big box of lego bricks that you can combine in any way you want to create any kind of digital circuit.
FPGAs have been used in many applications – emulation of older systems being one. The MiSTer is one such example. Jeri Ellsworth’s C-One is another. But really, FPGAs are found everywhere. They are quick, robust and adaptable to most situations.
My friend Will runs the Project-F website where he investigates all things FPGA. I’ve been helping out by building some boards for us, and this is one of the first. I’d like to show you all how I went about building one of our early prototypes, the triumphs and pitfalls and hopefully inspire folks to give it a go themselves.
BREAD 2040 is a compact and breadboard friendly development board which features the Raspberry Pi RP2040, a NeoPixel compatible SK6812mini, Reset button, and all GPIO and SWD pins broken out in an easily breadboard able design. No weird pins on the ends! This board is also CircuitPython compatible meaning you can develop your projects faster with python.
Why did you make it?
The BREAD2040 was designed in an inspirational burst of energy while watching the CircuitPython Day Adafruit Board Tour.
What makes it special?
The BREAD 2040 takes an old fashion approach to this design, keeping in mind bread board friendliness as well as providing modern USB style plugs with the USB Type-C connector.
Electronics have improved exponentially over the years, to the point where today we carry what not too long ago would be considered a supercomputer – plus a robust sensor and communications suite with us as a ‘phone’. Such global improvement has the trickle-down effect that we can use these leaps in technology in our own projects, including the amazing STMicroelectronics VL53L5CX time-of-flight (ToF) sensor.
This ‘sensor’, as noted in Pesky Products’ breakout board listing, might better be described as a low-res camera, since it’s able to pick up on ToF data in an 8×8 grid. This resolution is good enough for gesture recognition, pose estimation (i.e. whether one is sitting, standing, or lying down), and much more, though it is limited enough to obscure detailed identifying information.
The ranging capability of the sensor is up to 400 cm, and the field of view is conspicuously rated at 61º. This means that a full 360º view could be covered, plus just a bit more with 6 sensors arranged around a robot or device. The sensor features a few additional tricks beyond sending pure range info, including the ability to calculate ‘motion intensity’, i.e. relative velocity, for each pixel.
The electrical signals emitted by the human body tell us a lot about what’s going on inside. But getting those signals inside your microcontroller is not straightforward: the voltages are too small for most ADCs, and the ever-present 50 or 60 Hz mains frequency makes it hard to discern subtle changes. Over at Upside Down Labs, [Deepak Kathri] developed a universal biosensor interface called the BioAmp EXG Pill to make all this a lot easier.
Its name refers to the fact that it can be used for several different bio-electrical sensing applications: ECG, EMG, EOG and EEG, which deal with signals coming from the heart, muscles, eyes and brain, respectively. To enable such flexibility, the board has connectors for two or three electrodes, as well as solder pads to mount resistors and capacitors to adjust the gain and bandwidth. An instrumentation amplifier increases the strength of the desired signal while rejecting noise and interference.
The form factor allows easy connection to electrodes on one side and a data acquisition system on the other. Measuring just 25.4 mm long and 10 mm wide, it should be easy to integrate into any type of biosensing gizmo you can come up with. [Deepak] has made several demo setups, showing him using the Pill with an Arduino to measure his heart rate, detect eye blinks, and even control a robot arm using his own arm muscles!
The EXG Pill is an evolution of an earlier EMG-only project. We’ve seen several great ECG and EEG projects before, but is the first time we’ve seen one amplifier that can do them all.
The PixelWing Matrix is a powerful ESP32-S2 RGB Matrix Display board that allows you to make a simple connected display, data logger, or environmental indicator. The PixelWing features USB-C power, a 5×10 RGB Matrix Display using SK6812mini Addressable LEDs that are compatible with Adafruit NEOPIXEL Libraries!
In addition to this, the PixelWing provides a quick access I2C JST connector that is compatible with Qwiic and Stemma QT connectors allowing you to connect all your favorite Adafruit and Sparkfun sensor breakouts.
All of this is combined with Circuit Python support making it easy to get programming on your project.
Small educational satellites called CubeSats have been launched by dozens of universities and countries around the world. But so far Oregon has yet to fly our very own artisanally hand-crafted CubeSat. We’re changing that!
We currently have two satellite missions in the works. Both rely on the fully open source “OreSat” bus which we’re offering as an inexpensive (for a satellite!) “DIY” platform for designing and building your own CubeSat.
Accessibility is one obvious approach to this challenge. But you can also consider the example of reference designs in datasheets. Manufacturers know you don’t want to re-invent the wheel to use their switch-mode power supply so they give you information on how to lay it out on the PCB and what parts to choose. Now take that idea and run with it. This could be a modular design that takes the wizardry out of building electronic projects. But it could just as easily be a aimed at the end user — perhaps lab equipment that’s normally expensive and requires expertise to operate but you’ve reimagined it to have most of that expertise built in.
Need some more help figuring out what this is all about? Let’s look at some of the projects that have already been entered. With devices all around us that have superb cameras and dazzling screens, [Timo] realized it wouldn’t take much to turn one into an inspection microscope, which is just what’s been done with nothing more than a 3D-printed stand and a desk lamp.
[Alain] put his electronics knowledge, and the availability of cheap modules, to great use for his non-verbal son. The PECS Communication Board has a grid of sixteen images, each is a button to act as input. He makes the point that tablet apps exist for this, but durability and cost are both issues that his approach helps address.
There are already a ton of other great entries for this round of the Hackaday Prize, but it wouldn’t be complete without yours. Ten will be chosen to receive $500 each and move on to the finals with a $25,000 grand prize on the line. Start your project right now on Hackaday.io and use the left sidebar drop down menu on your project page to enter it.