SF Hardware Startup meetup on Wednesday

The SF Hardware Startup Meetup is this Wednesday evening in San Francisco:

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Hardware Studio | Kickstarter, Avnet, & Dragon Innovation

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018, 7:00 PM

Bolt
724 Brannan St. San Francisco, ca

259 Startup-Hardwarians Attending

Hey Hardwarians! Ready for another SF Hardware Startup Meetup!? This time around we’re sponsored by the folks fueling Hardware Studio. Hardware Studio is a new initiative from Kickstarter, Avnet, and Dragon Innovation, providing resources and support for independent hardware creators. The goal of the initiative is to help teams be better prepared f…

Check out this Meetup →

 Look for our Drew Fustini in purple!

SF Hardware Startup meetup on Wednesday

New Laser Time of Flight Breakout Board

From  on the Tindie blog:

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New Laser Time of Flight Breakout Board Brings Out The Best in VL53L1 Long-Range Sensors

Watching your robotic creation take flight is an incredible feeling, but watching it collide with something or crash can make your stomach turn. One common sensor you may reach for in a case like this is the VL53L0. But it only provides ranging to a distance of 2 meters. For many of us, this is just shy of a range we would be comfortable with.

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Thankfully, a new sensor has appeared which doubles the range. The VL53L1 extends the accurate distance detection to 4 meters. It also uses a patented ranging technology that harnesses time-of-flight from a 940 nm laser.

This results in estimation independent of surface reflectivity and high accuracy in a variety of weather and environmental conditions. This breakout board sold by Pesky Products is designed to bring out all the best capabilities of the VL53L1 from ST Microelectronics.

 

New Laser Time of Flight Breakout Board

BeagleDrone fixed-wing autopilot

AndiceLabs writes about a fixed-wing autopilot project:

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BeagleDrone

The BeagleDrone is fixed-wing autopilot project based on the BeagleBone and the IMU cape.  The IMU cape provides a 3-axis magnetometer, accelerometer, gyro and a barometer on the BeagleBone’s I2C bus.  There is also an AVR micro on the I2C bus that handles output pulse timing of the 8 servo channels and input pulse timing on the 4 radio signal channels.  Two of the BeagleBone’s UARTs are exposed via FTDI-compatible connectors to allow connection of external modules like GPS and telemetry.  It also has a regulator that provides 5VDC for the BeagleBone, AVR, and servos from the RC battery.

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The BeagleBone provides the power of Linux in a footprint that is acceptable for RC and the Black has now made the platform even more affordable.  With Linux’s extensive libraries and utilities almost any feature should be quickly realizable and development enjoyable.  And unlike an autopilot powered by an 8 or 16 bit micro-controller, there is no need to worry about code and data size or overloading the processor with whatever crazy navigation features you can dream up.

I enjoy flying electric RC planes whenever I get the chance and building a fixed-wing autopilot for the BeagleBone has been on my list for a while now.  Of course, there’s no reason that the BeagleBone couldn’t also control a multi-rotor aircraft.  A flying Linux box is going to have very few limitations!

BeagleDrone fixed-wing autopilot

Bring-A-Hack Bay Area on May 20th

#bringahack Bay Area is next month on Maker Faire weekend!  Please join us for this wonderful tradition that Jeri Ellsworth started:

Sunday evening, May 20th, at BJ’s in San Mateo

Check out last year for some inspiration:

Photos of Bring-A-Hack after Maker Faire Bay Area 2017

Bring-A-Hack Bay Area on May 20th

Simple Mechanism Gives Support for SMT Assembly

 on the Hackaday blog:

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Simple Mechanism Gives Support for SMT Assembly

To fight the shakes, you can do one of two things: remove the human, or improve the human. Unable to justify a pick and place robot for the former, [Tom] opted to build a quick hand support for surface-mount work, and the results are impressive considering it’s built entirely of scrap.

It’s just a three-piece arm with standard butt hinges for joints; mounted so the hinge pins are perpendicular to the work surface and fitted with a horizontal hand rest, it constrains movement to a plane above the PCB. A hole in the hand rest for a small vacuum tip allows [Tom] to pick up a part and place it on the board — he reports that the tackiness of the solder paste is enough to remove the SMD from the tip.

Simple Mechanism Gives Support for SMT Assembly