Designing a custom Trill flex sensor

Exciting announcement from the Bela team about a new flexible version of the Trill touch sensor:

Designing a custom flex sensor

Trill Flex brings flexible touch sensing to your maker projects. Trill Flex comes with a one-axis multitouch sensor printed on flexible PCB, but we designed this sensor to be detachable so you can create entirely custom sensors perfectly suited to your own projects.

In this tutorial we will create a custom 30-button flexible touchpad. You will learn how to set up a KiCad project and include the Trill design files, draw the pads, add a ground plane, and get your design ready to be printed. (Every purchase of Trill Flex comes with a unique discount code for $20 off flex PCB printing with our friends at

Trill Flex is available now on the Bela shop

Designing a custom Trill flex sensor

MappyDot Distance Measurement Badge

SensorDots created this standalone wearable badge that will show people how far away they are so they don’t accidentally run into you:

MappyDot Distance Measurement Badge

This project will show you how to create a standalone application with the MappyDot Plus working as an I2C master with an I2C 7 segment display. This example can also be adapted for use with a wide range of different client I2C devices for standalone applications.


Once you have assembled the 7 segment display, you can now hook everything up as per the schematics below. Provided your battery supply outputs a voltage between 2.8 and 5 volts, you don’t need to use a voltage regulator to supply this project. Using 4xAA 1.2v rechargable NiMH batteries is perfect for this setup. If using 1.5V alkaline batteries, you should consider using a voltage regulator (or a diode with a large voltage drop) or opt for only 3xAA alkaline batteries.

MappyDot Distance Measurement Badge

Building Radical Haptics


Building Radical Haptics by Noah Feehan

LOCATION: Zone 3 in Make: Electronics by Digi-Key

TIME: Saturday, September 22, 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Add weird, changeable textures to your next project with the WEFT electrovibration library and dev board.

We’ll go over the fundamentals behind the texture effect, how the circuit is built, and how best to design textures and electrodes for working with this radical haptics technology.

WEFT project website

Our Drew Fustini should be in the audience… look for the person in purple!

Building Radical Haptics

Hot Camera Contest: Build A Battery Powered Thermal Camera

Here’s a challenge for all you hardware hackers out there. Peter Jansen has opened up the Hot Camera Contest on to use a thermal imaging camera in a battery-powered project.

The challenge here is simple. Use a Flir Lepton thermal imaging camera module in a battery-powered configuration. There’s a catch, though: this is a project to use the Lepton in radiometric mode, where the camera spits out an actual temperature value for each pixel. Yes, this is a documented feature in the Flir Lepton module, but so far very few people are using it, and no one has done it with a small, battery-powered device.

The rules for this challenge are to use the Flir Lepton 2.5 in radiometric mode using either the Raspberry Pi Zero W or ESP32. Any software in this challenge must spit out absolute temperature values in a text format, and there must be a demonstration of putting the Flir Lepton into low-power mode. There are two challenges here, one for the Raspi and one for the ESP32; and winner will be named for each.

via Hot Camera Contest: Build A Battery Powered Thermal Camera — Hackaday



HDDG 32: Stimulating Communication Through Titillating Wearables

Bradley Ramsey recaps HDDG from last week:


HDDG 32: Stimulating Communication Through Titillating Wearables

Sarah Petkus takes the stage to discuss her ongoing project, which measures and indicates human arousal using stylish wearables


Sarah’s talk entitled SHE BON: Using Body-data to communicate the intimate and the unseen, discusses her work on a unique new project aimed at encouraging communication around human sexuality. Sarah is a kinetic artist, roboticist, and was recently called a transhumanist, which fits really well once you’ve seen her presentation.

The term refers to an intellectual movement that seeks to elevate the human condition both mentally and physically through the use of technology. Sarah’s talk begins with her origins, which were rooted in feelings of powerlessness.

So, she did what any maker would do: she built a robot army. With the help of her colleague, she built an army of 100 delta robots that you control with physical gestures.

HDDG 32: Stimulating Communication Through Titillating Wearables

Sarah Petkus: Using Body-data to communicate the intimate and the unseen

Awesome talk by Sarah Petkus for HDDG last night at Supplyframe in SF:

Using Body-data to communicate the intimate and the unseen

Sarah Petkus is a kinetic artist, roboticist, and transhumanist from Las Vegas, who designs electronic and mechanical devices which encourage reflection regarding the human relationship with technology.

Their talk will be about a series of wearable augments built to facilitate in sensing, tracking, and indicating one’s level of excitement (or arousal)! Each of the wearables uses a variety of sensors as input to influence quirky electronic and mechanical devices of my design as output. The goal in doing so is not only to create a stellar suit of electronic armor (or amour), but also to help facilitate a dialogue about sex and intimacy amongst my peers that is relatable, honest, healthy, and fun.

Follow Sarah and her projects on Patreon:Screenshot from 2018-07-13 13-00-51.pngSarah Petkus is creating ROBOTS

Sarah Petkus: Using Body-data to communicate the intimate and the unseen

New Laser Time of Flight Breakout Board

From  on the Tindie blog:


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.


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:



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.


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

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Nixie Tube Clock

From Mark Smith on the Surf ‘n Circuits blog:


What is an ETA Nixie Tube Clock and How Do You Build One?

Adding IOT to the Nixie Tube Clock. A clock that provides the estimated time of arrival for up to ten destinations

The ETA Nixie clock is programmed to display the normal time and up to ten different ETA times that are easy to identify and visually stimulating. The current time is displayed for 5 seconds (i.e. 8:41:38 AM), then up to ten different ETA destinations are displayed for three seconds each before the cycle is repeated. The current time displays all six digits including seconds. The ETA locations are numbered and display hours and minutes without seconds helping to distinguish between them.  In our house, the ETA to work is ETA number 1 (i.e. 9:07 AM) and the ETA to school is ETA number 2 (i.e. 8:58 AM). Lots of other options are possible with custom programming of the Raspberry Pi to meet your ETA requirements.

surfncircuits has shared the board on OSH Park:

An Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Nixie Tube Clock Rev 2.


Order from OSH Park

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Nixie Tube Clock