Saturday, May 30, 2009


Introducing a new wireless kit, called the WiNet Kit. This kit makes it super simple to setup remote user input and wireless sensor logging.
The WiNet allows you to wirelessly communicate between a Arduino attached to your PC's USB port and an Arduino TouchShield device.

The pair of XBee Shields are directly pre-paired with each other so serial communications are super simple.

This is the base module that talks directly to the pc, it's an Arduino and a Xbee Shield.

Omar made a WiNet Test App that demonstrates the wireless link.

Here it is in action

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boston to OSHW Bank: All systems go!

I moved! And it took a lot longer than I thought it would, and all my computers got stuck in the back of a truck for almost a month. Among other things, it meant that it took me about 3 weeks before I could update the open source hardware bank website... sure enough, some funny things happened:

DoubleWide ExtenderShield X

TripleWide ExtenderShield X


I've been keeping track of the orders as they've come in, and in the last few days, both queues just got pushed over the middle fulcrum point. I guess that means... it's time to build me some DoubleWides and TripleWide X's. I'm going to put everything together and get cracking immediately.

Gadget Flow Testing

In the whee hours of the night, Omar's packaged up a few stealthy updates to the Antipasto Arduino IDE, which is getting lots of support from a few hardcore Arduino hackers.

These updates were aimed at Gadget file dialogs.

Gadgets are time savers allowing multiple board projects.

It will be the format of choice for my next project. Who knows, I might try to outdo Matt's QuadCore Tower kit -not easy though! At the very least, I'll save some time when swapping between boards.

Fast forwarding to hours before release, the final software tests were being charted out before release.

Omar whipped up this chart and said, do you really think it works this way?

It didn't. At least not on the first try, but do they ever?

I couldn't believe all the paths from just a "Cancel" button -cool!

If you'd like to give it a try for yourself, the Antipasto Arduino IDE v0.8.9 can be downloaded from links on the wiki

I'm going to Maker Faire!!!

Wooo hooooo!!!! I'm going to Maker Faire finally, after all these months of building stuff in NY, CT, and MA all by myself on the east coast. Here goes nothing...

I'm going to be at a little booth, number 289 just in the upper right of the map, east of the hills of Sparkfun, and the Lake of Exploratorium (whatever that is), and conveniently near the bathrooms, but opposite the concessions. I suppose you could say that's a good thing...

I "stole" Sparkfun's map from their site (sorry, Nate), but only because I couldn't download it from the makerfaire website. I made a little map of my rough proximity to Sparkfun, since I figure most guys attending will "baseline" where they are based on where Sparkfun is :)

I really hope to see some interesting projects and meet some new people... and maybe put some faces to email addresses finally.

T-Minus 4 days and counting...

Friday, May 22, 2009

TouchShield text() Emerges

In was an eternal battle of man versus github. Source code writer versus source code keeper. Fueled by coffee and determination, Man pulls out the all powerful
git reset --hard 
This is a bold move and swiftly defeats the evil repository, releasing a new function from it's clutches.

A new text() function emerges victorious on the TouchShield.

The text() function can be shown off provocatively on the TouchShield using the random(200) as the height parameter.

text("Hershey", random(320), random(240), random(200) );

This all wouldn't have happened without Mark's hard work on the Hershey font modules, thanks!

lluminato Round 2, Recap

After a week of helping Mike work with the fab house, soldering, cleaning and programming all the Illuminatos, then boxing them up, writing and signing the checks, and packing everything and getting them out the door... it feels like the final stretch of Rocky before the fight where he runs up the stairs – except with a few less cliches :)

I got a lot of emails along the way about what was going on, and how everything happened, so here goes:

1) After Illuminato Round 1 ran out, some people emailed, asking about when it would be back, because the extra I/O seemed useful, and Chris and Matt’s black surface and blinking lights underneath looked nice

2) Matt and Mike didn't have money to scrounge up for another run, so the PCB files sat on a shelf, waiting for the funding needed to be put into production

3) So everyone chipped in.

$30 cost to build/fund one
$35 price of one unit

100 units were built
All 100 units sold and delivered

Of the first 50 purchased to put Illuminato, Round 2 into production:
29 were pre-bought @ $35
21 were built/funded @ $30

The remaining 50 were funded by I-bills as part of the OSHW Bank. This means that prior to production, the full cost of Illuminato, Round 2 ($30 x 100 = $3000) was available through pre-purchase, individual funding, and I-bills from community members.

After production started, the remaining 100 - 29 = 71 units were pre-bought @ $35 apiece. The last 6 units, which are bank funded, were sold at $39 - slightly higher as it was a "premium" on getting delivery relatively sooner (rather than waiting for Round 3 to get funded and go to production)

29 were pre-bought right off the bat, yielding ~16% or $145 in profit that goes to pay for Mike's diet coke (so he can solder things and box stuff up :)

21 were funded at $30 and sold for $35 apiece. For each unit someone funded this way, he/she received the full proceeds of the sale. So Mike and I sent out $635 in checks, with a per unit profit of $5

The OSHW Bank funded 50 units at $1500 and received:
-44 units sold @ $35 = $1540
-6 units sold @ $39 = $234
Total = $1774, netting $274 in profit to pay off the "interest" payments on the I-bills

When all was said and done, the goal was met: make open source hardware available for as cheaply as possible, don’t give any more money to bankers than you have to, and experiment with a new way of funding hardware…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Illuminato Core Updates: PWM

Thanks to Illuminato updates from Tim, there's core support for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) using the analogWrite(pin, duty) function. Mike was performing hardware tests on one of the scopes.

Pins 16, 17, and 42 are connected to hardware timer PWM blocks, now controllable in software.

This makes it easier to control motors, set analog voltage levels on RC networks, or even control the mysterious Pin 42 bling() LEDs with greater precision and ease than software delay loops.

The latest core updates can be had by downloading and installing the Antipasto Arduino IDE v0.8.8 (or greater).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Arduino Mega Meets the Touchshield

It all started a few weeks ago, when my friend Lee insisted on making the TouchShield tell the Arduino to turn on an LED...

The Arduino code is compatible on the Duemilanove and the Mega
The TouchShield code is compatible on the Stealth and the Slide

If the inside of the circle is pressed, a signal is sent to the Arduino, telling it to turn on the LED

If the outside of the circle is pressed, a signal is sent to the Arduino, telling it to turn off the LED

Inside the circle is on...

The code is over here
And I made a quick video demo...

Friday, May 8, 2009

ButtonShield Revisions's off to the races! It looks like the ButtonShield has taken the early lead over on the OSHW Bank projects page, but the EqualizerShield is going to cut it close :-)

With that in mind, Matt and Mike did another round of revisions from all the suggestions on the ButtonShield schematics from earlier this week. A couple of the big ones: adding a separate Caps Lock button to the corner, flanked by LEDs, and adding the quintessential Space "bar" to the bottom center (thanks Keith, Jason!). The Caps Lock and Space bar are outlined on the bottom, and the 32-button keyboard is shifted up slightly to make room for everything.

What do you think? And let me know if there's anything else I should add - jhuynh at gmail. Pre-buy/build is still open for the ButtonShield here, and to keep tabs on the "OSHW Bank project races", it's all up on the OSHW Bank page here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Aardvark visions

The future looks bright for the most sophisticated Arduino IDE release, the Aardvark. Since Matt and I are constantly brainstorming on enhancements, I figured I'd take the time to transcribe a marinara stained  brainstorming napkin or two and give a little sneak peak from the world of tomorrow.

You have the basic/original IDE mockup, nothing new here.

Then comes the vision Matt and I discussed . That Chicken Parm was so good (thanks to the cooks at the George's Pizza)! I like to think they helped a little bit with reaching this design... 

Aardvark Arduino 0.8.7 is real similar to the napkin....

But the vision wouldn't be complete without the super handy Reference Wing to help lookup Arduino routines, 

With the shaky internet out here in the back country of Connecticut I really need an offline reference sheet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Update on the ButtonShield

A lot of folks were asking about the ButtonShield after Matt's OpenBerry project, so Matt and Mike spent some time this weekend working on the next rev of the board. The circuits are still a work in progress, but I figured I'd throw together a mockup to get some suggestions and thoughts on where to go next as the ButtonShield makes its way through the OSHW Bank queue

Here's a look at the front side:

And an X-ray vision through to the back side:

Feel free to let me know what you think- jhuynh at gmail. The pre-buy/build for the ButtonShield is on the shop at, and it will also be part of the OpenBerry pack over here.