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Educational robotics hold a special place in my heart, and over the last few years, I have designed several different models that I have used to teach both my self as well as others the theory behind embedded electronics for robots. All of my designs have been based on the Arduino development platform though, something many educational robotic kits default to. A new project on Kickstarter aims to continue trend and focuses its build around Arduino to offer an affordable educational robot.
The Pi-Bot has been engineered from the ground up, with several full redesigns throughout the process to make things more affordable, functional, and educational. It's makers have included students in the design process as well to ensure that the project is appealing and fun. The Pi-Bot gets its name from its Pi symbol shaped chassis, and not from the utilization of a Raspberry Pi like the name would have you believe. The educational kit is being offered through Kickstarter and is well on its way to reaching its funding goal now. Check out the source link below for more information.
A few months back I reviewed what I consider to be one of the best development boards on the market today, the Beagle Bone Black. In that time I have grown to realize the true potential that is locked inside the Beagle Bone Black, and unlike the Raspberry Pi (another favorite of mine), the Beagle Bone Black has much more I/O to share even when connected to a massive LCD touch-screen.
Recently, Element14 unveiled one of the coolest "Capes" for the Beagle Bone series to date. Dubbed the Beagle Bone View, these new add-on LCD screens come in 4.3-inch and 7-inch sizes and feature a 4-wire resistive touch panel. The 4.3-inch model features an effective resolution of 480x272 pixels while the 7-inch version has a slightly higher resolution of 800x480 pixels. The boards are powered directly from the Beagle Bone Black or Beagle Bone with no external power connection needed to the screens.
For the better part of the past decade 3D printing has mainly been relegated to printing objects in hard solid plastics such as PLA, ABS, and Nylon, but recently, great progress has been made in the advancement of flexible, more rubber-like filaments. One of the major hurdles has been the development of a reliable extruder that can feed the flexable filament into the hotend.
Today Lulzbot released its new Flexystruder Tool Head designed for use with its TAZ 3 3D Printer. Lulzbot says that the FlexyStruder was specifically designed for use with NinjaFlex flexible 3D Printing filament, and that setting up the new tool head is fast and easy. From what I can tell, the Flexystruder is based off of Lulzbot's Budaschnozzle design and is mounted on a carrage designed to fit into the TAZ 3's Z quick-change extriuder carrier.
If you are the DIY sort that is always tinkering with One project or another, you may be familiar with the Raspberry Pi. This cheap little developer board has found its way into many a cool project since it launched. One thing that the device has been missing is its own sound card.
Element 14 has announced the launch of a sound card for the Pi to fill that gap in features. A Wolfson audio processor is integrated into the sound card and supports audio at 24-bit/192KHz. It can be directly connected to an amp using a 3.5mm output or a digital S/PDIF output.
The sound card also handles audio recording using a pair of onboard MEMS microphones. One of the nicer features of this card is the price. The Wolfson Audio card for Raspberry Pi sells for $33. Affordability is one of the hallmarks of the Pi and its accessories.
If you gauge a childhood on how many awesome things your dad built you, mine was horrible. My dad was unable to sit still long enough to help with Legos before he had to go watch football. This dad is definitely doing it right when it comes to awesome creations.
The dude built his ten and 12 year old boys a small replica Batpod. It doesn't look much like the one from the flick, but it is awesome nonetheless. We will have to look around the fact that the kid appears to be riding it in shorts and Crocs; at least he has a helmet.
The bike was a custom build and is powered by four car batteries that use lead-acid. Those batteries hook to a Mars ME0709 electric motor and the powertrain uses an Alltrax AXE 4844 controller. None of that will mean much to most of us.
This morning Afinia announced the launch of its next-generation 3D Printer that features several innovative new features included automatic bed leveling and nozzle height detection. The new Afinia H480 is the successor to the popular H479 which was the company's firs desktop 3D printer and quickly grew in popularity with makers everywhere.
The new Afinia H480 features a printing envelope of 5-inches cubed, a build envelope of 5-inches cubed, and features a heated build platform. The entire printer has a footprint of just 9.6-inches by 10.2-inches by 13.7 inches, allowing it to fit on any desktop surface. The inclusion of Automatic Leveling takes the H480 a step above the competition as it removes one of the tedious setup task that can consume valuable time. Automatic leveling works via a detachable Platform Calibration Probe which measures the build platform at nine different locations to ensure a perfectly level printing surface.
There are gadgets out there for just about any need you can think of. If you are a fan of wine, a new gadget has surfaced that claims to let you make water into wine in your home. The gadget uses technology to speed the wine making process.
The Miracle Machine has a bunch of sensors inside a carafe along with heaters, pumps, and transducers that can make wine quickly. The gadget also promises to be economical. The people behind The Miracle Machine say that you can make a bottle of wine each week in the machine for about $10 per month.
The Miracle Machine itself isn't exactly cheap at $499, but if you want to make your own wine that might not be such a bad price. The ultrasonic sensor in the device is able to speed the flavor development of the wine according to the designers.
HobbyKing is the biggest name in the radio-controlled hobby world, and the company continues to blaze the trail in making the RC hobby more affordable. This week HobbyKing announced its new RotorBits lineup of chassis and parts for DIY multi-rotors. The RotorBits line revolves around a modular design that allows users to build a multi-rotor using common 10mm square shafts and molded plastic parts.
Kicking things off, HobbyKing has launched three DIY frame kits that will allow customers to easily build a TriCopter, QuadCopter, or Hexacopter in less than an afternoon. The modular system utilizes zip-ties as easily breakable fasteners. This allows the frame to survive light crashes with only cheap ziptie to replace. The company has a full lineup of spare parts, accessories, electronics, and mechanical parts for the RotorBits line and allows users to mix and match parts to build their own creations.
Lulzbot is one of those companies that blaze the trail in innovation and openly share their findings with everyone else. Their philosophy of Free & Libre, hardware and software is a business model that I feel more companies need to follow. Recently Lulzbot released a new video showing their new Taz 3 3D Printer printing with the companies new Ninja Flex Thermoplastic Urethane-based flexible 3D printer filament.
NinjaFlex is the stretchiest 3D printing material on the market at the moment and Lulzbot offers it in several colors including Red, Pink, Green, Blue, White and more. Because the NinjaFlex filament is so stretchy, Lulzbot has had to design an entirely new extruder to allow the filament to be completely constrain the filament as it enters the heat chamber. Lulzbot is calling this the new Flexstruder, and has based it on a Greg's Wade-style design.
By now most of you know that I live, eat, breath and sleep 3D printing, and its a hobby that I have enjoyed for the better part of a decade now. A few months ago during an interview with Sixense CEO, Amir Rubin, I was let in on a little project they were working on called MakeVR. Then just a few weeks ago at CES 2014 I had the chance to take a private demo of this software, and it turned my idea of 3D modeling for 3D printing upside down. Today Sixense launched the crowdfunding campaign for MakeVR on Kickstarter.
If Sixense's STEM system revolutionized the way we play games in Virtual Reality, then MakeVR will forever change the way we model 3D objects using VR. MakeVR is being billed as the worlds first immersive 3D modeling application that makes content creation for 3D printing natural, intuitive, and most importantly, fun! Over my years in the hobby, I have used or tried to use just about every 3D modeling program out there, and what I found is that many programs require a degree from a university just to be able to create anything more complex than a cube or sphere. With MakeVR things are so simple and natural that a kid can use the program to create very complex objects with little instruction.