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Its been more than two years since the first Raspberry Pi was shipped, and today the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new way to get your Pi on. The new Raspberry Pi Compute Module is based on the SO-DIMM form factor that is popular with DDR2 and DDR3 RAM in many modern laptops, but do not confuse that as being compatible with the SO-DIMM port on your laptop because it is not. The Raspberry Pi foundation says that this new form factor is designed to help makers embed their Raspberry Pi projects into final products.
The new Raspberry Pi compute module features a Broadcom BCM2835 chip with 512MB RAM with an on board 4GB eMMC Flash memory for booting the OS. The overall footprint of the device is 65mm x 30mm and its 200 pin edge connector allows the full i/o and other pins from the BCM 2835 chip to be utilized instead of just 19 I/O like the original Raspberry Pi.
XYZ Printing has just unveiled two new 3D Printers to its da Vinci line of affordable 3D Printers. The new da Vinci 2.0 Duo, and da Vinci 2.1 Duo Plus bring several new features to the popular da Vinci 3D Printer. The new da Vinci 2.0 Duo and 2.1 Duo Plus are dual-nozzle 3D printers that are capable of printing in 2 colors at once, with the da Vinci 2.1 Duo Plus functioning as a completely stand-alone unit.
The da Vinci 2.1 Duo Plus features Wi-Fi connectivity, and allows remote access and printing through a remote app, and allows users to monitor the print via a built-in camera. An easy to use touch-screen panel is also present for added functionality. The new da Vinci 2.1 Duo Plus is capable of printing in two colors at once just like its counterpart, the da Vinci 2.0. The 5-inch touchscreen LCD panel runs a version of Android, and allows users to select models to print that have been placed on a USB thumb drive as well.
Wearable electronics are the hottest thing in tech right now and with things like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and head mounted displays being released every week, it was only a matter of time before the DIY community joined the party. Today, MbientLab has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for its new MetaWear development and production platform that is designed to make DIY wearables easy, cheap, and fun!
MetaWear is designed around a small ARM processor and Bluetooth LE platform that is small enough to fit in arm bands, watches, headbands and more. MbientLab has optimized Metawear for cost and shrunken the Bill of Materials, so that use can take its design and move straight into production with your finished product. The entire development board is about the same size of a US quarter and is CE and FCC certified by TCB lab in California, meaning that no additional paperwork needs to be filled out.
It's been more than a year in the making, but Alessandro Ranellucci has finally released Slic3r 1.0 to the masses. For those not in the know, Slic3r is the default-slicing program that most 3D Printing enthusiast, such as myself, use to slice the 3D models we wish to print into manageable layers. Slicer also handles the hard-work of plotting the tool-path head, injecting control coding, and spitting it all out into machine-readable GCode. While there are other slicing programs out there, Slic3r is by far the most popular and feature rich.
Today Slic3r 1.0 stable has been released and it brings with it, a myriad of new features as well as support for a host of new printers and tool-heads. As always, Slic3r 1.0 is fully open source, and free to download, modify and distribute as you see fit, making it fully Libre / Open Source compliant. A lot has changed in Slicer 1.0 so I fully recommend that you read the user manual before jumping straight into use.
The Raspberry Pi is one of those micro-computer development boards that I often wonder how we ever lived without, and in recent months, the add-on board market for the Raspberry Pi has exploded with several high-quality boards that do everything from add Add Arduino Support, to increasing Audio capabilities.
Today I stumbled across a new add-on board for the Raspberry Pi that adds in HDMI input functionality that has the ability to let users stream HD video footage straight from their camcorder to the Pi and on to the Internet with very little effort. This new add-on board allows users to connect any HDMI video source and sent it straight to the Raspberry Pi. This could come in handy for those who use the Raspberry Pi as a media center and would allow Blu-ray playback or allow streaming directly to the internet.
Anyone who follows my articles here at TweakTown knows that I am a sucker for new Arduino-compatible development kits, and I especially like the micro-sized boards that are easily hidden inside projects. As such, a new Kickstarter campaign has caught my eyer and I just had to share it with everyone.
The MicroView is a "Chip-Sized" arduino-compatible that features a built-in OLED display, and is sized perfectly for bread boarding, or use in many different projects. Unlike many of the Arduino-compatibles that pop up on KickStarter every month, MicroView includes a purpose designed course that walks users through building 11 different circuits, making the MicroView an ideal development kit to use in a classroom environment.
A pledge of just $45 gets you a single Micro-View with OLED Display, while $55 lands you the MicroView plus USB Programmer. $95 lands you the MicroView, USB Programmer, Learning Kit, and a Cross-Platform Interactive Course. For educators, a pledge of $1350 will land you 15 of the Learning Kits and Teaching Materials. At just $55 for the MicroView and Programmer, I think I just might add one of these to my ever expanding collection of development boards.
At some point, I am sure that most of us have fantasized about being the stereotypical mad scientist who spends his days in a lab filled with chemical experiments and electricity arcing from one source to the other. While most of us will never make it to this point in our scientific endeavors, we can have a cool device that sends arcs of electricity shooting from one electrode to another, and have it play music at the same time.
A new Kickstarter campaign from ExcelPhysics is offering kits that let backers build their own speakers that emanate sound by using nothing but the plasma generated when electricity arcs from one electrode to another. "A plasma speaker plays music just like your normal speaker but it uses an arc of electrical plasma running at 30,000 volts," the company said on its Kickstarter page. "Most people aren't aware that plasma arcs can be modulated to generate sounds so your friends will be in for a surprise when you explain to them that the plasma arc IS the speaker! Your typical speaker uses an electromagnet to vibrate small drums, but a plasma speaker uses an electrical arc to ionize and compress the air around it to play music, all with no moving parts!"
Electronic education kits were one of the highlights of my youth, and I spent many hours attaching resistors, wires and other components together via those little shiny springs. Today with microcontroller boards such as the Arduino being as cheap as they are, educational electronic kits have taken on a whole new look, and ease of use. The Portable Dual Arduino Micro XPlorerBoard is one of those new easy to use educational electronic boards.
Featuring support for two Arduino Micro boards, the XPlorerBoard makes life easy by eliminating loose parts, and adding in very handy features such as a 3V and 5V logic level converter, on-board power supply, and a full compliment of analog and digital sensors. Since the XPlorerBoard was designed for education, the entire board is coated in an anti-static coating and all of the leads on the bottom are protected as well.
The entire board along with accessories fits neatly into a standard binder as well, making the board portable and easy to carry to class or your favorite MakerSpace. The XPlorerBoard is being offered through a KickStarter campaign right now and appears to be one of the best value educational development kits on the market at the moment. Best of all, the XPlorerBoard is a product of Savanna, Georgia, and not too far from my home town!
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.