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3D Printed Pinball Machine

Something that never ceases to amaze me is the way that as technology grows and develops more and more, people seem to be using it to dive further and further back into the past. It's fascinating to see the number of retro-gaming projects based on Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and the rise of 3D printing is no exception. May I introduce to you the genius behind this 3D printed, full-size pinball machine:

Tony from 3DFilaPrint is the guy responsible for this amazing contraption, and one of the coolest things about it is that apart from the electronics, it's all 3D printed! They've used rubberised filaments, flexible filaments, as well as conductive filaments for various elements of the machine. It's powered by two Arduino boards and 3.5 Kilometers of filament which took over 1200 hours to print.

We love seeing people reinvent the classics using modern technology, and we'd love to see what our community is working on the bring classics back to life, so get the conversation started below!

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- By Sam

Self Assembling Robots

So robots come in all different shapes and sizes, some are huge, and some are tiny, but the thing that they all have in common is that a robot has to be built by someone/something. It has to be assembled. Generally, a robot is created to perform a specific function, but in this modern age, as robots continue to evolve, so do the tasks they're required to perform. So one of the big advancements in robotic science is the notion of 'self-assembling' robots. Robots that are made up of smaller building blocks that can re-arrange themselves to create different shapes and machines.

Whilst we're a little way off having a miniature transformer for a mobile phone, researchers are getting closer to multifunctional robots that can assemble themselves in different ways according to the task they're required to carry out. Check out this awesome swarm of miniature robots which are incredibly simple and work together to create complex shapes that would otherwise be impossible for a single unit to create. 

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- By Sam

MirrorOS: RPi Smart Mirror

What do you get if you combine a mirror with a Raspberry Pi and touch screen? A Smart, IoT Mirror of course! You'll be able to take a typical computer setup and with a few tweaks, load it up with a selection of applications for a personalized interactive mirror!

You can control using a touch screen and/or a mobile device. It's a fantastic project for anyone who is a little crafty and looking to get their paws wet with the Raspberry Pi. 

Josep Khan decided to build a smart mirror and leverage all the previous smart mirrors before him into a fresher look at what we can do with IoT mirrors. He ended up with a voice-recognising, gesture-controlled smart mirror that has a full web app API to install any web app you'd like directly to it. Enough talking about it, though, take a look below!

There is a full presentation available on Google Drive

Here's a video of the project working

And the obligatory Imgur album.

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- By Aidan

DIY Daft Punk Helmets

Ahhh, Halloween time, the highly debated holiday over this side of the Pacific ocean. Well, it's just gone past us pretty fast. Luckily, there is a massive influx of fantastic costumes and props that people around the world have been sharing. This particular project stood out to me, though; maybe it's cause it's made by a regular guy who decided to take advantage of the portability of electronics, or maybe cause it's Daft Punk helmets that you can make at home. It's probably the Daft Punk thing, to be honest.

guy-manuel-helmet

I'm continuously impressed by the ingenuity of people that have the maker toolset and how they create awesome things like this project. That's easily doubled when the sheer amount of effort shines through, and the overall aesthetic of the finished project just amazes you. That's what ViralTHM did when he went to the effort of fabricating the helmets; leveraging all sorts of techniques such as the visor tinting, LED matrix displays, chrome finishing and the rest.

If you want to see the full project build, it's been uploaded here with annotations, comments, schematics etc.

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- By Aidan

Light Based Data Network: Li-Fi

So y'all know about Wi-Fi yeah? It's the magic network which lets you watch Netflix in bed and browse Facebook on the toilet (be honest). Well a little while ago at a TEDGlobal event, Harold Haas demonstrated the concept for a localised alternative to the traditional wireless network.

Current standards such as Wi-Fi operate using 2.4Ghz/5Ghz electromagnetic energy which can pass through certain kinds of materials, and gives us the convenient internet access we known and love. However, there are many long-standing issues with Wi-Fi technology including the speed restrictions and power consumption. So the proposed alternative called Li-Fi does away with electromagnetism for communication, and instead uses LED lights, flickering at incredibly high speeds, way faster than the human eye can perceive, to transmit data optically. This opens up the doors for it's usage in controlled environments such as aviation, medical areas, and much more. To read more about how Li-Fi works, what the main benefits are of using it, and more, check out the article from Science Alert.

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- By Sam

3D Printable Mechanical Tenctacles

So for some reason, around this time of year, we start to see all kinds of weird and wonderful creations published on the internet and something that recently caught my eye is this two-stage tentacle which is controlled via two joystick-like control arms. Joshua Vasquez created this masterpiece on Hackaday using a combination of 3D printed/laser cut parts and easily available components found online. How easy it is to actually control I have no idea, but colour me impressed at the CAD design and mechanical motion of this project. The entire project and build can be found here.

Two-stage tentacle gif

Something that makes this even more awesome is the fact that Joshua created some incredibly well-documented instructions with detailed images and animations, as well as uploading the various files and CAD files that he created for this project. So if you have a 3D printer, you can make most of these parts yourself, or a local CNC shop can easily manufacture them for you. It’s the perfect weird gift to someone to freak them out just a little bit. Imagine attaching a laser pointer or camera to the end of it to make an ultimate robot tentacle!

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- By Sam

Transistor Amplifiers Explained

So the modern computing age that we all know and enjoy is pretty much all thanks to the development of the transistor by Bell Labs. The semiconductor enabled this technology to take off and it’s only been on the up and up ever since. Transistors are the backbone of electronics and are found inside every electronic device, from discrete components to the billions that are crammed into your computer. But for a lot of makers, transistors can be quite tricky, and using them in projects and circuits often seems daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Essentially, a transistor is an electronic switch where you can use an electronic signal to control another. This allows them to be used to create audio amplifiers among many other uses, however getting an understanding on exactly how these devices can be used to amplify signals often eludes makers and DIY enthusiasts. Many of you might have heard of, or seen audio amplifiers labeled as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class AB etc. and wondered what it actually means. Well, fortunately, the wonderful YouTuber Allan (known as W2AEW) has created a great video on how transistors work and how the different operating modes in amplifiers affects the ‘class’ of the amplifier.

I’m the first to admit that you have to be a certain type of person to find these type of videos engaging, but it’s an incredibly valuable lesson on understanding more about the components that make our world tick.

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- By Sam

Build a Life-size BB-8 with Arduino!

I’m a Star Wars nerd it’s true, and so when JJ Abrams goes and releases a new movie with what is possibly the coolest robot/droid in Hollywood history, it just speaks to me. So of course I’ve had in the back of my mind to make one. I had to stop my wife impulse buying one of the Sphero BB-8 toys when they first came out, however Angleo, who is an amazing inventor on Instructables (goes by ASCAS), has taken the term ‘toy’ a step further and created a life-size replica BB-8 that moves and looks the same as his movie counterpart. It’s based on the Arduino platform and built with easily available, affordable electronics, and typical household parts. One of the best things about the Star Wars movies is the amount of props and electro-mechanical creations that they use rather than resorting to CGI effects. That’s right, that loveable, rolling ball of metal you see on screen is a real life robot. But anyway, here is a link to Angelo’s amazingly thrifty instructable which gives you all the steps you need to create your very own BB-8!

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- By Sam

A new ATmega board on the horizon

A new board was recently announced utilising Arduino's "Arduino at Heart program, the 4Duino-24 from 4D systems right here in Australia.

Essentially, it's an Arduino compatible 240x320 Resolution, TFT LCD display module with Wi-Fi and graphics processing on-board. It aims to make creating GUI's for your Arduino projects super easy and it all runs on a ATMega32u4 and ESP2866. This board looks super exciting to us here at Core!

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- By Aidan

The coolest keyboard ever

This is undoubtedly the coolest keyboard I have ever seen, so much so I have just committed to making one for my own setup. The idea of the keyboard has pretty much remained untouched over the years, sure we have macro keys and software that helps out automating tasks, some of the higher end keyboards even have an OLED screen in them. But this keyboard from Hackaday user AnonymouSmst is in a league of it's own.

keyboard-backlit-gif

The idea spawned when he heard a talk during a Hackaday meetup in 2014 about how fun it was to hack a keyboard to play snake on it. He went one step further and decided to create his very own keyboard, quoting

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay

In his project logs. The logs on the hackaday project are in-depth with every decision point being carefully considered and researched. Take a look here if you want to see those, an interesting read if anything. The basis of the idea was that he wanted a keyboard that was entirely wireless and was loaded with features like bluetooth, wifi etc. And it all runs on an ATMega2560!

fsociety-keyboard-features

The keyboard is backlit using programmable RGB LEDs to drive the lighting (which of course you can program yourself to be whichever color you'd like. The switches are all Cherry MX Blue Mechanical switches, and there is something extremely satisfying about the tactile feedback you get with a mechanical switch. The keycaps are all transparent, giving you a true representation of the RGB color profile you select.

To talk to a PC without wires, AnonymouSmst uses an Adafruit Bluefruit Key for HID bluetooth control. A NFC module was added to the keyboard to pass a Admin password or what ever you like using an NFC ring. Wireless capability includes an ESP2866, A HM-11 for Bluetooth and a DRF1278F for LORA. Theres also a 128x64 OLED display onboard so you can display some info there. On each side of the keyboard theres a joystick for mouse/arrow key control too. This thing is just out of this world ridiculous!

 

fsociety-keyboard-in-action

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- By Aidan

Square Off: Automated Chess

Wacky and wonderful world that is IoT has breathed life into all areas of maker electronics, and now it’s found its way into ancient games. That’s right, IoT chess is here!

And not just any IoT chess, but a board/app combo that allows you to vs. someone anywhere in the world, and the board automatically moves the pieces for them. If you’re not convinced, take a look at their promotion video:

Yep it’s way cool, and it’s based on Arduino! Yep that means that the project is based on open-source hardware that you can do yourself. The project page can be found here and it goes through the equipment and components used to build it. The board works so well that it looks like the pieces are simply gliding across the board. It uses magnetic chess pieces and magnetic technology underneath the board to allow the pieces to move.

One of the best parts about it is that the pieces don’t collide with each other as you’d expect. Instead they move between in other in a clever way to avoid collisions. Sure you could play against someone just using an app or a computer, but it doesn’t even compare to the feeling that you get of playing on a real board, with real pieces.

Hopefully this serves as some inspiration to go and integrate the fantastic IoT sphere into existing ideas!

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- By Sam

The MeArm Robot Arm, build it for $50

Initially designed to bring the fun of robot arms into the hands of everyone, the MeArm is a robot arm you can build for less than $50, using 4 servo motors, some screws and acryllic. The acryllic isn't entirely necessary too, you can 3D print or CNC mill your arm housing! 

It began as a small project uploaded to Hackaday back in 2014, winning the Hackaday award in 2015 and then went on kickstarter to fund its own independant control board. Now version 1.0 is available as a complete kit in the UK. The build it yourself version uses a Raspberry Pi or Arduino for control and is extremely simple to make yourself, the designs are all open source and you can grab a PDF of the stencil for the frame here.

As you can see the MeArm is exactly as you'd expect and for such an inexpensive little project, it's worth a shot!

Pickup some servo's here.

3D print the housing with STLs from here.

Screws for assembly can be found here.

This blog post was brought to you by Core Electronics - your home for Sparkfun and Adafruit in Australia!

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- By Aidan

Vintage Controllers Made New with Makey Makey

With the recent surge of interest in Makey Makey, I had a bit of a look around to see what people were doing with it, beyond the famous ‘banana piano’, and was amazed at some of the ways people had integrated Makey Makey into pre-existing designs.

One of my favourites so far is Guilermo Amaral’s creative revival of a dead SNES controller as features on Hackaday. Whilst seeming to be a shift register that had died, he decided that his controller might better serve him as a class-compliant USB HID device. He used header pins to create contacts for the existing button pads, and then connected those to the Makey Makey. The best part is that a project like this requires no coding at all, and can be done with a Makey Makey straight out of the box!

I know a few old bits and pieces around my house which might end up getting the same treatment!

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- By Sam

Arduino vs Arduino: A thing of the past

If you have been living under a rock since last year you might not have noticed the gigantic, confusing rift that cleaved the maker world apart. The Arduino vs Arduino debacle has been waging behind the scenes for quite some time, if you want to know more about it see this post from Makezine.com in March 2016, where Massimo Bansi has his say on the whole situation.

peace-at-last

A welcome twist in this drama took place at the New York Maker Faire over the weekend. Massimo Bansi (Arduino.cc) and Federico Musto (Arduino.org) took the stage to announce an official merger between the rival companies. Arduino LLC (arduino.cc) and Arduino SRL (arduino.org) will combine at the end of the year under the solitary name of Arduino Holding. There have been legal battles taking place between these two companies since early 2015, leaving the maker world confused and conflicted!

But rejoice! It's all over, or at least it will be soon. The single company (Arduino Holding) will be source of contact for all Arduino distribution. A seperate, non-profit called Arduino Foundation will be formed to keep the IDE open-source and provide the community with everything they need to enjoy developing with the Arduino environment.

Read Arduino's official post about the merger here: https://blog.arduino.cc/2016/10/01/two-arduinos-become-one-2/#more-15167

Brian Benchoff from Hackaday had some great coverage from the Maker Faire too, if you're interested: https://hackaday.com/tag/arduino-foundation/

The specifics of this settlement aren't yet clear, but rest assured the Arduino wars are over and by the end of the year we will have one IDE, one website and one brand. The brand we all know and love, Arduino!

 

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- By Aidan

A Palm Sized Window 10 PC

Have you ever wanted a Raspberry Pi sized computer with the capability of running Windows 10? Not the IoT version, but actual, full-blown Windows 10? Well you're in luck, we just got the LattePanda into stock.

The LattePanda is the only single board computer that can run Windows 10, as well as Linux and Android OS'. It also comes in two different varieties, the 2GB RAM/32GB on-board flash memory version and it's juiced-up brother with 4GB RAM and 64 GB on-board flash memory. Both run on the same backbone of a Intel Atom 1.8GHz Processor with the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc we've come to expect. There's a whole list of specs to take a look at below, but essentially this board is an Arduino/PC combo with plenty of hardware to get you going with Windows 10 Development.

lattepanda-features

An Arduino/PC combo? That's correct. The LattePanda has an ATmega32u4 co-processor, giving you native Arduino support and programming capability. You can pick up a whole bunch of sensors that work directly on your LattePanda. Further specs for the LattePanda are:

  • Processor: Intel Cherry Trail Z8300 Quad Core 1.8GHz
  • Operation System: Pre-installed full edition of Windows 10
  • Ram: 4GB DDR3L
  • Storage Capability: 64GB
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics, 12 EUs @200-500 Mhz, single-channel memory
  • One USB3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports
  • WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Built-in Arduino Co-processor: ATmega32u4
  • Video output: HDMI and MIPI-DSI
  • Onboard touch panel overlay connector
  • Supports 100Mbps Ethernet
  • GPIO:
    • 6 GPIOs from Cherry Trail processor
    • 20 GPIOs from Arduino Leonardo
    • 6 Plug and play Gravity sensor connectors
  • Power: 5v/2A
  • Dimension of board: 88 * 70 mm/ 3.46 * 2.76 inches
  • Packing Size: 110 * 94 * 30 mm/4.33 * 3.70 * 1.18 inches
  • N.W.: 55g
  • G.W.: 100g

LattePanda also provides a screen that connects directly to the onboard display connector. A 7" IPS Panel and an optional 7" Capactive touch overlay for that screen. 

It's powered by a micro-USB 5V/2A power supply too. The LattePanda could be perfect for your next single board computer and associated projects!

 

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- By Aidan

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