Archive for September, 2011

My Keepon says take me home!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Keepon bopped into our hearts in 2007 dancing to Spoon’s “I Keep My Camera On.” It was an instant love affair and everyone wanted him. Problem was, Keepon is a research bot and cost a wee bit too much. On April 1st 2009 we came out with what we thought was a much better and affordable version. (Video here.) But we must have missed the mark somehow because we didn’t sell any…

But now you can finally own an official Keepon called MyKeepon and preorders are already available.  The price has dropped a little from 30K to $50. So he might fit into a few more Christmas budgets this year.

Another great bonus is that sales of MyKeepon help to fund Autism research. For those of us who have a loved one with Autism that is great news. Read more about the original research here.

New Phidgets!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Phidgets is just fun to say, Phidgets! Phidgets! Phidgets! The Phidget people of the Phidget company have made more Phidgets.

Phidget Temperature Sensor IR

Phidget Temperature Sensor IR

Phidget Temperature Sensor IR

How hot is your baby? The 1045 is an intelligent non-contact temperature sensor with a 10° field of view and a USB interface for easy connection to your computer. It measures the temperature of objects placed within its cone of detection.



Phidget Analog 4-Output

Phidget Analog 4-Output

Phidget Analog 4-Output

Gimme some juice! The PhidgetAnalog 4-Output Produces a voltage over -10V to +10V. This voltage will be asserted up to +-20mA. An error will be reported when this current is exceeded, and the voltage the customer is getting is no longer accurate. The voltage is produced with 12 bit resolution (4.8mV).



Phidgets Dual SSR Relay

Phidgets Dual SSR Relay

Phidgets Dual SSR Relay

Double your pleasure. The SSR Board is safe to use with sensitive control devices like microprocessors, and will not damage a Phidget device or your PC. Optoisolation between the control inputs and outputs of the SSR in the form of a GaAs LED paired with a set of optically-controlled MOSFETs provides protection from output to input. An on-board 47V bidirectional transorb across the relay output protects the board from static electricity and surges from inductive loads.



Phidget Sound Sensor

Phidget Sound Sensor

Phidget Sound Sensor

Can you hear me now? (Really, what other quip did you think we would use here?)  The Phidget Sound Sensor can be used to detect sounds, and approximate how loud the sound is. The 1133 measures sound across a very wide range, with a frequency range of 100Hz to 8kHz and pressure level from 50dB to 100dB.



Phidgets MotorControl 1-Motor

Phidgets MotorControl 1-Motor

Phidgets MotorControl 1-Motor

  • Controls direction, velocity and acceleration of one DC Motor
  • Requires external Power Supply (9 to 28VDC)
  • Built-in 2 digital inputs, 2 analog inputs, 1 encoder input
  • Protected against over-current, over-voltage, and over-temperature
  • Connects directly to a computer’s USB Port



Phidgets USB Isolator

Phidgets USB Isolator

Phidgets USB Isolator

You aren’t a serious hacker/builder/maker until you have burned out a few USB ports. We’ve been there too many times to count. That sudden moment of, “Wait, what? Why did everything just stop working?” The USB Isolator is designed to protect your PC from harmful voltage that can flow from devices attached to your PC through the USB cable. The isolator is inserted between the Phidgets board and your PC.



Phidgets GPS

Phidgets GPS

Phidgets GPS

Do you get lost often? Have your robots inherited this trait from their master? The Phidget GPS provides the longitude and latitude of the board’s position in signed decimal degree format. The position accuracy (best case) is 2.5m CEP (Circular Error of Probability).

The 1040 also provides altitude, heading and velocity as well as the time and date. It will also let you know when it has a satellite fix.

The PhidgetGPS has a 3V rechargeable lithium battery to provide “hot starts” by remembering its previous positions. With a live battery, the 1040 can perform a signal re-acquisition in less than 1 second. The battery provides up to 1 month of operation before having to be recharged. Recharging an empty battery takes 24 hours.

B-Squares: Modular Solar-powered Electrics

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Simple modular development kits have been somewhat of a unicorn in the safari of hobby electronics offerings. Many have tried, but to date there have been no break away success story yet. B-Squares is a new contender in the running and they are adding solar power to the mix along with an Ipod dock and an attractive form factor.

Previously we had Buglabs take a shot at this genre of product and it appears that they are still around, but it is unclear how long they will stay with $699 to $1,500 (!!!) price tags. It is hard to imagine anyone who wants to tinker with blocks having that kind of cash to burn to do so.

Modular Robotics has their cute little cubelets which shrink everything down and add robotics into the mix with options for drive cubes and range sensing. Also, a far more reasonable price. These look like great educational kits for teachers that want to get young kids excited about engineering.

B-squares with roughly a $25 price tag per square right now hits a nice price point and are being very smart by leveraging arduino compatibility. (You can pre-order on kickstarter and help these become reality) These stand a good chance of being popular at places like thinkgeek.com.

Lunchtime Viewing – Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’m sure many readers have already run across this, but for those who haven’t, we thought it worth sharing. Being geeks during lunch we often find geeky stuff to watch. I personally checkout what the latest TED talks are, catch up on Jon Stewart, or cruise Reddit. Today I stumbled across the Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine documentary on Youtube. Feynman is famous for his ability to explain complex physics to the everyday person as well as infuse the subjects with fun and enthusiasm. I learned something today that I had always wondered; I had no idea that the bulk of plants came from pulling the atoms literally out of the air. I always wondered how it was that more of the dirt didn’t disappear every year when the leaves fell and were taken away. So now I don’t know whether to feel dumb or smarter :P

Enjoy on your lunch break!