Archive for July, 2012

Robots + Vision Tracking = Keeping Your Room Clean Forever

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Robots really shine when you give them great sensors to read in data about their world – and what better sensor to give a robot than sight? Well minokur built an amazing little bot, the TrashBox and remotley tethered it to a Microsoft Kinect. The Kinect is capable of sensing 3d environments, and pinpointing moving objects in space. When you combine this power with the mobile little TrashBox, you get a trash bin that will race to catch every bit of trash you throw.

There aren’t a ton of details on the program running the show or what kind of range this robot is accurate to, but just the TrashBox’s design and performance are enough to make this an awesome project.

Via [Oh Gizmo!]

Howto: Controlling Solenoids, Pumps and More From Your Arduino

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Recently, we added Solenoids and Water Pumps to our catalog. These devices are extremely useful so they have a huge variety of project applications.

One question that comes up a lot is, ‘How do I control these devices with my Arduino?” Well in this quick video tutorial, we’ll show you how to use a basic relay to easily control your pump, solenoid or motor! Once you’ve got the basics of controlling these devices down, you can move on to making bigger, better and cooler projects!

Download the sample code and diagram here

Firgelli Linear Actuators Back In Stock!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Firgelli l12 linear actuator

We know you’ve been waiting for them, and we’ve finally have the 100:1 100mm mini linear actuator and the 210:1 100mm mini linear actuator back in stock! These linear actuators will fit in the tightest of spaces, and can be controlled via a PWM, voltage or current! And don’t forget that each actuator has a built in potentiometer to give you positional feedback making these actuators are great for all sorts of precision projects.

Fancy display case not included.

New Dynamixel MX Series Servos Pack a Powerful Punch

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Robotis wowed the robotics community with the MX-28T, and recently they’ve expanded the MX line to include the TTL MX-64T and the MX-106T, as well as the RS-485 variants, the MX-28R, the MX-64R and the MX-106R.

These new servos have a contactless magnetic encoder, which offers 4x the resolution of the RX series. This makes them more accurate and even smoother than the old servos. Also upgraded, is the processor in each of these servos – a 32bit 72mhz Cortex M3! This beefy processor handles the newly implemented PID control algorithm. It can be used to maintain shaft position and can be adjusted individually for each servo, allowing you to control the speed and strength of the motor’s response. The new setup also offerers a 3Mbps bus. The ‘T’ variants use TTL communication and are compatible with other TTL servos like the AX-12 and the AX-18. Meanwhile the ‘R’ variants use RS-485, just like the RX series.

You might remember Don and Jason’s new robotic arm, which uses the new MX servos. But the real question is, what will you do with them?

New Solenoids are Here!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Coils are awesome. Ignition coils, Tesla Coils and Coilguns to name a few. But our new favorite coils are the ones in our New Solenoids. These solenoids will move their shaft in and out as you apply a voltage to them – they’re incredibly easy to use and amazingly useful for projects ranging from locking mechanisms to home brew pinball machines.

The smallest solenoid can fit into the tiniest of project boxes, while the largest one can move a whopping 7.5 lbs. And right in between, the medium solenoid is a great compromise between size and strength. We have a Strength Chart of all the solenoids at different voltages, as well as technical drawings and 3D .stp files available on the product pages.

Check our video for more information and to see the incredible feats of strength these solenoids can perform.

Get in on the 10 Dollar Robot Design Challenge

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Bringing technology and science to the masses isn’t always easy. Even if you forget about the complexities of curriculum, just having the basic tools tools to teach technology can be cost prohibitive. The African Robotics Network (AFRON) is hoping to put a dent in that problem with the“10 Dollar Robot” Design Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to create an inexpensive robotics platform that can be use used in science and technology education. The robot must be programmable, and have some way to interact with it’s environment. Robots that cost under $100 are eligible, though the closer you get to $10, the better your score will be.

The winners of this competition will get prizes including cash, Raspberry Pis and having your design distributed via the AFRON. Just imagine your design in the hands of students worldwide!

We absolutely love initiatives like this one – simple ways to bring technology and science to even more people. So thank you to the founders of this project, Ken Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah . And good luck to all the contestants – we’re really excited to see what you come up with!

New Flex Sensors and Power Converters

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

We really love our Flex Sensors – just by bending the sensor, you can feed control data into your Arduino. In fact we love them so much, we’re adding 2.2 Inch Flex Sensors to our catalog as well. This sensor’s diminutive size makes it great for all sorts of small spaces and projects.

We know that power connectors can be a pain, especially when your in the prototyping phase. Loose wires and alligator clips can be messy and dangerous while soldering in power cables tethers your project to your power supply. Get the best of both worlds with the Power Converter 6 in 1 Pack. This pack has several DC power jacks that have screw terminals – making it easy to add them onto your project.

It turns out that all this time dubstep was just angry robots

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Cool Down With Our New Liquid Pumps

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
A couple of projects ago, we decided that we needed to move some serious liquid. We did quite a bit of searching, and finally found these DC Liquid Pumps! The pumps have a great size to power ratio AND they’re food safe. This makes them great for everything from serving drinks to watering plants, and they won’t take up too much space on your project. Check out the awesome results we got from these pumps, including a 20 foot range when spraying water through a nozzle! Motorized water guns, here we come!