We’re happy to let you know that we’ve shipped out the first 15 HR-OS1 kits! If you’re one of the people who we’ve shipped to you should receive an e-mail with your tracking number shortly. We are on track to have the next 20 kits shipped out by the end of the week. The last 15 kits will be shipped out early / mid next week.
Archive for the ‘Front Page News’ Category
New Kits, tons of Grove modules, and some handy tools – We’ve got what you need to get off to a great start!
We have two new kits, the ARDX Arduino Starter Kit and the Grove Mixer Pack V2. Both are cleverly designed to get you playing with electronics quickly and learning through guided exercises. You can dive into the world of Arduino with the ARDX kit, or learn the basics of electronics with the Lego-like pieces in the stand alone Grove Mixer Pack.
We have a six new Grove modules for you: The High Temperature Sensor, Hall Sensor, GPS, Screw Terminal, Piezo Vibration Sensor, and Bee Socket. Each is unique in function and works great with the Geekduino with sensor shield, using the Electronic brick to three pin converter cable to Grove!
We have a few useful little tools for your next project. The Gesture R TINY is the smallest gesture Sensor we’ve ever seen, and a great addition to any control interface. It was successfully kickstarted, and now we’re bringing it to you! Also tiny is the .28 Inch LED Digital DC Voltmeter. Give your project a clever and useful voltage readout. Lastly, we now carry a Screwdriver Magnetizer/Demagnetizer. Most of our drivers come magnetized, but the strength of the magnetization eventually wears off, leaving you dropping bolts. Worry not, you can quickly give your tools new magnetic powers with this handy tool.
That’s all for now!
On a cold Feburary morning, we were contacted by a local group seeking assistance. Plant Chicago is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that acts as a small business incubator, and aims to assist the urban agriculture movement through education. They were in need of equipment in order to collect data from their aquaponic systems, aiming to monitor temperature, Ph, dissolved oxygen, humidity, and even plant growth, via the arduino platform. Being that this project is super cool and we have the Geekduino platform, combined with our Sensor Shield which allows for simple and rapid prototyping using a wide range of sensors, we obliged this request. Excited to see what Plant Chicago had in the works, we arranged a trip to The Plant.
Our first chance to visit was on Valentine’s Day, and what a lovely day to make new friends. Nestled in a group of enormous industrial parks, this old building, known as The Plant, is the home of Plant Chicago. Though it is massive, it stands unassuming among the smoke stacks and steel frame factories nearby. Like your mama probably told you, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and we were excited to see what they had to offer. We met up with the President of the Auxiliary Board, and began the tour.
There is a large, inviting lobby beyond the entry steps. Every room bustles with activity. There are several businesses taking residence there, and more moving in. There are algae bioreactors in the windows, giant water tanks on the walls, and everywhere you look, there are signs of activity. There is a small table in this enormous room, with a small fish tank on it. A healthy fish swims around the tank, as water flows to the plants above. This is the first aquaponic system you see in the building, and it is a teaching tool, showing the nature of a closed-loop system.
Being shown around some of the more seemingly vacant areas of the building, we are informed of business that came and went, as well as ones that are moving in, and plans to use spaces as community areas and markets. There is a bakery and a fromagere on the upper floors. A mushroom farm, and a battery of aquaponic farms reside in the basement. The Plant is bustling with activity, and big changes are happening constantly.
We got a chance to look at the aquaponic systems that Plant Chicago employs, growing food and providing a valuable learning environment for urban agriculture. Seeing the systems up close and personal was a good way to work out the methods with which experiment data collection could be done with the resources that were available, as well as how we could expand upon them with the equipment we were donating. This is a huge undertaking, but with a Geekduino and the willingness to learn, Plant Chicago will be logging experimental data on these systems in no time. We at Trossen Robotics are confident that Plant Chicago is growing, and we’re looking forward to a relationship that broadens the horizons of both organizations together.
You may have heard about the LIDAR-Lite , a small, low cost, high performance distance sensing module. With a range of up to 40m and an accuracy of 2.5cm, we absolutely love the LIDAR lite. The LIDAR Lite is very easy to work with – you can connect to it via I2C or PWM to read distance data. We’re including several goodies with the LIDAR Lite, like cable ends and heat shrink tube so you can solder onto the LIDAR Lite’s cable that will let you plug it directly into the RobotGeek Sensor Shield or the ArbotiX-M Robocontroller. You’ll also get mounting hardware to help you mount the LIDAR-Lite to any of our robots with the centimeter grid pattern.
We’ve created two demos with the LIDAR Lite using Interbotix Robots. First we put a LIDAR Lite on our PhantomX Hexapod and programmed the Hexapod to move back and forth depending on where an object is. Move the object closer to the Hexapod and it will back up, move it farther, and the hexapod will run after it. After we did that project, we built a small scanner application that will take data from the LIDAR lite connected to a Robot Turret and display the perimeter of the room on your screen – see the video below to see it in action.
Doctors, Gators, Splices, and Cerberus – We have what you need to get your prototype hooked up and tested out!
The USB Charger Doctor is a handy tool that measures the working voltage and current output for any USB port and project. Plug the Doctor between a USB port and your USB device, and it will check the current draw with a 0.05 ohm resistor in line with the power pin. Data lines pass through as normal. You can use this device from 3.5-7VDC input voltage (although most USB devices tend to hover around 4.75 to 5.25) and up to 3A of current. It flips between voltage and current readouts roughly every 3 seconds.
You are in the middle of working on your latest robot, when you need to program a new board you just got in. You dig through your bin of USB cables only to find that you have hundreds that have the wrong end, and exactly zero that have the end you’re looking for. As luck would have it, you remember that you ordered the Sparkfun Cerberus USB Cable! With this cable, you will always have the right connection.
The Cerberus USB Cable has the standard A-type connector, which you can plug into your computer or USB power supply; At the other end are three common USB connectors: B, mini-B and micro-B. Want to transfer data and power three devices at the same time? This cable comes standard with a USB hub built in, so you’ll never have to worry about deciding between charging your phone and moving your extensive collection of sci-fi movies to an external hard drive.
Get connected quickly with a Cold Splice! These little wonders bite into any 22-26 AWG solid core wire with a quick squeeze from some parallel-jaw or slip joint pliers, making a solid butt splice connection. Though not waterproof, the splices contain silicone jelly to keep the cold splice from oxidizing. They come in packs of 10 splices, and can join 2 or 3 wires.
As always, there’s more to come soon. Prototype well, and check back often, we have exciting things happening this year!