Weekly Roundup #08 - New Maker Products // News

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This week’s Weekly Roundup we’re seeing sensors, STEM teaching aids, a blast from the past, the CHIPpro and also a holographic display.

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Crowd Funding


Network motion sensor - smartphone control

The first one is an ESP8266 based board with a PIR on the back.

The concept is great, but I’m not sure about this campaign.

As always Caveat Emptor.

Home Smart Water Detector (HSWD)

The HSWD is a box that detects the presence of water running of a 9V battery for up to a year. Probably contains an ESP8266, and is fully programmable from the Arduino IDE and with a smartphone app. A nice little box if you have a leaky roof, or if you think someone will leave the bath water running.

I-EXTRUDER smart Solder Paste and Fluids dispenser for PCBs

Something to go with your reflow oven. This is a small dispenser that will accurately dispense solder paste for SMDs. It can also dispense lubricants, adhesives, and other semi-liquid compounds. It can also be triggered via a foot pedal.

MODI: Create Anything You Want with Robotics of Things

Another “World’s first” it seems.

MODI is a Robotics of Things platform with modules that magnetically connect to each other. Has a bunch of output modules, input modules and main modules containing an ARM Cortex, WiFi, Bluetooth and battery.

Oh, and it’s also Lego compatible.

μModūls (Micro Moduls) – Bring Your Vision to Market

Yet another modularized platform. The microModuls is yet another Arduino compatible building block that contains all the usual input and output modules.

This one is slightly different in that it is aimed for teachers teaching STEM courses. I guess the idea is that you stick the components on the whiteboard and draw where you want things connected.

Mmmmm. OK.

Pyduino - Arduino the python way

PyDuino! Yet another Arduino board running MicroPython. Ummm. Oh OK. It does have an onboard SD slot and can be powered from 7 to 12 volts. Even though these types of boards are a dime a dozen, it just might be the board you were looking for.

Holovect: Holographic Vector Display

Holy Vulcan, Bones! A holographic display?!

This is light years away from the holodecks that we’re all going to be using in the distant future, but really cool stuff.

It works basically as a controlled mirage and projects a vector display in thin air.

This one is well beyond any casual Maker at the moment, but it’s only a matter of time before everyone’s making one.


Arduino Learning Board

First up on IndiGoGo. Another Arduino learning board.

Seems that there’s a bucket load of these on the market, but here’s another that might interest you.

I should really do a review of a lot of these, shouldn’t I?

Roboming fellow, The Robot Friend For Everyone

Oh good grief. What is it with robots on crowd funding sites? Yet another one that seems to be doing well, but heck I’d much prefer to make my own.

This one, apparently, claims to be a “Robot Friend”, “Home Monitor” as well a “Pet Playmate”.

Yes, I can see that cat is really enjoying itself.

Crowd Supply

The Winkel Board

The Winkel board is in pre-launch status. Contains WiFi, Bluetooth, RTC and motion sensors. I’m assuming that it’s all fully Arduino compatible as it has an ATmega128 onboard, but no idea what else. Might be interesting once it goes live.

Maker Shops


Card Beacon with iBeacon & Eddystone Tech

In need of throwing around some cheap Bluetooth iBeacons? This product is based on Dialog’s DA14580 based which they claim provides 6 times the battery life of the TI CCC245 chips. Around 3 years on a single coin cell.

OPT3002 Light to Digital Sensor

If you have a need to measure light within a wide spectral bandwidth, then check out this OPT3002 board on Tindie. Measures between 300 and 1000 nanometers at an effective 23 bit resolution and has a low power mode.

Easy Pulse Mikro

Now this is nice. The Easy Pulse mikro is an addon board supporting several MPLAB Xpress and other boards.

It’s a photplethsimenen… pkotoplathysmafaffy… Oh heck, you know what I’m mean… No? Oh… Basically it’s a method where you can measure your heart rate by shining a light into the skin and sensing changes in light.

I’m going to be running a video series on sensors and so I’m ordering one of these.

Z80 single board computer version 2.0

Now this is a blast from the past. A full Z80 development board, complete with NTSC composite video out and keyboard. Apparently the Z80 is “ancient”! I didn’t think I was that old.

OLED Shield For ESPea

The ESPea is a yet another ESP8266 board. Well if you have one then you can also pick up a 128 by 64 monochrome OLED screen driven over the I2C bus. It uses the SSD1306 OLED driver.

CPLD trainer board version 2

Wanted to get into CPLDs? This training board contains either the Xlink 9536XL or 9572XL chips. CPLD is sort of a cross between an FPGA and standard discrete logic. It contains programmable logic gates like an FPGA, but the big difference is that it contains onboard memory, so is often used to bootstrap an FPGA.


Yet another Arduino Zero compatible board, but this one has a full colour OLED and integrated SD card slot.

Honorable mentions

Red Bear IoT pHAT for Raspberry Pi - WiFi + BTLE

AdaFruit has the Red Bear IoT pHAT for the Pi Zero which has onboard WiFi, bluetooth and EEPROM. You can also put this on a standard Pi, but of course there’s no need for the Pi 3 and when the Pi 4 comes out soon.

Teensy 3.6 & 3.5

And on SparkFun we have the new Teensy…. Oh. OK. They’re on back-order. I cold have sworn a couple of milliSeconds ago they had plenty in stock… Oh well. It’s one of those things. You’ve gotta be quick!

SparkFun Beginner Parts Kit

However, they do have plenty of the SparkFun Beginner Parts Kit. Which contains a lot of discrete components that you’re always running out of.

LilyPad Rainbow LED (6 Colors)

…and they have a bunch of Lilypad Rainbow LEDs that contain 7 LEDs still attached to each other that you can snap off.

The Chip Pro

You’ve all seen the CHIP, now NextThing has come out with the CHIPpro which will be shipping December 2016, but dev kits are on sale now. What’s the difference between the pro and the original?

Well, as far as I can see the only difference is it supports I2S audio and bluetooth 4.2.

Oh OK. I’ve requested a sample, so when I get it you’ll see what it’s really like.

Realtek RTL8710 vs. Espressif ESP8266

Here’s a good article from Maker.IO.

You will have heard about the ESP8266 modules. Well there’s another WiFi based module from Realtek. The RTL8710 is claimed to be cheaper and faster compared to the ESP8266.

Apparently our friends who came out with the Pine64 have made a module based on the Realtek called the PADI. I’d also like to get my hands on a sample of the PADI IoT Stamp to see what it’s like.


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