Jul 132015
 

littleBits Arduino with Extra I/O HeadersIn keeping in line with their KISS philosophy, the littleBits Arduino module does not offer (easy) access to the full range of analog and digital I/O options that can be found on regular Arduino boards like the Arduino Uno. As a matter of fact, the littleBits Arduino only provides 3 bitSnap inputs and 3 bitSnap outputs if you intend on staying entirely within the littleBits ecosystem. Another difference is that unlike regular Arduino boards, the littleBits version uses its micro USB port for programming only. Power for the module must be supplied via one of the bitSnap inputs.

If you want to use your own sensors or actuators and you don’t have a Perf Module or Proto Module, or if the bitSnap inputs (or outputs as the case may be) are all full, hope is not lost. littleBits recognized that many users would need more I/O and all it takes is a little bit (no pun intended) of soldering.

Continue reading »

Jul 062015
 
DIY littleBits Perf Module

DIY littleBits Perf Module

The littleBits modular electronics system is great for rapidly prototyping electronics circuits, but what happens if you want to use an element, switch, sensor, actuator, etc., for which a module does not exist? Fortunately, littleBits provides three different solutions for the problem. Two of these are ready to go modules: the Proto Module and the Perf Module, while the third are just the connectors you need to roll your own module: the BitSnaps.

Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 
littleBits BitSnaps Package - Front

BitSnaps Package – Front

The RadioShack here in town, *my* RadioShack, is finally closing its doors forever after more than ten weeks of clearance sales the likes of which I won’t likely ever see again. I scored a lot of cool gadgets at ridiculously low prices, but my favorite continues to be the littleBits modular electronics system. As I’ve previously written about, my introduction to littleBits was via the cloudBit Starter Kit and the Arduino Coding Kit. Since then I have been grabbing a handful of the individually packaged elements on my weekly trip to the Shack. Now that my harvest has come to its inevitable end, I’m posting my take. A few of these were included in the kits I had bought as well, but I know I don’t have to remind a fellow tinkerer that too many of anything is never enough. Now for the pictures …

Continue reading »

Dec 272014
 
GE2524 Multimeter

GE2524 Multimeter

Question: Based on your previous post regarding voltmeters and internal resistance, I can safely assume that an ammeter must also have some internal resistance. What effect does this resistance have on current measurements, and what resistance value would minimize any error it introduces to the reading?

Answer: It is indeed true that an ammeter must have some internal resistance because like a voltmeter, it must draw current from the circuit in order to make its measurement. The similarities between ammeter and voltmeter internal resistances end there, however.

Continue reading »

Nov 242014
 
GE2524 Multimeter

GE2524 Multimeter

Question: Does a voltmeter have any internal resistance, and if so, what, if any, affect does it have on voltage readings?

Answer: Even if you have no electrical experience at all, I would hope that your answer to the first part of the question was, “yes.” Otherwise this would turn out to be an incredibly short post.

Continue reading »

Nov 152014
 
Leonhard Euler

Leonhard Euler

Besides being an obvious lady killer, Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler gifted the world with some pretty important mathematical concepts, notational conventions, and formulas. I almost feel bad about the fact that I couldn’t even spell his name correctly until I was well into adulthood.

You are probably thinking, “Sure, he had a bitchin’ robe, and for an old-timey dude he was pretty good looking, but was he really all that?”

I can’t find any quotes from the ladies, but his peers, both contemporary and modern have had a few things to say about him and his work.

Continue reading »

Nov 082014
 

Arduino Yun Box

I’ve had my eye on the Arduino Yun since it came out, but between an Uno, a Duemilanove, and a handful of shields, I always had something to play with and hadn’t run into any limitations that justified picking one up at the expense of some other shiny, new toy. Last week, however, a perfect storm of in-store sale and promotional coupons at RadioShack, put the Yun at a price I just couldn’t say no to.

Continue reading »

Feb 042006
 

Robosapien RS2 Media Robot

I’m a little bit late posting today so by now just about everybody else has already reported this, but in case you missed it (or in case NeuralDump is your sole source for news), You-Review.net has posted an interview with Mark Tilden, the controversial roboticist who’s responsible for the immensely popular line of WowWee robots including the Robosapien, the Robosapien V2, the Roboraptor, and the Robopet. The interview was conducted via Blackberry over the course of a week and covers Tilden’s thoughts on robot building and the role of microprocessors in simple robots, and offers some details about the new models announced at CES earlier this year.

Continue reading »

Oct 192005
 

BacteriaNature.com has published an article about the work of Ravi Saraf, a chemist from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and his student Vikas Berry in integrating living bacteria into an electrical circuit that is part of a humidity-detecting device. While there have been other instances of circuits built to react to microorganisms, this “cellborg,” as it has been dubbed, is the first time they have actually been built into the circuits themselves. This work has excited many biotechnologists as they see this as the first step towards developing biological computers.

Continue reading »