Sunday, August 28, 2016

Software: Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) Recently Updated to 1.6.11

On August 17, 2016, Arduino.cc upgraded their IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to version 1.6.11

Arduino ide

If you are working with Arduino microcontrolllers (or the host of Arduino compatible systems) you should check out the new software. There are no big feature additions in this version, but a lot of bug fixes and tweaks.

Here are some of the fixes made:

ARDUINO 1.6.11 - 2016.08.17

  • [ide]
  • Fixed a serious bug that prevented some 3rd party boards, installed through external index.json URL, to work correctly.
  • Fixed a bug in boards manager that, in some rare circumstances, could lead to remove bundled  tools when uninstalling a previously installed AVR core
  • builder: fixed regression about inclusion of files in subfolders of the sketch  (see https://github.com/arduino/Arduino/issues/5186 for details)
  • avrdude: reverted to version 6.0.1, until all discovered regressions are solved  (see https://github.com/arduino/Arduino/issues?q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aopen+label%3A%22Component%3A+Avrdude+6.3%22 for details)

Get the latest version of the Arduino IDE here

Learn more about Arduino with this books

Arduino Boards and Components via Amazon

Arduino Boards and Components via eBay

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Project: #InventforGood Bat Vision

What a great, creative project for kids of all ages and a prototype for something that could be very useful. This project uses the LittleBits interlocking electronics kit, but it would be easily recreated using standard Arduino parts. It looks like even the code could be re-used, too. I have an ultrasonic sensor I picked up cheap and some other parts from an Arduino Start Kit. I think I might put this together just for the shear fun of it! See links for parts below.

Bat vision 1

Bat vision 2 

#InventforGood Bat Vision

This device can detect the obstacles on your way using echolocation method just like bats do. It's like you have your own bat-friend who can accompany you wherever you go and tell you if there is something on your way that you cannot see.

It is a useful tool for blind people and for people working in the conditions of very low or no visibility. Of course, it can also be used for playing fun games.
The voice alert will turn on once you appear within a dangerous distance from the obstacle ahead.

It is based on the Arduino Bit. It drives the ultrasonic sensor and keeps measuring the distance from the objects ahead. The buzz alert indicates that the distance from the object is within 50 cm.

Discovered via the Adafruit Blog

Parts that can be used to recreate this project

LittleBits Kits at Amazon.com

LittleBits Kits at eBay.com

Amazon | eBay

Hc sr04

HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Module at eBay

Elegoo 37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit for Arduino UNO R3, MEGA, NANO

More Arduino Boards and Parts on Amazon

More Arduino Boards and Parts on eBay

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Noted: Incredibly Useful, and Free, Guide to Fasteners for all the Makers in your life via Make Magazine

Incredibly Useful, and Free, Guide to Fasteners via Make Magazine

Wow! I know that I am always overwhelmed and confused when I go to the hardware store to try and find the proper hardware for a home repair or project. These free guides from Bolt Depot might just be the answer to my Maker prayers. I know I am going to be spending some time in the very near future downloading and perusing all of them.


The 28-page guide covers the anatomy of bolts and screws, different head types, drive types, thread count and pitch, and how to measure diameter and length. The majority of the document is full-size “lay-over” reproductions of common (and not so common) fasteners so that you can size the bolts you have by eye-balling them on over the guide. Being more of a visual than a numbers person, I find these lay-over guides extremely helpful. Every page of the guidebook also has a scale accuracy ruler so that you can check to make sure that you properly printed the page for accurate bolt identification.
Read the entire article at Make Magazine

Download the guides directly from Bolt Depot

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Visit to Hackspace Catania!


While on our recent trip to visit family in Sicily (our 4th trip to this area), we made the time to visit Hackspace Catania, the first makerspace in Italy (if I understood them correctly) which opened 3 years ago in a quiet street in downtown Catania, Sicily. I had found the space during my pre-trip research for interesting places I wanted to see during this visit.

With my recent involvement in Hackerspace LA, here in the San Fernando Valley, it made perfect sense to check out as many other makerspaces I could to get some ideas and simply see how other sites were organized. After a couple of emails, we set a time to visit and planned on taking the two older boys in the family along with us. I thought they would find the group very interesting, along with their father and might even provide them a location for classes and events to learn more about technology.

Hackspace Catania

Arriving in a relatively quiet street in Catania -- where an old palazzo sits on one corner -- we located the space by its address, but also by the small logo on the door -- an H in a gear -- based on the Open Hardware logo. Yep, this must be the place!

We were greeted by several members of Hackspace Catania including  Emilio Messina, Riccardo Puglisi, Massimiliano Marchese and Massimiliano Sapuppo. Here is a picture of our entire group on the Hackspace Catania Facebook Page.


Everyone was extremely welcoming -- as is often the case in the makerspace world -- and they eagerly showed off their space and their projects. The space is relatively small, with a main floor and a half-mezzanine above. The main floor holds fold up tables that can be lowered for classes, an amazing DJ-Scratching system designed and built by members, a projector system and the usual eclectic collection of tech and artwork found in most makerspaces.

Hackspace Catania Main Floor Panorama
 Main Floor

Hackspace Catania Mezzanine Panorama
Mezzanine

A back workroom included many tools and 2 large homemade CNC machines -- one prototype made of wood and another, in progress, constructed out of aluminum. Upstairs housed a small gaming space with couch, a 3-d printer and an impressive collection of retro computers including a Commodore PET, Commodore 64, Atari 2600 and more. I expressed my dismay -- with a laugh -- that they didn't have an Apple IIe, my first computer.

Hackspace Catania Homebuilt CNC

Hackspace Catania performs a lot of outreach around the area, especially with students, and also produces high-end paid classes on topics like Drones, 3-D printing, Arduino and more which help to support the space.

Hackspace Catania

After an hour or so, we packed up to head to a family event a little further down the coast, but everyone in my group was very impressed by what they saw and the people they met. The family wasn't really sure exactly what Hackspace Catania was about, but once we started walking around it became very clear and I hope that they will visit and engage with the group whenever they can in the future.

Thanks to everyone at Hackspace Catania for making it such a great visit! Keep on making and making the world a better place!

Palazzo next door to Hackspace Catania
The palazzo across the street!

On the street near  Hackspace Catania

Here is a complete slideshow of our day (along with a few other photos) so you can see the entire space I described above.



Hackspace Catania Web Site
Hackspace Catania Facebook Page

Learn more about Makerspaces with these books from Amazon.com More makerspace books on Amazon.com

Friday, August 19, 2016

Learn about HAM Radio/Amateur Radio at the next Hackerspace LA Meetup - August 31, 2016 @ 7 pm

 HAM and CB Radio Basics

Come and see what HAM radio is all about along with Hackerspace LA!

Is HAM radio still relevant in this day of cell phones and high-speed Internet connections wherever you go? You Bet! From emergency communication services during natural disasters to communicating with the International Space Station and student satellites in space, HAM radio bridges huge distances in science and between people.

Lynn O’Connell and Jennifer Oliver O’Connell will cover basic amateur radio theory and requirements to get you going on your way to enjoying this hobby.  

We’ll also have radios on display and knowledgeable individuals that will be happy to answer any question you may have about HAM. 


Our Speakers:

Hackerspacela logo

Join us at a Hackerspace Los Angeles weekly meet up.  Come by and mingle with like-minded people and see what others are working on.  Find out what planned activities we have and how you can participate.  

If you are interested in helping us establish a permanent location in the San Fernando Valley you need to be here to help us plan this and make it happen. 
We’ll still be holding classes/workshops of various interests once a month.  I will be posting the schedule later in the week and will be announced in separate meetup for each of the workshops.