Moving data across a wire, definitely cool. Doing it wirelessly? Even better. Doing it (legally) at ranges exceeding 2 miles? The best. You can do it easily with these guys: The XBee radios from Digi, at prices ranging from $19 bucks and up. With a little bit of cash, some research online, and a few hours on a rainy day, you can port all sorts of data via these guys. There are many different flavors of XBee, from the simple point to point, the standard range vs. long range, Series1 and Series2, or even Mesh networking. It’s all just so cool! Here’s a pic of an XBee Series 2 Pro ZB radio on the Ladyada 5 volt logic converter board pulling duty on SDP Team SAFE-T’s project (check out all Senior Design Projects here:http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/sdp/sdp12/). Neat stuff. (and so tiny!)
If you are interested in working with the XBee radios, check out Digi’s website located here:
(HEY! While you are there, why don’t you check out some of the other cool stuff they’ve got!)
Hey everyone, did you know that every Saturday afternoon, M5 is open for you to either make/build/hack/concoct any projects or participate in a workshop? Well now you do.
M5 is open almost every Saturday, from 12:00pm to 3:30pm. During this time, Sean Klaiber (EE’11), Edmar Goncalves (CSE’12), and I (CSE’12) facilitate a workshop on a particular topic. Previous topics that we’ve covered include: EagleCAD, the “Hidden-Sounds Band”, and most recently, the Arduino. The last Saturday, the workshop taught the basics of the awesome prototyping platform Arduino. We covered how to set it up, as well as digital and analog input and output.
But, just because there’s a preset workshop, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you can do. You can also work on your personal electronics project–and we’re here to help with that too! Just let us know, and we’ll help you make something cool. For more information about the coming workshops, keep an eye out on Sean’s blog posts (it’s usually labeled “The Future”), or contact him by email: smklaiber (at) gmail.com.
Ahh, the Arduino. M5 loves it. It has sort of become to us what wikipedia is for new topic research. It’s been described on the Arduino homepage as “an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”. Since I often find myself describing gadgets by their functionality, I struggle with this one just because it has tendrils in so many different places. At it’s core is an 8-bit microcontroller but its success comes mostly from how simple it is to program and get electronics projects working quickly.
This Thursday from 6 to 9pm and Saturday from noon to 3pm, I’ll be hosting an Arduino workshop. Anyone can come to the workshop but due to limited resources there will be a sign-up. Expect an email within the next fews days with more details.
If you’re confused what the Arduino can do, here‘s a (slightly) aged list of some of the best projects as listed by hacknmod.com.
Did you ever play an old PacMan arcade game and think, “Wow those sounds are awesome! If only I could make them with an Arduino shield and a MIDI controller…”
Your prayers have been answered. The AY chip is an arcade sound chip used to generate effects and music for a number of old arcade and console games. M5ers made a circuit last spring that takes in MIDI information, such as that from a keyboard controller, and translates it into AY chip-speak.
The end result? You can play note on a MIDI keyboard and generate big buzzy awesome arcade sounds. All you need is an Arduino with the right software on it, our MIDI ArcAYde shield (get it?) and a MIDI controller, all of which we have at M5. So come check it out!