An air-powered robotic tentacle using Processing and Arduino

Soft robotics at home.

Matthew Borgatti of HAR.MS made this slightly disconcerting yet undeniably fascinating prototype of an air-powered robotic tentacle. The tentacle itself is made of silicone, and an Arudino and three solenoid valves control the flow of air that make the tentacle bend and twist. Borgatti also made a simple visual user interface with Processing to operate it.

“Soft robotics” like this have several potential advantages over the more traditional “hard” systems. A soft arm is more gentle with far fewer moving parts, and is, in some ways, more resistant to damage that a typical robotic arm.
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How to use an old Nokia to send text messages from an Arduino

Put one of those old cellphones lying around to good use.

Most people have at least one or two old cellphones sitting in a drawer somewhere. Now you can use one for your next Arduino project. Alex of insideGadgets has kindly posted a detailed tutorial showing how to hack and old Nokia 6110 (or any derivative) to send text messages from an Arduino. Even if you don’t have one of these sitting around, old technology (aka project materials) can be bought at absurdly low prices.

Via Arduino blog

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Filabot winds toward closed loop recycling

Filament making machine winds its way toward finishing its Kickstarter campaign rewards

Filabot ReclaimerWe last looked at Filabot, the plastic extrusion filament maker for Makerbot and RepRap style 3D printers when Tyler McNaney was in the middle of his Kickstarter Campaign, that ended up successfully raising $32,330 and was more than 320% funded.

The Filabot is a desktop machine that aims to help reduce the cost of 3D printing for filament based and reduce plastic waste by turning it into “ink” or filament for 3D printers that print by depositing and fusing plastic together.

The Filabot Reclaimer has recently had a lot of development work from McNaney, whose working hard to fulfil his Kickstarter rewards orders by the end of the year. He, recently revealed the design for the production Filabot Reclaimer on his website. The case is made from folded CNC plasma cut steel. (more…)

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3D print your own humanoid robot

It picks up objects, talks, and obeys your voice.

An open source, 3D printable humanoid robot is in development and available for download from Thingiverse. Right now only the arms can be downloaded, but the head and torso are promised as soon as the design has been refined.

InMoov is a project by Gael Langevin, a French sculptor (Thingiverse user hairygael). Langevin has been working on InMoov since early 2012 and has gone through numerous design iterations and discarded 3D prints since that time. The progress is nothing short of outstanding. As you can see in the video below, this is a fully articulated humanoid robot, a rarity outside the research labs of corporations and universities.
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MakerBot announces the Replicator 2X experimental 3D printer

The most advanced MakerBot yet.

MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis announced the Replicator 2X 3D printer at the CES technology event. The new printer is equipped with a heated build platform, dual extruders for multiple colors, the ability to print both PLA and ABS, and a 100 micron layer print resolution. It also has a fully enclosed build area with clear plastic windows (that oddly don’t appear to be shown in the above image).

This is arguably their most advanced 3D printer yet. It’s also their most expensive at $2799, clearly reinforcing the transition of MakerBot as a company from inexpensive hobbyist 3D printers to more professional-level machines.

Via Cnet

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All-in-one controller board for making your own 3D printer

New grassroots hardware from the Pacific Northwest.

The BrainWave board by Metrix Create:Space and Matthew Wilson is an all-in-one controller specifically designed for DIY 3D printers. It includes support for 4 stepper motors, a heated extruder, and a heated print bed. It’s also open source. And did I mention it was fabricated, assembled, and tested in the Pacific Northwest? The components are from overseas, but that’s nearly impossible to avoid these days.

Unfortunately, it’s not widely available quite yet; it is currently being beta tested to work out the bugs. Once launched, the BrainWave will sell for the very reasonable price of $100.
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Circuit Playground teaches kids about electronics

Web series uses puppets to inspire the next generation of inventors


Adafruit continues in their quest to make DIY electronics easy for all ages with Circuit Playground, a children’s web series that teaches electronics in a quirky and fun way.

“We’ll have each component have a story, a song and something to do”

From Cappy the Capacitor to Hans the 555 Timer Chip, this light-hearted approach will enable enquiring youngsters to immerse themselves in technology as they gain valuable real-world knowledge.

Supporting the show there are additional fun low-tech teaching aids including a colouring book and a set of plush dolls that will bring the characters to life. Combine this with the Circuit Playground iOS app and you’ve got plenty to not only keep the kids entertained and engaged with the learning process, but also maintain the underlying goal of inspiring the next generation of engineers.

“We want to celebrate the fun and good parts of making things, and even tackle complex subjects like what’s ‘good’ to make”

Circuit Playground is scheduled to air in March on Google+ and Ustream.

via Wired

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Raspberry Pi launches an ‘app store’

Easily find software for your Raspberry Pi or offer your own creations.

The Rasberry Pi foundation has launched the Pi Store, a one stop shop for software, tutorials, games, and useful code for the Raspberry Pi. The idea is to provide an easy way to to find great software and distribute your own, thus making it even easier to get started. At launch, the store had 23 free titles and 1 paid, commercial program, so the venue is definitely favoring free sharing, at last so far.

The Pi Store was developed in partnership with IndieCity and Velocix.

Via engadget

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Arduino for beginners

Learn about microcontrollers without using breadboards

The Arduino system has done much to help introduce makers both young and old to the world of DIY electronics. Much lauded for its remarkable versatility and ease of use, all it takes are a few components and you’re on your way to new and exciting programming pleasures.

For those just starting out who find breadboards and wires a little daunting, the Arduino Esplora is a hand-held unit already fitted with a number of sensors, controllers and connections all ready to go right out of the box.

“…a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that lets you explore the infinite possibilities you have in the world of Arduino, without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. Shaped like a game controller, it’s designed to be used out of the box without extra parts since it comes with many sensors and actuators already on it.”

Built around the same core as the popular Arduino Leonardo, the Esplora boasts an accelerometer, microphone, analog joystick, button array, light sensor, temperature sensor, linear potentiometer and audio buzzer. Although it lacks the facility to connect extra components like we are used to seeing with Arduino shields, there are two TinkerKit inputs and outputs that will enable further expansion.

Additional modules such as LCD displays are in the works, and knowing the Arduino community, it won’t be long before there is a whole host of enhancements available. Eager beavers can get their hands on an Arduino Esplora right now for under €42.

Arduino Esplora via Engadget

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Free app turns Microsoft Kinect into 3D scanner

3D scan using mass market hardware.

FARO, a company specializing in 3D scanning hardware and software, has released SCENECT, a free app that uses the sensor data from a Microsoft Kinect or other, similar device for 3D scanning. The app even incorporates the color data in addition to the geometry of the object to produce full-color 3D models.

See some examples after the jump, and download SCENECT from their site.
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