Location recorder and mapper

[Jeroen's] student project is a module that uses GPS tracking to create travel data on Google maps. It’s not really a spy device as the data isn’t transmitted, but would be a lot of fun to use on cycling and hiking adventures. A PIC 18F2550 reads location and altitude data from a GPS receiver as well as data from an accelerometer. This information can be displayed on an attached touchscreen display and it is also saved to a pair of EEPROMs. When you get back from your trip, the data pulled from the device via a serial connection is processed by [Jeroen's] C# application and used to overlay the route on a google map. He’s got a source code package available for download but we’ve saved you the trouble if the schematic is all you’re after. It’s attached after the break.

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Simple touch sensor and other lessons

[HankDavis] sent along this link to a video showing a tutorial on how to make touch sensors using a “darlington pair”. In the video we are taken through the idea and how we’re going to construct it.  [Thad]explains in detail how this works in simple terms and illustrates it clearly. Unfortunately they don’t show an actual constructed system, but this is so simple you could toss it together quickly and see for yourself. This is a great lesson on how to get a simple touch sensor into your projects. This video appears to be one of a series of class visuals, and you can find several others on youtube under this account.

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STK200 pocket change programmer

A common complaints of beginners to microcontroller programming is the availability of DIY tools that do not require a parallel port.  Using not much more than a couple of 74xx series chips and some protoboard, [Rue] was able to create an AVR programmer for less than the cost of some chips it can program – giving parallel programmers a run for thier money. [Rue] used Linux treat the ubiquitous PATA/IDE port as a parallel port. By having avrdude treat the programmer as an Atmel STK200, [Rue] was able to upload a blinky program to his AVR microcontroller through ISP. If anybody can think of an even lower cost unconventional solution give us a shout.