Knut logs data, sends it to your email

[Richard] and [Jay] needed a WiFi connected data logger for remotely monitored aquariums. After working diligently for three years, they’re finally finished. While the Knut was originally designed to keep tabs on a few huge aquariums, it’s more than capable to log all sorts of data and send those sensor readings to your email address.

Knut is a small WiFi enabled device replete with a few plugs for temperature, humidity, accelerometer, and other sensors. All this data goes directly into the memory of Knut, and when the memory is full the data is sent to an email address. As a bonus, there’s also an iDevice app (Android and Windows coming soon) to parse the generated .CSV file and display the results on an iPhone

The Knut may be a touch expensive for our tastes, but if you’re looking for an off-the-shelf solution for sending alerts, logging data, or just reading a few sensors via WiFi, Knut may be just the ticket.

[Richard] and [Jay] put together a demo video showing off the capabilities and operation of the Knut app; check that out after the break.

[Read more...]

Crayolascope turns flat displays into volumetric coolness

[Blair] sent in a project he’s been working on for a while. It’s called the Crayolascope, and it allows for the creation of an extremely low-fi volumetric display using a Crayola Glow book.

The Crayola Glow Book is a pretty neat toy composed of four clear plastic panels. Each of these four panels are illuminated from the side to reveal the image drawn with fluorescent ‘glow pens’. [Blair] had the idea to take several of these Glow Books and draw a rudimentary 3D animation by sequentially lighting one of the 12 plastic panels.

After tracing single frames from a rotating cube animation, the Crayolascope pages through the plastic panel-based 3D display with the help of an Arduino Mega. For each frame of animation, the Arduino illuminates a single display with edge-mount LEDs. Of course there’s a control panel to regulate how fast the frames are shown, along with the ability to scrub a frame and apply a fade effect.

[Blair] admits there are a few problems; there’s a lot of internal reflections in the array of clear plastic sheets, and frames near the end of an animation are really only observable in a very dark room. [Blair] hopes the next version of the Crayolascope will use thinner plastic panels to increase the depth of the animations – a solution that may just solve the decreasing brightness of ‘deeper’ panels.

 

Using the Raspi as an Ethernet shield

[Alexandre] wanted to set up a web-based temperature logger with his Arduino, but found the Arduino Ethernet shield a little finicky. Since his Raspberry pi was just delivered, he figured he could use the Raspi as an Ethernet shield with just a little bit of coding.

After [Alexandre] set up his Arduino to send a thermocouple through the USB, the only thing left to do was to add node.js to the Raspi’s Debian installation. Every five minutes, the Arduino wakes up, takes a temperature reading, and sends it over to the Raspberry pi. From there, it’s easy parse the Arduino’s JSON output and serve it up on the web.

In the end, [Alexandre] successfully set up his Raspberry pi as an Ethernet shield to serve a web page displaying the current temperature (don’t F5 that link, btw). One interesting thing we have to point out is the cost of setting up this online temperature logger: the Arduino Ethernet shield sells for $45 USD, while the Raspberry pi is available for $35. Yes, it’s actually less expensive to use a Raspberry pi as an Ethernet shield than the current Arduino offerings. There you have it, just in case you were still on the fence about this whole Raspi thing.

NC Maker Faire 2012: Machine Tools and 3D Printers

NC Maker Faire 2012 3D printer

There were quite a few 3D printers at the NC Maker Faire this year (like the [Fablicator], several [RepRap]s, and [MakerBot]s) as well as a few subtractive machining devices including a wood lathe, a [ShopBot] display (one of the sponsors), and my little CNC router. There was even a little [Eggbot] on display, which combines several CNC concepts into a really unique device for printing a picture on an egg.

Check out the video below for lots of examples of what was at the Faire. There’s always room for one more 3D printing or CNC machining enthusiast, so hopefully it inspired some makers to expand their capabilities! [Read more...]

I/O extender board and case for a cheap WiFi router

This 3d printed case houses the already small [TP-Link TL-WR703N] but also makes room for a custom expansion board. The expansion board is designed to make the device more hacker friendly, and who doesn’t need a nice case to hold it?

Since the router board already has a USB port (intended for use with USB 3G modems) the add-on acts as a USB hub. The stock USB connector is replaced by a pin header which mates with a DIL socket on the underside of the expansion board. Through the use of an FTDI chip the expander offers three USB ports and a 2×10 pin header to break out the GPIO pins from the router’s processor. Only two USB ports are visible in the image above. That’s because the third is recessed, and an opening has not been added to the enclosure. This struck us as odd until we read that the port is meant to be used with a low-profile thumb drive, essentially adding internal storage for the device.

[Thanks buZz]

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