Set your Arduino free with wifino

[Tod] wrote in to tell us about his latest project. It’s called wifino, and aims to set your Arduino free by offering a web-based IDE, online storage for your Arduino sketches, and even WiFi enabled hardware to upload sketches wirelessly.

The wifino was conceived with the same train of thought as the codebender IDE we saw earlier this week. Instead of only providing a web-based programming environment, the wifino works in conjunction with wifino hardware, meaning you can upload sketches over a wireless connection.

On the software side of things, the wifino IDE features code editing, compiling, and uploading right from a browser. There are plans for a github-style interface in the works, allowing for the easy sharing of Arduino sketches from makers around the world.

[Tod] is planning on getting a Kickstarter underway in the next few weeks to get the wifino boards out into the wild. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any info or specs that come our way.

You can check out [Tod] uploading code from the Windows and iOS clients after the break.

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Data mining and saving money with Octopart’s historical pricing

[Greg Shikhman] is at Octopart this summer as a software development intern. In between the time he’s spending getting coffee for the other devs, he came up with historical pricing for thousands of components available at Octopart

There’s a lot of cool data out there, like this bit of pricing info for a 555 timer. We’re guessing a few people were out of stock of 555s around the end of May, explaining why they were selling (well, available for) $1.68 a piece. If you’re trying to source components, it might be worth your while to check out Octopart’s historical price index. Buying a PIC microcontroller last August was a roll of the dice; in one day the price changed from $5 to just over $2.

With all this data, it’s even possible to data mine for real life events unrelated to shipping and stocking issues. Japanese manufacturer Renesas was hit pretty hard by last year’s earthquake, and this shows up in the historical prices for one of their microcontrollers. Not bad for an intern’s project.

OpenGL on the Raspi

Perhaps we’ve been concentrating too much on the hardware side of the Raspberry Pi. Sure, connecting the Raspi to the outside world through GPIO pins is cool, but let’s not forget we’re dealing with a full-fledged Linux box here. [chris] is doing his best to keep us in check with by bringing the power of OpenGL graphics to the Raspberry Pi.

Previously, OpenGL ES was only available for xorg but [chris] successfully added support for Raspbian. There’s a great physics demo [chris] put together showing off 128 spheres and cubes bouncing around a plane.

Right now, [chris] is looking for people to contribute samples and tutorials for making accelerated 3D graphics on the Raspi. You can grab all the code over at [chris]‘ Git and contact him over on the Raspberry Pi forums if you’d like to help out.

As with any graphics demo, check out the videos after the break.

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Fritz’s, fast food with a robotic slant

While at Maker Faire K.C. this year, I was sure to take my family to a spot we tend to visit every time we are near: Fritz’s. Fritz’s is a restaurant with an interesting food delivery method. The food itself is your standard faire of burgers and fries, however the railroad theme comes into play when your food is delivered by a model train on a track that runs along the ceiling. Your tray of burgers is deposited safely on a platform that is lowered (hydraulically?) to your table. The whole thing doesn’t look terribly complex, but it is fantastic fun.

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Lift beer with quadcopters, win prizes

If you have a quadcopter and are looking for a beer delivery device, HobbyKing is putting on a beerlift competition The rules for the HobbyKing beer lift are pretty simple: lift the most beer with a quad/hex/octo copter and win a HobbyKing gift card.

There are 3 classes: Unlimited, which means a vehicle of any size goes, a 700 class for copters with a motor-to-motor diameter of 700 mm or less, and a Disaster class for the coolest crash.

So far the largest lift is a monsterous 2 meter octocopter by [Muresan Alexandru Camil] capable of lifting just over 47kg. In the 700 class, a bizarre looking 9-rotor copter built by the Whac-A-Mole flying team was able to lift 28kg.

The disaster category, a smaller quad built by [Gabriel Devault] was barely able to lift four cans of Coors Light water, while the current disaster class leader made a few valiant efforts to lift a keg. Protip: if you’re doing a blooper reel, Yakety Sax is definitely the way to go.

Android controlled monitor stand uses marbles as ball bearings

[mobile_earth_explorer] sent in an Instructable he put together documenting an Android-controlled rotating monitor stand he built.

The stand itself is three disks turned on a lathe out of a 18mm thick board. After turning these disks, [mobile_earth_explorer] hopped over to his bench grinder and made a semicircular tool to carve out the track for the ball bearings.

Once the disks could rotate freely on each other, the only thing left was to carve out a space for the servo, Arduino, a pair of pots, and the wiring. The pots control the maximum speed of the monitor stand as well as provide a manual rotation control for when your phone is across the room.

[mobile_earth_explorer] wrote the Android app so up to five of these swiveling monitors can be controlled by just one Arduino; yes, that might be overkill for home or office use, but we’re sure it would be highly useful for some sort of presentation.

You can check out a few videos going over the conception and construction of [mobile_earth_explorer]‘s monitor stands after the break.

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Taking a moon light from grayscale to full color

[Terry Miller] picked up a moon light on the cheap. All it does is light up some white LEDs to simulate moon phases after sensing nightfall via an LDR. He figured he could do better and set out to replace the electronics with a more colorful offering.

He chose to use an ATmega328 because he already had it on hand. The chip drives a series of RGB LEDs in a multiplex arrangement. To protect the I/O pins (and drive the LEDs at their target current) he is using a set of high and low side MOSFETs. Rather than rely on the light sensor to switch on the lamp he decided to add an IR receiver. In the video after the break you can see that this lets him cycle through colors and effects, in addition to switching the lamp on and off with a remote control.

With the enclosure put back together he is still able to reprogram the chip thanks to a serial header included in the design. The device is battery operated and the life estimates are included in his write-up.

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