Hackaday Prize Entry: A Good Electronics Learning Toolkit

The Maker movement is a wildly popular thing, even if we can’t define what it is. The push towards STEM education is absolutely, without a doubt, completely unlike a generation of brogrammers getting a CS degree because of the money. This means there’s a market for kits to get kids interested in electronics, and there are certainly a lot of options. Most of these ‘electronic learning platforms’ don’t actually look that good, and the pedagogical usefulness is very questionable. Evive is not one of these toolkits. It looks good, and might be actually useful.

The heart of the Evive is basically an Arduino Mega, with the handy dandy Arduino shield compatibility that comes with that. Not all of the Mega pins are available for plugging in Dupont cables, though – a lot of the logic is taken up by breakouts, displays, buttons, and analog inputs. There’s a 1.8″ TFT display in the Evive, an SD card socket, connectors for an XBee, Bluetooth, or WiFi module, motor drivers, a fast DAC, analog inputs, and a plethora of buttons, knobs, and switches. All of this is packed into a compact and seemingly sturdy plastic case, making the Evive a little more durable than a breadboard and pile of jumper wires.

You can check out a remarkably well produced video for the Evive below.

60 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: A Good Electronics Learning Toolkit

  1. My biggest suggestion: supply an optional cover that is big enough to snap in place over the breadboarded circuit, shield, etc to protect your circuit. That flat cover looks great but if you’re using the product you can never use the cover!

  2. Multi meter, IOT, Function Generator, Microcontroller, Communication modules……can’t think of any more devices that a tinkerer or robotics enthusiast needs and all that in one place…..excellent and awesome work guys

        1. It has a fully isolated SPI Sigma Delta ADC but I couldn’t see in the spec sheet what S/s it is. You won’t get much S/s from the Arduino environment anyway. Perhaps more with ‘C’ but still low on a 20MIPs chip.

        2. Yes we are making it 20KHz atleast while improving accuracy with better PCB layout and codes are building up. We are using C (AVR) codes beyond Arduino IDE to improve the speed. The ADC (ADE7912) is very fast
          https://goo.gl/photos/L3ihBwNXnv2ihHU78 as it takes around 14us to acquire one sample (about 70Khz). But the slowdown factor is TFT screen communication speed and ATmega 2560 capacity to manipulate readings.

  3. I like it. But if you cant find it you cant buy it. and then there is Money. How much. I get a allowance of $25 a week.
    Can I still get it. I still have to get other things to live on Like Coffee. So that leaves me around $5-$8 a week left at most.
    Like I said I like it.

    1. @Perry – You can supplement your income with independent contracting a local neighborhood landscaping business model. You need to borrow money from parents for petrol/gasoline, lawnmower (electric is better), hedge clippers, electric weed wacker, leaf blower, rack, and some elbow grease. Your parents probably already have most of this in the garage. With a book of business of regular affluent neighbors (which I’m sure you have) you could undercut the local big boy landscapers by 50% and make enuf’ to purchase several of these wonderful gadgets. The Early Bird is less than $100 USD. The most expensive is still under $1,000 USD. Your allowance alone would allow that Early Bird in 4 weeks. They probably won’t be ready for shipment until this winter. Landscaping in North America (northern latitudes) also involves snow and ice removal. That means snow shovels, ice breakers, and ice melt chemicals.

      If you made up an impressive MS PowerPoint presentation for your parents/guardians/relatives showing what immediate financial goals you have and how you and a local buddy/friend could market, via pamphlets handouts to your affluent neighbors, they may be so impressed with your commercial initiative that they either give you the money to buy at least one unit, or they finance your entire mini-landscaping business. Of course they may still want to stay on course for pre-med school when you graduate HS. My bet is probably DOCTOR Perry? Like Dr. Sanjay Gupta? :)

      You could call yourselves IN-SHORE OUTSOURCERS verses Off-Shore. I’m sure your affluent neighbors are well aware of the irony of that phrase. The only gotcha’ (issue/problem) is general liability insurance to protect you and your clients from damages. That adds to the overall overhead that your big-boy competitors may have over you. Your schtick (i.e. marketing advantage) is extremely low prices with little actual physical risk to them much like the off-shore model they use at their lucrative company operations (i.e. the reason they live in an affluent neighborhood?).
      Think about hold harmless agreements or HHA’s. Talk to your family’s attorney about that.

      Great talking point: “Mom, Dad? The EVIVE has amazing medical diagnostics potential too! That is still in line with your future overall goals for me. Yes?” :-)

      TO HaD DISSENTERS: Shadup’ I mean well… :P

        1. Greenaum – True but paper routes are pretty much a money-hole for the contractor. They do not reimburse you for petrol (gasoline), you get charged ridiculous fines for delivery mistakes (even if a senile customer was wrong), you eat your profits with breakfast and COFFEE (Perry said he likes), have to be up at 2-3 AM, and the deadlines are unreal. As a mini landscaper you have more flexibility than a paper-boy and you could walk to your neighbor’s houses. Also a bicycle is unacceptable for paper routes today. You need a car and a government operator’s license with liability insurance. And since I’m wildly profiling [Perry] – and possibly 100% incorrect – he probably does not have access to a car or truck – legally.

          So I just thought of the best thing for a kid to make fast money in today’s economy. In the long run affluent parents probably wont let him do it anyway and just give him the money.

        1. Noirwhal – Huh? Care to explain? I made unusual profiling assumptions about [Perry] which I think were pretty obvious. But I concede, as [RÖB] is thinking, that I may be way out in left field on Perry (i.e. an American euphemism). I tried to be POLITICALLY CORRECT (oh no not that!) so as not to offend anyone. I thought it might also be funny. Was not trying to start a flame war…

          1. You make jokes and people flip the f-ck out…
            I laughed; some people dont get comedy. :)

            You are a strange dude, but dammit so am I!
            Don’t let it bother you bro. :) I doubt it does anyway…

            Awesome sauce.

          2. notarealemail – Yeah I know my humor is a bit weird. But unlike NOIRWHAL I was not trying to insult anyone or their culture. I really meant all of my suggestions, albeit, non-standard ones. In my attempt at HINDI at Aug 14th at 8:09 PM, I am giving much praise for EVIVE and wishing them luck on their financial endeavors. I just hope they can read it…

            I am wondering why they have not responded yet. I think the negative comments from others have chilled them. I apologize for being so strange…

            “जाती ना पूछो साधु की; पूछ लीजिए ज्ञान. Ask not a saint of his cast; ask of his knowledge.” – never judge a book by it’s cover…

          3. dhrupal93 – Fair enough! I just want to add that your form, presentation, and overall design is awesome. Here in America we would call EVIVE “sexy”. I am so impressed with what the 4 of you have done and how you are marketing it. I love looking at it too. I could offer nothing in any technical changes as to me it’s already quite perfect, IMO. The opening scene in your video with the fellow with the old school breadboard has a “smoke test” event was very funny and quite true! I will be following your progress and hope for success for your team.

            Sorry for all the bla bla bla :-D

          4. Noirwhal – No problem! I just saw [Perry] saying his parents only give him $25 USD every week and he wanted an EVIVE. I was just trying to tell him how to get one in 4-weeks or hold out for the more expensive version by doing some mini-landscaping. Perry has to be a kid under 25 with all the details in his posting. A $25 a week is kinda’ paltry for a twenty-something. So I’m guessing maybe 15-16?

            The only advice I was giving the EVIVE team was how to export this to America and save some serious bucks with US tariffs. Also I think the free trade agreements grease the wheels for US CUSTOMS delays too. I order from China a lot and I have to wait long periods of time waiting on US Customs delays. Also I am suggesting that labor cost is not $15/hour (USD) like it’s going to be here in USA. It’s much lower in India and employer-healthcare costs are not as high there as they are here in America. After 2017 election IMO they will probably be astronomical if a certain guy wins. We’ll see soon.

            I have to admit EVIVE is so awesome looking I think I might want one too. However, I have too many gadgets now and I probably will loose track of it like an absent-minded professor. I think I’ll just follow the project and see how it goes. It won;t be available until December anyway. $89 USD is also awesome. I’m actually talk myself into doing it so I’ll stop now… :-)

          5. By gosh – I thought you were telling dhrupal to get a job to supplement his income, instead of crowdfunding his invention…

            Really sorry for reaching the wrong conclusion.. I see now you were replying to a [possible?] kid.

  4. Just some thoughts –
    I love that it can run from a battery (cell) perhaps provision to put in a second optional cell for that camping trip.

    I perhaps would have liked to see the (multi) meter be independent for debugging.

    No rotary encoder – it’s missing? Debouncing is the starting point of understanding signal conditioning or how to ‘fix it in software’.

    The price point bothers me. I would love to see this get into education especially for younger school students but I can’t see that happening at this price point, perhaps in future you may be able to run off a larger scale production at a lower price point to maintain some margin. You would need to research what price point is acceptable to education as it would rather low.

    Apart from that, it would be good to have a larger case but still be not to big, just some storage room for a couple of modules and jumper wires etc. It would be better at the top so the same space my house a shield if need be.

    Very well done, excellent choice of peripherals, hope it goes well.

    1. Hi Rob,
      You can actually power evive externally and charge the internal battery from any power bank, for your camping trips :)
      The entire box is small enough to fit into your hand for portable use while debugging.
      Thanks for the suggestion about the rotary encoder, we’ll definitely discuss this as a possible update
      And yeah you’re totally right large scale production should allow us to cut prices, even though we’re running the campaign on almost no margins right now.

    2. RÖB – I like your suggestions. The DVM could also be DETACHABLE versus “independent” for your scenario. The price point issue is not so critical as you may think. Akshat will probably be manufacturing the EVIVE in Kanpur India. That’s the old Cawnpore India, the 2nd largest industrial city to Dehli (northern India). I’m sure your aware of the financial incentives we Americans allegedly enjoy by outsourcing to places like Bangalore et al in the south? I’m sure the final price points may be more flexible than you can imagine. It will just take some more research on mass production in India and exporting tariffs to USA. I assure you the local political dynamics in USA will be heavily impacting this after November 2016 (i.e. TPP).

  5. Congratulations on your product! It definitely serves lowering the entry barrier to electronics/programming world. If putting an AVR on a handy board along with a simplified IDE created such a boom, I can see how adding a portable rechargeable supply, peripherals, multimeter, signal analyzer etc. and packing it into a nice case could make it even more attractive. Back when I started it would help me immensely. Though the price seems justified, affording an Evive would have been difficult for 15yo me. I support the request for “deeper” breadboard cover! How many times I had a circuit simplify itself in transit..

  6. I wanted one of those fancy $100+ experimental breadboarding stations that were around when I was in larval stage. I built my own version, it was a chunk of plywood, with a couple of the cheap $5 solderless breadboard units stuck onto it, then had a terminal strip screwed down each side, and a panel vertical on one side, that was the bottom plate of an old toaster. I drilled that for a couple of pots, some switches, buttons, and indicator lights and some jack sockets for wallwart power.

    Last time I remember using it was for rigging a VGA to composite adapter, that was around ’99 when monitors still seemed $$$ circuit transferred to stripboard when debugged, and then it’s been put away through a move, and hasn’t surfaced again yet.

  7. Looks very interesting.

    Definitely an important concept. Even in today’s awesome maker/hacker landscape, there can be a certain amount of friction and hassle that can deter absolute beginners from taking the first steps. In the early 70s I got one of those “springboard” 50-in-1 electronic labs, and I absolutely devoured it. Having everything in one place, and a set of tested examples to try, makes that first exposure so much more rewarding.

    The Arduino success is well known. I got a similarly rewarding experience around 2007 from the PICkit1 and one book with a stupid title (http://pic-microcontroller.com/123-pic-microcontroller-experiments-for-the-evil-genius-by-myke-predko-e-book/). Again – simple, affordable and easy to use hardware, and a good set of projects that can be building blocks in more advanced applications.

    Best wishes for the success of this project. Don’t make it too expensive, or too narrow in application.

  8. Akshat Agarwal – I like your approach to EVIVE (technology wise). It is very innovative and “out of the box” thinking. Great idea!

    I assume you are researching northern India manufacturing? And want to utilize TPP for exporting to USA? Well, the next few months are critical for that. Depending on the outcome of our Presidential Election in November, TPP may or may not be in jeopardy by one of the candidates who already “hugely” ENJOYS the benefits of TPP but due to his severely benighted viewpoints may not really understand it’s overall benefits to America and may attempt to shutter it with disastrous outcome.

    I assure you that your business model appears to be sound and the demand for your product will be good for you. However, you must be cognizant of the political climate of your client base. That includes USA, UK, Australia, China, Europe Union, etc. Also I assume you have filed for some sort of international I.P. protections? If not I can imagine that there are MANY players out there from “certain countries” just waiting in the wings to copy your designs and market this too.

    If you plan on manufacturing this in USA, then that’s one option, but I’m not one to champion that idea due to outrageous financial and physical labor overhead issues here, presently. We have the resources here to do it, but at a premium unlike doing it in Kanpur. Your December 2016 roll-out date is a good idea. Test the post-November waters (so to speak) and see what’s up then. I wish you luck and success. I like your product. Well researched! And HaD is a good place to brainstorm ideas.

    सौभाग्य or “saubhaagy”

    1. No one needs TPP to do biz between India and america.. Lol.. What are you even talking about?

      TPP is about making USA copyright laws the worlds copyright laws, more than anyttthing related to this..

      You assume he filed international IP? Why would you assume that?

      Lol.. Your whole screed is… I wont pass judgement because I find it nonsensical.

      1. Noirwhal – “No one needs TPP to do biz between India and america.” TRUE, and I was not “TALKING” about that. I was referring to the lower TARIFFS Akshat can enjoy exporting to USA. Right now I think India enjoys ASEAN, but that does not address USA. I think you need to do better research as to what TPP really is. I was not addressing TTIP either. I know both free trade agreements are a sore subject with some people.

        You assume he filed international IP? Why would you assume that?
        Since you are into word parsing… I was just SUGGESTING he should do that (i.e. US patents, US copyrights, etc.) as licensing protects people from I.P. theft. I can think of a couple of countries that would probably try and knock-off EVIVE and we here in USA would see them in international gadget shops on Canal Street in NYC and in our shopping malls nationwide at boot-leg kiosks (run by international concerns). Remember, the infamous hover-board knock-offs that explode? I think US licensing is and can protect the original inventor in US court. Remember how Jagadish Chandra Bose got ripped off by (…).

        I don’t understand why you always start off so negative. Wouldn’t it be more effective to start off with a mild objection and a quick rebuking/refuting hyper-link to attempt to deflate me? I think more level-headed thinkers here at HaD would respect your opinion more, verses piling on like some type-A personality Rugby hooligan? :P

  9. Ugh – This is ripe for Big Government corruption-funded STEM stuff, which just spawns more incompetent “Makers”. So I take my hat off to the Designers – even if they didn’t know this (if not, now they do). What ever happened to “Get a Real Engineering Degree” – Before you hurt someone)?

    1. I am very cynical – but I think this looks great.

      Compare it to the BBC approach, and this looks AWESOME.

      I would have fallen deeply in love with this device when I was in middle school.. I really truly wish we had something like this.

      1. Ya Noirwhal, Currently lots of thing are available in bits and pieces. Our goal is to make an all-in-one kind of platform for learning, building and debugging electronics and robotics projects. As a beginner (or school student), it will be frustrating to get components from various places and than messy wiring. Also for advanced users, its boring to start with the same soldering and wiring for primitive tasks.
        Lots of makers, DIYers and students have supported us at Indiegogo http://igg.me/at/evive .

  10. If you don’t have them already, I recommend mounting holes on the underside. Maybe VESA or some other standard. That would make it easier to mechanically integrate it into projects.

      1. The design is beautiful. As someone who studied industrial design, I can barely see room for improvement.

        I think this could win you many awards if you find the right places to show it to.

          1. Off hand no… But I will try to find some for you.

            The first place to look in USA is ISDA organization – this is Industrial Design Society of America. They have a variety of things each year – but some design magazines do also.

            Do you happen to be a student? There are a variety of awards for student work as well.

          2. dhrupal93 – I know what I’m about to say is off-topic for EVIVE. But what else is new for SOTB (aka ME)? :P

            In lieu of your obvious intellectual acumen (and your college team too), this competition is as we Americans say is “a no-brainer” for you. With all of your resources and brain-trust (coupled with your HaD friends here – a mini-DARPA-esque club – so to speak), this challenge could win you $2m (USD)! Or 3rd place $750k (USD).

            All the USG (US Government) or DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency) wants someone to do is find a way via machine-learning (i.e. A.I. ?) to “…to overcome scarcity in the radio frequency spectrum… exploiting the full potential capacity of the spectrum. They want competitors to re-imagine a new, more efficient wireless paradigm in which radio networks autonomously collaborate to dynamically determine how the spectrum should be used moment to moment. The team whose radio design most reliably achieves successful communication in the presence of other competing radios could win as much as $3,500,000.”

            I’ve seen similar HaD projects that addressed similar less grandiose needs. So if you guys entered the 2016 Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, the deadline for possible DARPA funding proposals is 2-Sept-2016. Deadline for the Open Track entry itself is 22-Nov-2016. It’s no problem that you are Indian nationals. US citizenship is not a requirement. Team composition has a much later deadline (TBA). So All you have to do is pass the entrance hurdle. So you have until 22-Nov to signup. I’m sure you guys have the brain trust to do it too. And we all (or most of us – I know I will) at HaD will support you I’m sure. EVIVE could be used in the SC2 lab effort and EVIVE would get honorable mention to DARPA in your proposal too (free advertising?). Think about it. Here is the website:

            https://spectrumcollaborationchallenge.com/

            I’m willing to have a CIVIL discussion with anybody about this. No I am not connected with DARPA. I just stumbled on it. They started notifications in March. (http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-03-23)

            Check your university to see if anyone else is already entered into it. I know your dean would probably be interested and maybe will be willing to help out with project funding to some extent. I hope I have been helpful to you here.

  11. Akshat Agarwal – कृपया देना नहीं है मेरी टिप्पणी अपनी भावनाओं को चोट लगी है। “EVIVE” मैं बहुत ज्यादा प्यार करते हैं। कुछ लोग सिर्फ मुझे समझ में नहीं आता । वे उथले विचारक हैं।

    GOOD LUCK WITH EVIVE!

  12. Everyone: Please look to my August 19, 2016 at 9:17 am comment about an open challenge by DARPA (Americans) to do something we (or most of us) already know how to do. It’s worth $3.5m usd. We could all collaborate with Akshat and dhrupal93 with some HaD brainstorming which we are all good at? Maybe they could open a HACKADAY.IO for this DARPA challenge and they could invite team members as needed. I know for a fact that their school in India already has funding from many agencies. And their director(s) should be interested in free advertising for the school and it’s genius students. And in the sideline EVIVE gets free advertising too.

    1. Thanks for your confidence in our team, @sonofthunderboanerges !
      With that said, RF isn’t really something we as a team are very interested in. We do love robotics and embedded electronics though, so if you have any challenges for that, do let us know!

  13. Two thoughts:
    First, the Explore Projects step-by-steps (on the website) are vital to a more mainstream market. Great start on that. I would be interested to see how evive can bring together the sometimes scary world of all that Arduino stuff without trying to reinvent the documentation. People want to be promised success.
    Second, why not make the original cover raised so that it will at least handle basic components? I’m missing the purpose of a flat cover completely, other than long-term storage.

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