Body of a Trinket, Soul of a Digispark


Adafruit’s Trinket and digiStump’s Digispark board are rather close cousins. Both use an ATtiny85 microcontroller, both have USB functionality, and both play nice with the Arduino IDE. [Ray] is a fan of both boards, but he likes the Trinket hardware a bit better. He also prefers the Digispark libraries and ecosystem. As such, he did the only logical thing: he turned his Trinket into a Digispark. Step 1 was to get rid of that pesky reset button. Trinket uses Pin 1/PB5 for reset, while Digispark retains it as an I/O pin. [Ray] removed and gutted the reset button, but elected to leave its metal shell on the board.

The next step was where things can get a bit dicey: flashing the Trinket with the Digispark firmware and fuses. [Ray] is quick to note that once flashed to Digispark firmware, the Trinket can’t restore itself back to stock. A high voltage programmer (aka device programmer) will be needed. The flashing process itself is quite a bit easier than a standard Trinket firmware flash. [Ray] uses the firmware upload tool from the Micronucleus project. Micronucleus has a 60 second polling period, which any Trinket veteran will tell you is a wonderful thing. No more pressing the button and hoping you start the download before everything times out! Once the Trinket is running Digispark firmware, it’s now open to a whole new set of libraries and software.

Cellphone Charging Inductive Purse


For whatever reason, cell phone companies really don’t seem to care about giving you a good battery for your phone. Here’s a great hack if you happen to have a purse – turn it into an inductive charger! Manpurses count too, we’re not judging.

[Becky] from Adafruit came up with a great idea for this wearable hack. If your phone is sitting in your purse for long periods of time, why not charge it? It’s a pretty simple hack that makes use of a pair of inductive charging loops. One is hidden inside the bottom of your bag of choice, and the other mounted to a fixture at work or home. She’s using magnets to snap her purse into place on a shelf at work — this ensures the coils line up so the full rated charge can be transmitted.

Another option is to put the entire inductive charging circuit inside your purse, then use a battery pack with a special pocket for you phone — that way the phone is always charging while it’s safely put away!

Stick around after the break to see the complete how-to video.

[Read more...]

Make the World takes on Crowdsourcing Prosthetics


Tonight marks the launch of a new program from Adafruit focused on improving the availability of prosthetic designs. The program will be highlighted in four Google+ Hangouts over the coming month. Mark your calendars for 8pm Eastern Time to join in on the one-hour launch.

We’ve seen a fair number of prosthetic hacks over the years, and every time one is featured we try to drive home the importance of sharing information in order to build upon the advances of others. The power of this is clear, shown in a $150 3D printed hand for a child, hackers that are replacing their own limbs or digits, and the sharing of diy fabrication techniques to help bring prostheses to the developing world. So get excited, get involved, and get hacking!

A really, really tiny microcontroller board


Here’s something very cool from the wonderful world of Adafruit: The Trinket, an Arduino compatible microcontroller platform that’s not only small enough to fit in your pocket, it’s small enough to lose in your pocket.

Like the similarly specced Digispark, the Trinket features an ATTiny85 microcontroller with 5 IO pins. Unlike the Digispark, the Trinket is a bit more substantial, featuring 3.3 and 5 Volt regulators along with a real USB port and mounting holes. As this is based on the ‘tiny85, it’s possible to connect this up to I2C and SPI sensors and peripherals

One thing to note about the Trinket is the fact that it’s so cheap. Either version of the Trinket goes for about $8, inexpensive enough to simply leave in a project when you’re done with it. Given the cool stuff we’ve already seen created with the Digispark, including a homebrew stepper motor and an Internet meme and lame pun assessment tool, we can’t wait to see what’s made with the Trinket,

[Limor] from Adafruit to hang out with President [Obama]


In a positive twist on the usual publicity events that our administration has experimented with over the years, President [Obama] will be hosting a google+ hangout with some lucky people to discuss, well, whatever matters. It is nice to see the people running the country finally getting to grips with some technology. It is still scary to hear how many people making the laws about data still don’t even use a computer.

[Limor] from Adafruit was selected as one of the few that would get to ask the President some questions. She will be focusing on manufacturing and small businesses.  We think she’s a great candidate to do so. We’ve watched her go from someone who just did some really well documented hacks to someone who runs a successful business focusing on open information and education (and gadgets of course). You can also submit your own questions, and if they get enough votes, the president will answer them.

NASA inspired circadian rhythm lights


After reading about an initiative between NASA and Boeing to develop lights for the International Space Station [Rasathus] decided to give it a go at building his own. The project uses RGB pixels to build a circadian rhythm light installation. Without the normal rise and fall of the sun the sleep wake schedule for the astronauts can be pretty rough. This uses color and intensity of light in a well-defined schedule to help alleviate that. [Rasathus] is trying to bring his project in well under the $11.1 million mark which was established for the ISS.

The light modules he’s using are from a strand of LEDs from Adafruit. Each is driven by a WS2801 controller, a common driver used for easy and complicated projects like this huge ball of light which our own [Jesse Congdon] tackled. The board above is the start of an adapter board for interfacing with the Raspberry Pi GPIO header. [Rasathus] wanted to make certain he didn’t fry the control electronics so he built some protection into this adapter. The control software is covered in the second portion of  the write up. We’ve embedded the video from that post after the break.

[Read more...]