[Limpkin's] new business card

[Limpkin] decided to give the whole embedded business card thing a try. Here is his finished project, a low-profile mass storage business card that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sure, the $6 price tag could score him a hundred paper cards, but those don’t light up like this one does!

The main components on the card include an AVR microcontroller, a flash memory chip, and an ESD protection chip. The latter is to make sure a static shock on the USB connector doesn’t zap the MCU. Speaking of, he went with an AT90USB162 which runs from an external 8 Mhz oscillator. Sure, it’s not the fastest thing out there, but since there’s only 16 Mb of flash on this card we don’t think you’ll notice any data transfer delay. The processor is running the LUFA stack and has two flavors of firmware. One that enumerates as an HID keyboard to automatically use keyboard shortcuts to launch a browser and load up his website. The other implements a mass storage device.

If you don’t like the electronic route, you could always go with some laser cut metal. We’ve heard that [Kevin Mitnick's] business card has snap-out lock picking tools kind of like these.

USB business card packs an ARM processor

Over on the Hackaday forums, [Brian] introduced himself by showing off his new business card. Given his expertise is creating unique circuit boards, we can’t imagine a better way to show off his skills than an ARM-powered business card.

[Brian] posted a more detailed write-up on his blog that covers his development process. He decided to use a 48-pin LPC1343 ARM Cortex M3 as a USB Mass Storage Class device. All the heavy lifting for instantiating a USB storage device is handled by the microcontroller, so all [Brian] had to do was wire up a Flash memory chip and access it over an SPI interface.

The finished business card functions just like a USB thumb drive with a whopping 1 Megabyte of storage. That’s not a lot of storage, but it has more than enough room for [Brian]‘s resume, a link to his website, and the full source code for his card.

The many iterations of [Joe's] PCB business card

[Joe Colosimo] is putting on a show with his PCB business card project. The idea isn’t new, but his goal is to keep it simple and undercut the cost of all other PCB cards he’s seen. This is the third generation of the board design, and he’s just waiting on some solder mask solution before he tries running it through the reflow oven.

The first two prototypes used some through-hole parts. Notably, the battery was to be positioned in a circular cut-out and held in place by a metal strap and some bare wires. But he couldn’t quite get it to work right so this design will transition to a surface-mount strap for one side, and the large circular pad for the other. At each corner of the board there is a footprint for an LED. He tried milling holes in the board to edge-light the substrate. Now he just mounts the LED upside down to give the board a blue glow. The LEDs are driven by an ATtiny10 microcontroller which takes input from the touch sensor array at the bottom right.

He etched a QR code on the board which seems to work better than the milled QR experiments we saw back in April. The link at the top point’s to [Joe's] main page on the card. Don’t forget to follow the links at the bottom which cover each part of the development more in-depth.

[Thanks Skitchin]

555 business card

After checking out a few beautiful business cards while working at his engineering co-op, [Cody] realized he would soon need his own. Instead of a card with subtle off-white coloring, a tasteful thickness to it, and even a watermark, [Cody] decided to make a 555 timer business card.

[Cody] started his business card project by going through a few design iterations while figuring out what he wanted his business card to do. There were a few designs not chosen – one with a microcontroller, a few with just LEDs, and some with no circuitry at all. After checking out a few project from the EEV blog 555 contest, [Cody] decided to go with a simple 555 timer circuit.

Being a business card, [Cody] kept the circuit very simple; it’s just a 555, phototransistor, and a few SMD LEDs. When a 9 Volt battery is placed on the contact points of the card, the 555 lights up the LEDs. When a laser is shone on the phototransistor, the LEDs start blinking. A very neat and sufficiently interactive circuit that is perfect for keeping component costs down.

After the break you can check out [Cody]‘s business card in action.

[Read more...]

POV business card is guaranteed to get you noticed

pov_business_card

Some say that handing out business cards is an antiquated practice due to the ubiquity of smart phones which can be used to trade or record contact information in mere moments. Instructables user [sponges] however, doesn’t agree and is pushing a “business card renaissance” of sorts with his POV business card.

Hand-built in his basement, the cards feature a handful of SMD LEDs that display his name, followed by his phone number when waved back and forth. Constructed to be nearly the same size as a standard business card, his verison uses a PIC to manage the display as well as a tilt sensor to monitor the card’s motion. His walkthrough is quite thorough, and includes tutorials for each of the steps required to build the card. He discusses constructing your own etching tank, converting a laminator for PCB transfer purposes, building a solder reflow oven controller, as well as hacking an aquarium pump for use as a vacuum-powered pick and place.

The end result is a sharp looking business card that ensures you won’t forget meeting him. Keep reading to see a video of the card in action.

[Read more...]

Hackaday links: December 26, 2010

Obligatory tech tree

It’s hard to let a Christmas go by without looking in on a geeky Christmas tree project. Luckily, [Peter Davenport] decided to share his Arduino and LCD shield tree.

Blinking USB dude

If you’ve got a 555 timer and some commonly salvageable components give this blinking LED man a try. The version above is USB powered but that’s just to take advantage of the 5V regulated power.

Propeller business card

[Jay's] business card is packing quite a punch with this Propeller microcontroller. We love seeing electronics design in cards (however unrealistic the price and portability may be), and this is a big processing upgrade compared to the Tiny85 based offering.

Flying high in NYC


We leave you with a spectacular view of New York City. This breathtaking footage is just as fascinating as the first videos we saw from these folks.

Tiny USB business card

[Frank Zhao] put together a USB business card. It’s even got the instructions printed right on the silk screen of the PCB explaining how it should be used. He based the design around an AVR ATtiny85 microcontroller. It runs the V-USB package that handles USB identification and communication protocols. The rest of the hardware is pretty standard, the uC draws power from the 5V USB rail, with a couple of 3.6V Zener diodes to drop the two data lines down to the proper level.

Once plugged in it waits until it detects three caps lock keypresses in a row, then spews a string of its own keypresses that type out [Frank's] contact information in a text editor window (video after the break). It’s not as reusable as the mass storage business card because [Frank] didn’t breakout the pins on controller. But we still enjoy seeing business cards that make you stand out.

This is a great project to tackle with your newly acquired AVR programming skills.

[Read more...]

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