Smart Citizen: Arduino-compatible and packed with sensors

smartCitizenBoard

If you’re going to develop another Arduino-compatible board these days, you might as well take a “kitchen sink” approach. The Smart Citizen Kit piles it on, including Wi-Fi, an SD card slot, and EEPROM on its base. The attached shield—dubbed the “Ambient Board”—is a buffet of sensors: temperature, humidity, CO, NO2, light intensity, and a microphone for reading sound levels. The board’s intended purpose is to provide an open-source, interactive, environmental database by crowdsourcing data from multiple Smart Citizen Kits, but you can add your own stuff or yank the shield off altogether. Additional shields are also under development, aimed at providing agricultural data, monitoring biometrics, and more.

Stick the Smart Citizen somewhere and it can send sensor data to the web over a WiFi connection. The result is worth a look. Here’s the map with the real-time data from early release models scattered over Europe, most of which appear to be solar-powered with a small LiPo battery to keep them going overnight. There’s also an accompanying iPhone app that lets you set up the Smart Citizen, retrieve data from nearby sensors, and allows you to match your phone’s GPS location to any data you collect while carrying the board around.

The developers met their Kickstarter goals earlier this summer and the board has recently entered the manufacturing process, Rummage through their GitHub files here, and watch a video preview of the Smart Citizen below.

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Kickstarter isn’t a store anymore

Over the past few months, we’ve seen an increasing amount of Kickstarter projects making it into the Hackaday tip line. We don’t mind all these emails from people trying to get their Kickstarter project off the ground, but reading through all the emails of people wanting us to pitch their stuff does get a little bothersome.

It looks like our problem of having to go through dozens of Kickstarter hardware projects a week is about to change. Kickstarter is implementing a few new rules for hardware and product design projects. The new rules prohibit product simulations. This means project creators can’t suggest what the product might do in the future. Only what the prototype can currently do is allowed in the Kickstarter project. Also, product renders aren’t allowed. The only pictures allowed on your Kickstarter project are photos as the prototype currently exists.

There’s also another catch for hardware and product design projects: offering multiple quantities of a reward are prohibited. Of course there’s a provision for things that only make sense as a set (building blocks, for instance), but it looks like funding an Arduino-compatible ATtiny85 board and getting multiple boards is out of the question now.

Of course Kickstarter is looking at the long-term, trying to dissuade project creators from taking the money and running off to South America. We’re wondering what the effect will be in the coming months, though; under these rules Ouya wouldn’t have passed Kickstarter’s litmus test, and smaller projects depending on Kickstarter funding for tooling and molds probably wouldn’t either.

The new changes are probably for the best, and will certainly speed up how long it takes us to go through our email. We’re wondering what HaD readers think of the change, so post your thoughts in the comments after the break.

DARPA Needs Your Help! Design A Ground Combat Vehicle.

[Joe Schlesinger] of MakeIt Labs wrote in to let us know about an upcoming live chat session march 28th on IRC to discuss DARPA’s latest project, the Adaptive Vehicle Make.

DARPA, in the pursuit of innovative high-risk high-payoff tactical technology is looking to crowd-source the design and construction of the 3000-5000 parts that make up your run of the mill super advanced next generation military hardware. They are even going to distribute about a thousand 3D printers to schools, where students will compete to design some of the complex systems.  The project emphasizes “not traditional” vendors (IE: Hackerspaces) and monetary compensation will be involved in the parts production process.

If you like acronyms (and who doesn’t), or feel like wading through jargon, check out their site. We also found the Wikipedia entry to be helpful in understanding what they are carrying on about.  A briefing PDF (6mb) also contains a lot of information on DARPA’s plans, and pretty pictures.

As per usual DARPA plans on issuing several challenges to make up the entire project, all with huge cash prizes. The first two challenges last 9 months, starting with the Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge in the middle of 2012.   The Chassis/Integrated Survivability Challenge starts in 2013.  These first two also include a cash prize of  500 thousand to one million dollars. The third challenge, the Total Platform Challenge lasts 15 months and begins in late 2013 this carries a prize of one to two million.

[Joe]‘s Hackerspace will be there, any chance we could help out?