USB man-in-the-middle adapter

The module works as a pass through, providing access to data and power lines for a USB device. [BadWolf] built it in order to sniff out communications between peripherals and the Universal Serial Bus. For now it just provides access to the different signals, but we think there’s quite a bit of usefulness in that. First off, the power rail is mapped out to a jumper, making it dead simple to monitor the voltage stability or patch in a multimeter to get feedback on current consumption. But you can also see in the foreground that a pin socket makes it easy to tap into the board using jumper wires. We think it would be a great breadboard adapter for USB work that would continue being useful after you’ve populated your first PCB for the prototype.

[BadWolf] has other plans in store for it though. He wants to intercept and decipher the communications happening on the data lines. In the video after the break he mentions the possibility of using a Bus Pirate for this (we have our doubts about that) but plans to start his testing with an STM32 discovery kit. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Extremely organized prototyping

We’ve got a couple of very high-tech shoe boxes in which we store our prototyping accessories. You’ll find a collection of LCD modules, chips on breakout boards, switches soldered to homemade boards for easy breadboarding, and much more. That is assuming you can find anything in that mess of components.

[Shahriar] took a different approach. He’s mounted all of his prototyping gear inside of a briefcase. This large collection of high-end boards include PIC prototyping, various LCD screens, and a large portion of SparkFun’s stocked boards. It’s much more advanced than the Arduino to-go platform, and you can see a full walk through of the system after the break.

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Review: mbed NXP LPC1768 microcontroller

mbed is a next-generation 32-bit microcontroller platform. It’s a prototyping and teaching tool somewhat along the lines of Arduino. On steroids. With claws and fangs. Other contenders in this class include the MAKE Controller, STM32 Primer and Primer 2, Freescale Tower, and Microchip’s PIC32 Starter Kit. The mbed hardware has a number of advantages (and a few disadvantages) compared to these other platforms, but what really sets it apart is the development environment: the entire system — editor, compiler, libraries and reference materials — are completely web-based. There is no software to install or maintain on the host system.
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Arduino shield with offset headers

arduinoshield

Here’s another adafruit product launched today: a prototyping shield that compensates for the Arduino’s stupid oddly spaced headers.

Related: The Seeeduino has an alternate row of headers with protoboard friendly spacing.