If you’re interested in playing games or studying the electronics and programming of real-world robot swarms, the Swarmbuddies units are now at your fingertips. These little customizable robots are engineered to follow your commands even its about dance choreography or you’re interesting to dig more in computer vision.
Any of the Swarmbuddy robots is an accessible platform that can be programmed via PC, controlled over Android or iOS devices, or just let you relax while they will dance on music or react to noises or movement captures with a microphone or a webcam.
In the latest years several other projects were released aiming to bring into the market the best robot kit able to recreate the nature of swarm behaviour exhibited by animals using plastic, metal and a limited quantity of intelligence. Back in 2012, University of Pennsylvania researchers creates a swarm of nano quadrotors able to fly in formation and react as a swarm at a simple stimulus. This year, in 2014, several other projects take shape in the labs of Disney Research Zurich with PIXELBOTS project designed to display colored forms with mobile pixels, or Harvard University with its termite drones engineered to work together to build different structures.
What Swarmbuddies can do for you!
The Swarmbuddies kit is far away to be compared with Lego Mindstorms kits, but even so, it could do more than this in some cases. Even you’re a young child or … an old child, even you’re an artist or a musician, a teacher or a thinker, the swarm robotic kit is a good choice to have several robot dancers to sync with the music or to react at different stimulus, you can become familiar with robots programming and electronics, as well as you can develop computer vision applications. (more…)
Crafted to give the best features for makers and hackers, any of the Raspberry Pi model A, B or B+ are microcomputers designed to be connected to high quality chargers with stable power delivery and able to provide an output of 5V with at least 700mAh.
As any other single board computer, the fruit-name board can be supplied with power from different sources. In this article, I explore three different solutions to power the board including the standard Mirco USB power supply, and continue with batteries and solar power.
Here comes the science
To choose the right power supply for a Raspberry Pi, you first needed to understand the recommends from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The group of engineers that take part on the project makes the recommendation to use a Micro-USB power supply. More than that, the Micro-USB power source has to produce 1.2A (1,200mA) at 5V.
Let’s see why these values are just recommendations.
Why 5V and why 1.2A? The value of power consumption is directly proportional to the amount of power consumption of consumers connected to the board as well as features of the board. For example, at a standard level the Model A uses around 500mA, the B model uses between 700mA and 1,000mA, while the Model B+ was engineered with some improvements and has a 36% less power usage compared with the model B. (more…)
If you have a PC or a laptop, most probably both devices has inside an Intel processor. The same thing is also for tablets and smartphones. In general, the Intel brand is glued on a large amount of essential technologies that makes the information to move faster and humans more active.
Another field with the same logo and a bunch of technology. This time the Intel puts its name on a new version of its open-source development board engineered on the Arduino hardware and software. The Intel Galileo Gen 2 is now designed with improved features that makes it more capable for Galileo board enthusiasts.
The engineers work hardly to improve features and offer a better performance, improve the accessibility to peripheral devices and allow users to power the device over the ethernet, and redefine the single board computer for an increased control precision.
Released with the aim to be a good starting point for students, DIY electronics hobbyists and makers, the Intel Galileo Gen 2 is now designed based on the feedback from the user community. What they want and what they need most? The Galileo users want more GPIO’s, a variety of I/O interfaces and compatibility with Arduino UNO R3 shields, and more precise PWM signaling for better motor control.
The things evolve different from manufacturer to manufacturer, and sometimes takes years between products to see some improvements of the original product. This is the case of the Raspberry Pi Foundation who release a new version of the Raspberry Pi B called Raspberry Pi B+ or Raspberry Pi 2.
This new version comes with hardware improvements, a small single board computer that incorporates small improvements but with high impact over the community.
The price is the same (under $50), the size is the same, it runs the same software, and still has the 512MB RAM. But they come with a list of improved features including more GPIO’s, more USB ports, HD video output at 1080P, connections for RPi camera and a touch screen display separately, and a few other features that I will explore below. (more…)
Imagine playing games in your house by competing against a friend to control over territories. Imagine you capturing a 3D map of your home by walking around with a small device in your hand. Or, what if you locate in a store the exact shelf of your favorite product? How is to build a low-weight quadcopter with the real-time ability for 3-D mapping and fly autonomously only with few instructions from user? All of these applications could become reality, and the heart of these is a new tool developed in the Google labs and called ‘Project Tango.’
The Google’s Project Tango tries to reproduce the 3D human functions for space, motion and how humans understand and interact with the surrounding world. Using senses, the humans can observe the size and shapes of objects and are capable of learning their position and layout without too much effort.
The Tango devices concentrate all these techniques and technologies into one single device after years of researches in universities, researchers’ labs, and with researchers from nine countries.
The Google project was released as smartphones and tablets. Both devices run Android OS and are engineered to track the 3D motion of the device and creates in real-time a 3D model of the environment around it. The smartphone has a 5-inch screen, while the tablet comes with a 7-inch screen. Both devices have located on the back two cameras able to capture images with the environment. (more…)