Archive for the ‘PCB’ Category

Screen Your Genome Under $512, Open Sourcing Biology With OpenPCR

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Most of people working in the field of biological or scientific research should greet the open hardware applications we are  witnessing in this age of Garage Science. From the Phduino to the DIY Oscilloscopes, through  STM (Scanning-Tunneling Electron Microscope), Arduino is getting used to prototype tools that used to be more expensive and possibly unavailable some years ago.

OpenPCR is an amazing project aimed to bring the genome analysis to a desktot experience. From the “What Is OpenPCR?” page:

What can you do with it?

Cool apps include:

  • DNA Sequencing – PCR is used to generate enough DNA for the sequencing run. You can have a look at some of your own genome!
  • DNA Barcoding – Determining the species based on DNA. Can be used to identify plants, screen for agricultural pests, investigate airplane bird strikes, and check that sushi is legit. What about testing your food to see if they contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)?

The Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, is a method of replicating DNA. It is capable of taking a small amount of DNA, or even a single molecule, and amplifying (copying) a specific region exponentially, such that once the reaction is finished, there may exist up to 230 copies of each starting molecule (do the math — that’s more than a billion!).

This is important because DNA of interest often exists in quantities too small to detect, or may be mixed in with other DNA. For example, an accurate test for HIV must be able to detect a single virus particle in 50,000 cells. PCR is able to do this by targeting a small region of DNA that is specific to the HIV virus. If the virus exists in a sample, amplification will occur which can be easily detected. If no virus is present, no amplification will occur.

The specific region of targeted DNA is determined by how the reaction is setup, based on the specific “PCR primers” added to the reaction mixture. Virtually any sequence of DNA can be targeted.

if you still have some questions and / or want to know more about PCR have a look at this wonderful & explanatory graphics.

[See it in action!] via [OpenPCR.org]

Arduino Controlled Dishwasher

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Arduino Forum User [UnaClocker] shared a cool hack on its Maytag dishwasher:

The control panel on the front of it died, it failed from corrosion getting into the laminated plastic PCB that it’s made up of. Not really repairable, just meant to be replaced, except that it’s a $150 part. From what I could find online, it seems to be a common failure, so why buy an overpriced part that’s just going to fail all over again?This is one of the things I love about the Arduino, it allows me to consider alternatives that I’d have NEVER been able to consider before. If I had to program a controller in assembly, or flat do it with just discrete chips, I’d have never considered this as an option. But with the Arduino, not only can I build my own controller, but it’s almost stupidly simple to do.

via [Arduino Forum] source [NeonSquirt] with Code!

MTM Snap: A snap-together Arduino-powered desktop CNC milling machine.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

MTM Snap, the Martha Stewart Edition

Jonathan Ward from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms has designed a snap-together, desktop-sized CNC milling machine. The MTM Snap (part of the Machines that Make project) is made from 1/2-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – itself milled on a ShopBot – and can be assembled for about $700. This three-axis CNC machine can mill circuit boards, wax molds, and harder materials in a 5x3x1.75″ working area.

Version five: now with the screw terminals on the other side

The MTM Snap is controlled by an Arduino board running grbl, a full-featured and robust g-code interpreter. A custom shield (designed by Nadya Peek) with three Allegro A3982 chips drives the machine’s stepper motors, and the whole thing is controlled from a simple GUI written in Processing. The advantage of this setup is that you can use the machine from pretty much any computer: desktop or laptop, Mac, Windows, or Linux. We use the CBA’s Kokompe tools for generating g-code files, but grbl should handle most files from other sources (like PCB-GCode).

You can’t yet buy the MTM Snap, but the machine has been designed to be as easy as possible to assemble yourself. All the design files are online if you want to cut out your own pieces on the ShopBot. The complete bill of materials is available, as are the documentation for the Arduino shield and software instructions.

If you’d like to see the MTM Snap in person, drop by the ShopBot booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend. It will be running off of an OLPC laptop.

Google Launches Android Open Accessory Development Kit Based On Arduino

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

As seen in the streaming of Google IO 2011, physical computing and interactive enviroments are one of the main topics opening the conference. The Android Open Accessory Kit is going to allow Android related devices receive data from different sensors (just via USB, for now).

The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) provides an implementation of an Android USB accessory that is based on the Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform, the accessory’s hardware design files, code that implements the accessory’s firmware, and the Android application that interacts with the accessory. The hardware design files and code are contained in the ADK package download.

The board is  based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs, since it communicates to the phone in its “accessory” mode. You can get the custom library / firmware to make it run & test with the shield pictured on top.

more info on the [Android Developer site], via [engadget] source [Google IO]

Ultimaker Pick & Place

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Nice (mis)use of a Ultimaker 3D printer to act as a pick & place machine.

Assembling medium quantities of PCBs was never within the reach of a home based manufacturer. It requires expensive equipment, but most of these parts can actually be 3D printed, and you can use your existing 3D printer, such as the Ultimaker, to do pick-and-place operations.

via [Make] source [Ultimaker]

Ultimaker Pick & Place

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Nice (mis)use of a Ultimaker 3D printer to act as a pick & place machine.

Assembling medium quantities of PCBs was never within the reach of a home based manufacturer. It requires expensive equipment, but most of these parts can actually be 3D printed, and you can use your existing 3D printer, such as the Ultimaker, to do pick-and-place operations.

via [Make] source [Ultimaker]

Arduino Midi Rainbow

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Last week I was in Rome for the Arduino Day. I was amazed by the projects and the people there: true Arduino fans. This is the first post about some of those projects: more soon.

[anbello] generates – via MIDI – different light patterns on a strip of addressable RGB LED

MIDI messages from the keyboard (real or simulated on PC) enter the MIDI Shield’s MIDI IN and are presented to the Arduino serial port. The Arduino firmware interprets the MIDI messages NoteOn NoteOff, associates each key on the five octaves (60 keys) keyboard to a strip LED and lights it with color associated with the note. In the firmware to control the strip we used the FastSPI_LED library that allows you to address every single LED and turn the desired color (R, G, B).
One interesting thing to note is the use of the firmaware function millis() to implement a sort of elementary multitasking. The idea was taken from this post after user “westfw” on the Arduino forum.

I really appreciate the effort of translating the post. Check the code and part list on [Sululab]

 

Tokyo Hackerspace/RDTN Geiger Shield

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Japan’s difficoult moment has challenged many Arduino users (I can count at least three different threads on the forum about geiger tube & sensors lately  1, 2, 3). As David posted some time ago, the need of an open, net-spreaded visualization of the real level of radioactivity was heavily felt by the community, also for  trasparency reasons.  This is when the Geiger shield comes in:

This is an Arduino-based geiger counter shield that makes it easy to upload data to the internet and also interchange tubes. Since it’s open source and Arduino-based, its also easy to hack this to other interesting applications.

you can follow on  [TokyoHackerspace] the all process of prototyping.

Arduino Computer Vision With Video Experimenter Shield

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

[Michael] posted some interesting uses of Nootropic’s latest shield, the Video Experimenter Shield, besed on a LM1881 video sync separator to detect the timing of the vertical and horizontal sync in a composite video signal. It’s one of the few examples of Arduino processing a live video signal, as previously seen with the Eye Shield (based on the same IC, but with no video out implemented). The image here is processed and sent out from the Arduino using a custom version of the TVoutLibrary. Wow.

The Video Experimenter shield can give your Arduino the gift of sight. In the Video Frame Capture project, I showed how to capture images from a composite video source and display them on a TV. We can take this concept further by processing the contents of the captured image to implement object tracking and edge detection.

The setup is the same as when capturing video frames: a video source like a camera is connected to the video input. The output select switch is set to “overlay”, and sync select jumper set to “video input”. Set the analog threshold potentiometer to the lowest setting.

Please have a look at the other examples, such as edge detection, and using the shield to Decoding Captioning Data inside the signal.

via [nootropicDesign], also [Video Experimenter Project Page]

Gameboy ROM backups using an Arduino

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

[Alex] collects retro gaming consoles. One day while playing a SNES title, his save games got wiped when he powered off the system. It turned out that the battery inside the game cartridge got disconnected somehow, and it got him thinking. He decided he wanted to find a way to back up his save games from the cartridges for safe keeping.

While cart readers exist, he says that they are hard to find nowadays, so he decided to construct his own using an Arduino. SNES cartridges are relatively complex, so he opted to focus on Gameboy cartridges for the time being. Before attempting to back up save games, he first chose to learn how to communicate with the cartridges in general, by reading the ROM.

via [HackADay]