Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica conducts a Q&A with Massimo Banzi as Arduino’s rise continues.
Most of the technology world is familiar with open source software and the reasons why, in some eyes, it’s more appealing than proprietary software. When software’s source code is available for anyone to inspect, it can be examined for security flaws, altered to suit user wishes, or used as the basis for a new product.
Less well-known is the concept behind open source hardware, such as Arduino. Massimo Banzi, co-creator of Arduino, spoke with Ars this month about the importance of open hardware and a variety of other topics related to Arduino. As an “open source electronic prototyping platform,” Arduino releases all of its hardware design files under a Creative Commons license, and the software needed to run Arduino systems is released under an open source software license. That includes an Arduino development environment that helps users create robots or any other sort of electronics project they can dream up.
So just like with open source software, people can and do make derivatives of Arduino boards or entirely new products powered by Arduino technology.
Why is openness important in hardware? “Because open hardware platforms become the platform where people start to develop their own products,” Banzi told Ars. “For us, it’s important that people can prototype on the BeagleBone [a similar product] or the Arduino, and if they decide to make a product out of it, they can go and buy the processors and use our design as a starting point and make their own product out of it.”
Field Lines is an interactive instrument designed by composer Charles Peck as part of his Threshold of Beauty project. On his website, Charles says that the installation is his largest piece to date:
Constructing this substantial piece of equipment drew on a number of disciplines including physical design, carpentry (an occasional hobby of mine), circuit design, and coding. As alluded in the title, this piece focuses on the magnetic field. There are three sections of magnetic material, including magnetic sand, a compass array, and zinc-plated iron. Audiences are able to manipulate these materials with a magnet in the space below each case while infrared sensors pick up their movement. The sensors send that information to an Arduino board, which then creates unique music for each section.
TinyG2 is a cross-platform ARM Port of the TinyG motion control system that runs on the Arduino Due. It can be used with the gShield to build a high performance 3 axis motion control system.
G2 has a number of advanced features, including
6 axis motion control – XYXABC axes
Can control up to 6 motors (3 are on the gShield)
Jerk controlled acceleration planning – S curves using 3rd order motion planning
During World Maker Faire in NYC we met Alden Hart. He is part of Synthetos where they built TinyG and the grblshield and experiment on other cool stuff for the hacker/maker community: Read the rest of this entry »
In this video you will see where to find code examples on the IDE. The robot library comes with two folders named “learn” and “explore” with examples on how to use the software to program the top board – this is the board you will mainly interact with while the motor board runs its original firmware.
One of the first examples of coding on the Arduino Robot is called “LOGO” which is very similar to an early educational programming language that controlled a virtual turtle moving across the screen with simple instructions. This time however, instead of having a small virtual turtle running on a screen, we have a robot that can respond to commands demonstrating a basic example of movement.
“LOGO” invites users to interact with the robot using the keypad to tell the robot whether to move forwards/backwards or to turn left/right. The program can store a series of commands that will then be executed one at a time. Read the rest of this entry »
Dario Buzzini and I have been friends since we met at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea several years ago. Ever since, we have worked together on interaction design projects for different clients. While visiting NYC for World Maker Faire last month, we organized a free open workshop for 25 participants at the IDEO NYC office (where Dario works) focused on creating sounds and music.
“Make Some Noise” was a short, one-day workshop about Arduino where we explored the topic of sound and it was aimed at complete beginners with no experience. To simplify the structure of the workshop we started with hands-on experiments composed by a quick set of exercises to enable the participants to understand the basics and, later on, to start exploring pitch, frequency, tone, and multiple effects—with quite curious results (see videos below)!
Footprints is a network of interactive soft puppets for creating and sharing illustrated stories between parents and children.
The project, prototyped with Arduino by italian designer Simone Capano, involves parents into their children’s everyday lives, by sharing an intimate moments like telling a story but it could also connect the world of school with the world families when data are collected into a cloud.
It’s great to have Paul Gardner-Stephen as the guest blogger of today after he spent some days in experimenting with Arduino Yún . He’s based in Australia and the founder of Serval Project, making tools to let people communicate without carriers by enabling smart-phones to talk directly to one another to form Wi-Fi mesh networks and “Mesh Extenders”, allowing a single unit to cover hundreds of homes, even in urban areas. We like their motto:
“Communications should not just be for the geographically and financially fortunate — communication should be freely available to everyone”
The Serval Mesh Extender is a device that combines ad-hoc WiFi meshing with long-range license-free UHF packet radio to allow the easy formation of mesh networks spanning useful distances. Typically the UHF packet radio has a range about ten times greater than WiFi. This means that in ordinary suburban and urban areas we get a range of a block or two, and in open rural areas the range can be in the kilometres.
We run our award winning Serval Mesh software over the top, providing an easy to use communications system that lets you use your cell phone without cellular coverage, for example, during a disaster, or when you and your friends are near one another outside of the range of your native network. For example, if you are at an international gathering and don’t want to pay $4 a minute for the privilege of calling someone a few hundred metres away. Read the rest of this entry »
Arti Ahluwalia (Professor of Bioengineering), Daniele Mazzei and Carmelo De Maria (Biomedical Engineers, co-founders of FabLab Pisa and researchers at the Center) are now back in Italy and I interviewed them as this project raised interest from the open source community. Read the rest of this entry »
Moti is a smart motor you can control from an app . It allows to use your fingers directly on the screen to move the motor, adjust speed with sliders and even program motions with simple building blocks. You can attach it to any kind of objects and bring them to life with intuitive and easily understandable steps.
At the same time Moti is advanced enough to satisfy makers and developers who are looking to build complex robots. Each one is programmable with Arduino, has bunch of built-in sensors, daisy-chains, and even has a web-API so you can develop sites and games for your robot. Read the rest of this entry »