Open-Source Robotics: Poppy Project #poppyproject

A new opensource robotics project is releasing in France called the Poppy Project.

Poppy is an Open-source humanoid platform based on robust, flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.
Designed by the Flowers Lab at Inria Bordeaux and Ensta ParisTech (France), its development aims at providing an affordable and hackable humanoid robot for science, education, art and geeks.
Poppy was initially made for our research project about understanding biped locomotion, and full-body physical and social interaction in robots and humans.

Google Coder: Programming with Raspberry Pi #GoogleCoder #RaspberryPi

Coder is a free, open source project that turns a Raspberry Pi into a simple platform that educators and parents can use to teach the basics of building for the web. New coders can craft small projects in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, right from the web browser.

Oregano: Designing Electronics with Linux

In many scientific disciplines, the research you may be doing is completely new. It may be so new that there isn’t even any instrumentation available to make your experimental measurements. In those cases, you have no choice but to design and build your own measuring devices. Although you could build them using trial and error, having a way to model them first to see how they will behave is a much better choice—in steps oregano. With oregano, you can design your circuitry ahead of time and run simulations on it to iron out any problems you may encounter.


Read more HERE.

Arduino: Release new Arduino Robot and TFT screen

Arduino is ready for Maker Faire Bay Area, and you?

A new product – Arduino Robot brings you into the world of robotics. Designed with Complubot, the 4-times world champions in Robocup Junior robotics soccer, the robot allows for endless hours of experimentation and play. It is a self-contained platform allowing you to build interactive machines to explore the world. You can use it as it is, modify its software and even add your own hardware on top of it. You can learn as you go: the Arduino Robot is perfect for the novice but also for those looking for their next challenge.
?As always with Arduino, every element of the platform – hardware, software and documentation – is freely available and open-source. This means you can learn exactly how it’s made and use its design as the starting point for your own robots.

A new software – Arduino has released the new version of the Arduino IDE and the new TFT screen. TCT LCD library relies on the Adafruit GFX and ST7735 libraries. Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer Limor ‘Ladyada’, Enterpreneur of the year 2012. The Arduino specific library, named TFT, extends the Adafruit libraries to support more Processing-like methods. You can write text, draw shapes, and show bitmap images on the screen in a way that should be familiar to users of Processing.

24VAC to 5VDC Conversion

Ray Wang wrote this post about voltage conversion from 24VAC to 5VDC.

Voltage conversion from 24VAC to 5VDC is quite useful, because a lot of home automation devices use 24VAC, including sprinkler solenoids, home surveillance systems etc. Having a conversion module makes it easy to use a single power supply, without a separate 5V adapter for your control circuit. There are plenty of resources you can find online about it. But these resources are rather scattered. So in this blog post I summarize and discuss the common choices.

Find more information at RaysHobby.

BeagleBone Black Release has released its new development platform, BeagleBone Black. This platform is released with beefier specs at $45. This is definitely going on my wish list. Might be worth it to grab one of these and do an out of the box review. Below are the specifications if you’re interested.

  • Processor: Sitara AM3359AZCZ100 1GHz, 2000 MIPS
  • Graphics Engine: SGX530 3D, 20M Polygons/S
  • SDRAM Memory: 512MB DDR3L 606MHZ
  • Onboard Flash: 2GB, 8bit Embedded MMC
  • PMIC: TPS65217C PMIC regulator and one additional LDO.
  • Debug Support: Optional Onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG, Serial Header
  • Power Source: miniUSB USB or DC Jack, 5VDC External Via Expansion Header
  • PCB 3.4” x 2.1” 6 layers
  • Indicators 1-Power, 2-Ethernet, 4-User Controllable LEDs
  • HiSpeed USB 2.0 Client Port: Access to USB0, Client mode via miniUSB
  • HiSpeed USB 2.0 Host Port Access to USB1, Type A Socket, 500mA LS/FS/HS
  • Serial Port UART0 access via 6 pin 3.3V TTL Header. Header is populated
  • Ethernet 10/100, RJ45
  • SD/MMC Connector microSD , 3.3V
  • User Input: Reset Button, Boot Button, Power Button
  • Video Out: 16b HDMI, 1280×1024 (MAX), 1024×768,1280×720,1440×900
    w/EDID Support
  • Audio Via HDMI Interface, Stereo
  • Expansion Connectors:
    • Power 5V, 3.3V , VDD_ADC(1.8V)
    • 3.3V I/O on all signals
    • McASP0, SPI1, I2C, GPIO(65), LCD, GPMC, MMC1, MMC2, 7
      AIN(1.8V MAX), 4 Timers, 3 Serial Ports, CAN0,
      EHRPWM(0,2),XDMA Interrupt, Power button, Expansion Board ID
      (Up to 4 can be stacked)
  • Weight 1.4 oz (39.68 grams)

uCtools: Open Source Firmware Development

oshwEric Evenchick at is developing templates to make firmware development easier for the open source community. It’s definately something worth looking into. You can find the original story at Hackaday here. The project files are on Github here.

Most microcontroller manufacturers give you some kind of free development toolchain or IDE with their silicon products. Often it’s crippled, closed source, and a large download. This is pretty inconvenient when you want to have firmware that’s easy to build and distribute. I’ve found many of these toolchains to be annoying to use, and requiring closed source software to build open source firmware seems less than desirable.
It’s possible to build code for most microcontrollers using command line tools. You’ll need a compiler, the device manufacturer’s libraries and header files, and some method of flashing the device. A lot of these tools are open source, which lets you have an open source toolchain that builds your project.
Setting up these tools can be a bit tricky, so I’m building a set of templates to make it easier. Each template has instructions on setting up the toolchain, a Makefile to build the firmware, and sample code to get up and running quickly. It’s all public domain, so you can use it for whatever you’d like.
Currently there’s support for AVR, MSP430, Stellaris ARM, and STM32L1. More devices are in the works, and suggestions are welcome. Hopefully this helps people get started building firmware that’s easy to build and distribute with projects.