Aeroquad, the open source quadcopter/multicopter, uses an Arduino microcontroller. The v2.1 kit (used to make the multicopter below) comes with an Arduino Mega 2560, an AeroQuad v2.1 Shield, a Sparkfun 9DOF sensor board, a BMP 085 barometer, a DC connector for power, and stackable header pins. The combination of the sensor board and barometer helps the multicopter stay in flight, while the shield provides an alternative to wiring sensors and other connectors by hand.
OpenROV, the opensource underwater robot, uses a BeagleBoard computer base to create a more accessible, affordable way to explore underwater. The board is controlled via a remote web browser, feeding out the information from the USB webcam on the front. The robot is powered by eight onboard C batteries and uses two LED light arrays.
Atmel’s robotic spiders react with an Arduino Pro Mini microcontroller. The company also hosted a robotics contest, with contestants demonstrating how well their robots can perform a specified set of tasks on the given course. Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino Project, was also on hand to discuss their latest developments.
TI displayed itsLaunchPad family of microcontrollers, which feature on-board emulation for programming and debugging code, push buttons and LEDs, and a consistent connector to add functionality including wireless connectivity.
Andy Gikling’s BBot is an open source, remote controlled, drink serving robot. Using a BeagleBone Black micro embedded Linux computer and an FPGA cape, the robot is capable of interacting with users through wireless video and audio, displaying information about drink specials and even cracking jokes. It can also drive the contents of its cooler around within a range of 1000 meters.
Robogamers not only exhibited their own 3D printed and thermoplastic robots, but hosted a Lego robotic game for participants of all ages (although some may have needed a little bit of help at least reaching the table).
BioLite develops advanced energy products that make cooking with wood clean, safe, and easy while also providing electricity to charge cell phones and LED lights-off grid while camping. Fueled by renewable biomass (twigs, pine cones, etc.), the BioLite Stove reaches a fire power output of 3.4 kW (LO, 5.5 kW (HI). Its USB power output is 2 W at 5 V (max continuous) and 4 W at 5 V (peak).
While open wood fires are inefficient and waste potential energy and create toxic smoke, BioLite stoves use thermoelectric technology to convert heat to electricity that powers a fan. The extra electricity can then be used to charge small electronics, all without the need to carry around fuel.
KARTS for Vets, or Kinect Arduino Rehabilitation Therapy System for injured veterans, is a Kinect game exercise program combined with an Arduino controlled PALE system that helps bring low-cost physical therapy to veterans. The system requires users to move their limbs through specific motions, timing their progress, as the Kinect sensors read their movements and communicate with the Arduino board to administer a doctor-approved therapy regimen.
Designed by Mark Perez, the life size version of the classic game, “Mousetrap,” combines physics, engineering, and performance into what can only be described as a true spectacle.
Developed by faiglelabs, the Floid drone system, uses Arduino, mass-produced helicopter hardware, an Android on board mission controller, and an integrated web interface capable of controlling any number of Floids. The system is also capable of advanced hardware functionality including photo and video, pan-tilt, and payload delivery.
The littleBits booth was a hot attraction all weekend, with everyone from children to adults trying out the opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets. With no soldering, wiring, or programming necessary, the modules (each with a specific function including light, sound, motors, sensors, among others) snap together to make larger circuits and an endless number of projects.
The Fuzzbot, developed by Quin Etnyre, the 12 year old CEO of Qtechknow, is a fully autonomous Arduino robot that uses a compact Pololu ZumoBot Chassis kit and a Parallax Ping sensor to sense proximity. A self-described “mini Roomba,” the attached Swiffer Duster on the back picks up any unwanted dirt.
The maker-version of the spirograph, ArtBot Toys’ SpinBot is a triple-armed robot that spins in circles, drawing elaborate geometric shapes. The kit, which includes the acrylic parts, rubber bands, a motor, a battery holder, and a power switch, allows kids to make their own.
Thomas Lemieux, the Iron Man of Maine, built his own Iron Man suit complete with a rotating circle of LED lights for the “arc reactor” on his chest and a sound board that synthesizes his voice into a robotic approximation of the character’s voice from the movies. Six switches control the power of the suit and Arduino was used to make the biometric circuit for the LED lights in the hand that are controlled by EKG leads attached to his forearms. (All Lemieux has to do is flex for the LEDs to fire and for the sound effects to go off.)
An entirely different kind of electronic design, Shanning Wan’s electronic component jewelry, is made of resistors, capacitors, and varistors and is inspired by architectural forms and Native American designs. Wan told us her next step will be incorporating LED lights into some of the designs; a perfect gift for the lady engineer in your life.
In the main lobby of the Hall of Science, kids of all ages had fun with the LED board that used sensors to change color with every step they made.
Sponsored by RadioShack, one of the main attractions of the Faire was learning how to solder. Kits and instructions were provided, complete with safety goggles of course, for mini-engineers to try their hands at using a 25-W soldering iron.
The kit, which builds a working electronic keyboard, produces 600-640°F, the perfect temperature range for kit building or minor repairs.
UDOO uses Android, Linux, and Arduino in a tiny, single-board computer, allowing people with different coding and electronics skills to choose a configuration that best fits their level. The given example at the booth used a sensor that changed the color of the light when swiped over.
The ongoing theme of the Faire, keep calm and make on.
Maker Faire NY 2013 exhibited everything from underwater robots to camping stoves that also charge your cellphone. Makers of all ages gathered to show off their projects and to learn a thing or two from other members of the community.
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