The Electromaker Show Episode 6

Welcome to the Electromaker Show episode 6! This week, the week of July 6, 2020, saw several cool crowdfunding campaigns, awesome projects, and more. Check out the latest happenings from around the maker, do-it-yourself, Internet of Things, and embedded worlds!


Pretty Projects - Raspberry Pi LED Message Board, DIY Power Bank, Paper Circuits

Right here on Electromaker, we feature many neat projects that anyone (yes, even you dear reader) can upload. Recently, we've had a slew of high-quality community projects. Electromaker user Ty of Ty and Gig Builds acclaim creates an easy-to-make yet extremely useful Raspberry Pi LED message board. All you'll need for this is a Raspberry Pi (Ty used a Pi Zero), Python programming, circuitry, LEDs, and soldering. While the end result looks professional enough to be an off-the-shelf solution, it's a DIY LED message board that you can make at home. It's similar to the Lixie Pixie, but a self-made item and larger. 

The advent of the Raspberry Pi camera ushered in new era for the Pi. Photography became possible with the massively popular single-board computer (SBC). Then, in 2020 the Raspberry Pi high-quality (HQ) camera came out complete with multiple lenses. And the Pi once again received a photography power up. The 12.3-megapixel sensor in the Raspberry Pi HQ camera allows for lush images captured, even rivalling many DLSRs on the market. Now, Pi users can take time-lapses, hook up sensors, and turn a seemingly endless list of dreams into reality. Raspberry Pi publication The MagPi showcases a means of utilizing a pair of Pi cameras in tandem for 3D photographs that can be viewed in 3D even sans glasses. 

Power banks are right useful. I've got an entire drawer full of portable battery packs including a massive 30000mAh Poweradd Pilot Pro3 that, bigger and heftier than most modern tablets, challenges the notion of portability. Still, I'm pretty fond of my Poweradd Pilot Pro3 since it ensures I'm able to recharge my devices multiple times. Whether you're on the go, need a backup in case of a power outage, or just want to charge your phone but can't reach a wall socket from the couch, power banks are a must-own. Sure, you could buy one, but maker GreatScott! offers a look at how to make a USB Type-C PD power bank. It might sound complicated, and indeed it's not a project for the faint of heart. Yet using a cheap AliExpress board, it's actually far simpler than it sounds. GreatScott! even 3D prints a housing, and the completed project looks like a pre-built power bank. 

Liz Clark, better known around the information superhighway as Blitz City DIY, is one of our favorite creators here at Electromaker. And in her latest video, Liz whips up circuits with...paper? Yep, you read that correctly. Paper. Why paper, you might ask? Prototyping PCBs is even easier with a paper circuit. You can test out circuit concepts at home before sending off a PCB design. Clark does note that this is rather dangerous if executed improperly. Instead, Clark uses sticker copper sheets adhered to a piece of paper. First, Liz cut the cardboard out on a piece of cardstock. Then, the component holes were slotted in. And soldering on paper actually worked, as potentially hazardous as it sounds. We here at Electromaker, and the exceptional Blitz City DIY herself, don't recommend trying this at home. It's nevertheless a really neat concept and one that could be a game-changer for hobbyists the world around. Prototyping PCBs and iterating could get even easier. Perhaps a kit to achieve this feat safely could hit shelves. 

Here on Electromaker, we love maker boards and microcontrollers. Our board guide features an excellent round up of both. And each Monday, we focus on a different single-board computer or microcontroller. Recently, we looked at the Nvidia Jetson Nano, a powerful artificial intelligence-capable dev board. Nvidia, renowned among gamers, corrected that it's in fact not a gaming company. Rather, Nvidia is an accelerated computing company. Its hardware and software innovations just so happen to power many gaming PCs and streaming devices. In fact, its AI advancements have even been implemented for 4K AI upscaling in the latest version of its flagship Nvidia Shield TV Android TV box.  

Cool Creations

Get your drink on (so long as you're of legal drinking age wherever you are) with the Hayes Gin Barmaster 2000. What at first looks like a Bluetooth-enabled servo with sensor data from a smartwatch is in reality an extremely clever advert for gin. Ok, you've won us over. We'll bite. Here, take my money. Seriously, it's a very niche marketing campaign and one that made me chuckle.

This brick experiment channel LEGO submarine is pretty rad. It utilizes a Pyrex food tub and neodymium magnets for coupling the motors to the rotors. While it may look hair-brained, the submersible vehicle actually works, complete with LEGO diver. What's more, unlike many DIY projects that only showcase the polished final version, Brick Experiment Channel provides a look at the entire process with troubleshooting. 

With warmer months upon us, getting outside for some socially distanced outdoor adventuring is a right blast. But there are many elements to contend with including heat, humidity, mosquitoes, ticks, and poison ivy. While bug spray might ward off pesky bugs, and sunscreen may prevent sunburn, poison ivy is a different matter. Enter the poison ivy dog robot! It's comprised of eight different servos and outfitted with an aquarium pump to handle the poison ivy. It looks stylistically like the Boston Dynamics robot doggo. Then, the poison ivy killing robot can douse pesky plants with weed killer. It's a fantastic, ingenious little device. Sciencish plans to upgrade the poison ivy pupper at some point, so stay tuned to his YouTube channel. Although my dog doesn't combat poisonous plants, well, he's pretty adorable and an excellent home office co-worker. 

Crowdfunding Corner

There's a new development board, the QuickFeather, based on the QuickLogic EOS system-on-a-chip (SoC). Onboard, it's rocking an ARM Cortex M4F microcontroller with an embedded FPGA. It's focused on machine learning and can be both powered by as well as charge Li-Po batteries. A built-in microphone, pressure sensor, and accelerometer posit this nifty device as an excellent industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) device. 

The Zero Multi-power Supply is a Li-Ion supported iteration of a cheap, simple yet effective power supply. It offers a host of different input/output (I/O) options. Micro and Mini USB are both baked in, as well as Li-Bat and DC 3.5. There's a 4-way voltage display. Overall, it's a fantastic choice for prototyping that lends an affordable PSU to any project.  

3D printers, both filament and resin, are incredibly popular. While some retail for well over $1,000 USD, still others are budget-oriented. The LOTMAXX SC-10 Shark is a multi-purpose 3D printer that begins at $200. And for that price, you get an array of premium features including bi-color printing, laser engraving, and auto-leveling. It's a tiered printer, with different components like auto-leveling, laser engraving, and bi-color printing unlocked at various price points. I'm actually incredibly tempted, and may snag one for my maker table. With praise from industry luminaries like 3D Printing Nerd aka Joel Telling, it's a sweet printer that boasts a solid price to performance ratio. 

cutiepi raspberry pi tablet

The aptly-named CutiePi tablet markets itself as a Raspberry Pi untethered. As the name suggests, it's a fully-functional Raspberry Pi tablet. Portable and easy to use, it's lovely looking and performs quite well. There's a built-in handle, and the ability to load up your existing Pi projects onto the CutiePi. It's a mere 12mm thick, rocks a 1280x800 8-inch touchscreen, features a sleep/wake button, microHDMI output, USB-C for charging, USB type-A connectivity, microSD card slot, and GPIO poins. A 5000 mAh battery ensures on-the-go fun. Great for STEM purposes, hardcore makers, or just a tablet to tote around, the CutiePi is a stylish portable Pi. You can find other maker-oriented tablets, but this is one of the best. 

Electromaker Show Episode 6

These are the best projects and crowdfunding news we saw this week. But we may have missed something. Got a favorite project or news story that you'd like to share? Comment below and let us know!

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