Featured: Matthew Borgatti’s Robo-Tentacle Tutorial
Matthew Borgatti has done an incredible job writing up and sharing what he learned spending years investigating soft robotics in his Robo-Tentacle tutorial now added to the Adafruit Learning System: “Soft robots can potentially do a lot of jobs a hard robot made of steel and servos just can’t do. Something composed of soft, flexible structures and actuators might be able to burrow through the dirt like an earthworm, conform to complex objects like a human hand, and go huge distances on minimal power just like organic machines (bats, bugs, dolphins, etc) do. One reason you don’t see too many robots like these is how difficult they are to design, plan, and manufacture. Either they’re made of lots of interconnecting soft structures knitted together with glue and fasteners (each seam meaning additional labor, expense, and chances of breaking), or composed of a single skin. I’ve been poking at easier ways to manufacture soft robots and think that these single skin designs have a lot of potential. I think that making robots this way could lower their cost while increasing their strength and durability. I’ve been calling these single skin robots plionics….” (read more)
There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 62,781 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!
From the Google+ Community
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Mark Miller shared: “More on my homemade actuator project: I now have a complete lineup of actuators made in step sizes, including a new geared down microstepper drive. I needed a very slow powerful push in a tight space so I made one custom with enclosed case containing 100:1 gear reduction. These are great for very slow, fine control and is going to be used to run the cutting bit into the work for a CNC lathe. My first test application with the DC actuator was the robotic arm in the video-It was just a quick throw together to test durability and load capacity…. More fun soon to follow.” (read more)
Jochen Hebeler shared: “I built a class-D amplifier out of some diskret parts, op-amps and a mosfet H-Bridge. The image is the current LtSpice model an here is the video of the thing in action: Class D amplifier” (read more)
Giorgio Cerruti shared: “This is my (plus Silvio Cacamo‘s) new finished project. His name is SOCIALENGINE. This concept is powered with Arduino UNO + Raspberry PI. When you send a Tweet with specific mentioned user and hashtag, the gears rotate! On Raspberry Pi i have installed Raspbian + Node JS (for check the Twitter Stream and send input to Arduino) + Mongo DB. Next Saturday i present this on a MakerFaire @ Rome.” (read more)
João Macedo shared: “Creep / crawler gait and a little gymnastics on the (I named it recently) pinocchio spider. (I don’t care if it has only 4 legs … It looks like a spider!). The super optimized inverse kinematics code for both body and legs is capable of running 100/second if needed in the arduino uno. One or two servos are a little jittery but it think it looks cool overall.” (read more)
Community Projects from the Adafruit Blog
Han Lee/xoundbox shared a Wooden Pixel Display project on the Adafruit Forums: “Analog wooden blocks (1.5″x1.5″x3″ each) as digital pixels. 64 wood pixels in 8×8 make a form. One pixel might make you bored but it gives you something interesting when pixels make a form together. This WPD64 has been presented at a generative art show in NYC recently.” (read more)
Grant Gibson shared his “Biometric security toy box” project: “A couple of weeks ago Apple announced the new iPhone 5s with Touch ID, a fingerprint identity sensor that replaces the need for a conventional PIN number or password. It got me thinking… wouldn’t it be cool to make a lockable toy box with fingerprint access for my son’s toy car collection. At the heart of the system is an Arduino Uno and an Optical Fingerprint Sensor from Adafruit. The box uses a standard hobby servo as the latch to lock and unlock the lid based on the fingerprint detected.” (read more)
Teague Labs shared: “A simple skeletal 3D printable pen designed around the ‘Fisher Space Pen’ refill cartridge—including two cap designs, one that clips to a short stack of paper and another designed to clip onto any ‘Moleskine’ type sketchbook. This an older project I dusted off and polished up to work without building supports; the PenPrint’s ergonomics aren’t the best, but as a digital artifact and 3D printed object, it’s only a few iterations away… I want to point out that this design was purposely built around the ‘Fisher Space Pen’ cartridge; a forgotten artifact of US space exploration that expresses ingenuity, functionality and craft in its all-metal gas pressurized construction. And can still be found in most office supply stores for about $6—the same price per pen NASA paid back in 1967….” Thingiverse thing here. (read more)
Last week’s Electronics Show-and-Tell Video!
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Wearables — Diffuse the glow
Electronics — Check out this shorthand shortcut
Biohacking — Testing for Fat Burning at the Colorado 200
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