Electronics shrink. Power requirements lessen. Capabilities compound. Processing speeds skyrocket. Interfacing options multiply. Today’s microcontrollers and microsized computers greatly surpass those of even just a year ago, making almost any project feasible. And some of the hottest projects right now come from the world of wearables.
What is a wearable, exactly? Some call the space “wearable electronics,” others “wearable computing.” We see it as something far broader than that. Wearable technology can be advanced electronic sensors and displays combined with everyday apparel, like Io Flament’s brainwave-sensing beanie (see page 60) and Jonathan Cook’s Open-Source Smartwatch (page 54), but it also includes the futuristic under-the-skin projects of a few daring body augmenters (page 53), as well as the mechanical technology in Keahi Seymour’s Bionic Boots (page 44).
In this issue of Make: we guide you through these examples and more. But first we’ll explain all the latest trends in electronics prototyping boards — including advanced wireless communication protocols — and which boards to keep an eye on. All of them smaller and more powerful than ever. Plus, build a Shishi Odoshi fountain to scare away animals from your garden, make two(!) R/C airplanes that are great for beginning pilots, capture stunning close-up photos with a microscope and a smartphone, and install a climbing wall in your backyard that doubles as a play structure.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell with Google Hangouts On-Air is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — SiFive is a startup to pay attention to. RISC-5 is here to stay.
Wearables — Swatch it up
Electronics — Code like everyone’s watching
Biohacking — Stroboscopic Visual Training
Python for Microcontrollers — CircuitPython takes flight! All aboard with datum, Bluefruit CPX, and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython #PythonHardware @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
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