#AdafruitLearnSystem Weekly Update: New Year, New Products


Since my last update, there were a whopping 18 new guides published on the Adafruit Learning System! While 8 of those guides feature my favorite new product, the Adafruit MagTag, we published 5 new product guides! Outside of the MagTag and new product guides, we published a guide on using weird displays with the Raspberry Pi (don’t want to miss this one), a giant Microsoft Teams mute button project, a crazy cool LED necklace (pictured above), and a fun new MatrixPortal project.

Favorite New Guide

With the hockey season upon us, why not make your own 3D printed LED hockey puck featuring the Circuit Playground?

In this project, we’re making a 3D printed LED hockey puck.

This was inspired by the DIY indoor hockey project by Yuksel Timez.

This hockey puck lights up and makes chips tunes based on motion!

You get a light show each time you hit the hockey puck, so it’s still super fun even when you miss a goal.

ALS Deep Cut

With so many guides on the Adafruit Learning System, some amazing guides of years past get buried and lost. ALS Deep Cuts brings these guides back up to the surface.

Speaking of the CircuitPlayground, this week’s deep cut is from 2017. John Park shows us how to create a magic deck of cards that you can use in  your own magic trick or family friendly home escape room.

The setup: You’re running an escape room, or a magic trick, or a uniquely themed Wild West baby shower. You’ve cast your participants/game players/soccer moms & dads as Old West gamblers.

The puzzle: A clue leads them to a sealed deck of poker cards and two rules to follow:

  1. Unless otherwise instructed, hang on to this deck of cards — in time it’ll deliver an important message.
  2. Should the dealer suspect you’ve marked the cards, there’s gonna be trouble, so keep it sealed and pristine!

The payoff: Later, the players/gamblers find a new clue that instructs them to “toss the deck to hear the key”. Being highly clever, they try literally throwing the deck into the air and — BEHOLD! — when the deck reaches a state of freefall, the distinctive beeping “dits” and “dahs” of a Morse code message begin to emanate from within the pack of cards. They catch the deck and begin to transcribe the message, an important solution to the puzzle.

Thus is unlocked the mystery of The Freefall Deck!

New Product Guides Week!

Adafruit started the new year full speed ahead by publishing 5 new product guides!

First up is the Adafruit LTR390 UV Sensor:

The LTR390 is one of the few low-cost UV sensors available, and it’s a pretty nice one! With both ambient light and UVA sensing with a peak spectral response between 300 and 350nm. You can use it for measuring  how much sun you can get before needing to covering up.

Next up is the Adafruit SGP40 Air Quality Sensor:

*sniff* *sniff* … do you smell that? No need to stick your nose into a carton of milk anymore, you can build a digital nose with the SGP40 Multi-Pixel Gas Sensor, a fully integrated MOX gas sensor. This is a very fine air quality sensor from the sensor experts at Sensirion, with I2C interfacing so you don’t have to manage the heater and analog reading of a MOX sensor. It combines multiple metal-oxide sensing and heating elements on one chip to provide more detailed air quality signals.

Then there is the Adafruit MPR121 12-Key Capacitive Touch Sensor Gator STEMMA Breakout:

Add lots of touch sensors to your next microcontroller project with this easy-to-use 12-channel capacitive touch sensor breakout board, starring the MPR121. This chip can handle up to 12 individual touchpads with plug-and-play STEMMA QT connector and large alligator/croc-clip friendly pads, it’s a no-solder solution to capacitive touch sensing.

Also published this week is the Adafruit SCD-30 – NDIR CO2 Temperature and Humidity Sensor guide:

Take a deep breath in…now slowly breathe out. Mmm isn’t it wonderful? All that air around us, which we bring into our lungs, extract oxygen from and then breathe out carbon dioxide. CO2 is essential for life on this planet we call Earth – us and plants take turns using and emitting CO2 in an elegant symbiosis. But it’s important to keep that CO2 balanced – you don’t want too much around, not good for humans and not good for our planet.

And finally, we published the Adafruit Wii Nunchuck Breakout Adapter guide:

Dig out that old Wii controller and use it as a sleek controller for your next robot if you like. The Adafruit Adafruit Wii Nunchuck Breakout Adapter fits snugly into the Wii connector, and performs the level shifting and power regulation needed to use the controller with any microcontroller or microcomputer.


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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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.

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