Adafruit Learning System Weekly Update: Crickit Edition #AdafruitLearningSystem #MakeRobotFriend

This week on the Adafruit Learning System, we published three new guides. Learn how to build a programmable wireless BLE gesture mouse, learn about the new Adafruit round rectangle color IPS TFT display, and learn how to bring up a Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero W without needing to attach a keyboard/mouse/monitor.

Favorite New Guide

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This week my favorite new guide shows you how to make a custom wireless mouse!

Most computers require a mouse to navigate the user interface. In this project, you’ll learn how you can build a mouse that connects via Bluetooth BLE and converts accelerometer readings to mouse cursor movements.

The project is built around the Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense. It has BLE connectivity and a lot of onboard sensors. Its accelerometer is used for sending movement data that is converted to move your mouse cursor around the screen.

Right-clicks are sent with the onboard button. Scrolling is done by covering the proximity sensor and tilting the Feather nRF52840 Sense up or down depending on the direction that you want to scroll.

The 3D printed case features cut-outs on the top so that you can access the button and proximity sensor while keeping your board protected.

Make it move with Crickit!

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My favorite category on the Adafruit Learning System is the Crickit category. If you don’t know about the Crickit, start by checking out the Adafruit Crickit product guide.

Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they’d know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that path? Here at Adafruit we believe in making robots our friends!

So if you find yourself wanting a companion, consider the robot. They’re fun to program, and you can get creative with decorations.

With that in mind, we designed Crickit – That’s our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode (coming soon), or Arduino.

Bolt on your Circuit Playground using the included stand-off bolts and start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends the Circuit Playground so you can still use all the goodies on the CPX, but now you have a robotics playground as well.

In the Crickit category, you will find the most unique and fun projects on all of ALS. Here are some of my favorites:

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Paper Zoetrope with Crickit – In this guide we will build a low-cost zoetrope that you can use to make and view your own animated sequences. The tools and materials used will be kept as simple and inexpensive as possible, so as to make it accessible and quick to put together.

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Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 3D Printed Bladesaw – In this project we built the ancient bladesaw from Zelda, Breath of the Wild. This fully 3d printed prop has a moving chainsaw with tons of NeoPixel LEDs. It has lots of detail making this one of our most intricate builds. It’s pretty massive – over 40 inches in length with over 200 neopixels.

Animatronic Glowing Medusa Headdress – Your looks will turn them all to stone, and your snakes will writhe in delight and delicious decadence.  The glow from your serpentine hair will only be eclipsed by the toothsome grin you wear as you fill your statue garden with wonders wrought from your deadly gaze. This is not a step-by-step guide, rather an overview of how I used Crickit and Circuit Playground to create this costume.  The Crickit is so easy to use that it’s a great first foray into the world of animatronics and servos. I used MakeCode’s drag-and-drop editor to create the code that runs the servos and the lights, so it’s easy to learn and customize even if you’re not a coder.

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. This week’s guide is from back in 2018.

One of our very first Crickit guides, learn how to build a mini golf hole with a crushing hammer hazard!

You can build a hole for your dream miniature golf course that has this smashing obstacle — the Hammer Time hazard! Using cardboard boxes, Crickit, Circuit Playground Express, a gearbox motor, and some craft supplies, you’ll create a relentless hammer obstacle that takes just the right timing to avoid that hazard and sink your ball in the hole!

Bonus!

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Build an interactive mini golf course with Crickit!!!


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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