Archive for the ‘making things’ Category

Google I/O adopts Arduino for ADK

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Interesting announcement at Google IO last month about support for usb devices connecting to Android phones and tablets (so you could plug a game device in to control it), and an open way of developing custom devices to plug in called the Android Open Accessory Development Kit based on the open source Arduino platform.
Rather than making people sign non-disclosure agreements to find out the hardware details (like another well known manufacture of tablet and phone devices), and making them pay large licensing fees, and submit devices for approval they are basing the initial development kit on a popular, well used open source project that anyone is free to make. A number of low volume manufacturers are making boards to use already.

There were already a ways to connect devices to Android devices, but none were officially sanctioned, so could be blocked or changed at any time. Having an open route that is officially supported is great. On the day of the announcement they made all the details available, including the design files you need to make your own (one of the requirements that makes hardware open source)

While there are some quirks in the way that they are doing this is an exciting development and could lead to a lot of interesting devices and prototypes.


I have got as far as getting the software example that talks to the board onto an Android tablet – as my tablet didn’t have the latest version of Android on it I needed to update it. As it is open source there were versions online i could try (legally).

Great music making technology

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Singing Fingers from jay silver on Vimeo.

Three bits of video, all by the same guy. The drawdio at the bottom is older. Itcan be used as a great intro to electronics  (you can make your own, its a basic circuit audio circuit).  The other two videos are clearly related to the drawdio idea, but taking it in other directions.

Twinkle: Compose Music With Crayons or… Any Color from jay silver on Vimeo.

Drawdio: Turn Almost Anything Into a Theremin from jay silver on Vimeo.


Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Have been using Polymorph for years for prototyping stuff, but the new kid on the block is sugru. They have a twitter page as well were they talk about how the first run that they thought would last for a couple of months sold out in 6 hours.

Polymorph involves using boiling water, and cools to a hard plastic, sugru involves nothing hot, and cures to a rubbery feel. Looks like they will complement each other very well. I imagine it will be really useful for making things more grippy and easier to hold. Unfortunately I found it just after it sold out till early next year, so can’t say for sure.

More good videos how to use sugru, and an interview and demo.