Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.
Halloween’s always a good time at Pololu. Here’s a shot of all the people here that dressed up for the holiday:
I (Emily) used some of our LED strips to make a Luxor Hotel costume. (For those of you that don’t know, Pololu is located in Las Vegas, NV, not too far from this building.) You can see a video of this costume in action here.
If you used any Pololu products in your Halloween costume or decorations, we’d love to hear about it! Please post about it on our forum and maybe we will feature it here on the blog. Have a Happy Halloween!
Pololu forum user Martan recently released a project called Wireless Servo Widget. The project website says:
Wireless Servo Widgets allow you to control up to 64 slaves, with each slave controlling up to six R/C type servos. In addition, each slave can return 3 analog input values to your Raspberry Pi. Slaves have a range of about 50 feet from the master. Use them for home automation, robotics, model train controls, or whatever you want!
The Wireless Servo Widget is based on our Wixel Programmable USB Wireless Module. Martan wrote apps for the Wixel that use the packet addressing feature of the CC2511F32 chip to implement a round-robin protocol. He also made a Slave Widget Breakout Board which makes it easy to plug servos into the slave Wixels. All of this and more can be found on the Wireless Servo Widget website.
Do you like our Zumo Robot?
Does royal blue look good on you?
Do you like T-shirts that have robots on them?
Does the phrase “Push.” motivate you?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you might just be interested in our 2013 Pololu T-Shirt!
Some of our favorite examples of when/where to wear this T-shirt:
- In the delivery room!
- During a mini-sumo competition!
- During an actual sumo competition!
- Inside your local hackerspace!
- At your local robotics club meetings!
You can find these and last year’s shirts in our shirts category.
Halloween is just around the corner, and people are looking to make fun costumes. I recently took a couple of calls from customers who were looking to make Katy Perry-inspired costume dresses with spinning peppermints, following the instructions found on this RPF forum thread. Parts from Pololu used to make the dress included an enclosed 3-AA battery holder with a switch and a Solarbotics GM3 224:1 Gear Motor. However, we suggest substituting our 200:1 Plastic Gearmotor, which has similar performance but no back shaft that needs to be removed.
If you have a cool costume that uses our products, please feel free to share them in the “Share your projects” section of our Forum.
Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s November issue with your order while supplies last. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR1113 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.
For other issues and more information, see our Free Elektor Magazine Offers page. All issues are now available for shipping worldwide!
Geoff from Tabletop Robotics wrote a tutorial on how to build a Flipbot, a basic differential-drive robot that can keep on going even when flipped upside-down. A Wixel serves as the brains of the robot, and a second Wixel in the remote allows the Flipbot to be wirelessly controlled. In addition to the Wixels, the Flipbot uses a number of Pololu products, including:
- Two micro metal gearmotors
- 22T track set
- DRV8833 dual motor driver carrier
- MMA7361L 3-axis accelerometer
The accelerometer is used to determine when the robot is upside-down. Geoff’s tutorial has a full parts list and a diagram of how everything is connected; the complete source code is also available.
Thomas Schoch, of Essen, Germany, built a neat robot with a Raspberry Pi and a Zumo Chassis Kit. The PiBot-B is controlled by a custom iPhone app that communicates over WiFi to the Raspberry Pi, which is running lighttpd and PHP. A Python program uses the WiringPi library to send signals to an L293D motor driver that drives the two 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors in the Zumo chassis. The iPhone app displays video from the attached Logitech C300 webcam, and the robot has an integrated 8×8 LED matrix from Adafruit that indicates its state. In the future, Thomas plans to add sensors for obstacle detection and make the robot autonomous. We were impressed by several things:
- PiBot-B is very tidy, thanks in part to the USB cables that were shortened and modified using liquid rubber.
- The Raspberry Pi has only one PWM output so Thomas used two OR gates to select whether the left motor, right motor, or both motors receive the PWM signal.
- The write-up has some great photos and informative diagrams.
The PiBot-B page is written in German, but it has a link at the top to translate it into English using Google Translate.
We are giving you one more reason to take your holiday decorations this year to the next level: we have lowered the prices on our LED strips!
Our 30-LED, 1 m strip has dropped from $34.95 to $24.95.
Our 60-LED, 2 m strip has dropped from $69.95 to $47.95.
Our 150-LED, 5 m strip has dropped from $149.95 to $119.95.
And if you are thinking custom lighting seems a little complicated, you will be surprised how easy it is to get these strips up and running with an Arduino. I show you how in this video where I am using the examples included in our Arduino library for addressable RGB LED strips to get started.
Lonnie Honeycutt made a nice tutorial on how to make a simple beginner robot that uses many parts that you can find on our website. The tutorial breaks down the construction of the robot into different parts and includes videos that help demonstrate how to build the robot. It also includes links to some of our products used in the robot, like the TB6612FNG Dual Motor Driver Carrier, Pololu Robot Chassis, and the Tamiya 70097 Twin-Motor Gearbox Kit. Check it out if you are looking for a project to get you started.
Here are links to three parts of the tutorial he has posted so far:
Part 1: Arduino robotics – motor control