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.
At Halloween parties, it is common to see a punch bowl with one or more eyeballs floating in it and stomach-churning decorations like severed fingers or gelatin worms lining the festive dishes. However, the problem with most of these is that they are motionless and bland. Inspired by Thing, the disembodied hand from The Addams Family, I decided to make a creepy animatronic hand to add some thrill to an otherwise boring table display. Continued…
Get FREE copies of Circuit Cellar magazine’s November issue and Elektor magazine’s November issue with your order, while supplies last. To get your free issues, enter the coupon codes CIRCUIT1114 and ELEKTOR1114 into your shopping cart. Each magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.
Introducing Robot Magazine
We are now also offering free issues of Robot, a bimonthly magazine specifically for the robot enthusiast! We have the three most recent issues available, while supplies last:
To get your free issues, enter the coupon codes ROBOT0714, ROBOT0914, and ROBOT1114 for July/August, September/October, and November/December, respectively. Each magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.
For more information, see our free Robot Magazine offers category.
Several gear ratios of our medium-power (MP) micro metal gearmotors are now available with extended motor shafts:
The extended motor shaft rotates at the same speed as the input to the gearbox and offers a way to add an encoder, such as our new magnetic encoder for micro metal gearmotors (pictured below), to provide motor speed or position feedback.
Anyone who has gone trick-or-treating has seen the house that puts a bowl of candy on the front porch and knows that there are those greedy trick-or-treaters who take more candy than they are supposed to. Well, if you are that person who puts the bowl of candy out on your front porch, you can make trick-or-treaters think twice before they take more than one piece of candy. In this project, I actuate a severed arm to slap down at the candy bowl whenever someone goes to reach into it. Continued…
This animated spider prop takes a traditionally static Halloween display to new heights! The setup is simple: a Maestro servo controller and a continuous rotation servo raise and lower a spider with the help of a limit switch. Continued…
Our family of Mini Plastic Gearmotors is growing! We have added HP versions with more powerful motors for increased torque and speed, and we are now carrying versions with extended motor shafts intended for use with custom encoders for motor speed and position feedback. (These extended-shaft versions are not compatible with the magnetic encoders we just released for our Micro Metal Gearmotors; we will have a similar encoder solution for these plastic gearmotors at some point, but for now we are offering them for people who want to make their own encoders.) The following table shows the current state of our Mini Plastic Gearmotor family:
We are particularly excited about these gearmotors because they offer a great combination of performance and affordability; don’t be surprised if you find these motors in some of our future robots and robot kits! For more information about all of these gearmotors, see our Mini Plastic Gearmotors category.
Before we started our Halloween projects, several of the Pololu engineers took a trip to a local Halloween store to get inspired. At the store there was a wall lined with the polystyrene foam tombstones that are meant to be stuck into your front lawn. They immediately made me think of the graveyard outside the haunted mansion at Disneyland, and I knew that I wanted to make one of them shake and scream. For added effect, I also picked one that had a few skulls on it, so I could place red LEDs in the eyes. Below are some of the details that went into making the project so far. Continued…
Last month, we introduced our new carriers with Sharp GP2Y0A60SZLF analog distance sensors, a part we are very excited about and have been trying to get for the past five years. Those complete sensor modules ship with the GP2Y0A60SZLF installed on our compact carrier board, which includes all of the required external components and provides a more convenient interface to the sensor (and a mounting hole!). Well, we are now offering the carrier boards without the sensor for those who already have Sharp GP2Y0A60SZLF units and are looking for an easy way to incorporate them into their projects. The carrier boards are available in two configurations: a 5V version for operation from 2.7 V to 5.5 V and a 3V version for operation from 2.7 V to 3.6 V:
For more information, see the product pages.
Get FREE copies of Circuit Cellar magazine’s October issue and Elektor magazine’s October issue with your order, while supplies last. To get your free issues, enter the coupon codes CIRCUIT1014 and ELEKTOR1014 into your shopping cart. Each magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.
After doing the creepy mask, I wanted to do something a bit more festive. This Halloween prop was inspired by those inflated decorations people put on their lawns. In this case, I wanted something a bit smaller since I wanted it to fit indoors. I also wanted to use one of our addressable 8mm RGB LEDs, so I could make it light up all sorts of colors instead of just a single color like I had often seen. I decided to make an inflatable ghost because I wasn’t sure I would be able to control the shape that well and figured a ghost would give me more leeway in shape. Continued…
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