Arduino shield standards

Fri, Feb 26 2010: Filed under News

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

A few weeks ago I wrote about Andrew Oke's efforts at standardizing comms for Arduino shields, which many people have since told me is a great idea. Andrew has now written up his guidelines and put it up on his website, so if you're doing any shield design I highly recommend you check it out:

Arduino Shield Design Standards

Andrew's guidelines are oriented around making sure shields are stackable by keeping them physically low and also using comms that don't make shields mutually exclusive. I've written in the past (and ranted a bit in video blogs) about other rules I think all shield designers should observe, such as marking pin use on the overlay. Hopefully we'll see more shields start to observe these sorts of Best Practice guidelines - many already do, but an awful lot don't. Including many of my early attempts, but at least I'm getting better! 

Slides and code from Justin Mclean's Arduino Miniconf talk

Mon, Feb 15 2010: Filed under Cool Stuff

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

One of the many excellent presentations at the recent Arduino Miniconf in Wellington, New Zealand, was Justin Mclean's "Putting your device in the browser and on the web". Justin's talk demonstrated use of a Flash object in a browser displaying data acquired by an Arduino, and also controlling the Arduino based on user actions.

It was a really impressive demo because the latency was so small: in one demo, quite rapid analog samples were pushed to a dynamically updating graph that scrolled across the screen. Justin has put his slides and example code up on his blog. He's also doing a talk at the Web Standards Group in Sydney on February 24th, so if you're in town make sure you go along. He's a great speaker with some excellent tech to demonstrate so it'll be well worth it. 

Project kits from Toys Down Under - with a twist

Mon, Feb 8 2010: Filed under Projects

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

This morning while looking for other things on the Toys Down Under site I discovered that they've now listed kits for a few Practical Arduino projects: the Appliance Remote Control, the Virtual USB Keyboard, the PS/2 Keyboard / Mouse, the Touch Control Panel, and the Speech Synthesizer. That in itself is quite cool but what's really interesting is that they're offering them as "spec your own kit" fully customisable packages.

Rather than just a regular kit containing every part as you'd expect, they've set a base price of $0 for every kit and then made all the parts in the kits optional. They've also listed a few extras such as a Duemilanove and an Arduino Starter Kit as optional parts. That's really cool because it gives you lots of flexibility. If you already have an Arduino and most of the parts required for a specific project you can order just what you're missing, or at the other end of the scale you can start with nothing and order every single part plus an Arduino, giving you everything you need all in one convenient package.

Clever. Check it out:

It must be a total pain for them to manage inventory (not to mention pick-n-pack) when doing it this way, but from the customer's point of view it's brilliant. 

Weather Station Receiver project modified for Jaycar weather station

Thu, Feb 4 2010: Filed under Projects

Posted by Jonathan Oxer

Reader Kayne Richens from Melbourne/Australia built the Weather Station Receiver hardware as described in the book, but because he has a different type of weather station the original software wouldn't work. With the assistance of Marc Alexander (one of our Tech Reviewers for the book and author of the original Weather Station Receiver software) he modified the software to allow it to process data from a BIOS/Thermor DG950R weather station purchased from Jaycar.

You can learn more about it on his blog at Great work, Kayne! 

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