On this fine Friday, we are very pleased to bring you our brand-new Spectacle product line!
Hello, everyone! You are joining us on a momentous day this week. Today we are happy to announce our brand-new product line, Spectacle! Spectacle is a product ecosystem centered around a simple idea: creative people shouldn’t have to learn new skills to use electronics in their projects. You’ve spent years developing the skills you use, and SparkFun wants to recognize that and help you expand your creations to include electronics without requiring you to spend years learning about electronics and programming. If you want even more information about our product line, follow the link below to the Spectacle central hub:
Without further ado, let's dive in and take a look at the whole line!
The Spectacle Director Board controls all the actions in a Spectacle project. Though the Director Board doesn't do too much on its own, it is what communicates directly with SparkFun's Spectacle programmer and is the primary distribution channel for power and data in the system. To fully utilize the Director Board make sure to pick up one of the Spectacle daughter boards. This is your Spectacle's connection to the outside world! Needless to say, the Director Board is the must-have part for your Spectacle project and is included in all Spectacle kits (see below).
The Spectacle Inertia Board makes it easy to sense motion or orientation with a Spectacle project. The Spectacle Inertia Board is designed to allow your Spectacle to detect whether it is moving or stationary, or whether it is under acceleration. At the heart of each Inertia Board is the trustworthy ADXL345 triple-axis MEMS accelerometer. The ADXL345 is a perfect fit for your Spectacle project when it comes to all things Inertia!
The Spectacle Motion Board makes it easy to add movement to your Spectacle projects. Each Motion Board can control up to five servo motors, regardless of whether they are standard or continuous rotation type. Designed to make it easy to add simple motions to your Spectacle projects, the Spectacle Motion Board integrates with the rest of the Spectacle ecosystem to make adding motion effects a breeze!
Unlike other Spectacle modules, the Motion Board has a microUSB connector to allow it to be directly powered by an external power supply. This is due to the fact that the relatively slender cables the Spectacle data travels over are not adequate for the large amount of current drawn by larger servo motors or by multiple motors. This board is included in the Spectacle Motion Kit (see below).
The Spectacle Audio Board allows you to add sound from a microSD card to your Spectacle projects. Each board accepts a microSD card with sounds in .ogg format, and has a 1/8" (3.5mm) audio jack line-level output ready to be amplified. It is important to know that the files used by the Spectacle Audio Board must be in OGG Vorbis format. This free codec has a higher compression ratio than MP3 and, more importantly, can be used without paying a licensing fee to any third-party organization. We use the free, open source program Audacity to convert from whatever the file’s current format is to OGG Vorbis. This board is included in the Spectacle Sound Kit and Spectacle Light and Sound Kit (see below).
Since this board requires an amplified speaker, we recommend the previously released Hamburger Mini Speaker.
The Spectacle Button Board allows you to add input from buttons, switches or other contact-type sensing devices to your Spectacle projects. This is the largest board in the Spectacle line due to its total of nine signal inputs, allowing for a large number of connections to a single module. Designed to bring simple signals from the world into your Spectacle projects, the Button Board provides input for any of your Spectacle projects! This board is included in all four Spectacle kits (see below).
The Spectacle Light Board allows you to add some fairly complex lighting effects to your Spectacle projects in a streamlined manner. Each has connections for you to add addressable LEDs as well as an external power connector. Designed to make it easy to add relatively complex lighting effects to your Spectacle projects, the Spectacle Light Board integrates with the rest of the Spectacle ecosystem to allow you to control lighting effects with ease and comfort. This board is included in the Spectacle Light Kit and the Spectacle Light and Sound Kit (see below).
In addition to the six stand-alone boards, we have developed four kits that include everything you need to get set up!
The Spectacle Light Kit makes it easy to illuminate your next project at the push of a button!
The Spectacle Motion Kit enables you to move and manipulate parts and provides perhaps the easiest possible way to control servos out there.
The Spectacle Sound Kit allows you to incorporate sounds, tunes and other effects with very little setup!
Finally, the Spectacle Light and Sound Kit combines two of the previous at a discounted price to provide all of the tools you need to make a fantastic array of lights and sounds in whatever fashion you can dream up!
You can reconfigure your Spectacle project from any device with a web browser and a headphone jack via the online Spectacle Web Programmer, so making last-second changes is never a problem! Also, no soldering is required to connect Spectacle boards or accessories, so swapping out parts is a breeze.
If you buy individual boards in the Spectacle line, you'll need some way to hook them up and power your project:
Power on the go? Why didn't you ask? We've got plenty! These portable, rechargeable 2.2Ah lithium ion battery packs are simple, compact and make for a great way to power your widgets in the field. Best of all, they're dead simple to operate: just connect your device to the USB-A port on the battery pack and press the power button. A 7-segment LED will alert you to the charge level of the battery and start powering your device. To recharge the battery pack, just plug it into your computer or phone charger using the included USB micro-B cable.
This particular battery pack has a 5,000mAh capacity and will source 1,000mA at 5VDC. Additionally, it has a built-in charging cable to charge (or power) whatever device you jack it into.
This is a foot-long white audio cable that has been terminated with two TRRS connectors at each end. TRRS connectors are the 3.5mm audio-style connectors that you see on some phones, MP3 players and development boards (like Spectacle). This common cable will be the major connector you use to hook up your Spectacle project.
If a foot isn't long enough, we also offer a 3-foot-long audio cable. It is the exact same cable as its sibling above, just two feet longer.
These simple 24AWG wires are terminated with a female insulated spade connector at one end and a braided wire lead at the other. Each wire is 3 feet long and is capable of supporting a high voltage of 300VDC. Each order comes in a pack of two.
These wires are great when used in conjunction with the Spectacle Button Board and our concave arcade buttons!
Lastly, these JST to JST-SW wires are perfect for hooking up addressable LED strips to our Spectacle Light Board!
Alright, folks, that's it for this week. We really hope you enjoy the new Spectacle product line; it certainly has been a labor of love for us. Remember, if you have any questions about the line be sure to check out the Spectacle Home Page for more information.
Make something cool? Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We'd love to see what project you've turned into a Spectacle! See you next Friday with even more new products!
Thank you, very much! This was a huge undertaking that involved every single person here at SparkFun. We are happy how it is turning out so far and we are excited to see Spectacle grow!
OK, this is really neat. Is it entirely self contained? Can I somehow get events from the internet and make it do things from webhooks or something like that?
1.0 doesn't have IoT capability. That's something we looked at but for various reasons discarded. It's definitely on the radar for a 2.0 version, assuming Spectacle does well enough to warrant a 2.0 version!
I might have to try these out sometime. I think a ESP8266 Wifi Board and a OLED or LCD board would be great additions to the product line.
Very cool! But... it isn't red?
I know right?
We like red boards because they stand out! But in this case, we don't want the boards to stand out too much. They should be easy to hide in a costume, prop, artwork, etc.
Regarding hiding, maybe also provide TRRS cables in black instead of "HEY LOOK AT ME" white?
So, not programmable from a stock iPhone 7?
They announced this change just as we were designing the system. There are ideas floating around to do our AFSK programming over Bluetooth Audio on a future version of the Director Board which will solve a lot of cases where the current method can be shaky.
Sorry, I know it's a bummer
Not for me--I have a Galaxy... :)
If the rumors are true, there may be similar issues with the Pixel 2 phones from Google. Lots of rumors are suggesting that the headphone jack will be missing from those phones as well. :`(
Sorry, you'll need an adapter of some sort. Don't blame us, blame Apple! :)
The new boards look great, and the huge documentation drop looks fantastic.
Just an FYI, the buttons on the "View the Boards" banner on https://www.sparkfun.com/pages/spectacle don't point to the right products:
Light Board -> Audio Board Audio Board -> Motion Board Motion Board -> Light Board
Thanks! We'll get it fixed!
Very cool! Interesting way of hooking up boards and using the audio jack to upload programs. A lot of work must have gone into the software for this project.