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New Year, New Projects

We look forward into the new year and start planning what to make! What about you?

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With the start of each new year we take a look at what we think is going to be a big hit with our customers, so we can get some ideas on what to build throughout the year. It's pretty obvious that last year threw a wrench in the works to the point that we really didn't have any idea of what could arise from a world in quarantine but it was really interesting to see the sorts of projects that came out of it.

What's your next project?

We're seeing a roll out of a couple of vaccines - could we see more biometrics projects and products in 2021? Could we see a rise in homegrown machine learning builds that automatically detect body temperature when entering a building? Maybe we'll see a rise in GPS projects once people are able to go out into the wild again for hikes and other adventures.

The important thing to remember is to keep your brain occupied with something constructive, especially in uncertain times. That's why we want to pose a question and open a discussion: What projects are you working on in 2021? It can be as complex as building a new AI to play chess against, or as simple as assembling a model (I just ordered a new Gundam model to add some electronics to). So please, leave a comment below, let us know what you are working on and let's encourage each other's ideas!



Comments 9 comments

  • I'm currently building the Three Fives 555 timer kit from Evil Mad Scientists during my lunch break. I'm looking forward to building a simple pulsing LED light with large parts, like a 15mm LED and some 3D printed or epoxy poured large resistors to exaggerate the size.

  • I'm building a 12v automotive-style "development" board(Open source). It's based on the Artemis with a focus on high currents, several sensors, and strong protection circuits. Soon enough I'll be ready to preview it.

  • (I realize I'm a bit late to the party, but the idea didn't occur to me until recently...)

    I get sick of listening to all of the ads from "ambulance chasers", car companies, grocery stores, et al, while watching TV, and so make liberal use of the "mute" button on the TV remote. I'd much rather listen to a few minutes of audiobooks on my iPad. Often I'll sit with the iPad paused during the show, only starting it up when the commercials hit. BUT... this involves buttons on two different devices: the mute button on the remote, and the start/stop button on the earbud cable. I've been toying with the idea of a single box, plugged into the iPad, into which the earbuds are plugged, and having an IR emitter, so that a single button click would both send a mute signal to the TV and a "pause/run" signal to the iPad.

    Figuring out the IR sequence for the mute button shouldn't be too bad -- there's been a lot published on decoding IR signals over the years, but I'll probably have to dig a bit to find the signalling on the TRRS plug from the earbuds.

    (The box will also need buttons to get the "sync" right between the two targets...)

    As I was typing this, another thought occurred to me: I could use the box to "convert" the function of the "pause/run" button on the earbuds to a "microphone mute on/off" when plugged into my iPhone. Many years ago, I got used to having to use the button on the headphones to mute/unmute the mike on the headset -- I haven't been able to figure out how to get the iPhone to use the earbud button for this: Apple seems to insist that it should "drop the call" when you click the button -- VERY ANNOYING on conference calls!

    • After a bit of searching (including some educated guesses), I've come up with the specs as to how the buttons on the earbuds work from the plug (earbuds) side and from the jack (phone) side.

      • I'd recommend caution on using Android button specs for an Apple device. Several years ago I found that Apple headphones and Android headphones use different pins and different electronics to control signals with their phones. It may work fine now, but it seemed like it wasn't going to at the time for some reason.

        • FWIW, other references that I've seen say that iPhones sold outside of China use the same (CTIA) standard as do Androids, etc. The iPhones sold inside China use a different (OMTP) standard.

          I just checked an Apple earphone set and a "cheapy" third-party set. Both work well OK with my iPad, though I tend to use the Apple set because it has better bass response. The cheapy set only has "play/pause/hook" button. The Apple set shows open circuit for the mic and short circuit for the "play/pause/hook" button, and open circuit for each the "+" and "-" buttons when pushed. The cheapy set is showing about 1.1k ohms (DC) for the mic, and short circuit for the "play/pause/hook" button. (I have not checked the "cheapy" mic performance with my iPhone.)

          Anyway, for my purposes, I'm fairly sure I could get things to work. Volume controls aren't a big deal for me.

  • I am building an embedded GRBL controller with a jog wheel and DRO. It can also read g-code from a sd card and act as a standalone g-code sender:

    https://github.com/quezadaminter/GrblJogCtrl/ https://github.com/quezadaminter/GrblJogCtrlSchematic

    Also, I am using the SoCo python library to hack and revive my Sonos CR100 remote control so it can work again after Sonos bricked it for all its customers... I call it the CR101. Here's some info:

    https://github.com/quezadaminter/CR101kc https://github.com/quezadaminter/CR101fw https://github.com/quezadaminter/CR101py

  • If I get my act together, I'll finally finish the A/C thermostat I built to turn onn/off the window AC unit automatically. I started that 2-3 years ago... It's soldered up but just needs an enclosure and final tweaking.

    If I have some REAL gumption I want to try and automatic cat feeder. The two little monsters we just brought into the house are hungry and needy!

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