For those of you not in the loop, Maker Faire is happening this weekend in San Mateo. We will be there, so stop by and say hi, or attend one of our workshops! As always, we have a few new products to talk about and our new product video. So let's take a look.
Congratulations to all the winners out there. We will get your boxes of goodies packed up and shipped out to you soon. You will get an email letting you know that you won. We plan on having more contests in the future, so keep watching. OK, let's see what products we have for this week.
Like it or not, the Arduino has taken the market by storm. It's a versatile platform with a lot of features and it's easy to use. There are a lot of imitators and copies out there too. Leaf Labs came up with a board that can take your projects to the next level. Their Maple board uses an ARM processor running at 72MHz and has more I/O pins that you can shake a stick at! Add in a JTAG header, 3 UARTS, and an on-board battery charging circuit, and you have a very powerful board. The Maple is also nearly directly compatible with Arduino sketches and shields. You may need to make some minor tweaks, but generally speaking, the Maple could act like an Arduino in most circumstances.
We've already made a couple of boards based on the MPR121 capacitive touch IC. We sell the bare IC, a breakout board, the touch keypad, and now the Touch Shield. We took the touch keypad and made it into a shield. We had to make it a bit smaller and get rid of 3 of the touch pads (there's a total of 9), but we've broken them out separately on a header so you can still use them. The shield also features logic level shifting so you can use it on a 5v or 3.3v board.
Light pipes are pretty cool. It's a lot like a fiber optic cable crossed with an EL wire. It's a flexible material that transmits light very well (but not as well as a fiber optic cable). So, when you shine light through one end, it comes out the other, and the tube lights up! We will have them in 4 different types in 2 different lengths. We are still working on getting them all bagged up, so check back next week for the rest of them. Right now, we have them in 6mm white core (5'), 3mm white core (1'), 6mm clear core (1'), 6mm clear core (5'), and 3mm clear core (5').
The Wixel is a versatile little microcontroller with built in USB and a 2.4GHz radio. Use two of them for a serial bridge (like a pair of XBees) or from your computer to a robot for remote control. They can even use 256 different wireless channels so you can have multiple serial links!
One of the first mistakes I made as a newb was not realizing that to talk to a GPS unit, TX needs to connect to RX and vice-versa. It's a common mistake a lot of us make. Unfortunately, headers don't always line up right, so you find yourself breaking out your jumper wires make a crossover cable between your two devices. It may sound silly, but our Crossover Breakout for FTDI can come in quite handy. It has headers on each side and swaps TX and RX so you can connect your FTDI to a Bluetooth Mate (as an example).
Our Simon PTH kit has been quite successful. If you've ever attended a soldering workshop of ours here at SparkFun or at a Maker Faire, you've probably soldered one of these kits. With our new version, we've changed the layout a bit and made the entire kit even easier to put together. If you know someone who'd like to learn soldering but needs a simple and rewarding kit, check out the Simon PTH kit, it makes a great gift.
Well, that's our post for this week. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by our booth at Maker Faire. We'll be back next week with even more new products. Thanks for reading.