New Product Friday: Poetry in Motion

Another round of new products, and the introduction of our newest project, the ShakeSphere.

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Friday New Product Post. As always, we have some new products, a video, and witty banter. Well, two out of three isn't bad.

Testing the ShakeSphere was one of the most annoying things I've encountered at this job. Once you turn it on, it only takes about 10 seconds before you want to turn it off really badly. The concept seemed solid, the execution was spot-on, but the end result wasn't what we expected. Oh well, there's always next week.

We have a new version of our popular 5DoF board this week. It still uses the ADXL335 and the IDG500, but cleans up a bit of the layout and footprints. If you're looking for a very small analog IMU and only need 5 degrees of freedom, this board is calling your name.

When we released our 200 p/r quadrature encoder last year, many of you asked for a higher resolution encoder. We've listened and this week we present the 1024 P/R rotary encoder. As its name would suggest, it has 1024 pulses per revolution for greater feedback for your next balancing robot or dead-reckoning project.

Sometimes, you want your creation to speak loud and clear. But the headphone jack output isn't always enough. Our new Mono Audio Amp Breakout gives you the extra power you need to be heard. It can produce almost 1.5W of power and is about the size of a quarter. You can easily power it from 3-5V, adjust the gain, and add even a pot for volume attenuation of the incoming signal. It makes for a fantastic small and efficient embedded amplifier.

The IOIO has been a very popular product and a great companion to any geek's Andriod device. If you're looking to start using the IOIO, but are a little lost, check out the new book, Making Android Accessories with IOIO.  The book teaches you how use your IOIO to interact with your Andriod and create several sample projects.

That's all folks! Thanks for reading and we'll see you again next week with more products.

Comments 45 comments

  • cbseattle / about 12 years ago / 6

    It doesn't matter that ShakeSphere flopped because the name is so brilliant it has only increased my appreciation for you guys to the point that I will never miss a new product post. Thanks.

    • hehe, thanks :-)

      the name was actually Mike's idea (the engineer responsible for the amp breakouts)

  • You know, I bet ShakeSphere would work well if it had some sort of sentence structure mapping. How about something like MadLibs, where it would recite some scripted piece and only insert random words on occasion?

    • If I ever have an excuse to bring the Shakesphere back out, It would be awesome to implement that sort of smarts. In a few days, I barely had time to put the thing together, and entering the phonemes one by one for an 80-word dictionary was a chore as well.

      You're right though, It wouldn't be hard for me to tag each word with it's part of speech and just have it run through a few sentence templates.

      • hum, yeah, that would be neat. maybe create a library of words for it and put it on an SD card or something...

        • At the end of the day it would be easier to use a wifi card and find an API somewhere that does random sentence generation, and vary the wackiness and complexity of words with acceleration, but then, that has less kudos :-P

  • Corey H. / about 12 years ago / 4

    Careful with that thing. It's a bit too close to a GLaDOS personality core for comfort.

  • Joe W / about 12 years ago / 2

    Super simple 3 word sentences like (X - SF Employee name, Y - verb, Z - noun) would be very easy. That should stir a few laughs at least for a few minutes. Just a simple counter pulling out of separate libraries or one with a little math.

  • v8rush / about 12 years ago / 2

    Can I buy the puppy with my Free Day credits? :)

  • ME heat o nator / about 12 years ago / 2

    Maybe try switching the dictionary for a catalog of music notes from, say..x is guitar, y is bass, z is drums?

    • GregInAustin / about 12 years ago / 1

      Agreed, or at least have different tones. Kinda like the Singing Horses.

    • not a bad idea. we'd have to remove the speakjet and add a musical instrument shield.

  • TECH GEEK / about 12 years ago / 2

    Isn't intro to arduino a new pruduct this week?

    • TECH GEEK / about 12 years ago / 3

      And you still need to fix the 0 star thing

    • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 1

      Intro to Arduino is a class that keeps coming back, so it's not really a new product in the traditional sense.

      Also, what 0 Star thing are you talking about? When you make a new reply, you can set your comment's "rating" to 0 rather than 1 if you want to by clicking on it. Is there something else that is happening?

      • TECH GEEK / about 12 years ago / 1

        well it just seemed silly to have your comment not have your own support...

        • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 1

          Believe it or not, a lot of people actually want this, and to be honest, I believe we stole the concept from Reddit. :)

          • Actually, on snags, I am not sure if this is a deliberate change, but the lightbox thing on product pages usually doesn't work, and clicking an image just opens the image in a blank tab.

          • What, the "I can't believe that I posted this so I will make it 0*" mantra?? :-P

  • dkhawk / about 12 years ago / 1

    I sense an opportunity here. Hook up the Elizabethan (Shakespearian) Curse Generator to drive the Shakes Sphere. :-)

  • Bishyk / about 12 years ago / 1

    Haha, myspace puppy!

  • Yes I miss the Emic. That was way pre-Arduino but an Emic shield would be such a good idea now days!

  • Member #6929 / about 12 years ago * / 1

    Here is an online example:

  • Member #6929 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Re-brand ShakeSphere into a haiku generator. I remember doing one in BASIC back in the 70's and it did a good job. There's bound to be a good poet's name you can pun off of. :)

  • RobotNinja / about 12 years ago / 1

    Ah, you guys are one firmware upgrade away from having your very own Space Sphere.

    As a bonus, it should say "I'm in space!" only when all three accelerometer channels drop to zero-g.

  • BBB / about 12 years ago / 1

    The problem is really with the speakjet. It's really too bad that Joe Grand's Emic Text to Speech module is no longer in production. It's much simpler, produces more recognizable speech and can drive a small speaker directly. Get one if you can find it.

  • M / about 12 years ago / 1

    Yes, the ShakeSphere is cool, but will you start carrying Robert's Tee's? Finally, an alternative to shirt woot

  • Blueblast88 / about 12 years ago / 1

    put a blusmirf in it and write it so it can take what its saying and write it into a serial monitor so you can have a silent mode

  • AndyL / about 12 years ago / 1

    Give the ShakeSphere to a cat and see if it can learn to use it to master human language.

  • Rob / about 12 years ago / 1

    You might want to google "markov chains". The trick to getting nice sentences out of the thing is to pick random words, but only random words that tend (in normal english sentences) to come after the word you've just picked. It might take more than the processing power of the arduino in question, however.

  • Member #308314 / about 12 years ago / 1

    You guys should have used some kind of simple model for the Shakesphere. Something like this:

  • You know what would be great? R/C Helicopter kits. There, I've solved all your problems.

  • Ichbinjoe / about 12 years ago / 1

    Im not sure how you are selecting words randomly, but you seem like you need more randomness in the word choice.

  • russpatterson / about 12 years ago / 1

    It might be helpful to provide a little more info on what exactly the widget does or can be used for. For those who are not familiar with what a ADXL335, IDG500, or a very small analog IMU are.

  • abers13 / about 12 years ago / 1

    CAn you put this on Vimeo?

  • Nomad / about 12 years ago / 1

    I would love to build a Shakesphere, if you guys could post the schematics (I realize it's just connecting parts, but still) and code in a tutorial or under the open hardware license or something that would be awesome!

  • MRSHKO / about 12 years ago / 1

    Where did you get the hollow sphere? Is that something you are selling?

    • these are found at craft stores. tech support got them for their open-house project, and they were bought at hobby lobby.

      remember kids, never forget to check your local craft stores...

      • I was hoping it was a robotic hamster ball :(

        • zeroid / about 12 years ago / 1

 Not much to look at today but by the end of the weekend I should have the details of the mechanical build up and a status update on the electronics. I was ill last weekend or they would have been already there.


  • The amp breakout looks great! i cant wait to get one.

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