Nick Poole

Member Since: March 1, 2011

Country: United States

Let's look at those tried and true IoT projects that just keep on coming back (with good reason!)

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Here are some tips and tricks for building with the Spectacle platform!

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The good, the bad and the $700 IoT cold-press juice machine.

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Celebrate the 4th, Jedi style, with a "spectacular" lightsaber build!

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Wherein we seek to answer the age old question: What the heck is a VOC?

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In this next-to-last installment of the Digital Pantry project, we do some enclosure fabrication and build our own vacuum molding table!

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Let's build a small smoke machine to harass our friends and colleagues!

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Let's learn about udev and how we can lock down our USB device nodes!

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Do you ever need to make a lot of Pi? This trick will save you some time!

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With 50 billion IoT devices projected to join the web by 2020, whose platform will they be on?

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Easy builds from around the web that even a robot novice can tackle

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Learn how to build beautiful GUIs on your connected Raspberry Pi projects using NWJS (formerly Node-Webkit)

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Can technology help you make better food decisions?

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New year, new you! Let's explore the technology behind e-cigs, vapes and other vapor-based smoking cessation solutions.

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Deck the beards this year with addressable LEDs

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The case for formalizing free exploration opportunities

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How to make faux neon signs with EL wire and rigid aquarium tubing

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Building a set of speakers from goat skin and connecting them to a network media server

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Catching 'Em All can drain your smartphone battery; let's see if we can fix it in style!

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Maker/hackerspaces that are leading the charge to make STEM fields less alienating for LGBTQ+ makers.

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Today we learn about etching PCBs at home, on the cheap and quick! We even get a little fancy with it!

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Experiments in weatherproofing electronic circuits by forcing them through an unmodified document laminator.

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When SparkFun went to DragonCon 2014, I saw an opportunity to become a robot.

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Reverse engineering a $30 MaKey MaKey derivative with good intentions (but no attribution)

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Just in time for Arduino Day, we're bringing you the magic of infographics.

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...in a long line of wonderful and necessary scams.

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RFID is getting under Nick's skin...

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What happens when people do bad things with good tech?

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"What would you say... you do here?"

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How and why we built a tiny Internet of Things apartment at SparkFun HQ.

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Can biometric data help shed light on panic and anxiety?

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In this final installment, we talk about the completed workspace from parts I and II

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Wondering how to organize all of the tools and materials in your workspace? Look to the pros for inspiration!

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A few notes on the inner workings of Nest's new smoke detector

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Back to "The Future!"

Revisiting an earlier post about The Future and getting a little direction.

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SparkFun in 3D

An update on our efforts to provide 3D models of popular SparkFun parts

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What happened to our enthusiasm for "The Future," and how is the Maker Movement bringing it back?

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Find out how and why we're modeling our products in 3D... and how you can help!

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Build your own Vacuum Molding machine and start making plastic parts in your home shop!

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Nick covers for Rob as we wave 'hello' to some new products!

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Addressable LED Strip Hookup Guide

November 23, 2016

Add blinking lights to any holiday decoration with our Holiday Lights Kit.

ESP8266 Powered Propane Poofer

March 15, 2016

Learn how Nick Poole built a WiFi controlled fire-cannon using the ESP8266 Thing Dev Board!

Making Music with the FreeSoC2

August 14, 2015

Create a synth keyboard with the FreeSoC2 from SparkFun.

Ludus Protoshield Hookup Guide

July 30, 2015

Get started with the SparkFun Ludus Protoshield and Ludus Protoshield Wireless!

FLIR Lepton Hookup Guide

March 26, 2015

See the invisible world of infrared radiation using the FLIR Dev Kit and Raspberry Pi.

Light-Up Father's Day Card

June 9, 2014

Light up your dad's day with this electronic pop-up card!

Teardown: DDC Mobile X900

June 3, 2014

Nate picked up a bricktastic phone in China. Let's take it apart!!!

Interactive Hanging LED Array

April 10, 2014

Learn how we converted 72 lightbulbs into an interactive LED array for our conference room.

Teardown: Misfit Shine Activity Tracker

April 3, 2014

A quick tear down of the popular fitness tracking device, the Misfit Shine.

MYST Linking Book

March 18, 2014

Create your own Linking Book from the classic computer game, MYST

Build an Auduino Step Sequencer

March 6, 2014

Make a Step Sequencer using an Arduino, the Auduino firmware, and a handful of hardware.

Nest Protect Teardown

January 15, 2014

See the inner-workings of the new Nest Protect in this SparkFun Teardown.

Recreating Classic Electronics Kits

January 13, 2014

100-in-1? 500-in-1? It's up to you when you build your own Science Fair style experiment board!

pcDuino Crowdsource Kiosk

January 9, 2014

Getting People to do your job for you (badly) with some chocolate and a pcDuino!

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

August 12, 2013

Learn the basics about LEDs as well as some more advanced topics to help you calculate requirements for projects containing many LEDs.

The Uncertain 7-Cube

March 8, 2013

The Uncertain 7-Cube is a non-committal, less-than-helpful, but also entirely honest fortune teller. Simply ask it a yes or no question, give it a nudge, and the 7-Cube will dutifully inform you that it doesn’t have all the facts and doesn’t feel comfortable making a guess.
  • That’s true! Even though every “venture” can’t be a winner, this one was a pretty high profile (and one would think predictable) failure.

  • I used the red EL wire that we sell, which I believe is about 2.5mm, probably 3 nominal. The tubing is indeed 3/8 OD that I bought from this listing: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OMHI0E/

    Good luck! Hope your project goes well!

  • That’s wild! I’m actually a ham myself (KE0MKA) and I’ve been interested in trying that. I just haven’t had the time to get into it.

    When we first came up with the idea of using audio modulation to configure the Spectacle boards (about the same time Chrome dumped Chrome.serial support) we started geeking out about all the ways you could send and receive configuration states: Over the phone, over radio, via MP3, cut on flexidisks… you could even make a self-replicating Spectacle project that plays its own configuration file using the Audio Board. Haha.

  • Oh yeah, sure, we had even considered using hardware designed for that purpose instead of relying on our controller to do the work, but most of those parts seemed to also include stuff that was unnecessary to our application like phone line transformers and auto-answering circuitry.

    I was actually talking about things like this delightful application note on the MSP430 (one of the later that we ran across… 1998) http://www.ti.com/lit/an/slaa037/slaa037.pdf

    450 is most certainly an oddball speed but we found that it was the fastest and most reliable. Remember, this product ecosystem is developed for ease of use and not for “hackability” (although the firmware is open source so you could certainly set yours up for 300) We talked about it a lot over the course of development: If we went up to 600, programming would occasionally fail; if we went down to 300, programming would take longer than it had to. Both are not great for user experience. If the only upside is in favor compatibility with 40 year old tech (as cool of a hack as it would be) we couldn’t justify slowing it down.

    I agree about the iPhone, for a number of reasons actually. Not just because it makes it harder to work with the Spectacle system but because it seems like a move toward stricter DRM. Someone at Wired, I think, wrote an interesting article in that regard.

    Yes! Spectacle works fabulously with a laptop, in fact the “How to Program with Spectacle” video was captured while using the system on my laptop. Because laptops tend to have beefier amps and fewer “safety stops” to save your hearing, you can really crank up the signal, as well, and so it seems like compatibility among laptops is higher than among phones.

    Yes, we saw many many examples of exactly the type that you’re talking about dating from as recently as an Arduino implementation. In fact, we started by using ASK, driving to clip and then electrically shifting it and reading it with a UART. That was spotty at best so I re-wrote my ASK web-audio implementation to FSK and Mike did some really great work demodulating on the hardware side and we got much better results. One thing that I’m considering for Spectacle 2.0 Director Boards is the addition of a Bluetooth Audio device. That would enable wireless “programming” and it would also give us full control over the signal condition going into demodulation (same DAC and amp every time, the one on the Bluetooth device). I am afraid in the meantime that we may find a need for inline amps to boost compatibility with some phones, especially in parts of the EU where there are legal caps on phone volume (or so I’m told)

  • Funny isn’t it? We were scanning through a bunch of documentation from the 70s and 80s while building our FSK implementation and the example applications were all in machine code because C compilers were non-existent/prohibitively expensive.

    We’re only running ours at 450 baud which seems slow by today’s standards but considering our config files are never that large, it works out!

    You make a good point about matching people up for collaboration. That happens at a lot of makerspaces, which is where I try to steer most people.

  • I’ll be updating this post as soon as I can with details on the electronics!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • The really boring answer to this question is that the hardware platform that this project will eventually become a demo for has a board specifically designed for driving WS2812s and no board for driving EL yet. lol.

  • That one’s been on my list for a while now, it may finally be time.

Tool Kit - Intermediate (Old)

Nick Poole 13 items

This is the list of items included in the Intermediate Tool...

Tool Kit - Deluxe (Old)

Nick Poole 19 items

This is the list of items included in the Deluxe Tool Kit...

Tool Kit - Deluxe

Nick Poole 17 items

This is the list of items included in the Deluxe Tool Kit...

Tool Kit - Intermediate

Nick Poole 11 items

This is the list of items included in the Intermediate Tool...


Nick Poole 12 items

DEV-10915 and DEV-11113 are your microcontrollers. WRL-10532...

SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino

Nick Poole 28 items

This wishlist contains all the items that you need to build...

ProtoShield Kit

Nick Poole 14 items

This Wishlist contains all of the parts that are included in...

McMurdo RC

Nick Poole 13 items

Bare Minimum for Remote Control. You’ll need some wire and...

Button Kit

Nick Poole 14 items

This is the parts list for the Retail Button Kit (RTL-11439)

HUB-ee Buggy

Nick Poole 11 items

Everything I used in the HUB-ee Buggy robot build for the...

AVC Sales Booth

Nick Poole 15 items

Most of these are items that I think people may need day-of...

Space-Age Science Fun

Nick Poole 14 items

A wishlist for the tutorial “Recreating Classic Electronics...


Nick Poole 9 items

Here’s the wishlist for the OptoTheremin Noise Box that...

Captain America Shield

Nick Poole 8 items

Elastolite parts from the glowing Captain America shield build.

Chameleon Box

Nick Poole 8 items

Everything you need to build the Chameleon Phreak...

Claw Machine

Nick Poole 80 items

These are the essential components for the Actobotics Claw...


Nick Poole 6 items

LIDAR-Lite Obstacle Avoidance Glasses Nick Poole @ SparkFun...

WiFi Poofer

Nick Poole 6 items

Parts for the Thing-powered propane...