November 17th, 2009

Chumby One released for 99$

Chumby One

Chumby One was just announced on bunnie’s blog. You can get it now for 99$ pre-order price but once they start shipping the price will go up to 119$. You can read here about the story behing Chumby One and how bunnie tried to keep the price low by using every feature of this new processor from Freescale the i.MX233.  It turns out the i.MX233 has 3 internal switching regulators and it uses only one inductor to do the job. Next to the switching regulators the i.MX233 has even more analog features integrated like : audio codec,  speaker amplifier, USB PHY, video DAC, battery charger and more. This played out an important role in the final price of the Chumby One. You can read more about it on bunnie’s blog.

DSO nano - portable digital oscilloscope

I was really interested about it when Seeed Studio first announced the DSO nano on their blog, unfortunately I was not able to get one of the beta’s which they offered in a limited number at a lower price. The specs they released don’t advertise for too much power from this portable but it’s style and the fact that is portable together with the low price tag should compensate for the lack of power. And don’t get me wrong on the power issue, the 1 MHz bandwidth is still enough to cover your hobby needs. For me the only big disadvantage is the fact that it has only one channel, but it compensates with the ability of recording readings that you can later compare with the actual reading.

I would love to give you more details about this portable oscilloscope, but I have to wait until I can get my hands on the DSO nano. I’m currently waiting for Seeed to list it on their product page so i can place an order.

Remember those discussions about transmitting electricity wireless, they all concluded that it was just not efficient enough to be worth building such a system. Well it appears things have changed because in this video Eric Giler the CEO of MIT-inspired WiTricity, presents us with a new concept for transmitting electricity wireless.

It’s really interesting because they’ve manage to make the system small enough to fit on a mobile phone. He also states that WiTricity could be powering all of our devices into the future, like tv sets, home appliances and even electric cars. He didn’t touched the price subject though so I wonder how much would such a system cost.

New iPhone Payment System

Self Edge NYC, a New York supplier of denim clothing and other accessories, has launched a new payment system based on Apple’s iPhone. The system is named ‘Square’ and it requires no ink or paper to complete a credit card transaction between a store employee and a customer.

This new payment processing method basically consists of having a small card reader inserted in the headphones jack of your iPhone (or iPod Touch) that will transfer the card data to a specific application on the iPhone. The store employee is supposed to enter the total cost of the merchandise purchased, while the customer adds his/her signature using the touchscreen and an email address as a destination for the receipt (the receipt also includes a map with the location of the transaction).

The transaction is processed by Square which currently has a percentage fee (2.5%) and also a fixed fee of 50 cents per transaction. The money is transferred directly to the store’s bank account. The system is supposedly in its alpha-testing phase, but it seems the majority of people that have used it are satisfied so, should it prove successful once released on a large scale, it might be the start for a whole new experience with credit card transactions.

New iPhone Payment System (card reader): [Link]

July 18th, 2009

New TV-B-Gone Case Style

TV Disabler

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to talk about something important or just simply wanted some peace and quiet while enjoying your drink and a damn TV wouldn’t shut up? Chances are you have. But from now on, you can use this little gadget to silence those TV sets that bother you with loud, uninteresting stuff. You can carry it in your pocket and you can surely have a laugh using it.

Humorously named TV-B-Gone, this TV Disabler can make some annoying situations quite entertaining. The TV-B-Gone can turn off most of the TV sets available, while having about the same size as a universal remote control. It is a nifty little kit made by Adafruit and it is available for purchase for $19.50. It possesses an Atmel ATTINY85V-10-PU programmed microcontroller, 4 IR LEDs used as emitters and a double AAA battery holder (you can find a complete parts list in the link).

The TV Disabler must be pointed at the TV you wish to quiet down. It has a single button that must be pressed and then it starts to transmit its signal using codes that are stored in its memory for all major TV brands. It takes about 2 minutes to send all the codes, but most TV sets will turn off. The TV Disabler also has a green LED that starts glowing once the device is transmitting.

Since the original kit from Adafruit doesn’t have a case, you can make one like the one in the picture above. This project uses a modified Miniature General Purpose ABS Box 1551 Series from Maplin Electronics Ltd. You will have to make 2 holes, one for the button, and the other for the LED. Putting it all inside the box may be tricky, but once you get it right you will have the TV-B-Gone ready and waiting. And you can say goodbye to those noisy TVs disturbing you.

don’t forget to check youritronics custom version of tv-b-gone.

New TV-B-Gone Case Style: [Link]

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