Skoobot is a Tiny Robot with BLE Connectivity and Sensors (Crowdfunding)


If you want to get started with robotics either for yourself, or maybe teach children, Skoobot robot could be an interesting option. It’s extra small with a 2.5 cm cubic shape, support Bluetooth Low Energy, and  includes some sensors like ST VL6180 distance and ambient light sensor, and a microphone. Skoobot hardware specifications: MCU – Nordic Semi nRF52832 Arm Cortex M4F microcontroller with 512KB flash, 64KB SRAM Connectivity – Bluetooth Low Energy (built into nRF52832) Sensors ST VL6180X distance sensor (0 to 10 cm range) and ambient light level sensors Knowles microphone for word and beep recognition Two motors and wheels Misc – Buzzer Battery – Yes (no capacity specified) Dimensions – 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm A separate companion board is also provided to handle charging, UART and J-Link mode debugging and programming. The robot can be controlled from an Android app, or a Raspberry Pi board using Python and JavaScript/Node.js programming. The C firmware can also be …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO CNC Router Review – Part 1: Build & First Etches

Sainsmart 3018 CNC Router

Hey Karl here. Today we are going to look at something a little different. I am writing about my experiences with building Genmitsu 3018 CNC router upgraded version provided by Sainsmart for this review. While waiting on the unit to arrive I did some research and found that there are several different versions on the market labeled CNC xxxx. The xxxx represent the build volume in the x and y. So the one I was sent has a 300x180mm build volume. The 3018 is called upgraded because the new mounting for the X and Y rods and lead screws. On the previous version these had to be mounted and manually aligned which from what I read can be a pain. Building Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO CNC Router The build went very well. The 3018 user manual was mostly pictures but they called out anything that might be questionable. I had been talking about the CNC/engraver with my kids and they were …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT Launches, But Refunds Offered due to Power Issues

Raspberry Pi 3+ with PoE HAT

The Raspberry Pi foundation has launched a good number of boards and  accessories, and although some people will question some of the design choices, their boards were fairly bug-free hardware-wise at launch, except for minor issues like the board rebooting while taking a photo with a Xenon flash. Recently they also had performance issues with Gigabit Ethernet in the  Raspberry Pi 3 B+ board, but that looks like more of a software issue. The Raspberry Pi PoE HAT announced with Raspberry Pi 3B+, but launched at the end of August for $20,  however suffers from a more serious issue as it somehow limits USB current to 200mA instead of the usual 500mA, meaning that’s fine with USB keyboard and mouse, but as soon as you connect more power hungry peripherals like a USB hard drive, all hell breaks loose. Let’s check out the specifications first: 802.3af PoE Fully isolated switched-mode power supply 37–57V DC, Class 2 device 5V/2.5A DC output …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

How to Make a Low Cost DIY SD Card Duplicator

If you have to duplicate many SD cards for example to boot Raspbian on multiple Raspberry Pi board, one option is buy one of those SD card duplicators, but the problem is that they are not really cheap, for example the Systor 1-to-7 cards model sells for $540. Bob Brown, a retired senior lecturer, is now teaching K-12 students how to get started with Raspberry Pi boards, and must prepare bootable SD cards for his class. In order to save time, a duplicator would have been nice, but the price is too high, so instead he went with a DIY solution. You’ll first need some hardware, including a powered USB hub with the number of cards you want to duplicate, and corresponding SD card reader, and a larger micro SD card to hold Raspbian and/or other operating systems (optional, only for Raspberry Pi based duplicator). Mr. Brown made a 10-port SD card duplicator (1-to-9) for just under $100. One the …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

MCC 118 DAQ HAT Enables Up to 64-Channel Voltage Measurement on Raspberry Pi Boards


Measurement Computing Corp. (MCC) has recently introduced their MCC 118 DAQ HAT for Raspberry Pi which includes 8 analog inputs for voltage measurements between +/- 10V at a 100kS/s data rate. You can also perform data acquisition on up to 64 channels by stacking up to 8 MCC-118 DAQ HATs on top of a single Raspberry Pi board. The maximum throughput is limited to 320 kS/s. MCC 118 DAQ HAT key features & specifications: 8x 12-bit voltage inputs 100 kS/s max sample rate (320 kS/s aggregate for stacked boards) ±10 V input range Onboard sample buffers allow for high-speed acquisition External scan clock I/O External digital trigger input Screw terminal connections Up to eight MCC HATs are stackable on top of a Raspberry Pi board The data acquisition / data logger systems based on the add-on board would run Raspbian (Lite) on the Raspberry Pi board, as well as a DAQ HAT library developed by MCC, and whose source code, …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

PiMecha Humanoid Robot Based on Raspberry Pi Sells for about $500

SB Components introduced PiMecha humanoid robot powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero (W)/ A+ / 2 / 3 (B+) board, and offering 17 degrees of freedom (DoF) on Kickstarter a few months ago. But with KS backers expecting their rewards in September, the company is now taking pre-orders on their own website for the robot for 399 GBP, or about $511 at today’s exchange rate. The company has apparently not published any detailed specifications of the robot on their website. But the robot is basically comprised of an outer shell comprised of removable metal pieces, and precise smartbus servo motors. Your chosen Raspberry Pi board would be fitted to the robot’s chest together with PiMecha shield add-on board handling the servo control. PiMecha can be easily customized with a Pi camera, an LCD display, your own sensors an so on. SB Components provide software to program the robot in order to make it walk, dance, ride a bike, fight, or …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

ANAVI Play pHAT OSHW Board Adds 8 Buttons, I2C Headers to Raspberry Pi Boards (Crowdfunding)

Leon ANAVI has been learning KiCad open source EDA suite in his spare time, and developed several Raspberry Pi (p)HAT add-on boards such as ANAVI pHAT Light to control LED RGB strips, or ANAVI Infrared pHAT to handle IR signals. All his boards are open source hardware, and come with source code, and decent documentation as explained in the two aforelinked reviews. Leon has now come with another variant of his open source hardware certified add-on boards with ANAVI Play pHAT designed for playing games on the Raspberry Pi 3 / Pi Zero W boards, or other boards with a 40-pin header, thanks to 8 buttons, and just like his previous designs, three I2C headers are also included to connect sensors. Key specifications and features of the board: Gamepad with eight buttons for playing retro games 3x I2C header for sensors EEPROM with device tree binary overlay OSHW Certification – UID BG000007 Compatible with any RPi board equipped with 40-pin …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Zymkey is a Hardware Security Module for Raspberry Pi Board

Zymkey Raspberry Pi Security Module Blockchain

Microchip ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication chip appears to be a popular way to add hardware encryption support to development boards, as we’ve seen previously with 96Boards’ Secure96 mezzanine or LoRa explorer kit, and even just earlier today with Analoglamb Fish32 Seed ESP32 education board. Another solution is from Zymbit which provides Zymkey security modules for Raspberry Pi based on the ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication chip in different form factor: either a USB stick, an I2C module, or for further integration into your own design, an SMT component. Zymkey enables multifactor device ID & authentication, data encryption & signing, key storage & generation, and physical tamper detection. It also features a secure element root of trust, a real-time clock, and a true random number generator (TRNG). The company provides a simple Python or C/C++ API to make it easier to add Zymkey support to any Linux application, and the secure module can  be integrated with third party applications such as LUKS file encryption, OpenSSL, AWS …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon