Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Tested: Getting Started with Arduino

I love working with Microcontrollers,but somehow I completely missed the whole Arduino thing, which is a shame as they have so much to offer,  especially in the range of hardware extras that are easily available.
 Will and Norm, from Tested, have just published a video where they sit down to chat about Arduino microcontrollers and give an overview about how they work, what you can do with them, and how the varying models differ from each other
Worth a look if you are still undecided and as they say no scary programming involved!.
Which is a shame. I like scary programming :-)

Make: Farm Drones Take Flight

Drones, or autonomous unmanned aircraft have been around with us for years, normally by the military who don't want to risk a human pilot in a dangerous situation.
But Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones, introduced a new idea about how they can be used for more peaceful purposes, in agriculture.
Growing the volume of crops we require is intensive and expensive for the farmers, just spraying a field with chemicals can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds, which is a bit of a waste when there is actually nothing wrong with some of them in the first place, but how do you tell?
Chris's solution is to fit phonographic sensors to a drone which can over fly crops and use infra red cameras to spot anomalies in the way crops are growing, and then target just those areas with insecticide, or maybe if the problem is found early enough avoid the issue all together.
For full details and a video go to the make blog at

Make: Bringing a Classic Marklin Z-Scale Model Railroad to Life With Arduino

I have always loved model railways, which apart from a love of Physics is probably the only other thing I have in common with Sheldon Cooper.
Years ago I enjoyed building my own models and constructing a layout in my bedroom, but that gave way to SciFi models, and then electronics, followed by music, which then gave way to girls, which is pretty much where I still am some thirty years later.
I couldn't help but be impressed by this layout and it made me think about maybe its time to think about building another.
Except mine will be on mars. With lots of girls playing synthesizers.
This lovely little model combines two of those, railways and electronics, including the ever present Arduino to make the engine move when come near it.
For full details go to the Make blog