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MAKE 36: Boards

M36_cover

MAKE Volume 36 takes a look at the exploding market of boards and microcontrollers. Powerful and easy to use, microcontrollers allow anyone to add sophisticated interactivity to their projects, and Arduino and Raspberry Pi have ushered in a whole new generation boards tailor-made for making. In this issue, we take a deep dive into the world of boards and add-ons that are fueling a new smart device revolution. From workshop hobbyists to entrepreneurial innovators pushing accessible technology to new levels.

Which board is right for you? This issue issue delves into:

  • The best boards for your build. What they do and why you might want to use them.
  • Microcontrollers for the next generation: Ultra- miniaturization, wireless, and multi-function shields.
  • Add-ons for boards
  • Upcoming boards with estimated release dates and previews.

But the issue goes beyond boards and includes projects that show you how to make your own hard cider with a juicer, a simple table that can be built in two hours, an interview with New Zealand kite-maker Peter Lynn, and the making of tiger gates in the London Zoo.

To jump into the world of boards, take a look at Which Board is Right for Me?


Projects

Gunther Kirsch/MAKE

Try a Triac

Try these clever off-label uses for an underappreciated component. There are billions of triacs in the world. In almost every lamp dimmer, every electric stove, and many motor controllers, power...

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Categories: Electronics

Before You Start

Reviews

Articles

Computers in the Mist

Computers in the Mist

Carl Helmers was designing spaceships in kindergarten. He “lucked out” by learning computers in high school in New Jersey, where he eventually got a summer job programming at Bell Labs....

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Categories: Art & Design

Hot Bots

Hot Bots

Excerpt of the article: British artist Giles Walker has been making provocative art robots and kinetic sculptures for more than 20 years. His Peepshow installation features two metal and plastic...

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Categories: Art & Design

Space Station in a Shed

Space Station in a Shed

Excerpt from the article: To the casual passerby, Christopher Jacobs’ backyard shed appears nondescript. But beneath the worn white exterior exist hundreds of switches, blinking lights, computer screens running animations,...

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Categories: Art & Design

The Imperial Drinker

The Imperial Drinker

Excerpt from the article: Vancouver, British Columbia artist and “woodbutcher” Colin Johnson spent roughly 600 hours handcrafting this brilliant pony-sized AT-AT liquor cabinet. Related

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Categories: Art & Design

Twist of Fate

Twist of Fate

Excerpt from the article: Los Angeles-based artist Mike Ross is fascinated with power in all its forms, be it physical, political, economic, or the power of humanity to make its...

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Categories: Art & Design

Comments

  1. partaik says:

    Thanks for this article, it is a good read, although I must say, for those who don’t know the history of Arduino, they won’t be able to understand an accurate version of that history. Let’s start with the statement « Before Arduino and Raspberry Pi, things were more complicated». In reality, before the Arduino was Wiring, which was the beginning of the revolution and the brain child of Hernando Barragan. While the work of Arduino is important, let’s recall that the Arduino programming language is based on Wiring, Barragan’s thesis at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. So in the section Life before Arduino, this little revolution had started up, and Arduino is a very successful clone that owes much to the existence and development of Wiring. Just as you mentioned, «… the success of the Arduino has led to numerous copies and compatible boards arriving on the market.» Arduino was the original copy. History will remember this fact and yes, as you stated, «The runaway success of Arduino has stolen some love and attention from the Wiring board and its programming environment. It probably deserves more.». I think it does deserve more, not only for its historical position, but for what it is offering the community at this very moment. «Wiring allows writing cross-platform software to control devices attached to a wide range of micro controller boards to create all kinds of creative coding…» and that is the open hardware revolution in full swing.

  2. jack says:

    Sad to all this proliferation of the Arduino off-grid pin header standard “mistake”.
    It only helps shield vendors not makers.

    The Arduino name is confusing: Is it an AVR? Is it the bootloader? Is it “shield” compatibility? Is it the “Language”? Is it this idiot-confusing “IDE”, can it jump to the source yet if you doubleclick a compiler error? Debugging by adding “print” statements? Seriously I think it is time to move on to other “microcontrollers” than Arduino.

    1. Doug says:

      You can’t dictate taste. The Arduino really appeals to a lot of people! (troll: look at how many people, at least in the States, are still using the iPhone, which in many ways I would call the Arduino of phones. /troll LOL). You can’t chase people away, you have to entice them with something better, and some will still hold on to what they know and not change, even if that something else is “obviously” better to you. The harder you push, the more embedded (LOL) they become…

  3. John Edwards says:

    Wow. All these new boards, some of which seem kinda niche or beta, have low compatibility with the large set of existing Arduino libraries,…and no mention of the mature Teensy 2.0 and 3.0 under EVER-SHRINKING DERIVATIVES or elsewhere?

    IMHO: You’d have to be a masochist to go with an ATTINY derivative with its considerable minuses over a Teensy 2 or 2++, which has awesome code/library compatibility, great form factor, optimized-but-still-compatible libraries, full 12 MB native USB speed (including pain-free USB MIDI!), a great and responsive forum, cheap price, smaller boot loader (more memory), way more usable pins, and on and on.

    Teensy 3.0 (and now 3.1) are Cortex M4 variants with a lot of the same advantages and more PWM/interrupt pins and peripherals. I have seen and benefitted from rapid adaptation of AVR libraries, often in response to a forum request. The new 3.1 has digital pins that are 5V tolerant, which solves a lot of problems for me personally. Check it out:

    http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/index.html

  4. A standard for grading ease of use in the maker market would be useful of all these derivatives but despite limitations the biggest community wins and that is Arduino which is why we chose to implement it within the arLCD our $89 3.5″ Arduino compatible smart touch screen: http://store.arduino.cc/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=39&products_id=480