FPGAs, LEDs, Tools and Wearables: New Products in the Maker Shed

FPGAs, LEDs, Tools and Wearables: New Products in the Maker Shed

We’re in the midst of a very busy summer here at the Maker Shed — we’ve been traveling around the country for various Mini Maker Faires (we recently returned from Kansas City and will be in Detroit later this month) and are preparing for the next World Maker Faire in September. But fear not; we still have time to get in the coolest new products for Makers. Without further ado, here are the most recent additions to the Maker Shed:

Mojo FPGA Development Board


FPGAs are intimidating beasts to most makers, including myself. Thankfully, Justin Rajewski’s insanely popular Kickstarter project caught our eye. The entire goal of the Mojo is to make getting started with FPGA and digital design as easy as possible. An FPGA allows you to design digital circuits (basically a bunch of logic gates connected together to perform a specific task). The designs that you create can range from something as simple as a counter to blink an LED to something as complex as a multi-core processor (or an Audio Visualizer).

With a microcontroller (like an Arduino), you write software that gives you control of the the built-in peripherals but is limiting in that you can often only complete one action at a time. With FPGAs you are not creating software; you’re designing the hardware. Instead of writing code to run on a fixed processor with fixed peripherals, you get to design your own circuit.

Justin’s done a fantastic job of releasing new tutorials for getting started with Electronics, Logic and the Mojo on the Embedded Micro website. He’s also began work on an IDE specifically for the board, to make it even easier to develop for. Read more about this flexible, powerful board and pick one up from the product page.

LED Color Organ Kit

Color Organ

We carry a lot of LED-related products, but this one has to be my favorite. Creator Akimitsu Sadoi, the LED Artist, is no stranger to creating fascinating LED kits (we also carry his adorable USB Blinky and useful Joule Thief kits), and he’s really outdone himself with this one. I’ve caught myself staring in awe at the Color Organ as it flashes to my tunes. Check out a video of it in action below:

YouTube player
The board was designed so it’s straightforward to assemble, so this one’s great for aspiring soldering pros and fans of pretty lights. You can read more about this eye-catching kit and pick one up right here.

Iso-Tip Soldering Tool Kit

This Soldering Tool Kit from Iso-Tip includes an array of portable tools for those all-too-frequent repair jobs, including a cordless iron, charging station, and butane torch. Our own Michael Castor has been using one of these for a few months, and has a lot of great things to say about it:

Since I got the Iso-Tip iron, I rarely touch my expensive Hakko. It’s always ready when I need it (heats up in under 10 seconds) and I don’t have to worry about being tethered to a plug. Its portability makes it perfect for field repairs – I’ve used it on my lawnmower, underground dog fence, and even my quadcopter.

Head over to the product page to see a complete list of the included tools and pick one up.

Aniomagic E-Textile Kits

MKAN1-2TMKAN2-2TWe’re launching two Aniomagic E-Textile Kits: the Sparkle and Glam. E-textiles are a fun way to combine introductory-level electronics with wearables — these are perfect for integrating a light show into your wardrobe. The less expensive Glam kit includes everything you need to create interactive LED art by choosing from 4 different light patterns with the simple use of a touch pad and two included LEDs. The Sparkle Kit, on the other hand, comes with 4 LEDs (but can connect to up to 20) and a pre-programmed board, so you’re ready to go when you get it. The board can be programmed with new lighting sequences with a smartphone or computer.

Read more about the Sparkle and Glam kits by Aniomagic on their product pages here and here, respectively.

10 thoughts on “FPGAs, LEDs, Tools and Wearables: New Products in the Maker Shed

  1. FPGAs, LEDs, Tools and Wearables: New Products in the Maker Shed Matt Richardson says:

    That FPGA is making my mouth water! I’ve been wanting to try them out with some possible projects, but was worried it would be very difficult… but I was just reading through some of the tutorials, and I think this is just the ticket for me!

    1. Eric Weinhoffer says:

      Yes, they’re definitely intimidating but Justin’s done an awesome job with documentation. The boards are matte black too; they look great :)

    2. Drew Fustini (@pdp7) says:

      “That FPGA is making my mouth water!” Excellent quote! :) They are pleasingly mind bending. I’m appreciative that my digital electronics class was taught with FPGA board and VHDL. I don’t I would have been exposed otherwise. Good to see the many affordable FPGA board options nowdays!

  2. Todd says:

    A little off topic, but I’m curious. Could the e-textiles be used to create some kind of touchpad for a glorified game of “Tag”? If so, do you think you could transmit information through the touch (assuming an Arduino and at least one second of contact)? I’m sure it would need a much larger area on the tagger and taggee.

  3. Vishwajit says:

    I want guidance about fpga based smart door lock system.

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Eric is a Mechanical Engineer with interests in machining, mass manufacturing, product design and kinetic art. While not building things, he enjoys skiing, cycling, and juggling.

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