Hack It Together Goes Beyond the Basic Blink

Hack It Together Goes Beyond the Basic Blink

This post is sponsored by Freescale.


Among the rows of makers under the trees at World Maker Faire New York, a friendly man with a bowtie played the guitar, showing off the advanced signal processing ability of the Freescale microcontroller that he’s working with in a project dubbed MonkeyJam. It’s made by Eli Hughes (who plays guitar quite well, from what I can tell) and it’s one of three in a series called Hack It Together in partnership with Freescale. The projects are part of an initiative to extend the embedded system skillset among junior and senior engineering students as well as makers, hackers, and younger students. Each project has a set of free online resources including board designs, schematics, code, and explanatory video.


Monkey Listen is another one of the projects in Hack It Together. It uses the Freescale FRDM-K20D50 to make a neat spectrum analyzer display. Just speak, sing, or whistle near the microphone and you’ll see some impressive FFT visuals. The project is meant to teach microphone and OLED display interfacing, audio capture with an ADC, and spectrum analysis via FFT.

The third project is called MonkeyDo, which teaches basic electrical automation and control via the web. It combines a Freescale FRDM-K64F and FRDM-AUTO to a read temperature sensor and control a solid state relay. With websockets, JavaScript, and HTML5, it enables the maker to have a simple way of viewing sensor data and controlling appliances.

Even though he was well into day two of Maker Faire when I encountered him, he still had tons of energy and patience with everyone that came to his table. “It’s been a learning experience,” says Eli, “I’ve been getting a lot of practice explaining the projects to people at all skill levels.”

Keep an eye out for a Kickstarter if you’d like to get your own expansion boards!

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

View more articles by Matt Richardson


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