RC Brutusbot n' Communication Stuff

Dave Hrynkiw
October 24, 2011

Help! It's getting colder outside and the trees are starting to shed all over everything. It's quite a mess. It's pretty, but a mess all the same. So we did what anyone would do in such circumstances - we made a small DIY tank platform wirelessly controllable, released a new breakout board, and put together some discounted bundles.

LVL1 Sumobot Tournament

Are you in or around the Louisville (Kentucky) area? If you're lookin' for some sweet sumo battle action, you can get your fix this Saturday (the 29th), at 8pm. LVL1, the local hackerspace in Louisville, is hosting a halloween tournament, with costumes encouraged as well as no entry fee. It should be a great opportunity to meet some local hackers, see some exciting sumo fights, check out their facilities, and get involved with the group. You can get some more info on the event from the official site right here.

Brutusbot RC Project/Hack

IMG_0117We just can't help ourselves. The Brutusbot is just too cool to not play with, so we keep tweaking and messing around with it. We just finished Herbert, and already we decided to go even further by developing a complete remote control setup for the platform. By utilizing some RF100 nodes from Synapse Wireless (in their standard mesh networking configuration), this makes an excellent example of wireless actuator control. We even managed to get 250 feet of range between the 'bot and our homemade controller. You can download code and a circuit diagram for the project here. We just need to add some airsoft guns before we can declare war and retaliate against the neighbourhood squirrels.

Synapse Wireless Discount Bundles

Solarbotics Synapse SMA X-Change Bundle"So where do I get some of that fancy Synapse Wireless stuff at a deal?" you ask. We really feel that the Synapse lineup is something special - the flexibility and performance available at such a great price point really opens up a lot of possibilities. But we want to make even more possibilities by lowering that price even further. As a result, we're rolling out four bundles that'll net you a discount over buying parts individually:

Solarbotics Synapse Breakout Board Kit

Solarbotics Synapse Breakout Board KitBecause our RnD department is staffed by a bunch of hardcore lunatics (in the good way), it seems like we have another brand-new release this week: The Solarbotics Synapse Breakout Board Kit. It provides your Synapse node with 3.3V regulated power and also breaks out all of the nodal pins, making it super-useful on the application end of your Synapse Wireless RF networks. This proved to be an integral part to the RC Brutusbot project, so we can't wait see how everyone else puts it to use.

...and in keeping with the communications-theme of this issue, we'd like to show off two of the latest items from Smart Projects - some of the most important folks behind bringing Arduino to the masses:

Arduino Ethernet with PoE ModuleArduino Ethernet w/ PoE Module

It looks strange having an ethernet jack where the USB port usually is, but the Arduino Ethernet (with PoE) still offers standard functionality from the same people who brought you the original Arduino! The PoE function lets you run power to the Arduino just using the ethernet cable (and compatible networking equipment).

Arduino Ethernet Shield With PoE ModuleArduino Ethernet Shield w/ PoE Module

Using the Wiznet W5100, the Arduino Ethernet Shield allows an Arduino board to connect to the internet. This shield supports four simultaneous socket connections with TCP and UDP.

Now if you'll excuse us, we need to go figure out the best way to clean up some leaves. Right now we're leaning towards flamethrowers. Big ones. We'll get this all cleaned up before you can say "multiple health and safety violations".

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