Tag: Limor


Over the past year I have been working on a project using purely Arduinos. Now that this project is nearly over, I have decided to take the optional step of taking it further.

The plan so far is to still use the Arduino environment, but load the code onto a custom PCB. This should allow the software to remain the same while allowing a massively reduced version of the hardware (The current modules can be compared to bricks). To do this there are two options, an FTDI cable/chip or to program the uC directly. While FTDI chips are cool and everything, I decided against it with the option to include on at a later stage in the process. This left the option of programming the uC directly.

To do this rather than go for a nice AVR programmer such as those produced by Atmel, I went for the altogether more fun option and went with Adafruit Industries’ USBtinyISP. As usual, Oomlout showed off and got it packed and shipped allowing it to arrive 2 days later, and in their usual way, Adafruit did the same with an excellent kit.

To the kit! So what do you need to make it so simple? Aside from the usual tools (This was one of the few times I wish I had an actual PCB vice and not just some helping hands and a spare finger), I’d highly recommend having some good music on and some milkshake. Why? Why not? Everyone should have a decent beverage while working. Based on the weather and the general mood of the day, milkshake seemed appropriate. Assuming you follow the instructions and read them (Yeah, I didn’t do that the first time on one or two sections…), the kit is easy to build with everything explained where required. If there was one thing I’d recommend, it would be to have some bluetak (Or equivalent) handy for when you solder the headers.

What happens when its done? COmpleted USBtinyISPWell you get something that looks like this. Your next step as you may have guessed is to test it and use it. If you plan on using it with your Arduino to add a bootloader, you may become slightly confused by how to connect it. The best guide to tell you which way to plug it in can be found on the Adafruit forum here. It provides pictures and descriptions just to make the whole process easier.

If you are starting out with this side of working with microprocessors, or even if you are experienced, you will no doubt find this fun and educational. Congratulations to Adafruit for producing such a useful tool and well done to Oomlout for working so well to distribute it over here!

Ada Lovelace Day

Indeed, today is Ada Lovelace Day. If you haven’t already, go show some appreciation. If you already have, do it again!

Not sure what the day is about? Check out http://findingada.com/

So who is your inspiration? As the day is about showing your appreciation and showing support for women in science, technology, engineering and all the other related fields, I’d write a blog explaining why the named few are awesome. However, partly because I’m lazy, and partly because my brain is fried today, I’ve decided to keep it simple and just list them with a sentence or two explaining why.

In no particular order;

  • Mel – A science, a geek and just plane awesome.
  • Kitty – Crazy geologist with a dinosaur. What more can be said?
  • Radina – Brilliant computer scientist, even if its denied!
  • Limor – For showing theres no limits in what can be done, as demonstrated by adafruit industries.
  • Emma – Despite what may be claimed, she is still great at what she does.
  • Hayley – Great science writer, one of the people behind Geek Pop.
  • Steph – Not strictly a scientist, but wishes she was. Good enough for me! Oh and she remembers a biology course, thats enough 😉

This list is by no means complete as there are just so many names that could go on it. In any case <3 to them all!

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