Posts tagged 'protosnap' | Catapult Public Relations
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June 4, 2012
MiniBot offers users an easy, affordable introduction to robotics
BOULDER, Colo. June 4, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is excited to announce the release of MiniBot, the latest addition to its popular ProtoSnap line. MiniBot is a complete robotics platform that allows you to build a small, wheeled robot. This latest release is fully Arduino-compatible and ProtoSnap customizable.
SparkFun’s ProtoSnap line is designed to ease the burgeoning electronics enthusiast into the world of programming, prototyping and designing. MiniBot acquaints new users with the world of robotics and provides an easy-to-use introduction to concepts like navigation, obstacle detection, handling sensor data and a myriad of real-world physical computing problems. Like the rest of the ProtoSnap products, MiniBot can be disassembled into reusable individual components when the user has reached the limits of the project.
SparkFun is dedicated to providing tools and information to anyone interested in exploring electronics and hopes that the MiniBot’s simple design and low cost will offer a unique opportunity and increased access for educators and students.
“The whole idea was a simple, inexpensive starting point for learning robotics,” said SparkFun Engineer Mike Hord. “Our goal is to give clubs, after-school groups and robotics classes the ability to provide a robot for each student to play with. This allows kids to have the entire experience to themselves for a relatively low cost.”
SparkFun is excited to add the MiniBot to its growing ProtoSnap line and ultimately hopes to introduce a new group of people to the exciting world of embedded electronics. For more information on the ProtoSnap MiniBot, visit (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11012).
About SparkFun Electronics
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.
SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 140 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
303-581-7760 ext. 16
February 20, 2012
SparkFun will also help lead a beginner hacking session for attendees that want to repurpose various technologies
WHO: Pete Dokter
Director of Engineering
Pete Dokter is the Director of Engineering at SparkFun Electronics, a position he has held since 2005. Prior to joining SparkFun, Pete was a technician at HID Corporation.
Education Outreach Coordinator
Lindsay Craig is an education outreach coordinator at SparkFun Electronics, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to joining SparkFun, Lindsay was an after school teacher at Creekside Elementary and a Site Leader at OpenWorld Learning.
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. The company helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects. SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 130 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
WHAT: “SparkFun Studio: ProtoSnap and Repurposed Electronics”
The ProtoSnap is an Arduino-compatible development platform aimed at teaching the basics of Arduino programming as efficiently as possible. It requires zero assembly, wiring or soldering, so people can jump right into programming the ProtoSnap to control LEDs, buzzers, light sensors and more. There’s even a small prototyping space so attendees can add their own parts!
Participants in the SparkFun Studio at TEI will learn how to couple real life sensors on the ProtoSnap with Processing sketches. These Processing sketches are user generated and can be anything from a game to a data logging tool, limited only by the programming capabilities and imagination of the user. Participants will also learn how to send data back out to an external output from the Processing sketch, thus completing the connection from real world to computer and back again.
Afterwards, SparkFun will help lead a beginner hacking session where participants are provided with some simple examples of how to repurpose various technologies. In addition, SparkFun will help participants hack their own technologies, which they are invited to bring to the session.
The 2012 International Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) Conference addresses design challenges, theories, experiences, systems and new developments, with specific emphasis on all the physical aspects of human interaction with computing technology. Studios at TEI are participatory events that offer novel and practical experiences to conference attendees with an emphasis on making, building, creating and hacking.
WHERE: TEI 2012 (http://tei-conf.org/12/Main/Home)
Feb. 19 – 22, 2012
Human Media Lab – Queen’s University
99 University Avenue
WHEN: SparkFun Studio – Tuesday, February 21 from 12:15 pm – 6:30 pm ET
CONTACT: For more information on SparkFun Electronics, or to set up an interview with Pete and Lindsay, please contact Jeremy Douglas at (303) 581-7760, ext.16 or email@example.com.
Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/SparkFun), and
August 4, 2011
SparkFun Electronics Announces ProtoSnap, a New Line of Products to Enable Beginners to Explore the World of Embedded Electronics
New product line aims to enable beginners in programming, prototyping and designing with electronics
BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 2, 2011 – SparkFun Electronics (www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, today announced a new line of products designed to help the novice electronics enthusiast ease into the world of programming, prototyping and design.
Each product in the new ProtoSnap line features various input and output boards that are linked together, complete with traces, to form a multi-use prototyping platform. This allows users to experiment with embedded electronics without the burden of soldering, wires or other typical prototyping limitations.
There currently are three different products in the ProtoSnap line – the ProtoSnap Pro Mini, the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad E-sewing kit.
The Pro Mini combines an Arduino Pro Mini with a host of inputs and outputs to allow users to experiment with the Arduino language. When they have mastered programming the ProtoSnap Pro Mini, it can be broken apart so the individual components can be used separately. Both the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad E-sewing kits are designed to help users ease into e-textiles. They, too, can be broken apart into individual components and used in any number of different projects and applications.
“The ProtoSnap line is really designed with the beginner in mind,” said SparkFun Engineer Ryan Owens. “We really think it will help introduce people to prototyping in an easy-to-understand and user-friendly way.”
While the ProtoSnap line currently has three products, the range of possibilities for expansion is endless. SparkFun is excited to see the implications this new product holds for beginner electronics enthusiasts and hopes the ProtoSnap line will introduce a new group of people to the wonders of embedded electronics.
For more information, visit (www.sparkfun.com).
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion for electronics by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects. SparkFun currently offers more than1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 120 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
O: (303) 581-7760, ext. 12
July 22, 2011
It would be incredibly difficult to summarize the EYEO Festival without diminishing the impact of this event. From the perspective of the organizers, “It’s an exciting time to be interested in art, interaction, and information. The way we experience all three is changing. The way creative minds employ technology gives us a glimpse into what’s possible, and things to come. Access to data and tools has entered a new realm. What data is- is changing; It’s a social media feed, it’s waving your finger at a sensor, it’s open access to oceans of digitized archives. Tools are built from scratch, hacked and repurposed as needed. We are immersed in a sea of ones and zeros floating around us just waiting to send and deliver another new experience. The Eyeo Festival brings together the most exciting people creating these experiences today. Three days of inspirational talks, demos, labs, and workshops and opportunities to connect with people whose extraordinary creations are pushing the envelope. The line up is amazing. 30 brilliant individuals, one amazing collection of talent and insight. Add yourself to the mix, and it just gets better. Converge to Inspire – Indeed.”
A small group of SparkFunners headed out to Minneapolis to experience the EYEO Festival. The three-day event was full of seminars, panels, and workshops highlighted by some incredibly big names in the related fields. This was an exciting event for SparkFun because we had the opportunity to beta test a new and exciting product called the ProtoSnap Pro-Mini. There will be plenty of information to come in the near future about this new line of products but suffice it to say that it is a fantastic tool for introducing Arduino programming without the hassle of solder, wires, etc. Our expectations of around 50 people were easily surpassed as we estimate close to 70 people packed into the Maroon & Gold room at the McNamara Alumni Center for our workshop. Honestly, this must have created some difficult decision-making on attendees as this time slot also included a workshop on Computer Vision in Processing with Golan Levin and Kyle McDonald, a hands-on workshop on making Hele-Shaw cells with Jesse and Jessica of Nervous System, as well as the first of a two-part series on data visualization with Jer Thorp and Wes Grubbs
Casey Haskell, Pete Lewis, and Dave Stillman instructed and entertained the students through a history of Arduino, an introduction to the Arduino programming environment and some fundamentals including digital input/output, analog input/output, if/else statements, for loops, serial communication and more. Following each major section students were given playtime to fiddle with the code and explore the outcome of changing pin numbers, inputs, and outputs. Of course, we had “that guy” that prematurely discovered the “dentist drill” sketch and proceeded to serenade the class with buzzer noises throughout the workshop. Despite a little ringing in the ears, there is nothing better than seeing the enjoyment of people finally jumping into physical computing, learning to code, and playing. At the end of the workshop Pete and Dave did a show-and-tell with projects they created using the boards in the ProtoSnap Pro-Mini. Dave’s alarm box was a hit and Pete rocked out with his “guitarduino.” Nearly every person who attended happily delivered the requested donation to keep the ProtoSnap Pro-Mini, a great testament to the instructors and excitement of the attendees. All proceeds from the workshop will be donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota
The energy of this festival was palpable – quite unlike most ‘gatherings of the minds’ that I attended in my former life as a research scientist. The attendees soaked in all of the information and inspiration that EYEO hurled with every minute of the tightly-packed schedule. There was no shortage of digital participation either as many attendees flooded the social networks with commentary, links, invitations, and quips about Minneapolis. One of my personal favorite presenters, Moritz Stefaner, created an applicaton called “revisit” that elegantly displays the #eyeo Twitter feed. I didn’t see a single face wearing the familiar look of “my boss made me come to this.” I’m quite confident that most people attended EYEO for their own personal interest, gains, and amusement. The EYEO Festival rapidly created a sense of community and there was no shortage of inspiring projects. Here are some thoughts from some of the other SparkFunners who attended:
So we’re back from the EYEO Festival. I have to admit I initially used this as an excuse to visit my home town (Minneapolis), but also to take part in teaching a workshop, which I hadn’t done. And upon reading the list of presentations, my first reaction was something akin to “Wait, what? Data visualization? What’s wrong with a bar graph? Oh, you mean a pie chart. I can dig it.” Clearly, I could not. I’m no stranger to abstractions but this was all new. Turns out there are about as many ways to visualize data as there are people to interpret it for you, and changing the visualization slightly can expose all kinds of behavioral nuances, sometimes with stark results. In a nutshell, it was an educational experience for me. But the greater question I needed to answer was “what do we have in common with these guys and why are we here?” And, I’ll be honest, I’m still not totally clear on that. But there’s no doubt that the workshop went off HUGE. Apparently, the EYEOites have a better idea about what we do at SparkFun than I do about what they do, and they want to incorporate our hardware with their work. Well, I can’t say no to that, can I? So to all the EYEO crew, thanks for my brief immersion in your art, for it truly is an art. Lastly, shout out to my favorite presenter, John Keston, who has used Processing to create the Gestural Music Sequencer which “converts video input into musical phrases”. Seriously cool, and please go check it out.
Sometimes you need a reminder of just how closely engineering and art are related. The EYEO festival provided plenty of examples of this relationship. Whether it be beautiful, informative graphs, crazy music visualizations, hugely collaborative music videos, or kid-friendly museum installations, all of the talks were both inspirational and informative. Even more inspiration came from getting a first-hand view of the ProtoSnap Pro-Mini in the wild, doing its thing. Being able to see so many people getting so much joy, and knowledge out of something I helped design meant a lot to me.
Starting EYEO with a stomach bug and the SFE presentation on the first day didn’t seem like a stellar start to the three-day festival yet the potential lame factor diminished as soon as the slides started and LEDs were blinking. Being such a digital/visual arts geared conference focused on Processing and similar programs, many attendees at our talk were very excited to see the direct connection between programming and manipulating hardware. They were so excited I think only two people did not donate the requested $20 for the ProtoSnap Pro-Mini only due to lack of cash. To me, the highlight of the festival was the location of the “after parties.” Typically combined with a presentation or two, the EYEO organizers did an awesome job of location scouting for these events. The two most memorable places were the Varsity Theater where Robert Hodgin led an entertaining talk about his experiments in combining real world input (music, video feed, etc) with digital visualization and Nye’s Polonaise Room. This funky little Polish dinner club was a great venue for the final EYEO hurrah where new ideas were bounced off of new acquaintances.
We were without our fantastically talented photographer or videographer so apologies for the lack of documentation. Despite having always been an avid note-taker, I decided to sit back and soak it all in this time. I enjoyed the lack of pressure to jot down every word uttered by the amazing presenters, but coming home without the journal to remind me of our fun-filled adventure was a bit sad. I did end up stumbling upon a graphical representation of another EYEO attendee’s (Michael Wang) first day and thought it was the perfect image to sum up the experience. Check it out above – if you look closely you might even catch a doodle of our very own Casey Haskell and his impressive chops!
I would recommend this festival to anyone who is interested in participating in the interplay of art, science, technology, and communication. The people presenting and attending this event are pushing the boundaries on how we experience the massive influx of information that surrounds us at all times. It would be an incredibly difficult challenge to narrow down all of the amazing projects we saw to discuss one or even a few. If you’re interested in learning more about the inspiring work discussed at EYEO, I recommend checking out this blog from Megan Erin Miller. A hearty thank you goes out to Dave Schroeder and everyone involved in organizing the EYEO Festival, we had a fantastic time and look forward to 2012!