New Products for Mid March!

March 17, 2014 Benjamin Gray

We've just got in a bunch of new products, and they can all be found here on our New Products section. Most of them are requests from customers, so we should sell at least one of them! Others are products that I've been curious to play with for some time now, so watch out for more in depth posts coming up.

The first of the customer requests is this Galvanic Skin Response sensor or GSR. GSR is a method of measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin, which varies with the moisture, caused by sweating! Since sweat is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system it's measurement can be used as a measure of emotional and sympathetic responses. They are therefore commonly used along with a few other methods in lie detectors, e-meters and would no doubt make a good addition to your Voit Kampff machine. Shown below being used in conjunction with a Grove Shield, Grove Connectors, Grove Buzzer (we don't stock that yet!) and a Seeeduino (Arduino clone that we've just restocked).

It comes with the finger clots shown and you don't need the grove system to use it. It connects as a standard analogue input on an Arduino and can be used on a Raspberry Pi with an ADC (Analogue Digital Converter). 

Looking next at our first Bluetooth Low Energy module, from Seeed Studios. Reading the blurb I've copied straight from Seeed I'm quite amused to see that it's sudo jibberish, I did first write complete jibberish, but that wouldn't quite be true. Lets try and pick the nuts out of it anyway.

It's based on the CC2540 Bluetooth low energy chip from Texas Instruments. Grabbing some of the info from TI we can see that its a true single chip solution capable of running both application and BLE protocol stack and includes peripherals to integrate with a wide range of sensors etc. Beginning to see why the Seeed text is gibberish now... the user guide for the chip is 353 pages long. I've linked both the big guide and also the datasheet:

Really the important things to note with this module is that Seeed have broken it out into the standard XBee format so classics like the Adafruit XBee breakout will work with it as well as all your favourite shields will work. You'll get about a 50 meter range and you should be able to interface easily with your Android or Apple based telephone choice. I'd like to test these on my Nexus some time soon. If I've not updated the copy and paste listing in a week or so please give me a nudge!

Moving on we have the Rainbowduino, a creatively named Arduino compatible with an on board LED driver so you can drive (by which I mean source the current as well as control) 192 LEDs. That's a 8 x 8 RGB Matrix or 4 x 4 x 4 RGB LED cube! Projects for the near future I think! I do have a small stock of 8 x 8 RGB Matricies looking for a home! This is possible as the ATMega328 is complimented by a couple of LED drivers right on the board. On uploading the image below (again from Seeed) I've noticed that it is in fact four 8 x 8 RGB Matricies, which is beyond the capabilities of this board!! These four are being driven by what would appear to be I2C - A0 and A1 on the Rainbowduino and a separate power feed. Naughty Seeed, and of course me for perpetuating this slightly dodgy marketing!

Sticking with RGB blinky goodness - we picked up some WS2812B LEDs from Adafruit, these are the "secret sauce" behind all of the NeoPixel products that come by way of Adafruit.


They're the latest version of the LEDs with an integrated WS2811 microcontroller which does all of the hard work! These have reverse voltage protection and also a constant current driver for the LEDs. You actually don't need external choke resistors on these, as was previously reported on the WS2812 LEDs. They're rolled the voltage source for the IC and the LEDs into a single Pin now so we're down to 4 pins on the LED. It's all covered in the Datasheet which is available here:

Now for another item I plan to test on my phone! Inductive charging sets! These appear pretty simple to use, as it's an Adafruit product the write up and explanation is pretty good and I'll only add to it when I try with the coil in the Nexus. Watch this space! 

Another great product by way of Adafruit next, the Midnight Hacker! This is a tiny Leatherman ES4 Squirt with wire strippers. I've had the pliers version for a good few years now and they are a robust and extraordinarily useful tool, which can get you into trouble if you're not careful. Read the full embellished description if you want to know why. If not quickly snack on the tasty images from Adafruit below


One last product for this post by way of Adafruit, one that I've quite fancied for a little while. The Adafruit PCB Ruler. This handy 6 inches of FR4 contains a great many of the most popular SMD footprints as well as trace widths and wire gauges, it is all Imperial but you can't have everything right?

As with all our product we'd really be grateful of your feedback and suggestions, and most of all we'd be grateful of your orders! Thanks for reading this far, there are a few more to cover but I'll save that until the morning.






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