A military-looking cyberdeck with a built-in Geiger counter

Combining cosplay and actual science, as well as an origin story that entails the two, this R.A.T.I.S. (Remote Assault and Tactical Intelligence System) cyberdeck by Paul Hoets is a true retrofuturistic work of art.

The build supposedly has its roots in the 1970s South African nuclear program, where it was used for radiation measurement and encrypted satellite data transfer. Given the luggable cyberdeck’s superb quality, one could almost believe it was military equipment.

Looking inside the rugged case reveals a Raspberry Pi 3 that provides computing power along with an Arduino Leonardo for a custom joystick input device. While there’s no satellite uplink (at least not without WiFi), it does feature a functional Geiger counter, which allows one to monitor local conditions for dangerous radiation levels.

The keyboard (quite nicely shoehorned into the lid of the waterproof case, unlike the, um, actual main panel…) is a combination of wireless Logitech keyboard bunker (a carefully planned slot with magnets holds the keyboard in place), and an Arduino Leonardo connected to a small joystick, click function being right-click, a left-right-up-down set of buttons, and a FIRE button connected to a red LED when pressed. All of which becomes a USB controller when connected with USB to the main panel. This means that you could survive without a mouse, having the same functions available. Of course, the entire thing is reprogrammable, and the little panels were supposed to be removeable for prototyping, but I kinda just got tired and never developed it further. Maybe next time….

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This remote-controlled storytelling apparatus is made up of Arduino-driven toy animatronics

As an exhibit at the Phaneo Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, Niklas Roy and Felix Figus created a remotely-operated storytelling apparatus dubbed “Smart Fairy Tale.”

When initiated, a little red ball rolls down the installation’s transparent tubing, triggering different interactions based on the interruption of light sensors along its path. 25 Arduino Nanos are used to control each individual animatronic part of the “story,” making the code manageable and allowing the overall machine to still work if there’s a malfunction in one section.

To start the Smart Fairy Tale, people can log on to its Raspberry Pi server, where they can also change how it works. Animations were designed with the help of donated toys, inspirational drawings from kids, and the participation of artist Wolfgang Kowar – a truly public art exhibit!

More information on the Smart Fairy Tale project can be found in Roy’s blog post or on Figus’ website.

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Let’s Stand Up for Home Hacking and Repair

Let’s tell the Copyright Office that it’s not a crime to modify or repair your own devices.

Every three years, the Copyright Office holds a rulemaking process where it grants the public permission to bypass digital locks for lawful purposes. In 2018, the Office expanded existing protections for jailbreaking and modifying your own devices to include voice-activated home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home, but fell far short of the broad allowance for all computerized devices that we’d asked for. So we’re asking for a similar exemption, but we need your input to make the best case possible: if you use a device with onboard software and DRM keeps you from repairing that device or modifying the software to suit your purposes, see below for information about how to tell us your story.

DMCA 1201: The Law That Launched a Thousand Crappy Products

Why is it illegal to modify or repair your own devices in the first place? It’s a long story. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1996. That’s the law that created the infamous “notice-and-takedown” process for allegations of copyright infringement on websites and social media platforms. The DMCA also included the less-known Section 1201, which created a new legal protection for DRM—in short, any technical mechanism that makes it harder for people to access or modify a copyrighted work. The DMCA makes it unlawful to bypass certain types of DRM unless you’re working within one of the exceptions granted by the Copyright Office.

Suddenly manufacturers had a powerful tool for restricting how their customers used their products: build your product with DRM, and you can argue that it’s illegal for others to modify or repair it.

The technology landscape was very different in 1996. At the time, when most people thought of DRM, they were thinking of things like copy protection on DVDs or other traditional media. Some of the most dangerous abuses of DRM today come in manufacturers’ use of it to limit how customers use their products—farmers being unable to repair their own tractors, or printer manufacturers trying to restrict users from buying third-party ink.

When the DMCA passed, manufacturers suddenly had a powerful tool for restricting how their customers used their products: build your product with DRM, and you can argue that it’s illegal for others to modify or repair it.

Section 1201 caught headlines recently when the RIAA attempted to use it to stop the distribution of youtube-dl, a tool that lets people download videos from YouTube and other user-uploaded video platforms. Fortunately, GitHub put the youtube-dl repository back up after EFF explained on behalf of youtube-dl’s developers that the tool doesn’t circumvent DRM.

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Abuse of legal protections for DRM isn’t just a United States problem, either. Thanks to the way in which copyright law has been globalized through a series of trade agreements, much of the world has similar laws on the books to DMCA 1201. That creates a worst-of-both-worlds scenario for countries that don’t have the safety valve of fair use to protect people’s free expression rights or processes like the Copyright Office rulemaking to remove the legal doubt around bypassing DRM for lawful purposes. The rulemaking process is deeply flawed, but it’s better than nothing.

Let’s Tell the Copyright Office: Home Hacking Is Not a Crime

Which brings us back to this year’s Copyright Office rulemaking. We’re asking the Copyright Office to grant a broad exception for people to take advantage of in modifying and repairing all software-enabled devices for their own use.

If you have a story about how:

  • someone in the United States;
  • attempted or planned to modify, repair, or diagnose a product with a software component; and
  • encountered a technological protection measure (including DRM or digital rights management—any form of software security measure that restricts access to the underlying software code, such as encryption, password protection, or authentication requirements) that prevented completing the modification, repair, or diagnosis (or had to be circumvented to do so)

—we want to hear from you! Please email us at RightToMod-2021@lists.eff.org with the information listed below, and we’ll curate the stories we receive so we can present the most relevant ones alongside our arguments to the Copyright Office. The comments we submit to the Copyright Office will become a matter of public record, but we will not include your name if you do not wish to be identified by us. Submissions should include the following information:

  1. The product you (or someone else) wanted to modify, repair, or diagnose, including brand and model name/number if available.
  2. What you wanted to do and why.
  3. How a TPM interfered with your project, including a description of the TPM.
    • What did the TPM restrict access to?
    • What did the TPM block you from doing? How?
    • If you know, what would be required to get around the TPM? Is there another way you could accomplish your goal without doing this?
  4. Optional: Links to relevant articles, blog posts, etc.
  5. Whether we may identify you in our public comments, and your name and town of residence if so. We will treat all submissions as anonymous unless you expressly give us this permission to identify you.

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Make:Cast – Problem Solving is #1

Sarah Boisvert on Workforce Training for Digital Fabrication Jobs Subscribe to Make:cast on Itunes or Google Podcasts.  You can also find it on Spotify, Deezer, Podcast Addict, PodChaser and Spreaker. In Make: magazine Volume 75, in the article “Fabricating the Future of Work,” Sarah Boisvert writes: “Digital fabrication is preparing […]

Read more on MAKE

The post Make:Cast – Problem Solving is #1 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

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Exploring with Bluetooth

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! This week, we start with the new BGM220 Explorer Kit from Silicon Labs. This palm-sized Bluetooth development platform is an extremely economical board that should open up possibilities for new IoT and wireless projects. Next up, we bring you more official Raspberry Pi products with an assortment of Compute Module 3+ boards and peripherals.

We're also in the middle of our month of sales, with unique daily deals every week day from November 2-26. Be sure to check out this blog post for details on our daily deals, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales! If you're curious when you'll need to get your order before the holidays, make sure to check out our Holiday Shipping 2020 page.

Now, let's take a closer look at all of our new products!

New Bluetooth options for you to explore!

Silicon Labs BGM220 Explorer Kit

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Silicon Labs BGM220 Explorer Kit

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The BGM220 Explorer Kit is an ultra-low cost, small form factor development and evaluation platform for the BGM220P Wireless …


The BGM220 Explorer Kit from Silicon Labs is an ultra-low cost, small form factor development and evaluation platform for the BGM220P Bluetooth® Module. The kit includes a mikroBUS™ socket and Qwiic connector, allowing users to add features to the kit with a large selection of off-the-shelf boards.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ Development Kit

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ Development Kit

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The Compute Module 3+ Development Kit is made for developing industrial applications with CM3+, CM3+/Lite, CM3, CM3 Lite, and…


The Compute Module 3+ Development Kit is made for developing industrial applications with CM3+, CM3+/Lite, CM3, CM3 Lite and CM1. The Development Kit contains the critical hardware that allows you to design the Compute Module into a custom system, and gives you the freedom to add extra components and place parts exactly where your product needs them.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 8GB

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 8GB

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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with 8GB of eMMC Flash memory.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 16GB

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 16GB

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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with 16GB of eMMC Flash memory.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 32GB

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ - 32GB

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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with 32GB of eMMC Flash memory.


The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (the BCM2837 processor and 1GB LPDDR2 RAM) with 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of eMMC Flash memory. This module allows a designer to leverage the Raspberry Pi hardware and software stack in their own custom systems and form factors. In addition this module has extra IO interfaces over and above what is available on the Raspberry Pi model A/B boards, opening up more options for the designer.

That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

Never miss a new product!

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Embedded Rust on SAMD/E microcontrollers gets way better #Rust @MicrochipMakes @RustLang @RustEmbedded

Rust (rustlang) on the Microchip SAMD51 Adafruit Metro M4 microcontroller board!

Since Adafruit has last blogged about using Rust on Microcontroller Boards, the ecosystem has made some terrific improvements.

New board support: We have board support crates for a huge number of Adafruit and common dev boards over at https://github.com/atsamd-rs/atsamd/tree/master/boards. Each of these implement a crate that provides the pinout as its own type, configured the memory layout, and frequently a number of the features of the board (such as USB, UART, SPI displays, SD cards, dotstar LEDs etc) are wired as well.

The most complete of these is the Pygamer BSP. These BSPs typically get added to as contributors get hardware, so the more common boards / boards-which-contributors-own have the best support and most peripherals wired up.

Flashing from rust: A new tool is hf2, which lets you build and upload to a board in a single command, all from within the Rust ecosystem! On Linux, it is as simple as:

cargo install cargo-hf2
cargo hf2 --release

To flash the module in the working directory to a chip with a UF2 bootloader.

Native USB device support: There is first-class support for the USB peripheral in samd21 and samd/e 5x chips. Rust really shines here: because of the implemented UsbBus trait, any UsbClass implementation can work out of the box. For instance, anyone can just wire usbd-serial to get a USB serial implementation, as this itsybitsy_m4 example does. Or wire usbd-hid to get a USB mouse/keyboard.

Ecosystem-wide HAL traits are making good headway:

  • embedded_hal (canonical HAL traits, but slow to change/add by necessity) continues to make slow progress with general purpose HAL abstractions that can be shared across different boards/chips/no-std implementations. At this stage, the interface for GPIO pins, SPI, I2C, watchdogs, and timers are reasonably complete, enabling chip crates like atsamd to provide implementations, and other crates to implement drivers for a remote chip (and have it just work, regardless of the chip in question).
  • For example, there is SDCard support by wiring the SPI trait, which then get consumed by the embedded-sdmmc crate to implement filesystem access.
  • Graphics are awesome – embedded_graphics crate, coupled through traits with drivers for the specific display (ie: ili9341-rs)

See more on GitHub here.

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Tell Trump’s Patent Office Director: Don’t Make Permanent Rule Changes Now

In the final days of the administration, Andre Iancu, President Trump’s Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is trying to push through permanent rule changes that would destroy the post-grant review system. Iancu is going all out to weaken “inter partes review” proceedings (or IPRs), which are the most effective mechanisms we have for getting the Patent Office to cancel patents it never should have granted in the first place. If these rules are adopted, the weakened IPR system will become a bonanza for patent trolls—and stay that way into the next administration. 

We spoke out earlier this year about how the Patent Office was undermining the IPR process through bogus rules the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB) pushed through last year. Now, the Director is seeking to make these rules even more powerful and permanent. Now, we need EFF supporters to help us stop these dangerous changes. 

Take Action

Defend Strong Patent Reviews

Trump’s Patent Office Director, Andre Iancu, has instituted new policies that enable more patent abuse and help patent trolls. In 2018, Iancu claimed that small businesses and individuals who spoke out against patent trolls were spreading “scary monster stories.” 

At EFF, we hear regularly from small businesses and individuals who are fighting off extortionate patent demands. We know their stories are all too real.  

Now, Iancu is proposing rule changes that will sabotage the system that lets the Patent Office cancel bad patents. Congress created the IPR system in 2011, as part of the America Invents Act. It allows members of the public to go to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and present evidence that a patent is invalid. 

In the past several years, IPR has become the most important way to get the Patent Office to correct its mistakes. That’s crucial because more than 300,000 patents are granted each year, especially in the fields of software and technology; yet more than half of patents that go trial turn out to be invalid. The rate is even higher in IPR cases that go to a final decision: more than 60% of the time, PTAB judges find that all the patent’s claims are invalid. 

The IPR process is faster and cheaper than fighting patents in a federal district court, which can cost millions of dollars and take years. That’s why EFF was able to use the IPR process to knock out the “podcasting patent,” whose owner falsely claimed to have invented the basic idea of  podcasting—and then moved aggressively to force podcast creators to pay licensing fees. 

If Iancu can push through this package of new rules, the PTAB will throw out many IPR petitions before judges even look at the challenger’s evidence. 

First, the PTAB will be able to deny an IPR challenge anytime there’s a related court case against the challenger. This change alone could tear apart the IPR system, because it will let patent owners game the system. Patent trolls will be able to game trial schedules and then use them to get an IPR denied.   

Second, the PTAB won’t consider more than one petition per patent—even if the petitioners are different with rare exceptions. The PTAB is supposed to consider any petition that satisfies the statute’s criteria. If the new rules pass, a patent that survives one IPR may never have to face another—even if the second IPR is based on new and stronger evidence.

Together with allied organizations, we spoke out against Iancu’s attempt to undermine the IPR process. But he’s pushing ahead anyway. 

We need your help to protect IPRs. Right now, the rules are in a public comment period that continues until November 19th. We need EFF supporters to file a comment opposing the proposed rules. 

The best comments will state in your own words how you’ve been affected by invalid patents, or why you’re upset that the Patent Office is considering unfair rules that are harmful to the economy and innovation.

We’re also including a sample statement that you can cut and paste. If you use the sample, please consider adding some details about your own experience or concerns with poor-quality patents or patent trolls.

Sample Comment:

I oppose the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s proposed regulations changing the nature of PTAB trials., Docket No. PTO-C-2020-0055.

[Write why you care about the public's ability to fight low-quality patents. For example, perhaps you work in technology and bad software patents have affected you, your own small business, or your employment.] 

First, if the regulations are adopted, people and companies won’t be able to challenge patents through the IPR process when they need to.  The PTAB will be able to deny IPRs simply because of the timing of district court cases. This will allow patent holders to game the system and file strategic litigation to avoid IPRs. The PTAB should not give any consideration to the status of court proceedings when deciding whether to initiate an IPR.

Second, the regulations limit the number of petitions that can be filed against the same patent. That makes no sense. There will often be multiple challenge to the same patent, especially if it’s being asserted aggressively. Different challenges raise different evidence and sometimes address different claims. Congress’s intent in the America Invents Act was to reduce the amount of unnecessary patent litigation by allowing the PTAB to weed out invalid patents before a trial takes place.  There should be no arbitrary limits on the number of petitions per patent.

The rights of technology developers and users are no less important than the rights of patent owners. When patents are evaluated in federal court, nearly half of them are found to be invalid. 

Overall, PTAB trials must be fair, affordable, and accessible. When petitions are likely to succeed on the merits, they should be granted. What happens in the courts, or to other petitions, shouldn’t matter.

These proposed regulations will destroy the U.S. system for post-grant patent challenges. Wrongly granted patents are a major burden on the economy and drain on innovation. Every week, they’re used to threaten small businesses with extortionate licensing demands—especially people who make and use technology. To promote innovation, the Patent Office needs to improve the quality of granted patents, and to do that, we need the robust IPR system Congress designed.

This is just a sample; if you want to make changes or write your own comment entirely, that’s great! The most important thing is that you send a comment. It doesn’t need to sound perfect, and you don’t need to be an expert on patents. 

At EFF, we speak up for technology users who are victimized by illegitimate patent threats. Today, we need your help. 

Take Action

Defend Strong Patent Reviews

Our “Take Action” button will link you directly to the government’s public comment form. You can read the details of the government’s proposed rulemaking here on the Federal Register’s website. Note that the comments filed with the government in this matter will become public records. 

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Autonomous Riding Lawnmower Update

Jesse Brockmann is a senior software engineer with over 20 years of experience. Jesse works for a large corporation designing real-time simulation software. He started programming on an Apple IIe at the age of six and has won several AVC events over the years. Jesse is also a SparkFun Ambassador. Make sure you read today's post to find out what he'll be up to next!

This is the third part of a multi-post series. If you would like to start from the beginning click here to see part one, or here to see part two.

So I finally have been making good progress on this project, and I’m ready to show you the finished product. This is what the electronics look like:

Mower Electronics

  1. 40 A circuit breaker that can be manually tripped to remove all power from control electronics
  2. Standard ground Spektrum RC receiver - the antenna is being propped up for better reception (yes, it is a straw)
  3. My standard V0.1 JRover baseboard
  4. Pololu Simple Motor Controller G2 18v15 x 2 - one for the steering motor and one for the linear actuator on the brakes
  5. Switch on the left is for the motor controllers in #4, and the right switch is for control electronics and shifter
  6. Kill Relay - if power is lost to electronics or microcontroller fails this relay will turn off and will kill the motor by grounding out the magneto for the ignition
  7. Custom perfboard with DC motor driver for shift controller, voltage regulator from 12 V to 5 V for use by electronics and RC servo and connections for linear actuator used for shifting

Some parts of the control system were previously discussed in my last Phase One update, and I am happy to say that after fixing some bugs, the system seems to work perfectly. Along the way I did find some fun issues: When switching from run mode to stop mode the throttle would stay in the previous position and not go to idle, and sometimes the brake would not engage. These are the exact type of issues that make it essential to test and try to find all the bugs before the weight of a 400-pound mower is involved. Any change to the code, even minor, should be thoroughly tested in a safe environment before driving the mower - failure is always an option.

After all the systems were tested on the mower without driving it, the time came to finally drive the mower around under remote control! Unfortunately a snag was encountered at this time and I had to wait a month for some gas engine issues to be resolved.

Here you can see the mower in its current configuration.

Mower Servo Config

This shows the servo that controls the throttle of the mower by replacing the throttle linkage. The servo can also be used to shut off the mower by moving the throttle arm all the way to the left, which shorts out the magneto. A heat shield was added to the muffler to prevent radiant heat from damaging the servo. In the future, a guard might be added over the servo to protect it and make it look more OEM.

Mower Throttle

A guard was also added to the linear actuator for the brake. This helps it blend in better and look more professional (oops, I see the red kill wire needs to be tucked into a wire loom).

Mower Shift Actuator

The shift actuator is shown with the mower in second gear. The selectable gears are second, neutral and reverse. Guides were added to help the shifter into the correct gears without jamming. A potentiometer built into the actuator is used for feedback, which allows the controller to know the current extended length. One feature still needs to be added here to allow detection of the actuator stalling. Occasionally the transmission will still get jammed when going into gear, and that could burn out the actuator quickly if not detected. I will do this using a current sensor, as the power used when an actuator stalls is higher than in normal use.

Mower Steering Wheel

A guard was added for the steering to keep the chain clean, and look more professional. Just to the right of the key in this picture is a strip of RGB LEDs used to show the status of the control system and display any errors.

A kill switch with tether was also added to the back of the mower, but I’m sorry to say I don’t have a picture of it.

Now for the big moment in this project: a wrap-up video montage!

This means that Phase One of my autonomous mower project is (almost) done. As I said in the original post for this series, I was going to move on to an autonomous mower once I was done with this. But as with all things, changes can and do happen. Before building an autonomous riding mower, I’ve decided to test my code with an autonomous electric go-kart!

Autonomous Electric Go-Kart

This is a 1800 W 48 V brushless BOMA brand motor mounted, and a #35 chain ran back to the drive sprocket.

#35 Chain Rack

A Torxis servo is being used to drive the front steering. This servo is very large at 5 inches long, weighs 2.2 lbs and is rated at 800 oz-in continuous torque.

I plan to keep working on the go-kart project until the weather makes me stop. I would like to have it running via remote control before winter hits, but I’m not sure I will make it. I’m going to use a VESC to drive the motor, and a 12 s 20 Ah Lipo battery to power everything. Next step is to mount a box to contain the batteries on the go-kart and then start working on the wiring to run via remote control. For this I don’t even need a micro controller - the steering servo and VESC can both work with normal RC pwm signals. Stay tuned, I will blog more about this in the future.

As if that project was not ambitious enough, I have another actual autonomous mower project I’m going to work on now as well. This is aimed at mowing yards, where the riding mower project is for larger spaces. For this I’m going to convert a push mower into an autonomous mower. I’ve decided to convert an electric mower so I don’t have to worry about gasoline; it can run whenever and charge on its own. Here you can see my preliminary work on this.

Converting an Electric Mower

The front wheels were replaced with omni-wheels so they rotate easily.

Mower Motor Replacement

I replaced the back wheels with two DC gear motors for differential steering.

Updating the Mower Wiring

The existing wiring was removed, and the battery compartment was opened up for easier access. Look at all that space! There was a 3-pound sand bag in the front so the mower didn’t tip backward.

My next steps are to figure out the power system and get the rear wheels made or purchased, then work on the rest of the electronics required to make it remote control. Autonomous conversion will happen after testing with just RC control.

Stay tuned to how these and other projects evolve. Thanks again for following along in my adventures!

As a thank you for reading this far, I would like to let you know I have a special promo code you can use to get 10% off any SparkFun Original products. Just use ORIGINALRED2020 during checkout. This code is good through the end of 2020, but can only be used once per customer. Thanks for reading - I hope I can start attending STEM shows next year and show off my hard work on these projects and others I have been working on.

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Create and Accelerate

Hello, everyone! It was another busy week for us here - on Monday we announced the new Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer! We have a new video in which Avra goes through the PC's features, so make sure to give that a watch. We're also happy to release a Qwiic 3-Axis Accelerometer Breakout utilizing the new ADXL313. We also have a new version of the Raspberry Pi 4 Hardware Starter Kit that includes an 8GB version of the Pi. We have a ton of other new products as well, including a Serial Telemetry Radio Kit, Capacitive Fingerprint Scanner, and more!

We'd also like to let you know that this week we kicked off a month of sales, starting with unique daily deals every week day from November 2-26. Be sure to check out this blog post for details on our daily deals, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!

Now, let's take a closer look at all of our new products!

Affordable and reliable: two traits that team up well!

SparkFun Triple Axis Digital Accelerometer Breakout - ADXL313 (Qwiic)

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SparkFun Triple Axis Digital Accelerometer Breakout - ADXL313 (Qwiic)

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The SparkFun ADXL313 Breakout is a low power, high resolution (up to 13-bits) 3-axis accelerometer for measurement up to ±4g…


The SparkFun ADXL313 Breakout is a low power, high resolution (up to 13 bits), 3-axis accelerometer for measurement up to ±4 g. This breakout measures the static acceleration of gravity in tilt-sensing applications, as well as dynamic acceleration resulting from motion or shock. Digital output data is formatted as 16-bit two's complement and is accessible through the on-board Qwiic connectors (I2C) or SPI.

Preorder your Raspberry Pi 400 today!

Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit

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Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit

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Everything you will need to get started using the Raspberry Pi 400; power adaptor, wired mouse, micro HDMI to HDMI, guidebook…

Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer (Unit Only)

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Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer (Unit Only)

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The Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete Raspberry Pi 4-based personal computer, integrated into a keyboard.


The Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete Raspberry Pi 4-based personal computer, integrated into a keyboard. By incorporating the board into a keyboard, it removes the need for a case and other accessories normally needed to run a Pi, and creates a cleaner configuration. It's the perfect configuration for a public machine or in an educational setting with the incorporation of a Kensington lock (the locking port used on laptops for security in public spaces).

We also offer a standalone version of the RPi400 in case you are looking for a more affordable option. Both versions are currently available for preorder and we expect to start shipping the Raspberry Pi 400 within the next week or two, so make sure to place your order now to reserve your own!

SparkFun Raspberry Pi 4 Hardware Starter Kit - 8GB

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SparkFun Raspberry Pi 4 Hardware Starter Kit - 8GB

21 available KIT-17380

The 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 Hardware Starter Kit provides a solid set of parts and instruction for working with the RPi4 in a more…


The Raspberry Pi 4 Hardware Starter Kit provides a solid set of parts and instruction for working with the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB in a more hardware-centric manner. While the Raspberry Pi isn't typically considered a go-to for hardware projects, its I/O pins hold a lot of benefits that you can use for a variety of applications. This kit covers the basics, like using LEDs and buttons, while providing a solid set of parts for working with any other hardware I/O and the 40-pin header. In addition, we've included all the parts needed for getting the Raspberry Pi 4 up and running, whether it's on its own or with a monitor (not included).

Serial Telemetry Radio Kit - 915MHz, 500mW

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Serial Telemetry Radio Kit - 915MHz, 500mW

In stock WRL-17255

The 915MHz Serial Telemetry Radio Kit is a lightweight and inexpensive open source radio platform that can allow for ranges o…


The Radio Telemetry Kit for Pixhawk is a small, lightweight and inexpensive open source radio platform that can allow for ranges of better than 300 m out of the box. The radio uses the very popular Si1000 chipset along with the open source SiK firmware. This firmware allows for a simple serial cable replacement to transmit any serial data including telemetry, RTK correction data (RTCM), or simple Serial.print() statements without any configuration required.

Capacitive Fingerprint Scanner - AS-108M

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Capacitive Fingerprint Scanner - AS-108M

In stock SEN-17151

The AS-108M fingerprint sensor module is a combination fingerprint scanner and MCU and provides a UART interface port for eas…


Fingerprint scanners have been easily available at a consumer level for a number of years now, so it is only logical that they would continue to grow and evolve. That's what bring us to this Capacitive Fingerprint Scanner from ADH-Tech. The AS-108M fingerprint sensor module is a combination fingerprint scanner/MCU that provides a UART interface port for easy functionality.

Official Raspberry Pi 4 Case - Black/Gray

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Official Raspberry Pi 4 Case - Black/Gray

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The official case for the Raspberry Pi 4 from Raspberry Pi!


This is the official case for the Raspberry Pi 4. This case ships as two parts made of ABS plastic with access to all USB, HDMI, audio/video, USB and Ethernet ports. In addition, a slot on the bottom gives access to the MicroSD card. The top and bottom parts are press fit, and it comes in two-tone black and gray.

Teensy Stackable Header Kit (Extended)

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Teensy Stackable Header Kit (Extended)

In stock PRT-17152

These headers are made to work with the Teensy 4.1, Teensy 3.6, and Teensy 3.5 development boards.


These extended headers are made to work with the Teensy 4.1, 3.6 and 3.5 development boards. Each set of headers allows for your Teensy to be easily incorporated into a breadboard circuit or attached to a shield on top of the board. This kit includes three headers (two 24-pin and one 5-pin), enough to connect your chosen Teensy in any configuration you need!

That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

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App note: Voltage vs. output speed vs. torque on DC motors

App note from Precision Microdrives about DC motor capabilities and their uses. Link here

Why Change Torque?
The most obvious benefit of varying the torque is to maintain a constant speed when the motor’s load varies, keeping in mind the interdependent nature of speed, torque, and voltage.

Although this example may be outdated, audio cassettes are a great way of explaining how some applications need to vary the torque to match a changing load. As the cassette plays and the audio tape moves from one spindle to the other, the driving motor will experience a change in load. However, the playback must remain at a constant speed throughout – otherwise the audio pitch would be affected.

Why Change Speed?
The ability to vary motor speed whilst maintaining a steady torque is essential to many applications for a variety of reasons.

An example of an application that requires a variable speed and steady torque is an audio CD player as it is commonly observed that the CD will rotate faster at certain points than others. This is because the information is stored in spiralled circular tracks on the disk and the length/circumference of the track is directly proportional to the amount of information stored on them. This means that the speed must be decreased as the laser is reading from the outermost tracks because there is more information per revolution. Inversely, the speed is increased as the laser reads from the innermost tracks as the spiral circumferences are smaller and therefore contain less information per revolution.

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