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dcuartielles – January 24th, 2008
Libelium, open software/hardware company and Arduino distributor located in Zaragoza, Spain, launches a hacking contest. You could win a limited-editionGPRS/GPS module for Arduino if one of your documentation videos gets selected.
As seen on their website:
It is a contest for everyone who believes in Open Hardware and enjoys hacking with Arduino. It is the time to show what you have done and share it with the Community!
poster for the competition


tigoe – December 27th, 2007
Brian Jepson posted some useful instructions on how to run Arduino on the XO laptop recently. He and Gian Vilamil have both commented on the XO as the ideal Arduino development platform due to its cost and relative simplicity.


mellis – October 22nd, 2007
The reference designs (Eagle files) for the Arduino Diecimila and Arduino BT are now available under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. This is effectively the “source-code” for the boards: both the schematics and PCB layouts in fully editable format. Together with the Eagle Layout Editor (available in a freeware version), it’s all you need to get started making your own custom Arduino hardware.
We’ve also posted a document called So you want to make an Arduino? – a guide / policy for making your own hardware. While we hope to see many people creating their own versions of Arduino (and many already are), we’ve tried to set down a few guidelines to help ensure the success of these efforts and the continued growth of the project as whole. Please take a look. We don’t claim, however, to have figured this all out, so consider this policy as a first draft, and post your suggestions and criticisms in the comments.
We hope you have fun with the reference design and we’re looking forward seeing what you all come up with!


mellis – October 17th, 2007
LilyPad Arduino
We’re very happy to welcome the newest member of the Arduino platform: theLilyPad Arduino. The board was lovingly crafted by Leah Buechley and SparkFun electronics for use in wearable / e-textile projects. There’s also a whole range of accessories: power supply, sensors, LED and sound output, etc. It’s all available from the LilyPad section of SparkFun.
The boards can be sewn together with conductive thread or attached to conductive fabrics to create light-weight and flexible electronics clothing or other textiles – and all in a beautiful purple. The guide to the LilyPad has instructions for getting started with the board and Leah has some directions for using it in a project.
The LilyPad has actually been out for a couple of weeks, but today we released version 0010 of the Arduino software, which properly supports the board.
Windows: arduino-0010-win.zip 
Mac OS X: arduino-0010-mac.zip
Linux version coming soon.
The most significant improvements (besides LilyPad support) are the stability and clean-up changes:
  • Universal distribution for Mac OS X
  • Support for Windows Vista
  • Improved error messages
  • Better auto-format
  • Support for ports COM10 and higher on Windows
  • Fixed automatic refresh of the Serial Port menu under Windows
  • New and improved keyboard shortcuts
Other new features include:
  • Printing
  • Support for more programmers (USBtinyISP, AVR ISP, AVRISP mkII, parallel programmers) for use in bootloader burning.
  • “Copy for Discourse” menu item that copies a sketch formatted for posting on the Arduino forums
As with the Arduino XBee Shield, we’re very pleased to be working with others to expand the available range of Arduino hardware. We’re thrilled at the results so far, and hope to continue these collaborations in the future. If you have any ideas, please email us – we’d love to work with you.
So be sure to check out the LilyPad and Arduino 0010 and congratulations to Leah and SparkFun for their wonderful work.
Update: Arduino 0010 for Linux is now available: arduino-0010-linux.tgz


mellis – September 7th, 2007
Arduino NG Auto-Reset Modification
One of the new features we added in the Arduino Diecimila is the ability to upload sketches to your board without having to physically press the reset button. The Arduino software automatically resets the board before starting the upload. If you’ve got an Arduino NG or serial board, you can give it this same ability with a little bit of soldering. Tom’s written up the instructions for the NG, and nkcelectronics posted instructions for serial boards.
One cautionary note: because the automatic reset works by using the serial DTR hardware control line, boards will auto-reset whenever you open a serial connection (i.e. via the USB cable) to them. This should be fine in most cases, but you might want a second or two delay before sending data to the board.


mellis – September 1st, 2007
Finding the right parts can be a pain, especially when you’re new to electronics (as many Arduino users are). That’s why Octopart is so great: it allows you to search for parts across multiple distributors, telling you the price and quantity available from each one. For example, you can use it to find a replacementATmega168 for your Arduino board, or a L293D to put in your motor controller shield. You can even find Arduino boards on Octopart, since they indexSparkfun. If you’re not sure what the number is for a part, but you know what it needs to do, you can narrow your search in the parts categories (kind of like how the Yahoo! homepage looked back in the old days, but just for electronic parts).
We’re especially fond of Octopart because it was started by a couple of guys who dropped out of grad school to do it. Plus, their third employee is a friend of mine from high school (don’t worry, though, I’d recommend them anyway). The guys are working like mad to improve the site and add features, so I’m sure they’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions (contact@octopart.com).
In conclusion, if you’re in need of any electronic parts, try Octopart.


mellis – August 28th, 2007
Check out Fritzing: an “open-source initiative to support designers and artists to take the step from physical prototyping to actual product”. Started by Prof. Reto Wettach and André Knörig at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and funded by MWFK Brandenburg, the project aims to create software that makes it easier to document Arduino-based prototypes and design PCBs for manufacturing. Of course, there’s already a lot of software for this out there (both open-source and proprietary); the Fritzing site contains an excellentanalysis of the schematic-editing and PCB-layout software currently available. Still, I think there’s a opportunity here to make something that’s well done and easy-to-use and it’s great to see someone taking up the challenge.
The project is holding a kick-off workshop on the 17th and 18th of September that some members of the Arduino team will be attending along with other well-known figures in physical computing. If you’re interested, you can apply bycontacting the Fritzing team. If you have other suggestion or comments, there’s also a general discussion forum for the project.
Finally, we should note that like Arduino, Fritzing takes it name from an old king – in this case Frederick II of Prussia, whom those from Potsdam like to call “Fritz”.


mellis – August 11th, 2007
Arduino Diecimila
We’ve just released a new revision of the Arduino USB board – named “Diecimila” to celebrate the fact that there are now over 10,000 Arduino board in existence. The Arduino Diecimila includes a number of improvements over the previous revision of the USB board, the NG, including:
  • the Diecimila can be automatically reset from software, meaning that you no longer need to physically press the reset button on the board before you upload a sketch,
  • there’s a new low-dropout power regulator, so the board can run with a minimum input voltage of 6V instead of 7V, meaning that you can power it with 4 AA’s (don’t give it more than 12V, though, unless, as Gianluca says, you want to cook eggs on it),
  • we’ve added a couple of pin headers: one providing a regulated 3.3 volts, and the other making the boards reset line available (e.g. to make it easier to add a reset button to a shield),
  • a fuse provides overcurrent protection for your computer’s USB ports (while most computers have built-in protection, this provides an extra layer of safety),
  • the board should start up without problems when powered from an external power supply (the NG required a bit of fiddling to get this working)
To get the automatic reset working, we needed to make a bunch of modifications to the Arduino software. You’ll want to grab Arduino 0009 from the download page. To get started with the Diecimila, see the instructions for your operating system: WindowsMac OS XLinux.
The Diecimila should be available from most Arduino distributors; see the buy page to find the one closest to you.
Update: corrected description of the low-dropout regulator (thanks Limor!).


mellis – August 11th, 2007
We’re very happy to announce that you now have another great option for wireless communication with Arduino boards. The new Arduino Xbee shields (with the Zigbee modules from Maxstream) allow you to form one-to-one or peer-to-peer networks and are a snap to get working. Here are some pictures that Gianluca took of the first shields as they came out of the oven.
Arduino Xbee
Without any configuration, you can use the Xbee as a simple wireless replacement for a USB cable, sending and receiving data with the standard Arduino serial commands. Just slip shields onto two Arduino board and you’ve got a wireless network. Or you can put the Xbee into command mode and group them into networks – for example, to have multiple boards sending sensor data through a central Arduino to the computer. The Xbee module can transmit up to 100 feet indoors or 300 feet outdoors (with an unbroken line-of-sight). Replace it with an Xbee pro for outdoor communication over as much as a mile. All the pins of the Xbee module are broken out to allow use of the advanced features of the board. The complete schematics and design files for the boards are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license from theLibelium Squidbee wiki download page. You can order fully-assembled Xbee shields from from PCB Europe (in Italy) or from Libelium (in Spain). We hope to make them available in other countries soon – if you’re interested, let your local Arduino distributor know.
Probably the most exciting part of the Xbee shield is the story of its creation.Libelium, a spin-off of the University of Zaragoza, wanted to create “motes” for use in wireless sensor networks. They approached us with the idea creating a new Xbee shield for use both in the motes and as an add-on for standard Arduino boards – giving them a foundation for their product and providing our users with an easy method for Zigbee communication. We happily agreed, and so Marcos Yarza from Libelium created a design for the shield, we both invested in the production, and a little while later, the Xbee shields were here. We think this is a great example of how a corporate collaboration can create both a product for a company and an open piece of hardware for the Arduino community. We’d like to do more of it in the future.


mellis – August 10th, 2007
The Arduino blog is a place for thoughts, news, and discussion with the Arduino team. We thought it was important to provide a higher-profile platform for discussion to complement the more practical Arduino forum, the publicly-editable Arduino playground wiki, and the technically-focused developers mailing list. We hope the blog will be a place for more general discussion about the Arduino project, its goals and development. We’d also like to encourage conversation with people who may not be users of Arduino or members of the forum. Plus, we’ve got a lot of exciting announcements coming soon and wanted to make sure they were easy to spot.

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