A Maker’s Dream: Unboxing the new Arduino Education Starter Kit

Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).

Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit

The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:

  • Arduino Projects Book
  • Arduino UNO Board
  • USB Cable
  • Breadboard
  • Wooden base
  • Jumper Wires
  • Photoresistor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Tilt sensor
  • LCD screen 16×2 characters
  • Lots of LEDs
  • DC Motor
  • Servo Motor
  • Piezo
  • H-bridge motor driver
  • Optocouplers
  • Transistors
  • Capacitors
  • Diodes and resistors
  • Poti
  • Buttons

Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.

Twine: The Internet of Things for your own Use

Twine - eine kleine Box mit Sensoren und WLAN zum Einbinden von beliebigen Dingen ins Internet (Bild: Supermechanical)

Twine, one of the first Kickstarter projects dealing with specific hardware to connect sensors and aktuators with the Internet, is starting to ship the first bundles these days. For around $100 you can buy a Twine box, that is shown above, that offers WLAN and a multitude of different sensors to check the status of your house or any other real world object you can think of. It runs on two batteries that should offer enough energy to keep Twine up for more than two month.

Another interesting feature is the Web interface Twine offers for specifying event condition action rules for reacting on user defined situations, without programming. The Web interface and ECA rules look quite similar to Microsoft’s On{X} Android App, which we discussed some month ago.

How a smartphone’s accelerometer works

In this video by Bill Hammock he explains how the accelerometer in a mobile phone works, and what’s inside such sensors today. He takes a smartphone and his accelerometer apart and explains with the help of simple sketches how the gravity measurement works in detail. Bill also explains the concept underlying the MEMS production (Microelectromechanical systems) of these sensors. This video is based on a chapter from the EngineerGuy team’s latest book Eight Amazing Engineering Stories.

Analyzing and Classifying Personality Traits with Smartphones

Gokul Chittaranjan and his team, including members from Nokia, published an interesting work which introduces the investigation of the relationship between behavioral characteristics derived from rich smartphone data and self-reported personality traits. They used data stems from smartphones of a set of 83 individuals collected over a continuous period of 8 months. The analysis showed that aggregated features obtained from smartphone usage data can be indicators of the Big-Five personality traits. They also developed an automatic method to infer the personality type of a user based on cellphone usage using supervised learning. Surprisingly, their method performs signi cantly above chance and up to 75.9% accuracy.
This seems to be one of the first studies that analysis and classifies the personality characteristics by using smartphone data!

And they won the Pervasive2011 conference best paper award, congratulation guys!