Brixo, Toaster & Jet Pack: Crowdfunded Hardware Designs

New Crowdfunded Hardware Designs

If you possess an inventive streak, there are various places from where you can draw inspiration for your next big idea. Hardware designs on sites such as the Crowd Supply, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter can provide a spark to fire up your imagination and trigger a series of thoughts to lead you to your next discovery. Some inexpensive favorites are given below.

Legos on Steroids – Brixo

Brixo presents blocks similar to and compatible with those made by Lego, and the difference may not be apparent at first glance. A closer look reveals that Brixo has chrome plated many of their blocks. The special chrome plating conducts electricity and there are three unique connector blocks that Brixo has designed especially for performing specific functions. The three special blocks are the Connector, Trigger, and Action blocks. While the Connector blocks transmit power to the others, the Trigger blocks contain Bluetooth controller and other sensors such as sound, light, and proximity. The Action blocks have motors and lights within them.

The Starter kit comprises one battery case with BLE, one motor block, 20 4×1 blocks, two 2×2 blocks, 10 2×1 blocks, one light switch, and one LED. They offer other kits of increasing numbers of blocks – Standard kit, Makers’ kit, Expert kit, and The Mad Scientist kit. Brixo also offers a Classroom kit for 40 students.

The battery block with its 9 V internal battery powers your entire assembly. The built-in Bluetooth controller allows controlling actions with Brixo’s mobile application. Therefore, you can set the Action blocks to light up, spin, move, and take action using your smartphone. Brixo’s kits are great for learning about IoT and IFTTT.

Dual Output with Toaster

While testing electronic projects, there is usually a requirement for different supplies. For instance, digital circuits need 5 or 3.3 VDC, while analog circuits may require anything between 5-16 Volts. It is cumbersome having to plug in and operate several power supply units to get all the voltages necessary – hence the Toaster.

The Toaster is a single 50 x 25 mm board, and you can plug it into your breadboard. It powers up with either a single USB cable or a wall charger with 5 Volts. Once powered up, one rail on the breadboard will have a variable voltage that can be preset to anywhere between 3.3 and 5 Volts. The other rail can be preset to any voltage between 5 and 16 Volts. The input is protected with a 1.1 A resettable fuse.

Drive Motors with the Jet Pack

The Jet Pack is a motor shield for Arduino wireless programming. As the name implies, its wireless features eliminate the need to hook up the board physically to a computer for programming. That makes Arduino programming and development much easier and quicker. Bluetooth takes care of the data transfer and wireless programmability.

Depending on how you use it, the Jet Pack allows you to drive one stepper motor or two DC motors simultaneously. The creators of the Jet Pack also offer a Rover kit that makes the Jet Pack more robotics-friendly. With the Rover kit, you get all the parts necessary to build a basic remote controlled rover.