A couple of interesting Zigduino projects in academic settings have recently been published. The first is from Frank Zhao, the author of the ZigduinoRadio package. He and his seminar group at the University of Waterloo created ARUCI: Augmented Reality Universal Controller and Identifier.
The second is a paper presented at IMECS 2013 about using Zigduinos andContiki to build loosely coupled wireless sensor networks. They are working with a middleware layer for building sensor networks called LooCI and evaluating how the Zigduino behaves with it.
Along with the New Year comes a new version of the Zigduino! It's based on a number of comments and feature requests we've gotten from users. We've made the Zigduino significantly more useful for many of the applications they're talking to us about. We endeavoured to retain full backward compatibility for most applications. Here's the most significant changes:
- FTDI FT231X USB to serial interface
- D0/D1 connected to UART1; UART0 remains connected to the USB interface
- All extra I/O brought out to a 2mm pitch auxiliary header
- Arduino Uno R3 header pattern
- Added LiPo battery connector
- Added LiPo battery charging circuit
- Added battery monitoring circuit
- The USB interface powered by USB bus; unpowered when USB is not connected
- Arduino Uno R3 board layout
- Reset switch relocated to the side of the board, between the power jack and the power header
- The external antenna replaced with an on-board antenna
- Added a footprint for an MMCX connector, allowing installation of an external antenna for greater range.
- Added footprint for clock crystal & loading capacitors
Taken together, these changes make the Zigduino a more capable platform for remote sensor nodes, remote controls, and similar applications. We look forward to seeing a host of new Zigduino applications that use these new features to their fullest.
All of the boards and connectors are now in hand -- right now, we're working on getting them all packed and programmed so we can offer them for sale by the end of January. In the meantime, we are now out of the r1 version and we do not anticipate making any more. There are still a few with our distributors, including SeeedStudio and Snootlabs.
The Zigduino r2 is now on sale!
We just took delivery on the third production run of Zigduinos, and we're working on flashing and testing them all. This is not only far and away the largest run so far, it is the first run to be assembled in the United States.
This means that all of our assembly is now done in the US. We've found an excellent local assembly house to do our higher volume work, Printed Circuits Assembly Corporation. The quality is great, the prices are good, and the level of service, communication, and professionalism is phenomenal. It was more than worth the cost increment over what OurPCB, our former Chinese assembler, was costing us.
I delivered the parts and PCBs in person in order to speed the process by a day and get a look at PCA's operation. They own a large building in Bellevue, where they've been since 2000. The owner of PCA, Sim Taing, showed me around. I failed to take any pictures, which I regret, but I loved the opportunity to see their operation. The place was a hive of activity, and Mr Taing showed me a variety of boards much more complex than a Zigduino that they were building for other clients. They have more than two dozen large and extremely fast pick and place machines, most of which were in use at the time I was there.
What impressed me the most was Mr. Taing's clear enthusiasm and pride in his business. That gave me a very good feeling about giving them the work. The fact that they delivered excellent work ahead of schedule confirms it. I'll be using them for my future runs.
We have Zigduinos in stock again! We sent a big package of them off to SeeedStudio yesterday, so they should have them in stock again soon as well. We don't have very many, so they'll probably be gone again, quickly. Luckily, we're only about two and a half weeks out from the availability of the third spin of Zigduinos. The third spin of board will be assembled in the US -- faster, more reliable, better quality, and not all that much more expensive.
The story with 16ch driver shields is not as good -- Digikey just informed us that the availability is pushed back to the end of September. This has been the story since the end of July -- no stock, and no prospect of when IRF is going to make some more stock available.
The goal is simple: create the coolest thing you can think of out of discrete logic components, by the 21st of October. They will be judged as follows:
Originality. A smart new design that inspires
Documentation. Schematics, theory, pictures and/or video
(Mis)use of 7400 logic. Show us what 7400 logic was (never) meant to do
Imagination and creativity
I hope to see some truly awesome things come out of this, and I'm also looking forward to seeing what the lucky winners can do with our hardware later.