Solarbotics at Calgary Entertainment Expo

April 22, 2014

Posted By Yana

Yes! We are quite busy preparing to the above said Entertainment Expo, that is going to take place on April 24-27 2014. Come by our booth(s), which are # 302 and 402, we are going to have lots of new exciting demos to show off.








A few preview images of our preparation craze are available on our Flickr photostream.

New Product and Day Off

April 17, 2014

Posted By Yana

It’s a short week this week, so new product is coming early. We are closed Friday April 18th, which is hence called Good Friday.

LilyPad Arduino SimpleSnap with LiPoly cell
This is the LilyPad Arduino SimpleSnap Board. It’s controlled by an ATmega328 with the Arduino bootloader. It has fewer pins than the LilyPad Arduino Main Board, a built in battery, and button snap connectors!
3mm Red LED with internal resistor – 5V
A red 5 volt LED where the resistor is built right into the plastic. No more messy current limiting resistors!
5V RGB Addressable LED strip, 1M (144 per meter)
With 144 pixels per strip, this is easily the king stripxel of the techno-color jungle.


Wednesday Links: Helical Springs, Electro-Kistka and Some Astronomy

April 16, 2014

Posted By Yana

Did you see the lunar eclipse on Monday night? I wish they had it rescheduled for Sunday afternoon, so all of us night-owls-who-have-to-get-up-early could watch that. But noooOOoOO. But at least the internet will save us. At least from information deficit.

Laser Cut Helical Springs
I wonder if zigzag helical springs can still travel down the stairs… Or they use the elevator?
Egg-Bot Wax Painting Upgrade
..called Electro-Kistka, where Kistka means brush. The device looks nothing like a brush, but produces wicked egg resist drawings nevertheless. (Via Hackaday)
Self-Stacking Building Blocks
These are awesome and need some sound proofing. But I guess this is not a concern… (Via Gizmodo)
Tattoo Machine Out of 3D Printer
This looks much better than the same done with a laser engraver! Less painful at least… (Via Dangerous Prototypes, video 1 and 2)
New Saturn Moon
Continuing with a lunar subject matter, this might be one of the last Saturn’s newborn moons.(Via LiveScience)

It will not save from raptors, amnesia, junk mail and cat fur though.

Friday New Product: LilyTwinkle, Teensy and Trinkets

April 11, 2014

Posted By Yana

It’s Friday again, and it’s been a busy (two) weeks since there was a new product. Wait no more, here it is.

4-Conductor LED Strip Clamp
Reduce the crazy soldering mess with these super useful RGB LED strip clamps!
LilyTwinkle ATtiny85
A preprogrammed controller board that can make your wearable project sparkle and shine. You can control up to 4 LED’s with ease!
Adafruit Trinket – Mini Microcontroller – 3.3V Logic
Need an Arduino compatible board that’s smaller than small? Look no further because the Trinket has got you covered.
Adafruit Trinket – Mini Microcontroller – 5V Logic
Need an Arduino compatible board that’s smaller than small? Look no further because the Trinket has got you covered.
Teensy USB Board, Version 2.0 w/o Header Pins
This platform is like an Arduino but smaller… Oh and with almost twice the amount of digital I/O and more than double the amount of analog inputs. In short this platform is super cool!

We also posted some (relatively) new laser videos (one and two), in case you have some lasers to play with.

Heartbleed & Solarbotics

April 10, 2014

Posted By Chris G

As I imagine most of you out there have heard by now, there’s a pretty serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL that was announced on April 7th called CVE-2014-0160, better known as Heartbleed. For those of you wondering what the heck this “Heartbleed” thing is, awhile back OpenSSL added a “heartbeat” feature which allowed servers and computers with a secure connection to “ping” each other regularly, in order to keep the connection open. The problem comes from a bug in OpenSSL which lets a computer without the secure connection to still ping this way, and that connection could be exploited to include up to 64K chunks from the server’s RAM, which unfortunately can include recently decrypted usernames, passwords, etc.

What Is Solarbotics Doing About it?
We’ve already taken steps to patch this hole on our own servers, and have reissued our EV SSL certificate (if you take a peek at the cert, you’ll notice the validation date has been bumped up to 4/9/2014) which has already been installed. We’ve also cleared all existing sessions on the server as those were at risk as well. The unfortunate side effect of that is that anyone who had been building a cart without logging in will need to do so again.

What Should You Be Doing About it?
You should be giving strong consideration to resetting & updating all your passwords (yes seriously), particularly for the important things in your life like email, banking, facebook/twitter/reddit etc. This vulnerability was announced Monday, and if someone happened to pick up your login credentials before this was patched on one of the sites you visit, the attackers could still have your login credentials. We recommend opting for two-factor verification where ever possible. Of course, not using the same password for everything becomes an important part as well and for those of you worried about keeping track, we’re big fans of Keepass here at Solarbotics.

Wednesday Links: Tetris, Tattoo Music and Seeing Sound

April 9, 2014

Posted By Yana

Wednesday’s here and we are back with the links of death and depression. I mean, sunshine and happiness, of course.

Tetris on the Face of Skyscraper
Now the next step would be to play Tetris using skyscrapers… (via Designboom)
Robotic Instrument Plays Tattoos as Musical Compositions
This is the first time when the musician’s repertoire will be limited by the square footage of their skin surface. (via Designboom, by Dmitry Morozov of ::vtol:)
Seeing Sound
…and other things that are normally invisible. (via Gizmodo)
What Robot Behavior Makes People Feel Uncomfortable?
When they stare straight at us and start quoting Nietzsche backwards while worshiping goddess Kali? No, just starting. Gah, humans are so sensitive… (via IEEE Spectrum)

Please do not confuse the two: Wednesday means rainbows, flowers, chirping birdies and links!

Wednesday Links: MarshmallowMatic, Etch a Sketch and Bionic Kangaroo

April 2, 2014

Posted By Yana

So there’s one link today that makes my artistic soul happy – it is the laser-controlled Etch A Sketch. Although I never owned an Etch A Sketch (some smarty pants might say right here that in Russia we used rusty nails to draw on cardboard instead), but the idea to draw with a laser beam seems extremely attractive.

Smiley Face Screws by Yuma Kano
This needs to be a standard, eventually expanding the range of screws to :< (sad)ಠ_ಠ (sad in Kannada) and ~(_8^(I) (Homer Simpson). (Via Colossal)
Smiley faces toasted on marshmallows – there’s potential , except for I don’t know exactly how much toasting is involved in this one… (By Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, via Gizmodo)
An Etch A Sketch Laser Cutter Makes Your Crappy Drawings Permanent
Folks at Just Add Sharks hacked Etch a Sketch to control a laser. (Via Gizmodo)
Japan gets serious about 3D printing using titanium
Would be nice to see 3D printers work period, and then work using titanium. Maybe Japan will make it happen… (Via
Bionic Kangaroo
Compared to the kangaroo produced by nature this little fella looks a bit wobbly, but still pretty impressive. (By Festo, via IEEE Spectrum)

So does the marshmallowBot: devouring your artwork and getting it destroyed with stomach acid – you cant get more conceptual than that!

Wednesday Links: Lasercut Robot, Animation and Thinking Cap

March 26, 2014

Posted By Yana

Now we definitely need these. Spring had died somewhere along the way up north, so sunlight in pills would be awesome.

Awesome Tiny Lasercut Robots
…made out of bamboo and fluorescent acrylic (By Junichi Tsuneoka of CHIBIPOCKET, via Ponoko).
3D Printed Candles
A likeness of oneself in a shape of a candle – who wouldn’t want to see that burn down on a birthday cake? (By [Christian Lölkes], via Hackaday)
Thinking (Brilliantly or Poorly) Cap
While it looks more like a achy tooth bandage, scientists at Vanderbilt proven that it does affect learning speed. (Via Gizmodo)
Animated Laser-Engraved Wood
It is getting progressively harder to find what hasn’t been made with laser cutters. Animation seems to be one of those things. (By Nando Costa, via Ponoko)

I wish there was also other pills, like food pills (to not waste time on eating), moose pills (just because) and glow in the dark pills. Oh wait, these already exist…

Motors Are Back!

March 24, 2014

Posted By Yana

Just a quick note to announce that we have GM3 and GM9 motors back in stock, which means that Yellow Drum Machine Bundle and Let’s Make Robots Start Here Kit are both available again.

Friday New Product: MaKey Deluxe, Tiny LED, PIR Sensor

March 21, 2014

Posted By Yana

New stuff! See? Here it is, in the neat little boxes below:

MaKey MaKey – Deluxe Kit
You may be the greatest living banana-pianist, but how will you ever know if you don’t make yourself a banana piano? Good news, that project and countless others are easier than you think they are with MaKey MaKey.
Pololu Pushbutton Power Switch LV
The Pololu Pushbutton Power Switch is an alternative to bulky mechanical switches. Small switch with big current ability!
Tiny LED – Clear Blue
These amazing little LEDs glow brilliantly on 10mA, and are still visible on only 3mA current!
Parallax Wide Angle PIR Sensor
Check out this awesome PIR Motion Sensor, complete with infrared goodness!

PS. We are great at stating the obvious.





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