NYC, New hires, Pick and Place, & MODKIT

NYC: Yup, we’re tired of the drizzly weather here in Western Canada and are packing up and heading East to the land of Cheesecake and subways. We’re registered for the Open Source Hardware Summit and we’re helping out at the Maker Shed at the Maker Faire. That, and we’re going to do some sight-seeing. New York is supposed to be good for that sort of thing. We’ll still have enough crew left here to keep things moving, but until we return (and Jeremy, the new R&D specialist starts work), support issues might be a bit delayed.

New Staff:  Remember our job postings he had earlier in the summer? Jeremy’s the result! Yaaay Jeremy! Another new hire is Jason, who’s taking over IT duties for Eric who’s gone back to University. Watching him wrap his head around all the various tasks we need to get done here has been amusing (keep up the good work, Jason).

In other news, we’re excited about the new upcoming release of the new Arduino. Nothing to report specifically about it yet, but as some of the Arduino team will be at the OSH Summit and MakerFaire next week, I expect to have some new details about it shortly!

Pick and Place: We’ve got a 3rd pick and place machine! Here’s the run-down:

Daddy” is a Multitroniks MPS1030 we got on an excellent deal. Only problem is that this 6-camera, 6-head unit is a bit rare, and we only have a handful of parts feeders. No parts feeders = no parts can be loaded. So it’s stored for the moment. But when we bought it, “For just the price of shipping…” they threw in a “broken-down unit in the corner”. So we took it. That one’s…

“Baby”. A Multitroniks 2000LX. OLD, but with 8 feeders. We unleashed the interns on it, and 2 hours (and a $70 Ebay part later), it’s a functional 1-head, 1-camera unit. Runs DOS software, which is functional but not very pretty. Well, finding more feeders was easy, because we found…

“Mama”, which was a “Broken Multitroniks LVXII with 55 feeders” on auction. Won the auction, and about 20 man-hours later we’ve got it working too! Replace a bad power-supply in the on-board CPU case & fix some comm port issues, and we’re back in business with a 2-head, 2-camera machine. With a bunch of feeders. Now to just learn the software! We’ve even started a Multitroniks Yahoogroups to keep tabs with the few other Multitroniks owners we’ve discovered so far.

Give us another month or two, and you’ll see the first 2 new products designed to be used on these machines. We’re excited about this – it’s using robots to build robot-stuff!

MODKIT: We saw these Arduino MODKITs at the last Maker Faire in California. It’s really neat – program your Arduino with a graphical interface. And these guys ain’t slouches – they’re got some serious talent behind it, but they’re just a startup. We’ve supported several startups via a neat program called “KickStarter”, and MODKIT has a fundraiser going on for another 2 weeks. Kick in a few dollars (or more) and invest in a really cool project that makes the open-source Arduino even more accessible!

Watch the Flickr feed – we’ll be uploading pics from NYC there!