Several new things became available this week that I just had to share.  They touch on a wide variety of interests that range from touch screens to sewing.  You will not be disappointed.

Most touch shields available on the market today use a traditional serial port as their connection mechanism which uses up to 8 digital pins and limits the expansion of a project.  Many people have wondered if there was any way they could reduce the number of pins.  The answer is yes, and it is achieved via the 2.8’’ TFT Touch Shield V2.0 which uses an SPI interface and a professional level screen driver to get the job done.  The number of pins is reduced to 4, and speed is not sacrificed.  In addition, we integrated an SD card function to accommodate the large amount of storage required for the display images.

EL products are great for decoration and lighting effects, plus they have the added benefits of flexibility and low cost. In the past, managing them was tedious, since each of them required an inverter to drive it.  Now, we have EL Shield which can manage up to 4 devices simultaneously or individually.  It supports EL wire, EL tape, EL panel, and various other EL products on the market.  Coupled with our fully vetted Robust EL Inverter, stage shows, holiday decorations, and other large scale projects can now be tackled with ease.

ProtoSnap – LilyPad Development Board V3.0 and ProtoSnap – LilyPad E-sewing Kit are incredible solutions for wearable electronic projects, and they are very popular among female artists.  The development board includes the board and 12 other components which are pre-attached to the board.  Simply design your project, test it, and snap off the components when you go to build it.  The e-sewing kit is very similar, but it also includes five needles, a bobbin, a fabric template and a coin battery.  If you’ve ever considered joining the e-textile world, now’s your chance.

Power Line Communication (PLC) is a technology that allows data transmission over your household power line.  It was abandoned a long time ago when a more effective and safer data transmission medium became available, network cable.  However, now it’s being re-embraced due to the increasing popularity of smart meters and as a solution for cable clutter and the high cost of wireless implementations.  The McLaren – High Speed Power Line Communication Modem and the Spyder – Narrow Band Power Line Communication Modem both provide PLC functionality in the Arduino environment with McLaren supporting up to 5Mbps and Spyder accepting a wider range of voltage.

Dangerous Prototypes has added another great case to their Sick of Beige line, the ATX Breakout Board V1.1 Acrylic Case V1 (DP10080).  This acrylic case provides extra protection for your ATX Breakout Board and looks great.  It’s also simple, cheap, and easy-to-assemble.

Until next time, keep on making.

(Written by Erin Linke)

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