New Product Post

The New Product Post this week is short and sweet. We take a look at Makeblock’s next gen offering for their aluminum extrusion based construction platform, and then we look at several interesting products that you’ll want to add to your tool set.



Makeblock is back with a new and improved suite of products. After much thought and review, the Makeblock team decided to redesign their products and bring us a more versatile collection of kits and parts. They have four core kits that can accommodate every type of user from the beginner to the serious lab inventor. The starter kit enables you to make a basic two-wheel driverobot platform and each kit builds on more complex features from there. The lab robot kit is a conglomeration of all of the kits plus tons of extension parts, including two stepper motors.



The beauty of these kits is that you’re not tied down to one design. You can construct them into any number of different configurations. If you need to add on, there are several different expansion packs, as listed below. The Short Beam kit is one of my favorites because it allows you to construct more compact projects. While the Motion Robot pack lets you add on wheels and timer belts. Currently the kits and expansion packs only come in blue, but we anticipate more colors to come in the near future.If you already have the previous version of Makeblock products, don’t worry. The new versions are backwards compatible.


We have a new edition to the Grove family, the Grove – Mini Camera. It’s a compact camera module that includes its own integrated image processing. This makes ita perfect complement to the Arduino which is not beefy enough to support high resolution graphics. The camera includes an SD slot for storing the 1280 x 720 JPEG images, and there’s a USB port so you can download your pictures. Here at Seeed we’re incorporating this module into a Google glass-like wearable camera, using Xadow Main Board for the microcontroller. Stay tuned.

The new and improved Ethernet Shield is here, the W5200 Ethernet Shield. This upgrade packs quite a punch. It includes the next gen W5200 Ethernet controller from Wiznet which has double the buffer size and can accommodate up to eight simultaneous TCP/UDP connections. It also has an SD slot which gives you more space to store data. Want to stack on more shields? It’s not a problem with the lower profile minimal RJ45 Ethernet port. This is the way to go if you want to add instant internet connectivity to your project.

Sometimes displays can be costly, but we now offer a refurbished Nokia 5100 LCD Module. It is a low-cost but comparatively good display for a DIY project and accepts standard 3V – 5V power.  It is widely used in the open-source community, so there are a lot of reference documents and tutorials on how to use it. Plus, don’t forget this is a green solution, so it’s a good choice for the environment too.


Until next time, keep on making.


(written by Erin Linke)



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August 2013