Electronic do-it-yourselfers are no strangers to kooky gadgets – if they aren’t checking them out online, they’re building one for themselves. However, 2015 has still seen a fantastic array of products hit our digital shelves, so we thought we’d write about a few of our favourites.
Adafruit Pocket Galaxy
Adafruit continues to lead the way when it comes to the thoroughly cool. Case in point, their Pocket Galaxy. What does it do? Allows you to carry a black hole around in your pocket. Sort of. Using a 3D printed infinity mirror with a LiPoly battery and charger, this hypnotic new product creates an intriguing image that is reminiscent of what it might be like to stare into the depths of a (rather colourful) black hole.
6DOF Robotic Arm
Is there anything cooler than robotics? One of the latest gadgets from DFRobot, this fantastic robotic arm boasts fast, accurate, and repeatable moments, featuring base rotation, wrist motion, shoulder motion, elbow motion, a functional gripper, and optional wrist rotation. It really doesn’t get much more awesome than this.
Another fantastic DFRobot product, this fun-to-play kit is perfect for getting kids to learn the basics of electronics without having to feel like they’re learning at all. Each kit contains vibrantly coloured and completely non-toxic lightweight modelling clay to sculpt into different shapes. That might not sound too interesting, but it also comes with high quality colour LEDs and motion sensors, making each sculpture seem to come alive.
Flexible Adafruit DotStar Matrix
The Dotstar Matrix from Adafruit lets you control 256 ultra-bright LEDs using just 2 microcontroller pins. Set each LED independently and you’ll be able to scroll messages or draw images on this bendable and fully flexible sheet. Don’t worry, the product’s thick PCB backing lets you bend the surface without worrying about doing any damage.
DFRobot URM06 - RS485 Ultrasonic
This advanced ultrasonic sensor offers both extreme short range a long range detection, and is provided in a compact, robust PVC housing with a RS485 interface. Working at high output acoustic power, it detects items from 20cm to 1000cm, and can even provide accurate range information with 1cm resolution. With superior sensitivity and accuracy, they’re regularly used in professional mobile robot systems, including Pioneer robots.
2015 has been a fantastic year for electronics, so there’s never been a better time to see what’s on offer.