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- Thanks to PStevenson for including us in his YouTube tribute song!
- DigiKey ended up sending me a classical music CD as part of my (jesting) Digi-Wish:
- Dave often has to deal with filling out an export form when ordering from DigiKey or other vendors.
- He’s ordering parts for his new power supply kit, which should be out in a few more weeks.
- Chris thinks future designs won’t need to design in LCDs because they can pipe data to low cost, standardized tablets. Dave disagrees.
- Dave is in the middle of building benches for his new lab/office.
- Dave having issues with a “short circuit” on a single plane of copper, according to ITead Studios(?).
- There is a Mini Maker Faire coming to Melbourne, the first in Australia.
- And if you’re interested in all things Maker related, there is now a dedicated blog on Forbes.com about Makers.
- If you’re into 3D printing, there is a cheap one available as part of a Kickstarter project, the 2nd most funded project ever (thanks to @clothbot for the link).
- The first most funded project to date was the TikTok Watch Band, which Dave used as a model when he designed his next-gen calculator watch.
- Chris met a fellow alumni at a recent event who told him about the often-referenced Booz Allen study about money in R&D. Especially how this data gets misused as a reason/excuse to cut funding when this is a narrow-minded view of the data presented.
- Listener Adam Ward wrote in about a recent Hackaday article that focused on a rip-off product.
- If you’re thinking about moving production to China, keep the air-pollution in mind; it could affect the long term viability of your product.
Adam Ward says
Woohoo, now I’m a nanoAmp shareholder in the AmpHour!
I’ll make my demands at the first board meeting 🙂
I could listen to you guys all day! Keep it coming.
dude wtf are you talking about? EVERY package i ever ordered from the us had a customs declaration on it.
also laugh all you want about dinky marketing ploys, but here you are, internet’s primo electronics podcast talking about their products and saying their brand name at least 6 times.
i’d call that fairly successful.
I disagree with the idea of external displays and things like that.
It seems to me that its inevitable that the streaming option will become a commonplace ADDITION to the internal screen already on the product.
but you need to keep the internal screens for the simple reason of mobility.
if you notice the vast majority of electronic devices is getting smaller and smaller with more and more emphasis on mobility.
so the market seems to be pointed in the opposite direction.
i do however see a future for having both options.
like say a cellphone cannot be without a display, but i do see people in the future streaming the movies and games they downloaded with their phones to their TV’s.
I can see “digital backs” and accessories for smart phones. We already have bluetooth keyboards, why not a DMM?
The important part of the conversation is volume, and market momentum. How do you mass market a DMM? What is a DMM? Only EE’s call them DMMs. Average Joe consumer calls it a voltage or multimeter. If there are enough buyers, Chris wont be making any money on this. Perhaps we will see something from Dave’s “One Hung Low” crowd.
Watch the crap-gadget sites for these kinds of devices being shipped from overseas!
I can see it now “Digital Multimeter iPhone case” only $14.99, shipped! (only 3 and a half digits, you engineering minded folks will need to get working on a kick-starter for that sub-$200 6 and a half digit version)
Then again, it certainly would be convenient to have a slew of wireless voltage/continuity/resistance meters that tie back to one display… Small, dongle like devices that you clip on to various locations on a larger device (car, large machine, robot), then set their options (selector switch on the device?) and view the data from a smartphone with a compatible app?
I need to stop dreaming and get back to work.
Bob Kochis says
Good luck buying your $100 Android tablet. I tried to buy one for laughs and giggles, but “item number 001 is not available.” Sounds like vaporware to me.
Olaf from Bruehl says
as for the question about re-using tablets as an external display for other hardware: I doubt this makes sense. A general user doesn’t want to start a car onboard unit app on his tablet/iPad just to see how fast he’s going in the car. Too much app-starting, cable-plugging, blueetooth-pairing.
It makes sense though to the same displays as used in mass market products like iPad for other devices. -> well-tested devices, low prices, high user acceptance.
Tim Frost says
I thought there must surely be a Sydney in the US. A search on Google Maps revealed a housing development just outside Houston,Texas called Sydney Harbour with a system of little canals to justify the estate agent’s description “waterfront”. Yes, they even spelt “Harbour” correctly. The streets have some familiar names: Circular Quay Lane, Darling Point Court, Double Bay Road, etc.
Google Maps shortened link: http://g.co/maps/danby
Dave Jones says
OMG, that’s hilarious!
Joe Ferner says
Have you ever looked into Amazon S3 (http://aws.amazon.com/s3/) to store your audio files. I know a couple companies doing this for their big files (audio, video, etc).
Chris Gammell says
Dave got burned by a company building a hosting company on top of S3 (or one of the other Amazon cloud services). I think for that reason we won’t be going to them anytime soon, unless it’s directly through Amazon. If you hear of anything by Amazon, let us know.
Dave Jones says
Yes, but the prices are very high for bandwidth.
Very cheap for people who just want to store files, but you pay for bandwidth. We need TB/month, so it adds up very quickly.
I can’t help but think that Chris and Dave are thinking about different things when talking about using tablets.
My impression is that Chris isn’t talking about using a personal tablet such as an iPad as a remote interface for electronic equipment, but rather about integrating cheap OEM devices into equipment to speed and open up development.
I think this is a pretty good idea! A few years ago I worked with some Kyocera photocopiers that had a touch screen interface, which you could write Java or HTML applications for. I set up a simple tech demo for a customer function where you could select the wine you were drinking from the touch screen, and it would print out the corresponding document/fact sheet. I think they were intended for more lofty tasks, such as CRM/SharePoint integration.
The development system was a little convoluted (especially the licensing!) and at least at the time, there was no developer community for such an expensive photocopier. If the manufacturer had been able to just integrate an OEM tablet running Android, they would immediately gain access to the comparatively enormous Android development community and their tools, and perhaps even be able to use the app store model.
The cost saving in using an OEM device over what was essentially an embedded PC running a custom software stack (even though it was probably Linux based) would have been pretty significant.
Consider that you can get a tablet for as little as $50 from BIG W ! Compare this to sourcing your own LCD, writing an operating system/GUI toolkit, etc. For a control panel running a dedicated application (there’s no need to have a Web browser on your bench equipment, so leave it out of the Android build), even a crummy, slow tablet is probably fine if your code is suitably optimised.
Chris Gammell says
Yup, you’re spot on, that’s what I was talking about. While taking the tablet out and being able to move around with it (if it was indeed Bluetooth) would be possible, I would just want the access to the apps in return for not having to worry about the hardware. You put it so much more succinctly than I could during the show.
This is already done in many products by just providing a web interface. All my networking devices – modem, router, wifi access point are configurable via http. So is my printer.
It is cheap to drop in a wifi module (eg http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11047) to provide additional interfaces.
Going off topic slightly, in my ideal world, I’d like my tablet pc (not tablet) to dock next to my monitor, and it would automatically integrate into my pc desktop. I could work on both screens transparently and uproot the tablet at any time to take to a meeting or into the lab, using the handwriting recognition facilities of the tablet to take notes or sketch. I’d return and be able to seamlessly continue on my desktop.
The digital display discussion seemed funny to me; Isn’t Chris supposed to be the analog guy. I only play with electronics as a hobby, but from a computer science point of view, Chris’s idea is absolutely correct. We build frameworks on top of frameworks, stacks on top of stacks. With computers constantly getting faster smaller and cheaper, there’s no reason not to do it this way. And, as Joel and Frank pointed out, Chris’s idea is already a reality. Dave’s only valid point was the batteries, but someday that problem will be solved too — I wish I knew which company was going to solve the battery problem, I’d invest my baby’s college fund and be filthy rich. So, +1 for Chris.
Aaaand, in addition to “With computers constantly getting faster smaller and cheaper, there’s no reason not to do it this way”
They’re also getting unbelievable complicated, so abstracting the display may be the only way to build stuff . . . someday we’ll be able to plug our project into a holographic emitter 🙂
I agree with Chris about the screen topic. While certain products will always want screens designed into the product, I think more and more products will leverage the fact that a majority of people are carrying a high quality screen in their pockets. Getting a high quality 800×480 or higher resolution screen is a large expense. Then there is the great UI software that Android, iphone, and others make which makes developing nice looking applications many times faster.
As one example I current run the open source Camera Axe photography trigger. Currently my most expensive component by far is a 128×64 monochrome screen. I’m sure many people would love to use the higher quality screen on their phone and save the expense of the current screen. Android has APIs that makes interfacing with external devices easy today, but others mobile OSes like iphone, RIM, and Bada are more difficult. I’m currently researching methods of interfacing in a more generic ways like wifi (expensive) or audio ports.
Once the technology is there I’m pretty sure a lot more than just a small number of niche devices will use the screens on your phone/tablet. I’m sure I will continue making a version with a screen for awhile, but if I find 70%+ of the people buying Camera Axe kits prefer using external screens I’ll probably drop the screen version.
These are just my options and it’s possible I’m biased since my day job is writing device drivers for a major SOC used in mobile phones/tablets. But I actually think that job just gives me a more informed guess at the future of these markets.