The RoboPony is dead. Long Live the RoboPony! (And other news)

Greetings, everyone!

About a week ago, I ran across a video on YouTube. I’ll just save you all the time of finding it and show it to you:

Now that you’ve seen that, you’ll fully understand my next bit of news: As of about a week ago, the RoboPony project has been cancelled. These wonderful guys are doing it leaps and bounds better than I ever possibly could in almost every way. I find it neat that the project is very similar to what I was doing with the RoboPony, just… better. 3D printing, TFT LCDs for eyes, tons and tons and tons of servos, and most importantly – They have much better programmers than me.

I’ve been in contact with them, and despite them being based in Russia, I’ve offered what I can to the project. I’m not sure what will be going on from here, but I’ll try to remember to keep you guys posted.

In other news! I received an order of prototype boards for the Pendant and Version 2 DigiBadge. I have yet to get the screen working on that digibadge, but I have had a tremendous amount of success with the Pendant. Along with some issues, but first:

That thing’s about the size of a US Quarter, and those LEDs are SUPER bright. And power hogs. Even at the lowest setting, I can’t turn on all the LEDs at the same time – The thing just shuts down and restarts due to voltage drop. I did some research, and found a neat LED that fits all the requirements – It’s an RGB LED, it’s significantly less bright (15 mcd vs 750 for red), and consumes less power (2mA per color instead of 20). As these LEDs are not intended to be super bright, the significantly lowered brightness is just fine because of the incredibly reduced power consumption. I’ve got the board for the new LEDs set out already, and I’ll be ordering them soon (As soon as I finish with the boards for my next paragraph).

I’m also designing two minimal-footprint Arduino-compatible boards. While initially for my own use in testing things without having to use expensive components, these boards consist of only a few components: An ATMega328, A 10k Ohm pull-up resistor for the reset pin, a 0.1uf capacitor for FTDI connectivity, and a battery connector. The “MinDuino,” as I’m calling it, also has a 2x AAA battery pack, and the “CoinDuino” has the same coin-cell battery pack as the Pendant. Both will have all the IO pins broken out, along with a few VCC and Ground pins and the Crystal pins for adding an external timing crystal if it is needed. As with much of everything else, they’ll be as small as I can manage while still being accessible. They’ll also be fairly cheap – I don’t have final prices yet, but they should be somewhere in the range of $5-$7ish. I’ll have more information on them when I’ve done some more work on them and know exactly what’s in store for them.

In slightly different news, Alabaster is giving a presentation on 3D printing, with which I’ll be assisting, on April 11th – I don’t have much information on this at the moment, though, so I’ll keep you informed when I know more. The two of us will then be attending Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo in New York on April 12th. This will be a great way to talk to different manufacturers and 3D printing experts – While the Version 2 is still a ways off as far as being finalized, the size and shape of the Pendant is pretty final, so Alabaster will be able to make a prototype case for the new prototypes, which I should have in time for the Expo.

We’ve got a lot on our plates now, especially with planning for the kickstarter. I also have some further news, but I’m waiting on a few bits of information before posting it. Half-informing you would only lead to questions to which I don’t exactly have the answers for yet.

That’s all for today!

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-Andon