As you may know, one of the ways I keep myself out of trouble (except with my wife, of course) is to always have a bunch of hobby projects on the go. A few years ago I started playing with Arduino microcontroller development boards. The great thing about these little scamps is that there are so many add-on boards (which they call “shields”) available, like motor control boards, real-time clocks, and so forth.
There are also lots of cool things you can control with these devices, like tri-color NeoPixel LED rings and strips from the folks at Adafruit and the MSGEQ7 audio-spectrum analyzer chip from the guys and gals at SparkFun.
These little beauties — and others like them — have provided the foundation for a bunch of projects, like my Infinity Mirror , my Imamorata Prognostication Engine , my BADASS Display , and my Vetinari Clock (see my blog So Many Projects; So Little Time to learn more about these little scamps).
As you will know if you've played with the Arduino yourself, you often end up with a stack of boards mounted on top of each other. In the case of my Vetinari Clock , for example, I have an Arduino Mega at the bottom of my stack. On top of this, we have a large prototyping board containing the circuits used to drive my antique analog meters. Next, we find a smaller prototyping board carrying a real-time clock (RTC) and a temperature sensor. And, in the fullness of time, I'm going to add a sound effects card.
Now, one tiny fly in the soup, as it were, is the fact that — when you have a board stack like this — it can be a pain to locate, isolate, and debug any problems. So you can only imagine my surprise and delight when I came into contact with Guido Bonelli.
Guido, who is an Independent Consultant, has created a capriciously cunning device called a Dr. Duino, which he describes as “A shield for your shields!” The image below shows a Dr. Duino (the green board) sitting on top of an Arduino Uno (the blue board). In addition to providing a bunch of switches, LEDs, potentiometers, and suchlike, the Dr. Duino also allows you to monitor signals going up and down through the header terminals forming the stack. Furthermore, by means of jumpers, it allows you to break the vertical connections and inject your own signals into the mix.
If you have a stack of shields mounted on top of an Arduino Uno, for example, you can insert the Dr. Duino between the Arduino and the first shield, or between the first and second shields, or between the second and third… or you can have it sitting on the top of the stack.
As an aside, I typically use the larger Arduino Mega for my projects, so I live in hopes that Guido will develop a Dr. Duino Mega. If he decides to do so, he says that I can have some input into its design. Guido may live to regret this, because I have ideas rocketing around my head like fireworks, but we digress…
The reason I'm waffling on about this here is that Guido will be giving a presentation on the way in which he designed and implemented the Dr. Duino at the forthcoming ESC Boston, which will take place May 6-7, 2015.
But don’t just take my word for this; take a peek at this video and hear what the man himself has to say:
For your delectation and delight, I asked Guido to pen a few words describing his presentation, and he kindly responded as follows:
Please join me, Guido Bonelli, for an exciting dive into the world of “Making” using Arduino at this year’s ESC Boston 2015. There will be giveaways, so don’t miss out!
Learning and debugging your Arduino project will never be the same again after you sit in on this session! So come learn how to effortlessly get started with Arduino and debug like a pro.
In this session, we will delve into the blissful highs of building stackable hardware, coupled with the lowest of lows when trying to debug our megalithic towers of Arduino awesomeness.
New to Arduino and don’t know where to start? Well this session is for you too! During this presentation, you will learn how to use a new type of shield called a Dr. Duino to kick-start your entry into Arduino development.
We will start off with an introduction into the Arduino landscape, followed by a brief discussion of a personal project called Orbis — The Amazing Kinetic Sculpture. In fact, it was the problems I encountered while building Orbis that spurred the development of the Dr. Duino Arduino shield.
In addition to a teardown of Orbis’s hardware, we will discuss how 3D printing, Arduino shields, and laser-cut wood were used to realize Orbis.
Next, we will review all of the pain-points associated with building a multi-shield Arduino stack and the difficulties that can arise with this method.
Finally, we will take a more in-depth look at the Dr.Duino shield, which is like a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to debugging one's Arduino-based projects.
I am very excited to be presenting at this year’s ESC and look forward to changing the way you Arduino!
Well, this is certainly one of the talks I'm planning on attending, not the least that I can corner Guido and hound him with regard to the Dr. Duino Mega I so badly desire him to create in order to make my life easier; after all, isn’t that what it's all about (LOL)?
Join over 2,000 technical professionals and embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware developers at ESC Boston May 6-7, 2015, and learn about the latest techniques and tips for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the development process.
Passes for the ESC Boston 2015 Technical Conference are available at the conference's official site, with discounted advance pricing until May 1, 2015. Make sure to follow updates about ESC Boston's talks, programs, and announcements via the Destination ESC blog on Embedded.com and social media accounts Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
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