Brixo refers to their blocks as “Legos on steroids” and at first glance, it may not register why they would think that. They look like Legos and are even compatible with Legos, but many of them are chrome plated. That special chrome plating safely conducts electricity to power three unique “connector” blocks that are designed to perform certain functions.
The chrome blocks are the Connector Blocks, and they're responsible for transmitting power to the others. Then there are the Trigger Blocks that are comprised Bluetooth controllers and various sensors like sound, light, and proximity. Last, are the Action Blocks which are made up of motors and lights. The idea behind Brixo blocks is that you can create simple electronic circuits that are safe for all ages to build. The only limit is your imagination. For $29 you can get in on the action as an early bird which comes with 1x battery case with BLE, 1x motor block, 10 2x1 blocks, 2 2x2 blocks, 20 4x1, 1 LED, and 1 light switch. The project has already reached its funding goal, you can view their Kickstarter page here.
Next up is the Toaster dual output USB step-up power supply. Toaster was conceived out of its creator's need to be able to power his 3.3V and 5V digital circuits while simultaneously powering his analog circuits.
Operation couldn’t be any simpler, all you have to do is plug it into a breadboard and power it up with either a USB cable or a wall charger. One rail on your breadboard will have a variable voltage between 3.3-5V. The other power rail will have a variable voltage between 5-16V for greater flexibility. Some other specifications include: an input voltage of 5V, input current of 1A, protection by a 1.1A resettable fuse, and dimensions of 50mm x 25mm. The Toaster can be had for a paltry $12 and more information on this neat little device can be found on their Kickstarter here.
Our last favorite is the Jet Pack Arduino wireless programming and motor shield. The Jet Pack is designed to make Arduino programming and development quick and easy by eliminating the need to physically hook it up to a computer. This little guy will instead feature Bluetooth for wireless programmability and data transfer.
The Jet Pack also has a motor driver that is capable of driving two DC motors or a stepper motor depending on how you plan on using it. The creators are putting extra emphasis into making sure that you know the Jet Pack is especially robotics-friendly by offering a Rover kit. The Rover kit will allow you to blaze off and get started right away by giving you all of the parts needed to build a basic remote control rover. The parts included in this $55 kit include: 4x geared DC motors, acrylic base, wheel and motor positioning stencil, Arduino Uno compatible board, a Jet Pack, mounting screws, and connection wires. For those who already have an idea of what they want to do with their Jet Pack they can pledge $14 for just a single one. Head to their Kickstarter for more info on the Jet Pack and how to pledge.
Be sure to stay tuned for our next installment Crowdfunding Spotlight!