Category Archives: Electronics

Maker Faire 2012

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Maker Faire was a great success for its inaugural run here in Calgary.

Thanks to all who could come out and enjoy it!

Faby Martin has done her usual amazing work photographing the event.

Check out her pictures of the 2012 Calgary Mini Maker Faire!

Next year is going to be even bigger so start your projects today!

Special thanks to Don Greer, as well as Gina and Jason Nenniger for all their hard work.  We figure over 120 people took part in our “Learn to Solder” workshop, which was sponsored in part by Make: Magazine.

I’d also like to thank Dave Levesque and his girlfriend for coming by and showing off WCRS to the public.

As a final thank-you, we have to recognize Westjet for their fantastic contribution to the WCRS.  We will announce the winner of the draw shortly, which was made possible from their ‘WestJetters Caring for our Community‘ program.  Thanks to Shannon Hoover and Don Greer for making this happen.

I had a fantastic day and can’t wait for next year’s event!

Google I/O 2011: Cloud Robotics

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This is last years information, but I ran accros a reference, and do not remember seeing anything about it here. 40 minute video. Would be fun to have one of those PR2 robots to play with!

Google I/O 2011: Cloud Robotics

The talk mentioned being able to use ROS with Arduino, so I looking up this information:


Not enough to be able to build a complete bot running ROS on an Arduino, but enough to make it easy to use Arduino as part of a bigger system using ROS. A much more complete implementation will run on Andriod [in Java].

FLORA – Wearable electronic platform from adafruit

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Announced but not shipping yet, Ladyada has designed an Arduino-compatible wearable electronic platform.

Here is the sign-up page, for those that want to know immediately when they are actually in stock.

That sign-up page also has a fair about of information about the capabilities and intended usage.

Installing Arduino on Windows 7

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I have heard several times at the Saturday morning sessions that some people were having trouble getting the Arduino environment installed on Windows 7.  My normal environment is Windows XP, so I have had no experience with setting up on Windows 7.   Recently, I had a chance to do an install on a Netbook running Windows 7 Home edition.  Here are the steps that worked for me.  This was for Arduino version 0023, NOT the latest version.  I do not know if the latest version will be any different.  From conversations with someone else, this could also be different if you are running Windows 7 Professional, or another version.

Download the zip file from [windows version]
Extract the files from the zip file
Rename the [inner] extracted “Arduino” folder to “Arduino 0023”
Move the “Arduino 0023” folder to the “C:\Program Files” folder
Navigate to C:\Program Files\Arduino 0023\
right click on the arduino application file, Send to, Desktop (create shortcut)

The software is all setup now, but still need to get the device drivers installed.

Connect the Arduino board to the computer using a USB cable.
I got a message here saying that the device driver was installing, then that the install had failed.
[click] Start | [right click] Computer | [click] Manage | [click] Device Manager |
my notes are not quite clear at this point.  Find an entry for “FT232R USB UART” by clicking the arrow on the left side of “Other Devices”, or maybe “unspecified”
[right click] “FT232R USB UART” | Update Driver Software
Browse my computer for driver software | Browse | Computer | C:\Program Files\Arduino 0023\drivers; OK
[check] Include subfolders; Next
I got a message that said:
Windows has successfully updated you driver software
USB Serial Converter

This has now installed the driver for ONLY the USB Serial Converter, not the Arduino board yet

In Computer Management; device manager; locate “USB Serial Port” under Other Devices
[Right Click] USB Serial Port | Update Driver Software
Browser my computer for driver software | Browse | Computer |
C:\Program Files\Arduino 0023\drivers
[check] Include subfolders; Next
I got a message that said:
Windows has successfully updated your driver software
USB Serial Port (COM3)
Close | Close

And every thing should be ready to go.  Open the Arduino environment.  Under Tools | Board | click the entry for the Ardunio board that you are using.  Under Tools | Serial Port | pick the com port shown in the install message above.  Under File | Examples | Basics | pick the blink program.  Click Upload.  Should successfully compile and upload.

If you [later] connect a different Arduino board, you could get an automatic message about successful software install, and another port number.  Once the drivers were installed above, I had no more issues with Arduino on Windows 7.