Last night at the weekly Tokyo Hackerspace meeting we were introduced to one of the latest exciting projects in development at FREAKLABS, an Arduino based wireless controller that looks really cool We already have several applications for it in mind as soon as it hits the market.
One of the benefits of being active in a local Hackerspace is getting to hang out with a lot of creative, energetic, knowledgable people that tend to be very open and approachable. That's very true at Tokyo Hackerspace. You never know what new and exciting project is going to suddenly pop up at one of the meetings.
For example, at the weekly meeting last night, Chris, who also goes by the handle of "Akiba", just happened to mention that he's put together a new wireless Arduino board and is thinking about offering it for sale on his FreakLabs open source wireless website. When he pulled his new project out of his backpack we were very pleasantly surprised, to the point that we will probably buy several of them as soon as they are available.
The base board includes a full Arduino implementation coupled with wireless capability. Like all of the FreakLabs products, the execution is extremely professional and could be use for commercial products in addition to research, prototyping, and hobby projects.
But Chris didn't stop there. He designed in a lot of expandability, including some neat packaging. We're joking about the "foot option", but Chris could probably add it if you're seriously interested. In line with the local culture, the meeting and lecture rooms at our hackerspace have a 'no shoes' policy.
The board was designed so that you can stack additional layers, including prototype circuits, with one additional layer fitting nicely into the case, or two additional layers with a deeper case cover. The case includes a battery compartment with an external snap out cover so that the batteries can be swapped without having to open the main case.
The case Chris selected also comes with option rubber bumper covers that are available in several different colors. As a result, you can hack together Arduino based projects with wireless connectivity, add your own circuits and interfaces, and end up with a completed device that looks like it came off the shelf at Fry's or Best Buy.
We have several projects in mind. High on our list is using it as a robot controller. Second is to use it with our Pocket WiFi device as a mobile communication hub for our recumbent trike. It could log data like our position, speed, and other information. We also want to rig it with a webcam mounted on our recumbent to take time lapse photos documenting our treks and automatically uploading them to Flickr.
Check the FreakLabs website for more details, price, and availability. You'll find a host of other open source wireless products that Chris has designed. He also does custom product development for several well-known companies, so give him a ping if you have any special wireless requirements.