Monthly thread - what's new with you? (September edition)

What have you found, or learnt, or watched, or heard? What are you building or breaking or repairing or investigating?

Let’s hear about your technical adventures, however large or small.

I’ll start with this snakey robot arm, using a 3d-printed “rolling sphere linkage”:

via hackaday

The only technical thing I’ve been up to recently is noodling about programming tiny loops in Basic on my recently-acquired minimal single-board computer - just 5 chips, and only 8 bits. But 32k of RAM!

Bit of an orientation and some photos over here

Spotted on the (newly revamped) Edventure website: Their next startup course challenge is

“… creating a working circular economy project for used tech equipment. Your team will build pathways for people to donate broken/unwanted IT equipment to be restored and distributed to people who need it, thereby reducing waste by diverting products that were heading for landfill and giving those items a new lease of life. To have maximum impact, your team will also be challenged to create a programme to give people the skills to fix, repair and rebuild tech safely and effectively. You will also develop a community around this project through communications, marketing and events. You will be doing this work for two local not-for-profit clients – Donate IT & Tech Lab at Bold & Brave”

Open to young adults 18-35, but I’m sure Edventure would welcome offers to help / mentor if you are interested but not in that demographic. Also note it’s based in Taunton, not Frome.

Edventure - Upcoming courses

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I have made a 6 channel temperature sensor. Using 6 DS18B20 waterproof sensors. Available from Ebay at around £2 each. Initially using ESP32 but I seem to have bricked it - cannot re-program it, but it still is running. So I am back to using an Arduino Nano clone. Using Termite to log the data direct to a CSV file on the laptop. And then into a spreadsheet for graphing.
It saves a set of measurements approx every 15 seconds. Code could do with a slight improvement to make it an exact number of seconds, bot I was busy with other things and this is good enough for now.

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Here is the code, in case anyone would find it useful:

// Temp sensor DS18B20

// GitHub - matmunk/DS18B20: Arduino library for the Maxim Integrated DS18B20 1-Wire temperature sensor.
// GitHub - PaulStoffregen/Time: Time library for Arduino

#include <TimeLib.h>
#include <DS18B20.h>

DS18B20 ds(2);
time_t t = now();;

float timeIncrementSeconds = 15;
long timeIncrementMilliseconds = (long)timeIncrementSeconds * 1000 - 12600;
float timeNow = 0;

float averageTemp[10];
int numAverage = 3;
int na;
int numDevices = 0;
int nd;

void printLeadingZero(int digits)
// Serial.print(“:”);
if (digits < 10)

void setup()
Serial.println(“TEMPERATURE SENSOR DS18B20”);
Serial.print("Devices: ");
numDevices = ds.getNumberOfDevices();

void loop()
t = now();
for(nd=0; nd<numDevices; nd++)
averageTemp[nd] = 0.0;
for(na=0; na<numAverage; na++)
while (ds.selectNext())
averageTemp[nd] += ds.getTempC();
for(nd=0; nd<numDevices; nd++)
averageTemp[nd] /= (float)numAverage;
timeNow += timeIncrementSeconds;

Nice project! Pity about bricking the ESP32 though.

Here’s a self-replicating CNC router:

(I’m sure it doesn’t self-replicate autonomously, only with human assistance.)

Has anyone used a time of flight proximity sensor? Such as this for example: VL6180 - Time-of-Flight proximity sensor - STMicroelectronics
A while ago I tried using proximity sensors based on the magnitude of reflected IR light. But they were quite poor in range resolution. I have tried cheap ultrasonic range finder but their measurements are very noisy. So, still looking for a good device for measuring hand movements.

I haven’t… except for a Bosch laser tape measure thing, which worked well until recently. As expected, it has both a minimum and maximum distance.