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During the summer, gardens abound — so many people are keeping an eye out for their sun-ripened, home-grown tomatoes or for that lovely hydrangea that’s just the right shade of blue. But summers are also a very hectic time. So how do you maintain that garden and make sure it receives the care it needs? One of the projects created for the Digilent Design Contest 2015 is a smart irrigation system intended to work with an Android device to see to it your garden gets the moisture it craves.

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Noise exists all around us. But it is usually a too low a volume for us to appreciate with the human ear. What if there was a way to capture and display it in a way that was both acoustically pleasing and visually appeasing? Thanks to MirceaDabacan, there is.

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We’ve been doing a lot with 3D printing around the office lately. Kaitlyn has been using Tinkercad primarily for making robot parts for the Digilent MRK and SRK, but she obviously didn’t start with a project on that level. To begin, she decided to make something simpler to get used to Tinkercad’s basic functionality. A cookie cutter seemed like a good place to start, so Turbo (our MakerSpace mascot) lent his likeness to it.

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Happy 4th of July! This is a short post to let you know that the Digilent office will be closed over the next couple of days. The Digilent Blog will be posting once a day. Our offices (and regular blogging schedule) will resume on July 6. In the meantime, have an Instructable or two!

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This Father’s Day, we would like to take a moment to appreciate all of the dads out there who inspire us to do our best. Whether new or experienced, our fathers are there to support us as we learn and grow. So what can we do for them to show our appreciation?

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Do you have our WS2812 LED Strips and are now wondering what kind of high jinks you can get up to with them? Well, you don’t need to wonder any more! We bring you not one, not two, but many projects for you to do with them, gathered together into one collection on Instructables.

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First of all, for all you students out there that have graduated or will graduate this spring, congratulations! Part of the fun of graduation is personalizing your graduation hat, and making sure your family can find you in the crowd.

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As people come back from Maker Faire having seen — and made — some truly amazing things, we’d like to reflect back upon a fun project that one of our interns spent a lot of time on last year, the soda can theremin.

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Happy Star Wars Day! As you contemplate the Force and whether you fall on the light side or dark side, you can multi-task by doing one of these fun projects.

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This time of year, it’s easy to slip into a funk of finals and stress-inducing studying. But how to snap out of this haze? With some fun LEDs, of course. Will’s proximity-sensing LED projects from last year provide a fun, cheerful break from end-of-semester blues.

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Did you ever play the game Battleship as a child? I remember finding it incredibly fun. This weekend, I found a new take on it! The version on Instructables uses a breadboard, wires, and other electrical components. It’s designed to teach children the basics of breadboarding — and to have fun, of course!

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So, who’s excited about ECEDHA? We here at Digilent wanted something big and flashy to amaze everyone, so we put this together. We carry weatherproof strips of the WS2812 addressable LEDs in 1m lengths with 30 LEDs on each strip, so what better way to grab your attention than to build a display with 30 strips!

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An impossible object is a two-dimensional figure that, at first glance, looks like a real 3D object. However, further inspection will lead to the conclusion that the object can’t actually exist in 3D. One famous example of this is the Penrose triangle. The concept was used in M.C. Escher’s famous Waterfall, and you might also recognize it as Digilent’s logo.

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A friend of mine came into town for Christmas and I wanted to do some sort of photography project with him. A few months ago, there were some pictures floating around the internet from Stephen Orlando, who took LEDs and attached them to a kayak paddle and kayaked around a lake, and through rapids. I wanted to do something similar. The first night wasn’t very organized. We went into the woods with just the LED strip, the chipKIT board (the uC32), and a battery.

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Last June, one of our interns wrote about a project he did making his own metronome. Using the chipKIT Basic I/O Shield with a servo motor and a speaker buzzer, you can make something fantastic! James used parts from the chipKIT Starter Kit.

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For our holiday ugly sweater party, our web developer, Sam Logan, added some blinking LEDs to his using a chipKIT microcontroller. His Instructable was featured on the chipKIT blog.

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Without its two chocolate shortbread cookies, an Oreo is just a dollop of icing. A Christmas tree without the tree is just a pile of ornaments and lights, a sandwich without bread is just a salad, and a robot without a chassis is just a tangle of wires and electronics. That’s why my For Cheap Robots series had three tutorials on how to make a cheap chassis for your robot, long before I even touched a soldering iron. But what if the chassis and electronic components were one and the same?

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With Halloween coming up soon, I decided to make a cool Halloween prop using Digilent products. After grabbing a chipKIT uC32, a couple of shift registers, a bunch of LEDs, breadboard jumper wires, and a PmodMAXSONAR, I was able to make a distance detecting Halloween Box Monster.

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At one point or another, we have all played the “Simon Says” game. In this game, one person, Simon (or Susan, Chad, or whoever happens to be the leader), will say “Simon says” and tell all of the other players to do something, such as raise their left hand. The catch in this game is that if the leader tells the other players to do something without saying the words “Simon says” and the other players do it anyway, they’re out. I personally really enjoy playing Simon Says, but I thought it could even be more fun if you could play Simon Says with a bunch of LEDs…

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Coffee is taken very seriously here at Digilent, as it is in most workplaces. Something that used to make me mad was not knowing when my coffee hit that perfect “Goldilocks” temperature zone where it didn’t burn my mouth but was warm enough to fully enjoy. I am currently working on developing a thermocouple Pmod using Analog Devices MAX31855 and thought of a great application project. If I could somehow sense how hot the temperature of the coffee was, I could have a microcontroller tell me when my coffee hit the perfect temperature range!

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I’m very proud to say that my For Cheap Robots project is still going strong! As some of you may recall, at the beginning of last month, I announced the beginning of my For Cheap Robots series here on the Digilent blog. Since then, I’ve added several more tutorials to the list and gotten a huge amount of positive feedback. I want to thank any and all of you who here who follow the Digilent Blog and decided to pop over to Instructables to check it out!

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