August 16, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sony Goes Arduino [Maker Update #47]

This week on Maker Update, acoustic levitation, an Arduino made by Sony, a new kit by Anouk Wipprecht, self-centering drill bits, and a turning old monitors into a video wall. This week’s Cool Tool is a self-centering drill bit set.

Show Notes

Advanced Project

Acoustic Levitator by Asier Marzo

Project and photo by Asier Marzo.


Sony to Make Arduino IOT board

More Projects

High Tech Edelweiss (LED KIT) With Custom PCB by anoukwipprecht

Cool Tools Minute

Bosch CC2430 Self-Centering Bit Assortment
(using this link supports the show!)

Self-Centering Bit Review on Cool Tools

Photo by Donald Bell.


Video Playback on Freely Arranged Screens

Maker Faires

Izmir Mini Maker Faire
Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire
Chicago Southland Mini Maker Faire


This week on Maker Update, acoustic levitation, an Arduino made by Sony, a new kit by Anouk Wipprecht, self-centering drill bits, and a turning old monitors into a video wall.

It’s Wednesday, August 16th, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. How’s everybody doing? I’m excited to be heading up to the Northwest at the end of this month with my band, stopping in Portland, Seattle, and Bend. But I’d love to see some cool maker stuff while I’m up there, so if you know of any makerspaces, or workshops, or maker businesses I should see, leave a comment for me in this video, ok?

Now, onto the advanced project of the week!

Check out this acoustic levitation device that allows small pebbles or drops of liquid to hover in midair.

The project is by Asier Marzo. It uses an Arduino Nano, a motor driver board, and an array 72 small 42kHz transducers — which are basically tiny, high-frequency speakers.

Asier includes 3D printable files for the structure that all the speakers fit into. Most of this project really comes down to verifying the polarity of each of the 72 transducers and then placing and wiring them into the structure.

But once you have it all wired up and the included code loaded into the Arduino, the effect is like magic. You’re using the air pressure of soundwaves to trap and levitate solid objects. How cool is that?

I’m a sucker for any project that gives you a super power. I also think this would be a slamdunk science fair project. I would worry, though, that the high frequencies could drive your dog crazy.

And now for some news. A few weeks back at Maker Faire Tokyo, it turns out that Sony quietly announced their own Arduino compatible development board. It’s called Spritzer, it’s due out in early 2018 with no pricing yet, and it looks and functions just like an Arduino.

This particular board is tricked out with an ARM Cortex M4 processor and built-in GPS. And because it’s Sony, there’s a deliberate emphasis on audio. It includes a built-in amplifier, 8 channel digital mic input and 4 channel analog mic input.

What does it all mean? Well, Sony’s pitching it as an IoT development platform. Considering how well that worked out for Intel, I wouldn’t make much of this, but I still think it’s interesting when a big company like this jumps into the Maker market.

Time for one more project. This one comes from Maker megastar Anouk Wipprecht. It’s an open source kit for a wearable, dark-detecting blinking LED board. Using a photoresistor, the board detects when it’s in the dark and animates the white LEDs for a sparkling effect.

She calls it a high-tech Edelweiss, which is sort of a fluffy white flower. To get the look and to diffuse the LEDs, she 3D printed a frosted white enclosure for the board.

What’s cool is, if you have access to a 3D printer and a PCB mill, all the files are here to recreate her entire design. But if you don’t, she includes links to quickly order the 3D print from Shapeways, and the board and components from a european prototyping company called Aisler.

The only tricky part to the build is programming the ATTiny microcontroller with the code. To do that, you’ll need to set up an Arduino Uno as an In-System-Programmer or ISP. Anouk includes a link to a separate tutorial on how to do this, and it doesn’t look too tricky, but may be daunting for a real beginner.

For this week’s Cool Tools review we’re going to take a look at this self-centering drill bit set from Bosch. Great for makers and DIY home repairs. I wish I’d bought these years ago. This set cost me around $23, and if you want the same one, clicking the Amazon link in the show notes helps to support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

If you’ve ever tried to attach some pre-drilled piece of hardware to something — a hinge, a latch, a coat hook — you’re probably familiar with the challenge of placing the hardware, marking where the holes need to be, and then carefully drilling. But if your pilot holes are just a little off — even in just one hole, the whole placement of the hardware will shift. It bugs the crap out of me.

A self-centering drill bit makes this process foolproof. The bit has a spring-loaded collar that sits into the hardware you’re attaching and keeps the drill bit dead-center. So long as your hardware doesn’t shift, the holes will be perfectly center.

This set from Bosch comes with three common bit sizes — a #6, #8 and #10. They’re also a quick change design that can just drop into an impact driver, making it easy to drill and screw with the same tool.

I will say that if you’re only using this occasionally, you could spend less and just get the smallest size. That will give you a centered pilot hole that you can expand with any regular drill bit. That said, for bigger projects, having the right size bit keeps you from having to drill the same hole twice.

So that’s the deal with self-centering drill bits. A link to this set from Bosch is in the video description. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at

I have one other tip to share with you this week, but it’s super cool. On the Raspberry Pi blog I found out about this Pi software called Info-Beamer that allows you to play a single video across a mix of screens.

It’s essentially video wall software built specifically for Raspberry Pi. Let’s say you have a bunch of scavenged video monitors of different brands and sizes. You connect each up to a separate Raspberry Pi, each running the Info-Beamer Magic Wall software. Each display’s it’s own unique QR code. You take a picture of the arrangement on your phone and the software optimizes the grouping into one giant screen with video playback over local network.

The only drawback I see is that the screen grouping magic takes advantage of hosted software you have to pay a little to access as you need it. It’s not much, and it’s probably worth every penny if you have a need for it — but it’s not free from what I can tell.

Maker Faires! We have three this weekend, including Izmir Turkey, Grand Rapids Michigan, and Chicago Southland. If you’re near one, go check it out.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, leave me thumbs up or leave me a comment. And leave me some ideas for what Maker stuff to check out while I’m up in the Northwest.

And as usual, links for everything in this show are included in the description here, and with an extended version on, where you can also get on the weekly email list for each show. Alright?

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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