Design of the Week by a-whitehead

Design of the Week by a-whitehead

Check out the totally awesome LaunchPad BoosterPack for Seeed Studio’s Grove designed by Akeem Whitehead.

A few words about the design.

Seeed Studio’s Grove I/O Expansion BoosterPack is designed to enable interfacing between Texas Instruments (TI) LaunchPads and the Grove modular electronics ecosystem. To provide a straightforward means of evaluating single function modules, such as sensors, actuators, and displays, with the embedded intelligence of a microcontroller platform, the Grove BoosterPack will streamline the process for entry level users, students, and hobbyists. Though oriented towards TI’s 40-pin LaunchPad series, the Grove BoosterPack will also perform on TI’s 20-pin LaunchPad series with a limited number of connectors.

The Grove BoosterPack’s full listing of features includes:

  • Selectable module supply voltage of 3.3V or 5V
  • Approximately 100 Grove modules to select from
  • Shrouded, 4-pin buckle connectors to lock-in modules
  • 23 total connectors
    • 13 Digital connectors
    • 7 Analog connectors
    • 3 Specialized connectors (UART, SPI, and I2C)

For more information on TI’s LaunchPads, visit

For more information on Seeed Studio’s Grove, visit

Akeem, who are you?

I am an Applications Engineer at Texas Instruments. I am a new hire to the company, having just recently graduated from Texas A&M University this last May. I have been involved in technical projects ranging from emergency response robotics, medical labor monitors, and spacecraft power management.

I enjoy each step of the product development cycle for every conceptual design I am involved in, which includes the initial brainstorming sessions, the software and hardware solution implementations, and customer interfacing.

Now that I have the time to pursue personal projects outside of work, I strive to become an amateur inventor within the next few months, and share my ideas with others to potentially produce a product I can take to market myself.


The Open Activity Tracker / Fitbit Clone – Part 3

Hi guys,

We are getting closer! The schematic side of the design is done. We added an e-ink display to the device yesterday and hooked up everything. It looks good and we will now focus on the PCB layout in our next live design session!

We opened a new design review so feel free to take a look at the schematic and drop us a few notes in case we missed something! Your feedback from last week has been really helpful, thank you again!

In case you couldn’t attend the live broadcast yesterday night, below is the replay. We had a few rough minutes in the beginning because of our Internet connection but it got better after we restarted the router!


The Design

Design of the Week #4 – Reconfigurable Computer,actionId=


This week we decided to feature the Reconfigurable Computer by shs2017.

Jackson a.k.a shs2017 is a 14 years old ‘self taught programmer and electronic engineer’. He joined Upverter in March. He has been working on the Reconfigurable Computer project lately when he is not at school or playing sports.

“I’m designing it because if you make a computer to reconfigure it’s self in hardware for each individual task it will be exponentially faster especially for mobile tasks. This started of as a learning project and has know become an attempt for an actual product. And any help on this from the community would be appreciated”

he said when we asked him about his current work.

You can check the design and add your comments right here!


The Open Activity Tracker / Fitbit Clone – Part 2

Hi all,

Thank you for all of your precious feedback after last week’s live design! We are broadcasting the next steps of the project tomorrow night – starting @9:30 pm ET. We are happy to announce that Chris Gammell will join us and jump into the design with Steve and Mike. The live stream will be available right here! Stay tuned!

You guys sent us many emails with very interesting pieces of advice this week. For that new live design session we are hoping to interact and gather your thoughts as the project evolves. Feel free to drop us your comments via the Twitter live feed below!


The Sensor Network Project / Fitbit Clone – Part 1

Hi all,

Even though we spend a lot of time making Upverter better every day – thank you again for all that precious feedback and bits of love you send us – we have decided to jump into a hardware project that has been on our mind for a while.

Welcome to the Sensor Network Project!

In a few words, the goal is to create a FitBit clone that will open source the raw accelerometer data and store it on a Micro SD card.

We have decided to make it completely public and collaborative. Every step of the design cycle will be broadcasted live and then posted on YouTube and Google+. Below is the initial part of the design by Mike, Steve and Zak.

We created a design review; so feel free to leave us comments. We need to clean up the layout and probably consider using alternate/different parts. Any piece of advice is more than welcome at this stage.

A few words about the design.

We love our FitBits/FuelBands/Jawbones and the like. But we wanted access to the raw data, and frankly thought no problem, we could make one of those. So here is us putting our design skill where our mouth is.

In the first part of the design, we wanted to get some basic groundwork started: the micro controller, power, storage and one of the sensors. It took us just over an hour do the design, including the PCB.

We started by picking the ATTINY26, it should be cheap and has quite a few IO pins and it was a bonus that we have used a ATTINY before. When we started up the project, we split up and hooked up a lipo charger, the programming headers, an accelerometer. We selected the ADXL345 because it was connectable by SPI. the ADXL345 is a basic 3-axis accelerometer with high-resolution measurement. We also used SPI to connect Micro SD, using a IO pin for selecting what device had the interface. A LIPO battery powers the device, with a charger. We left the pins for an external clock open and all the ADC pins are available for expansion.

The door is totally opened for those who would like to contribute and help us on the schematics or board layout during the live sessions. Drop an email to and let’s chat!

The next step will be recorded live on Tuesday August 13th. Stay tuned!

Note: We may imitate Spike Lee and Kickstart the project at a later stage!

Design of the Week #3,actionId=

This week we decided to feature the RF24L01 Breakout board with chip antenna by Cecil Morpheus – a.k.a Cmos.

Cecil recently joined Upverter and designed an awesome “board that can be very useful whenever you need to point a wireless connection with minimal power usage. E.g. Fitbit Devices.”

Cmos has requested comments and suggestions especially on the PCB layout. You can help him reviewing his design HERE.

Awesome Design of the Week #2,actionId=

Our weekly awesome design pick is TimothyBrown’s Raspberry Pi/o. About 75% of the job is done and Timothy is now awaiting design review, feedback and suggestions.

A few words from the designers below:

“I find the Gertboard to be indispensable for breadboarding and prototyping projects with my Raspberry Pi; the buffered I/O, LEDs, ADC, DAC and on-board AVR make it essentially the perfect package for experimentation. There’s only two problems: It’s big and poorly labeled. I realize Raspberry Pi add-on boards have become dime-a-dozen since the credit card sized computer’s explosion last year; it seems I can’t scroll through my Twitter feed without seeing a new one! That’s why I set out to make something a bit different, it would have to be a tiny board packed with features, while still allowing full access to the GPIO pins.

The Raspberry Pi/o is a 1″x2” GPIO reference board and prototyping aide for the Raspberry Pi. The project was inspired by the Pi GPIO Reference Board from Low Voltage Labs. The Pi/o is designed to slip over the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO header, providing full labeled access to all 26 of the pins, plus:

  • Four 12-Bit ADC Inputs
  • Four 12-Bit DAC Outputs
  • 1-Wire Controller
  • AVR ICSP Header (SPI)
  • I2C, SPI and UART Level Translators (5V to 3V3)
  • Status LEDs on all I/O Pins
  • Full 15kV ESD Protection on All I/O and Power Pins

I’m currently around 75% done with the board, having only to add the SPI and UART level translation and the analog power stage, plus of course the silkscreening.“

Feel free to review this awesome design and leave notes to Timothy on the project’s page!