The Gametinu is a small game platform that you could build yourself. But don’t worry, it isn’t that complicated. This circuit is very simple, and there are very few things that could go wrong. The “brain” of the Gametinu is the Tinusaur board, powered by the popular Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller.
Once your Gametinu is ready you can start programming it.
On the frame, you have a small 64 LED display. Beneath the display, you have a button and a buzzer.
The Gametinu is part of the Tinusaur project. It is important to mention that the Tinusaur and the Gametinu are open source projects? Both the software and the hardware! You can buy all parts, fabricate the PCBs, and assemble them yourself.
The Cartinu is a small robot car that you could build yourself. But don’t worry! It isn’t that complicated – this circuit, is so simple, that there are very few things that could go wrong. The “brain” of the Cartinu is the Tinusaur board that is powered by the popular Atmel ATtiny85microcontroller.
Once your Cartinu is ready you could start programming it.
On the chassis, you have 2 powerful planetary gear motors. You also have 2 infrared proximity sensors on the bottom of the chassis. That allows you to program the Cartinu to follow a black line on the floor.
The Cartinu is part of the Tinusaur project. It is important to mention that the Tinusaur and the Cartinu are an open source project? Both the software and the hardware! You can buy all parts, fabricate the PCBs, and assemble them yourself.
This is a short 2-minute video explaining what is the Tinusaur project about, who is it good for and what you could do with its microcontroller and shield boards.
The Tinusaur is a small microcontroller board with a tiny chip on it.
The Tinusaur board is powered by the popular Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller. It comes as an assembly kit: a small package with parts – you get the chance to learn how to solder it. Don’t worry, it isn’t that complicated. This circuit is so simple that there are very few things that could go wrong.
Once your mainboard is ready you could start learning by making and playing using our shield boards.
Our shield called LEDx2 has 2 LEDs – Green and Red. It comes also in parts, so you have to assemble it yourself. You can make its LEDs to blink. For example: like the traffic lights.
Want to do more?
We also have the EDUx4IO shield designed primarily for education. It has 4 different components on it: LED, Buzzer, Button, Photoresistor. With the LED and the Buzzer, you have 2 ways to output digital and analog signals. With the Photoresistor and the Button, you have 2 ways to input digital and analog signals.
There is also temperature sensor built into the ATtiny85 microcontroller chip.
We will learn the basics of electronic components, microcontrollers – ATtiny85 in particular and, of course, how to solder.
We will bring to the workshop soldering irons and all the necessary materials to do the job. Also, for those who were not able to get one of the kits during our Indiegogo campaign, we will have some for sale.
At the moment we can organize such workshops only in Bulgaria but we’d really like to start doing this in other countries. Volunteers are very welcome. 🙂
Well, in most cases you won’t need a breadboard and the reason for that is the way the Tinusaur Board has been designed with 2 2-row headers that give you enough pins to do some prototyping directly on the board.
The 2 outer rows are alwaysGND while the 2 inner rows are always signal (except when they duplicate the GND), and the Vcc is inner as well. On the newer version of the board, there is also e separate 2-pin (female or male) external power connector. The board could be powered by a coin cell battery as well or directly through the USBasp programmer. So, with 18+2=20 pins in total, it is more like a tiny breadboard where you can stick some wires or even some parts. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
If you’re not ready yet to prototype your own circuit you can use some of the shields we’ve got. To learn how to make a LED blink you could use the Tinusaur Shield LEDx2 or the upcoming Tinusaur Shield LEDx3. For more advanced topics you could use the Tinusaur Shield EDUx4IO that can help you learn how to work with buttons, produce sounds with a buzzer, read analog data such as light intensity using a photoresistor, and many other things.
In 2016 it was considered and later officially selected as the platform for the “Microcontrollers and embedded devices” class in St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, in Bulgaria. It is now part of the curriculum. As part of that effort, we ran a quick funding campaign and successfully collect all the funds necessary to produce Tinusaur Starter EDU PLUS for each student so they can have on for free, assemble, program, and take them home. It was a huge success – all the students loved it.
In 2016, as part of a government-funded initiative “Tvoyat Chas” (in Bulgarian, eng.: “Your Class”) the Tinusaur Project was considered and later chosen as one of the kits to be used for high school students – age between 15 and 17. They just loved it.
In Informal Learning
The Tinusaur Project is very popular in the field of the Informal learning for it is very affordable, easy to learn and work with.
In 2016 as part of a summer school of science organized by UNI4KIDS the Tinusaur Project was used in the electronics, microcontroller and robotics classes. Children of ages between 11 and 17 had the chance to learn how to solder, assemble their very first microcontroller board and program it. It was an incredible experience to work with such smart and motivated young people.
The Tinusaur Workshops
Since 2014 we’ve been organizing 1 or 2-day training workshops where people could get a Tinusaur kit, learn how to solder and assemble it, and write their first microcontroller programs.
On quite a few occasions colleagues of ours bundled Tinusaur Starter 2 kits as part of event gifts or prizes. What a great idea to give something to people that they can use to improve their knowledge and skills.
The last on the list but with the highest slice of the pie are the hobbyists. The number of boards we’ve shipped worldwide will soon reach the number 2000 and most of them go to people who would like to learn and make things with microcontrollers and create internet-of-things. The Tinusaur is the perfect start.
We ran 2 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns. One – very successful, and the other one – semi-successful. That helped us a great deal. First, it proved that the Tinusaur project is something that people like and want to use, and second, it allowed us to start the production on a bit larger scale.
We would like, with the help of sponsors, to be able to send Tinusaur kits in parts of the world where people may not be able to afford to buy them. The Tinusaur is very, very inexpensive but still … it may not fit in the budget for some people.
So, if you’d like to help please get in touch with us. We’re open for ideas.
Dragging and dropping blocks on a web page that generates real C code which gets compiled on the cloud and then uploaded locally to your microcontroller.
Does that sound interesting to you?
Well, we’ve done it. Kind of. We called it Blocktinu.
A couple of weeks ago me (Neven Boyanov) and my friend Geroge (Georgi Marinov) participated in the #BG10xEU hackathon in Sofia and the idea that we developed and presented was just that. Within the given 24 hrs we managed to develop the initial version of most of the modules, including a browser extension for Google Chrome for handling the communication between the cloud and the local machine. At the moment the only missing part is the piece that invokes the avrdude from within the browser extension.
IMPORTANT: Please note that this is just the beginning and there is still work to be done.