BLOCKTINU – The Development Environment for the Tinusaur – ATtiny85 Microcontroller Board

BLOCKTINU - The Development Environment for the Tinusaur

The Blocktinu is the development environment for your Tinusaur microcontroller boards where you could use blocks to produce real C programming language source code.

As you move your blocks (on the left) to implement your algorithms, the source code (on the right) will be automatically updated. Pretty neat, huh?

Now you can start learning the C programming language by playing with the blocks and looking at the changes in the source code that has been generated.

Once your program is ready it will be compiled in the cloud so no installation of any SDK will be necessary. The resulting binary code for the ATtiny85 microcontroller will be returned back to you.

The Blocktinu is part of the Tinusaur project.

The Blocktinu and the Tinusaur are open source projects. Both the software and the hardware!

The Blocktinu is almost ready for public use.

The Blocktinu is part of the Tinusaur crowdfunding campaign that we have launched on January 22nd, 2018.

Support our crowdfunding campaign. Get yourself a Tinusaur microcontroller board. You will receive early access to the Blocktinu development environment.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: The Tinusaur Crowdfunding Campaign on January 22nd 2018

Tinusaur Crowdfunding Campaign on January 22nd 2018

Campaign link: http://igg.me/at/tinusaur
Project link: http://tinusaur.org

  1. A small robot car that you could build yourself and program it to follow a black line on the floor.
  2. A small game platform, that you could build and program yourself.

Those are the Tinusaur project goodies. They can help you learn, teach and make things with microcontrollers, and have fun at the same time. This is what the Tinusaur project is about.

Next Monday, on January 22nd we are launching a crowdfunding campaign to make more of those fun projects.

Join us at http://igg.me/at/tinusaur and subscribe for updates about the launch.

 

GAMETINU – Small Game Platform, Powered by the Tinusaur – ATtiny85 Microcontroller Board

GAMETINU - Small Game Platform, Powered by the Tinusaur - ATtiny85 Microcontroller Board

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.

You can program the Gametinu to run one of those no-player games such as the “Conway’s Game of Life“. You could also program it to run simple one-button games such as the Stacker Game.

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 Gametinu is almost ready for production. It is now part of the crowdfunding campaign that we are launching on January 22nd, 2018.

Sounds interesting?

Subscribe to get updates about the launch. Link to the campaign: http://igg.me/at/tinusaur

More information about the Gametinu will be posted on its page.

 

CARTINU – Small Robot Car, Powered by the Tinusaur – ATtiny85 Board

CARTINU - Small Robot Car, Powered by the Tinusaur - ATtiny85 Board

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 ATtiny85 microcontroller.

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.

The Cartinu is almost ready for production and is part of the crowdfunding campaign that we are launching on January 22nd 2018.

Sounds interesting?

Subscribe to get updates about the launch.

 

More information about the Cartinu will be posted on its page.

 

Short Video about the Tinusaur Project

The Tinusaur Project

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.

Workshop: Assembling the Tinusaur Kit in Varna, Bulgaria

Tinusaur Workshop VarnaLab Varna Bulgaria

This Saturday, September 2nd, we will have one day workshop for assembling the Tinusaur kits for those who supported our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. It will take place in Varna, Bulgaria, our host will be VarnaLab – the local hackerspace.

Tinusaur Board Parts

We will learn the basics of electronic components, microcontrollersATtiny85 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.

Tinusaur Workshop

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. 🙂

This is the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/842138465944360/
If you’re around, you’re welcome to come.

 

Where is the breadboard?

Tinusaur Boards Pinout

You may ask “How am I going to connect the Tinusaur Board to a breadboard for a quick start or prototyping?”.

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.

Tinusaur Boards Pinout

The 2 outer rows are always GND 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.

So, do I need a breadboard for prototyping?

  • The answer is NO, you don’t need a breadboard in most cases.

Where is the Tinusaur project used?

Tinusaur Workshop

The Tinusaur Project is used in schools, universities, and clubs around the world.

In Formal Education

The Tinusaur Project is already getting traction in the field of the Formal learning.

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.

Tinusaur Workshop in the University
Tinusaur Workshop in the University

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

Tinusaur Project Workshop UNI4KIDS

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.

Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaur
Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering, and Tinusaur

Gifts

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.

By Hobbyists

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.

Supporters

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.

What’s Missing?

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.

What is the Tinusaur project about?

About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step

What is the Tinusaur project about?

Here we will explain it to you step-by-step.

About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The Tinusaur hardware consists of few small boards with some electronic components on top.
They come as assembly kits – small packages with parts.
The Tinusaur main board is powered by the Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The Tinusaur board comes in parts, all in a small plastic bag, you get the chance to learn how to solder.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Don’t worry – it isn’t that complicated – we’re preparing some videos that will walk you through the process. Check the Guides pages for more information.

 

About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Once your main board is ready you could use some of our add-on boards, also known as “shields”, to add functionality to your microcontroller system.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The Shield LEDx2 board comes in parts, like the main board, you have to assemble it yourself, but it isn’t very complicated.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Once you’ve assembled your first boards, you can write your first program.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The simplest program you can write is the blinking LED. That is the “Hello World” of the microcontrollers.
Next step – little challenge: make both of the LEDs blink.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The Tinusaur Shield EDUx4IO board comes in parts too, like the other boards, you have to assemble it yourself, and it isn’t complicated at all.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Once you’ve assembled your board, you can write more interesting programs.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
This shield gives you more options and lets you learn more things.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
There are 4 different components on it: LED, Buzzer, Button, Photoresistor.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Making the LED blink is a good start.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The next step is to make the buzzer produce some sound.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
You can use the button to learn how to read the input data and make your code do different things when you press it.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The photoresistor is a component that changes its electrical conductivity depending on the intensity of the light that is applied to it. In other words, you can measure the light intensity with the photoresistor.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The LED could work in on/off mode but it could also fade-in and fade-out using what’s called pulse-width modulation or PWM for short.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The buzzers could also work with PWM and that could be considered as analog mode i.e. it could produce sound with variable intensity.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
You could combine all the 4 parts to achieve more interesting results. Like using the button to switch between various modes of your program, or use the photoresistor to trigger different event depending on the light intensity.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Now, an interesting trick. What if the LED emits some light, it reflects on an obstacle and goes back to the light sensitive element – our photoresistor. That is a proximity sensor that we’ve just created.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
A feature “hidden” inside of the microcontroller is an internal temperature sensor. You could make LED blink or buzzer sound if the temperature goes above or below a certain value.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
We created the Blocktinu platform that will allow you to start with the programming of your Tinusaur microcontroller system really quick.
With it, you could simply drag and drop some blocks to implement your algorithms.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
The platform automatically generates the C source code.
And the best part is that you can start learning the C programming language just by looking at the generated source, change your blocks and see how the source code changes.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
What else you could do with the Tinusaur project?
Well, it is up to you to bring your new brilliant ideas to life.
About Tinusaur Project Step-by-step
Check our website more often to see what new we’ve developed and added to the Tinusaur platform.

 

 

 

Introducing the BLOCKTINU – programming with blocks for the Tinusaur and ATtiny85

Blocktinu for Tinusaur

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.

We will have the source code (free and open) at this location: https://bitbucket.org/tinusaur/blocktinu.

The project will be located here: https://tinusaur.org/projects/blocktinu/.

The Blocktinu is using the Blockly library for handling the block in a browser.

Below is a high-level architecture diagram.

Blocktinu for Tinusaur Architectural Diagram
Blocktinu for Tinusaur Architectural Diagram

PS: We did not get any prizes, the judges did not find the idea interesting enough. 😦