The SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (SIK) v4.0 was introduced last month. This new version of the kit is much more project-focused, with each circuit resulting in a functional project. However, the ideas included in the guidebook are only the beginning of what can be created using the parts in the kit. To demonstrate some of the many possibilities, creative technologist extraordinaire Shawn Hymel created three more projects that can be completed using the parts in the SIK v4.0 (with few or no extra parts required).
Clap On Lamp
This project uses a Sound Detector Board and parts from the SIK 4.0 to pull a chain on a lamp when two successive sharp noises, such as a double clap, are detected. While adding a servo to a pull-chain lamp is a fun, possibly nostalgic way to turn on the light, the same idea of turning a light on automatically could be accomplished with a light sensor (included in the kit) that pulls the chain when ambient light in the room falls below a certain level or with an ultrasonic sensor that turns the lamp on whenever something gets near the lamp.
This project builds on the final project found in the SIK v4.0 guidebook. In that project, students build a fully autonomous robot that can detect and avoid obstacles. By switching out the ultrasonic sensor in that project with the included photocell, the robot can be programmed to detect areas of bright light and move in that direction. This can be a great way to demonstrate how simple organisms, such as Euglena, seek out light for assisting with photosynthesis.
Endless Runner Game
Gamers may remember endless running games of old such as Temple Run, where the player must make simple choices (turn left/right, jump, etc.) to avoid obstacles as the character endlessly moves toward them. Instructables user joshua.brooks created a wonderfully addicting endless runner game using an Arduino, a character LCD and a single button (the original project can be found here).
Shawn updated this project using parts from the SIK v4.0. As the terrain moves by, players must time their jumps by pressing the button at the right moment to avoid hitting the rather rectangular hills. Points are awarded based on distance — and if you hit something, it’s game over!
3D-Printed SIK Organizer
The SIK v4.0 comes in a brand-new carrying case that is lighter and stronger than the old one. One potential downside is that it doesn’t include compartments, which can be used to organize your parts. To solve this, creative technologist Nick Poole created 3D-printer files that can be used to print your own dividers. It’s important to note that, through trial and error, we found these files work best on a 3D printer with an enclosure. If yours doesn’t have an enclosure, not to worry; an enclosure can easily be made from cardboard, as shown below. It's not fancy, but it'll get the job done.
Please note: Flame-retardant cardboard is recommended; do not leave unattended while printing.
What project ideas have you come up with using parts from the SIK v4.0?