Maniacal Labs Explores the ESP8266

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Our friends over at Maniacal Labs did some playing around with the ESP8266 Wifi serial board. Daniel Ternes did a write-up on his experience getting a "hello world" up and and running and enumerated his lessons learned. He also talked about the steps he went through to update the firmware on the device that enabled it to run at baud rates higher that 9600bps.

Danial had to do a lot of digging to find the files and utilities needed to do the update. It's worth bookmarking the post for helpful hints if your just getting started with Wifi yourself.

We'll do some digging around and find all the latest and greatest tools and firmware, and libraries, and put link or host on our own page for the beastie.


New Tool - Programming Robots Visually.

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This is something we've been cooking up for a while, and it's finally ready to shrinkwrap and deliver to the masses.

Introducing the FREE Anibit Graphical Programmer for the Pololu 3pi Robot.

Here is what it looks like in action:

We have adapted a graphical programming environment for the Arduino known as "Blocklyduino" to be tailored to Pololu's 3Pi Robot Platform. Blocklyduino is itself an adaptation of Blockly, a software package for developers to create graphical programming environments.

Bulk Arduino programming jig

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The creator of the Mirobot has a write-up on a Raspberry Pi-based bulk Arduino programming jig. The setup was created to assist in the building of Mirobots for fulfilling his Kickstarter campaign.

It's essentially as Raspberry Pi that drives 5 USB to serial devices that in turn program an Arduino Pro mini. The bulk programmer uses a lighted button to initiate programming and give status/error/success feedback for each device. All of this is contained in a custom laser cut frame.

Using some custom node.js code, he was able have the programmer program each Arduino independently and concurrently, so that by the time he has mounted the last device, the first one is finished programming.

We're nuts for indie automation and metahacks here at Anibit, so his setup is very impressive and innovative. The Mirobot is a really neat looking device too!

New box design explorer

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This is something we've been cooking for a while, and we're exited to finally unleash this on the masses.

We've developed a system for making parametrized box designs for laser cutting. I've taken a few permutations of parameters and released them in the form of an auto-generated web-app at

You can even download a dxf file template for use if you have access to a laser cutter and would like to make your own.

The whole thing is is alpha right now, there may be problems with the design, but what we've tested so far mostly works.

Please, we really want to hear feedback about this, we have big plans to expand it to cover more things.




Some Useful Information and Links about the ESP8266

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The ESP8266 ( get them [here] ) is a very low-cost WiFi to serial board for makers that lets you create "Internet of Things" (aka "IoT") devices with low-end hardware, such as Arduinos, mbed, and raw microcontrollers.


You can use a UART device on your Arduino, etc to talk to this board and communicate over to other devices, computers or websites. The hardware on the ESP8266 takes care of all the overhead needed to implement Wifi. You use an "AT" style communication over the serial UART to interact with it, reminiscent of the way dial-up modems over phone lines used to work.


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