The CEE is our USB analog multitool, letting learners and makers interact with the analog world. Read more
This project was successfully funded on July 31, 2011.
About this project
The CEE (control · experiment · explore) is an analog multitool. By sourcing and measuring voltage and current, the CEE opens up a world that has previously been restricted by monolithic, bulky, and hard-to-use tools. Learners can explore a wide range of concepts including everything from AC/DC electricity and resistance to work / energy, torque / speed, heat flow, and electrochemistry. As tinkerers, we've used our proof-of-concept boards as a multimeter to sort components in our junk bins, a programmable interface device to test new sensors, a power supply to fuel our breadboards, a web-based datalogger, and every possible combination therein.
- tightly integrated, well documented, 100% open-source software for data analysis and real-time measurement
- flexible drivers offer integration with existing sensors, actuators, and software
- web-based user interface makes collaboration seamless and painless across Mac, Windows, and Linux, in the garage, in the lab, and at school
- USB powered and controlled, requiring only one cable
- sub-millivolt and sub-milliamp precision and accuracy
- two watt power output, allowing for direct use with a wide range of motors, lights, and sensors
- two channels, capable of sourcing and measuring up to 5V and 200mA each
- upgradeable to 2A current with external power supply - some soldering required
- 100k samples per second of voltage & current set/measurement at 12bit resolution
One of our classes at Olin College was built around a USB “Source Measure Unit.” A staunch departure from the input-only devices we encountered in high school labs, the SMU is a USB device that allows a user to write scripts that set voltage or current, and measure both. Even students who were used to not "getting it" enjoyed the ability to actively explore electronics and control theory concepts. Our frustration with the closed tools surrounding this device lead us to build an open alternative to allow the idea to realize its full potential. This is our attempt to bring a powerful tool for Control, Experimentation, and Exploration to hobbyists and learners.
The money from this Kickstarter will go straight to alpha, beta, and production runs. At least six thousand dollars is required for the first assembly run through the Seeed Studio Propagate service - any additional money will allow us to scale. Our schematics and board layouts will be released under a CC-BY-SA license, and the firmware and software will be released under a BSD license.
We wish to publicly thank Dr. Brad Minch and Dr. Gill Pratt for the introducing us to the SMU, Do Kashiteru for their song "You and Your Bright Ideas" which we used in our video, and Bryan Mehall who produced our 3d renders.
Nope! The CEE is a custom-built tool with beefy, precise, accurate, and fast rail-to-rail opamps, a high-speed microcontroller, and awesome analog/digital/analog converters.
Sound cards aren't designed for this sort of work. They're usually AC coupled (meaning they can't measure voltages that don't change faster than 20Hz), they usually have proprietary built in filters and crossovers (meaning they do weird things to frequencies that we can't easily undo), and they're low power (meaning they can't directly control motors, heaters, and more). Additionally, soundcards can only source/measure voltage, not current.
We're glad to hear it! It will cost us an additional $10 to ship internationally. Please include either a separate donation for $10, or add $10 to the amount of the reward. We can't make promises concerning shipping timelines or guarantee arrival, but we'll do our best!
Pixelpulse runs in Google Chrome on operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu, and OSX.
We recommend having a 1.6GHz-or-better processor and at least 1GB of RAM. The Python library for the CEE works on everything we've tested with a full-size USB port.
Certainly not! Pixelpulse has been designed from the ground up to make exploring the world through the CEE simple, intuitive, and visual.
We hope so, but at this time, the CEE is limited by the power available through your USB port. Join and email our Google Group (at https://groups.google.com/group/nonolith-cee) and we'll be able to answer you directly.
All of our schematics, board layouts, code, and associated designs will be licensed such that individuals can produce, remix, and reuse our work, provided they attribute the original work to Nonolith Labs and license their work under the same license. You can improve our design, make as many as you want, and sell them as long as you share your changes under the same license and don't call them CEEs.
The voltage and currents the CEE is able to source are very safe. This is a tool for exploration, not an industrial controller. We've taken careful considerations along our design process to make sure that the CEE will stand up to the abuse makers and students will reasonably throw at it. When attaching external power sources to the CEE, you must exercise some caution, but the CEE should tolerate anything you could easily do by accident.
Pledge $20 or more
A bare CEE circuit board to assemble and use, or to decorate your bedroom.
Pledge $100 or more
Minimal CEE: Assembled and tested circuit board only, without case or cables.
Pledge $150 or more
Assembled and tested CEE, including a laser-etched acrylic case (as seen in the video), and cables.
Pledge $250 or more
Double the fun: Two CEEs with cases and cables.
Pledge $500 or more
1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)
Lasers! CEE with active cooling, a 1W IR fiber-coupled laser diode, and beefier power supply.
Pledge $1,000 or more
2 backers Limited (6 left of 8)
Lab pack: Ten CEEs with cases, five months of twice-monthly support calls, and supplies for one hands-on lab.
Pledge $2,000 or more
0 backers Limited (8 left of 8)
Classroom: Twenty CEEs with cases, five months of twice-monthly support calls, and supplies for two hands-on labs.
- (31 days)