Share this project


Share this project

We want to make electronics kits that TEACH and DO!  Designed for makers of all levels of hackery, olopede will help you learn, design, and invent.
We want to make electronics kits that TEACH and DO! Designed for makers of all levels of hackery, olopede will help you learn, design, and invent.
52 backers pledged $2,600 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


Eda3ed8cd614905b471be5824c3c5ce5 original
28b17e17484ed6874146fbd2b644ac24 original
1fa474e29d280b51bd0be5fd0fe3d673 original
10e108711ee2a39b0bb25b9bb46bbf95 original

Bay Area Maker Faire

Hey beautiful backers!

Olopede has a booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo this weekend.  If you're around come check out what progress we've made over the past year.  We might even have some demos going!  

If you can't make it, here's what up:

I've spent the past year working on siggen, our voltage-controlled .1Hz-1MHz+ triangle/square/sine wave generator.  Revision after revision after revision, we kept trying to push the limits of our little signal-generating bug.  We made it slower, faster, more powerful, less noisy, less expensive, and most importantly - easier to understand.  

Siggen v1 is finished, but hot off the prototyping assembly line I realized that i needed to make a few topological changes.  No worries, though.  v2 is on its way!  What's really exciting about having more than one prototype is that we can string them together, utilizing the three input voltage controls to make an awesome analog synthesizer, an FM/AM low-frequency transmitter, or a PWM driver for high-powered LEDs.  

Beta testing and extensive instructional documentation is coming.  We look forward to sharing everything we're learning with you.

Thanks so much for bearing with us these past few years.  We want you to know that we're dedicated to olopede, and that you will get your rewards.  And come say hi if you're around!


Thanks, Apologies, and [current] Rectifiers

Dear Backers,

It's been nearly three years since you first funded us in the summer of 2010. Bushy-tailed and starry-eyed, Zach and I rushed into making our dream - an educational electronics company - a reality. We expected to roll out kits like hot-buns out of the oven, but quickly realized that school would take up more time than we had thought. Within four months we managed to finish two of the four kits, rolled out circuit boards, and began development of our very own tiered documentation platform. As late November hit, schoolwork took priority. Fast forward a year and Zach and I were both studying at MIT, though neither of us allocated enough time to get Olopede off the ground.

The last time you heard from us was the summer of 2011. A lot has happened since then, but we haven't kept you in the loop. We owe you an apology.

Kickstarter - we're sorry. We're sorry that we were unable to hit our optimistic goal of pushing four kits in a matter of months. We're sorry that progress has been slow over the past two years. We're sorry that we haven't stayed true to our promises of thorough communication and openness. We're sorry that we may have given you reason to lose faith in us.

But with every gloomy, sob-spewing, cloud there is a silver lining. Since graduating last year I took a bike ride from New York to Seattle, flew right back to Boston, and have worked on olopede since. I've spent the past four months concocting a mid-range performing, easy-to-understand, voltage-controlled-oscillator core for fungen. I took inspiration from a few function generators that were top-of-the-line in the 80's (the wavetek 182A is a nice one to look at), reverse engingeered the conveniently provided schematics down to their core concepts. I figured out ways to replace the non-intuitive clever solutions that expert engineers used to optimize their circuit with simpler and more intuitive designs. I built myself a prototype that has exceeded my expectations for fungen in both simplicity and functionality.

If the image above doesn't make any sense to you, have no fear!  It's actually a lot simpler than it looks.   Before I go on and describe it's functionality, I should warn you that there may be a bunch of technojargon below for the uninitiated.  When we actually write up documentation for fungen and the rest of the kit crew, we won't take any prior knowledge for granted and we'll explain everything from scratch.

What you see above is a culmination of research, reverse-engineering, theoretical analysis, and quick hacks.  The heart of the voltage controlled oscillator is the voltage-ramping capacitor driven by a diode gate.  The idea is to use a capacitor as a charge bucket.  Like a normal bucket, when you put water (charge) into a bucket the water level (voltage) rises.  If you keep the flow of water constant, then the water level rises at a constant rate.  The higher the flow, the faster the water level raises.  If instead of filling the bucket you drain the bucket, then the water level will fall at a constant rate.  The hard part is switching between filling and draining thousands of times a second without letting any extra drips get in (charge dump, so to speak).  To switch, we use a fast pair of valves: a diode gate.  The falstad simulation should help to explain how this works.  When the voltage on the left hand side of the gate is higher than that of the right hand side, the capacitor is charged by the upper current source, and vice versa.  

Here's a picture of our triangle-wave generator oscillating at 1 Hertz (once per second).

and at 500 Kilohertz (500 thousand times per second) !  That's a 10V peak-to-peak signal, for those interested.  

The dashed lines are the driving square wave, which is actually generated by an inverting schmitt trigger that detects when the triange wave reaches +/- 5 volts and triggers the capacitor to start draining or charging, respectively.

The whole thing is voltage controlled, too, so you can sweep from down under 1Hz all the way up to 20KHz with a simple DC voltage swing.  Switch in a different capacitor and you'll be able to go from 2 KHz to 2 MHz.  Not so shabby for <$10 of parts.

Next to come is voltage controlled duty cycle, a voltage-controlled output amplifier stage to drive some serious loads, precision current sources, and a sine waveshaper to get some pure tones.  

Strange News:

During my bike trip we let our .com TLD expire by accident, which was quickly picked up by an imposter who is now copying our homepage content onto their wordpress site.  Don't give olopede'dot'com any attention.  It isn't owned by us anymore and we're working on getting their hosting provider to respond to our DMCA takedown notices.  We still own and will continue to post updates there.

-Zach and Josh

Back on Board!

Hello Generous olopede Funders and Supporters!

We've been away for quite a bit too long, and so this update is well-overdue.  Don't fret, though - we're still working on olopede hard and strong!

So what's been going on?

Zach and I have had an incredible year of school, schematics, and olopede!  We've made long strides toward getting all four kits out to our backers and to the world.  We did not anticipate that it would take us an entire year to get to where we are now, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  As we're beginning to start more rigorous testing of the digital kits, we're also finishing up our home-brew documentation platform - using the documenation for the Turing Machine and oloduino to make sure it's in good working order.  We're terribly sorry that we haven't shared all of our progress with you on a more regular basis, but we have been using the git repository. 

You may have noticed that has gone missing.  We're aware of the issue and are looking to have it back up this coming week.  For now, Zach and I be posting weekly updates at  Expect schematics, board layouts, logo designs, and pictures galore.  Check out the newest post to learn more about Uber recent progress!

As always - we're looking forward to giving olopede to the world!  If you have any questions, feel free to message us or send us an e-mail!

Until next week,

-Josh and Zach

Round Two Prototypes are in!

Hey Backers (and everyone else)!

We got our second round of prototypes a few weeks ago!

We've posted an update on our site , including lots of images for your hungry eyes!

We'll actually be posting semi-regularly from here on out since the ball has started to roll pretty fast. Check in for updates at least once a week!

Lower value rewards (microPOV's, thank-yous, stickers) will be sent out soon!

Thanks for everything!

PCB Runs and Github access!


For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.