Project image
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$686
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
9
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, November 15 2013 4:23 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated November 15, 2013

MylaBox - A starting point for hardware projects

The MylaBox is an Arduino-compatible hardware development system that runs on Android.

MylaBox - A starting point for hardware projects

The MylaBox is an Arduino-compatible hardware development system that runs on Android.

$686
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
9
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, November 15 2013 4:23 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated November 15, 2013

About

The MylaBox is an open-source hardware development system that runs on Android and Arduino.   

When this project first started, I made a list of what I thought was important when trying build something, and I came up with the following: 

  • An big enclosure that plugs into the wall, and if I want to change something, it should be easy. I can open the box and move stuff around.
  • Android device hooks directly up to box. I thought that this was good use for Android tablets, so the app is built around that.   
  • App needs to be able to monitor sensors while running components.  This means it can trigger components based on sensor readings and/or run a sequence of events that the user can configure. 
  • Cloud based data storage.  The app needs to be able to retrieve the data and put it on a graph.  People can either set up their account through me or independently.
  • Lots a flexibility when working with components.  By components, I mean actuators, pumps, valves, sensors.  Components just need to plug into the box.
  • No soldering (its a skill that I'm bad at).  That means Wago terminals, screw terminals, and jumpers.
  • No new circuit boards.  There are literally thousands of good boards on the market, I want to work with what is already available.

With the above list as my starting point, I began building a prototype and came up with the MylaBox. The system looks like this:

MylaBox (rev0)
MylaBox (rev0)

App (so far):

  • Easy-to-configure data storage (can be done through us or independently).  I'm fine with either approach, and I want people to make their own decision about how they want to manage their data.
  • Sequence manager enables MylaBox to run pre-programmed events (triggering relays).  Sequences are stored in database. 
  • Triggers (2 available, but more can be added.) - standard if/then statement.  Triggers read analog inputs and then change relay states based on the reading.
MylaBox App (rev0)
MylaBox App (rev0)
  • Data visualization (or, a fancy way of saying "graph") - Data stored in database can be plotted against time.  Two graphs available.  Analog input levels as well as relay states can be plotted.
MylaPlot App (rev0)
MylaPlot App (rev0)

Components (so far):

  • Temperature sensor (5C-120C).
  • Proximity sensor (~20mm).
  • Rail actuator (24” stroke).
  • Push rod actuator (12" stroke).
  • Liquid pump.
  • Air pump.
  • Peristaltic pump.
  • Pinch valve.
  • Push/pull solenoid (10mm stroke).

One of the most important parts of this project is developing components.  Without components, there is no application for what was built.  The plan is to continue to actively find, modify, and test new components on the MylaBox.  Right now the App reports voltage levels for sensors and that information is what is sent to the database.  However, a transition over to a component-specific approach is being built (this requires identifying the inputs/outputs so the App knows what its supposed to report - not a big deal on the App side, but adds some complexity when transferring data to the database).  

Technical Specs (so far):

  • Runs on 120V AC (plugs into the wall in the United States).
  • Up to 2 cycles-per-second read/write.
  • 3 0-5V analog inputs.
  • 5-24V DC variable voltage supply.
  • Highly distributed, NoSQL database for data storage (all read/write cycles can be saved). 
  • 8 relays (relays are hooked up to variable voltage supply).
  • Components pre-configured to work with system directly (just plug in).

The read/write cycles-per-second can be improved upon, though it might take some extra coding (no biggie, just need to test transfer rates and maybe do some buffering). DC variable voltage level is currently set with a jumper, but this can also be done through some extra coding work (this is a biggie and might take awhile and/or might not be do-able).

If Funded...

The money will be used to buy bulk orders of boards and components, which will help a lot on keeping the price low.  Other activities that funding will help with include building out a web-based data interface, testing new component prototypes, and finishing off FCC & CE compliance testing.

Many Thanks To...

Beth, Miles, Ella, Matt, Tom, Dion, Broke For Free for the cool song (directionless/Night Owl).

Risks and challenges

I will need to get some certifications from the FCC & CE. Though the box isn't an emitter it does have a power supply built in, and because of that its falls into a less-stringent testing category. Not too worried about this, but in the spirit of full disclosure I thought this should be out there.

Aside from FCC compliance, I think that there are risks in the supply chain specifically with regards to getting the boards in a timely fashion. This can be minimized with one large, direct order with the various manufacturers.

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    Bottlecap keychain with "kickstarter" on it. Hey - it's hand made, and I cultivated some the bottle caps.

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    Controller board and sensors (temperature and proximity). If specified, we will set up the data storage account.

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    Pledge US$ 499 or more About US$ 499

    Early adopter - A completed MylaBox and a selection of gear to run on it (temp & proximity sensor, pump, rail actuator). If specified, we will set up the data storage account.

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    Pledge US$ 599 or more About US$ 599

    A completed MylaBox and a selection of gear to run on it (temp & proximity sensor, pump, rail actuator). If specified, we will set up the data storage account.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    A completed MylaBox and a selection of gear to run on it (temp & proximity sensor, pump, rail actuator). We will also do custom paint jobs and logos on this reward group. If specified, we will set up the data storage account.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Everything at the $1000 level, plus a tablet setup ready to run the MylaBox and some additional one-on-one time (~1 week) to help you get your box working exactly the way you want it.

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Funding period

- (40 days)