GIVEAWAY: 2 Little Wire USB controlled multi-tool

Little Wire is multi-featured USB controlled open source hardware tool packed in a minimal form factor designed by ihsan Kehribar. Even though it has minimal form factor, and packed with full of features, there aren’t any SMT components involved, therefore it is very suitable for beginners to assemble.

This tool has to take instructions at run-time over USB. It can’t work in a computer-less environment.

When i saw simpleavr’s implementation of usbtiny on attiny45 , i thought it would be cool if i make a kit version of this with a minimal form factor. Then i designed a PCB and sent for first prototype. Later on i thought, if i want to sell this, it would be much cooler ,and more suitable with “Open Source Hardware” concept, if i bring this project one step ahead. So i tried to fit anything extra to the device and this project came out.

We are giving away 2 Little Wire! Leave a comment on this post with an idea for a Little Wire project, and one of these could be yours on Thursday.

The Little Wire is available for $19.00 from Seeed Studio.

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87 Comments

  1. I’m thinking of an computer controlled mixing table, using the Little Wire to drive the digital potentiometers thru USB.

  2. hello dangerous prootype
    thi usb kit is very innovative and helpful in simple elctronics projects.please consider this post as my entry to this giveaway

  3. A single board computer with USB on a RC Car base. Use the Little Wire to drive a normal 90deg servo for steering and a servo-style digital speed controller attached to a big DC motor for drive. Nice little robot platform. :)

  4. For developing my IR control in the PC, when i need to change the channel and have to get up and look for the remote…That way i’d have more time to spend on http://dangerousprototypes.com to keep up to the hacking news, and projects innit ?!?

  5. Hi Guys,

    As the available IO pin count are limited, I came up with following ideas:
    – DS18B20 1-wire temperature sensor reading
    – SHT11 Temperature and Humidity sensor
    – GPS or DCF77 receiver unit
    – Simple 4-bit logic analyser
    – Driving SPI or I2C display driver (ie. LCD Smartie)
    – etc

    1. You got peanut butter in my chocolate! That knocks a couple off my list.

      How about JTAG programmer? SPI Snooper?
      I certainly like the logic analyser idea ;)

      You could even use a 70xx 3-to-8 decoder or I2C/SPI I/O expander to have more pins :)

  6. I would use this for a usb based body monitoring system with multiple sensors for body heat, heart rate, blood oxygen, blood pressure, ect. The device would fit on my forearm and be accessible over usb, then a graphing program on my computer would log the data every time it was attached. Would be interesting to see how different activities and times of day affect my vitals specifically.

  7. I built one of these on a bread board. Even talked to ihsan Kehribar via email when I was having trouble with it. Finally got it working after figuring out he crossed d+ d- lines in his design. Using it to program some attiny85’s for some blinkm clones I’m building. (BLINK-RGB-BLINK) Would be nice to get it off the bread board and onto a PCB. ;-) :-)

  8. I would use it to connect various sensors (motion detector, temperature, light, humidity, …) to my Raspberry Pi (which don’t have an ADC or timers). I would also use it as a physical facebook like counter

  9. I would like to add some sort of DMX support to littlewire. With the DMX support I can use the littlewire to interface my fixtures to my PC.

  10. USB Multi-tool for SPI, I2C, UART bridging. In this way i can test and run a bunch of sensors that i have. Also could be developed a learning platform in my class.

  11. This would be nice as a USB->I2C bridge for pogo programming of our boards at work.

  12. I have an ongoing project, where I attach a small PCB to my monitor that contains two perpendicular tilt switches, connected to an MSP430 and a Nordic 24L01+ module.
    The module can detect the exact position (portrait/landscape) of my monitor, which has a pivot axis using the tile switches.

    I would use the littlewire with a 2nd Nordic 24L01+ module to wirelessly get the orientation of the monitor and rotate the desktop accordingly.

    The end result would be that I could rotate the monitor as much as I would like, and the machine would automatically switch between portrait and landscape modes.

  13. I have a Swan network camera and it lacks the pan-tilt control. This would be a neat project to control 2 servos for pan-tilt.

  14. I have a lisp machine in the works. Based on an ancient lisp interpreter that I saved from the garbage heap of history. It is FPGA based for now, with VGA output to the screen and some keyboard input. Yay hardware-supported garbage collection!

    I think I just found myself some means of doing debug output once the CPU is fully live… :)

  15. New to embedded projects and never used attiny before so I would honestly only know when I got to play around for a little bit. :-)

  16. I would use it to learn more about electronics and one idea I have is some kind of temperature logging setup for the temperatures at my job.

  17. I would connect it to a WR703N (still waiting for my raspberry pi) and have a WiFi mini bus pirate Arrrr! When the rpi finally shows up (xbmc) it will have WiFi connectivity with any I/O

  18. I could use this for intelligent fan speed control of my server. With a USB connection, the controller could report back for condition monitoring and have an interface to speed them up or slow them down

  19. If I could have one, I would plug it to a digital accelerometer and it would make me crazy to shake my computer to see some number in a terminal.

  20. Send me a Little Wire and I’ll use it to try and understand how the heck it can cost $19.00 USD to buy in kit form!

  21. I’ll connect the I/O pins to a remote controlled toy car and use the computer to control the car!

  22. Hi,

    We are working on a hacked robot toy called Nono …

    Meet him at

    http://www.pobot.org/Nono-le-Parlobot-2012.html

    Thanks to the dangerousprototypes today’s new , we have discovered the Parallax Emic 2 text-to-speech module for adding voice to the robot far better than the previously scheduled pre-registered MP3 files and we are thinking of using the Little wire kit as a Pan and tilt servo control of a webcam (= Nono eyes) for face tracking .
    It will add load of fun when during Nono interaction with children !!!
    Have a nice day

    Skappy

  23. I would like to use it as an device to educate students and have them introduced to programming micro controllers, both having the experiment on the little board and then also directly have the programmer to move to other target hardware.

  24. I want one. Might learn how to make USB drivers and make a load for different applications (I2C bridge/sniffer, bit banging, password store, etc)

  25. I’d sim’d an analog GoL node board for the 7400 contest ages ago. It had button to set the node on and off, and edge connectors so an array of them could be connected to form a display. I also left an open lead for an outside source–the idea was that an external chip could set nodes to drive a GoL display at the children’s museum where my wife works. I think I could use a Little wire for that:)

  26. Little Wire is a great fit as a controller interface for my $5 hot-only temperature chamber. Digital output would interface to driver/relay turning on/off a 40W lightbulb inside the double layer styrofoam cooler enclosure. A/D input would monitor thermistor (or LM75) inside chamber providing temperature feedback and closing the loop with PC SW providing simple controller function. Fun!

  27. I’m wondering if this could be used as a cheap PSOC1 programmer. I had to buy a kit to get mines programmes but have already started reverse-engineering the protocol. I think a lof of people could appreciate these little things as the IDE is free and the only thing beside buying the chip is the propriotary progger. Now if one could illiminate the progger I think it could be an awesome, versitile chip.
    I’m still hoping for a PSoC3 board to check these out but I’m already amazed what the v1 can do.
    I found a whole bunch of v1s on some hardwere I took apart so I know what a popular choice they are!

  28. This seems to be a good small way to provide some simple automated commands for a CCD camera that i’m planning to send up in a weather balloon (i.e., fire the “shutter” every x seconds and/or change exposure length). Nice form factor and lightweight!

  29. using the littlewire i could implement an autonomous machine which would bootload the arduino firmware in the atmega chips to help me build a large batch of arduino’s rather than the tedious task of doing them individually.

  30. I never heard about Little Wire until now. I see that some examples are in C#. I am intrigued but that possibility. I heard that netduino uses C# for development. I think that C# is used for the PC side of the business.

  31. If I were to win the Little Wire, I would use it to stop Sky Net from sending a terminator back to kill John Connor. Or I would see if there are any uses for it when connect to a Raspberry Pi.

  32. I’m thinking anything that could use real time data from an array of sensors (photoelectric, temperature, any type of other transducers, etc…). Maybe hooked up to a server and use some sensors for authentication?

  33. I am working on BU Rocket teams DAQ and Avionics systems. The 2 Little Wire would be perfect for debugging and getting an understanding of our various devices which use I2C and SPI.

    Also, personally I would like to use it as a possible bridge for a Raspberry Pi for motor control and sensor readouts. Not quite sure how it will perform for this, but could be interesting.

  34. Well, I need an AVR programmer to program the bootloader of 25 arduino-based robots to turn them into real arduinos. I’m currently doing that with another arduino with arduino ISP sketch, but it’s not very handy. I also have plans to do more robot batches so a tool to program them quickly and simply will eventually become a must.

  35. With limited ressources, I would use it with a 18B20 to control a selenoid-valve for my pool solar panel heater. With an autotune PID if software ressources allows it.

  36. I have a phone that includes a built-in USB host (Nokia N8) so I would create a software interface to use the Little Wire from the phone as basically an expansion/IO port, taking advantage of the phone’s power.
    Some applications:
    1) use as a basic portable logic analyzer
    2) change timing on ATtiny based flasher units (bike lights, hazard triangles etc) in the field/during trials
    3) turn the phone into a GPS and accelerometer equipped data logger (think lap times with speed, acceleration, throttle position, brakes, temperature, etc)
    4) mobile targeting control for mechanized tennis ball cannon :D

  37. * ham radio QRP project
    * use to extend the features of my bus pirate
    * use with my msp430 launchpad custom boosterpack

  38. It could be great for getting to know ICs before developing with them. Accelerometers, gyros, shift registers. It would also make a good bridge between micros and USB.

  39. Ian,
    I would absolutely love to use this to make a modern hellschreiber transmitter that can use for simple telemetry received with my rtl-sdr dongle.

    1. I’d never heard of Hellschreiber before, it sounds great! The only issue is the Little Wire can’t function independently of a computing platform… in which case it would be easier to log the data onto said platform. However if one needed live telemetry (and making use of some onboard computer) Hellschreiber sounds like a great idea! Hackaday has been posting FM transmitters based solely on 555/Attiny so I doubt it would take much to implement. You’d lose a little bit of resolution because you’d have to add a transmit cycle in with all the read cycles, but I doubt telemetry is high-speed eough for that to matter.

  40. I would love to have one of these to replace the Sparkfun FTDI breakout that I damaged with my too-hot soldering iron. It would replace a serial cable that sets my ham radio to transmit (it works in concert with a pair of audio cables and allows me to use computer modes like radioteletype).

  41. This would be cool to have just to play with and figure out a project for it…never got anything from dangerous prototypes before!

  42. Would like to use it to fire shutter of a CCD & capture frames which can be later used to build a time lapse video.

  43. My wife and I are buying a new home the end of this mongh, and it has one of those old liquid mercury thermostats (you know, the round ones that you turn to set the temperature). Instead of buying a new thermostat like the nest for our house, it would be pretty awesome to build one! I should be able to add pretty much any functionality I want, and this might be a good starting point.

  44. The littlewire makes great demo-tool: In my server-room sits a large tape library with thousands of tapes. High managers like to visit the server room to see the expensive stuff they approved the budget for. Unfortunately the tape library just sits there idle as it works mostly at night (backups).
    A discrete button, attached via little wire to the backup server, will start a demon-script who shuffles a couple of tapes around. So there is activity and the manages are happily watching the robotics. Happy managers helps to get the next budget approved :-).

  45. Small footprint telescope auto-guider for taking my lightweight refractor to new heights – literally! I have the sturdy lightweight tripod ready for assembly, and am looking to keep the entire setup under 15 kilograms – 33 lbs for the metrically challenged. That would allow it to be carried up into the areas in the Adirondacks/Catskills/Green mts that are really dark while leaving capacity for other needed supplies.

  46. I want one!
    Seems to be much simpler for programming avrs (I’m using the simple ponyprog-parallel-port-programmer) especially with newer pc’s and notebooks without a parallel port

  47. Well .. I figure something so small yet so mighty should be perfectly fit for controlling a .5 hp electric motor I was gifted (origionally designed for opening industrial elevator doors) in a tablet controlled go-kart project?

    As to how exactialy, well I would have to figure out as I am just entering my electronics addiction and have yet to have access to such a device ^^

    (made by Otis elevator company)

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