Introduction: Noteu: USB Physical Notification Device

About: I have extreme enthusiasm and interest for learning and how things work. I like to learn, manipulate, invent and then market. This has led me to learn programming, web development, mobile application developme…

What is Noteu?

Please click below to visit our Kickstarter page for Noteu and if its of interest to you pre-order a production model.

Noteu is a USB device designed to notify you of anything on your computer or on the internet.

This can include everything from your CPU speed to a reminder 15 before a meeting by linking Google Calenders data and to telling you when your package entered the country through your package tracking code.

After learning a great amount about Arduino and computer programming it inspired me to make Noteu.

The Noteu's production model has a Atmega328 microcontroller at its core connected though the FTDI FT232RL usb to serial module. These chips were both used in the arduino duemilanove board. The Atmega328 is connected to a Hitachi HD44780 LCD and a piezo sensor and beeper. The piezo sensor is for detecting a tap on the top of the device to reset it. The beeper is used when a new notification has been displayed. Noteu is connected through USB-b and interfaces with either Java API's or GUI applications. Java API's can interface with all hardware and Java applications can interface with a huge amount of data online and on your computer and display real time notifications to you. The Ardunio sketch for the Atmega328 is also available for you programmers. Check out Kickstarter for more.

PCB (Gerber), 3D CAD (STP) and Java (.exe) files are currently in development however the front and back of the case files are attached. The Case, PCB and Java application will be finished and manufactured through injection moulding and PCB manufacturing in China and then assembled in England however this requires initial costs.

The prototype's case is made from vacuum formed 2.5mm acrylic through a MDF mould. In order to get a two piece case that snaps together you either need a 3D printer or injection moulding manufacture. By backing us at Kickstarter we can manufacture a Noteu with a two part 2mm glossy blue polycarbonate shell that snaps together.

Step 1: The Ways...

There is two ways to make this project.

The hard way and the easy way.

The easy way includes using Arduino ready boards and just connecting using using jumpers and a bit of programming. No soldering and major complexity needed. Due to my project not being fully completed I can't provide the necessary files for the PCB. However I will detail as much as my project I currently can.

Step 2: Creating Your Case

You need to create your case.

The CAD drawings attached can be used for dimensions and 3D printing.

For my prototype I made a mould from MDF and then vacuum formed it.

Step 3: Creating Your Circuit

My prototype circuit can be split into two parts. The Atmega328 microcontroller and the usb to serial adapter. The production circuit will use the Atmega and the FTDI FR232RL as the usb to serial converter however the FTDI chip is surface mount and requires a production PCB which is why I have used the adapter.

The Arduino duemilanove/uno board has both of these chips already together which can speed up the project a lot. Schematic and board layouts will be made available once the project has finished development though Kickstarter.

Below is full information on the Arduino and the LCD and how it can be programmed and used.

Arduino page on setting up LCD's:

Cheep LCD's :

Piezo sensors and beepers can be found at almost any electronic retailer.

Step 4: Programming...

This is the part that takes a lot of work.

The Arduino board must be programmed to accept serial text from your computer and then interface with the hardware.

For example you can program the Arduino board to write to the LCD every character received and everything you type though your computers serial prompt will be displayed on the LCD.

I wrote a sketch to interface the with LCD by associating functions with a single character. So if I sent this character though serial "-" it would clear the display and "*" would sound the beeper for 50ms. When the piezo registers a knock a "#" is sent though serial and can be received and interpreted by the java application and API's.

This is the approach to how its done.

The java applications and API's still requires work with my VPS (virtual private server) and PHP scripts to capture the requests made by the Java application and relay them onto say social networks to check if you have any new inbox's.

I have attached the sketch used with the Arduino and can be used within your serial prompt to interface with or you could create a processing sketch. The official software for Noteu is not production ready. Visit Kickstarter for more information.

Step 5: Support!

With your support though Kickstarter we can take this to production and place one in your hands along with all the files including updated case files, schematic, PCB, Arduino sketch, java application and API's.

All for you to use or play with.

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