Welcome to Connect AnyThing

This website is designed to support classroom teachers, volunteers, and staff in museums, libraries, and Maker spaces, basically anyone engaging new audiences in design, prototyping, and tinkering with electronics. The Getting Started guide will help you prepare everything you need for six different hands-on projects. Documentation and resources (including images and video) provide step-by-step instructions for fun and exciting projects. Activities build upon one another, developing deeper concepts and skills.

What's CAT, and why use it?

Connect AnyThing (CAT for short) transforms the Intel® Galileo into a Wi-Fi hotspot, making it possible to access projects from any connected mobile device (for example, a cell phone, laptop or tablet). CAT requires a brain, in this case the Intel® Galileo Gen 2 Arduino-certified board. Based on Intel architecture, Galileo incorporates a bit more processing power than a standard Arduino microcontroller, enabling tinkerers to incorporate Linux* into Arduino sketch programming. If Galileo and CAT are new to you, have no fear because this curriculum is designed to enable both beginners and experienced DIY electronics enthusiasts to get up and running with a project (prototype) right away.

Galileo is extended by CAT to create an amazing classroom tool that allows students, teachers and tinkers alike to create, connect, and play with exciting projects. Educationally speaking, CAT allows students who have no prior knowledge of electronics or physical computing to engage hands-on with building of circuits, “programming” interactions and using electronics embedded in things.



CAT Leverages the Computational Power of the Intel Galileo


Using CAT in the classroom generates a high degree of excitement and engagement for participant at all levels of knowledge and understanding. When paired with basic craft materials and simple prompts, learners are unleashed to create elaborate (sometimes whimsical) projects in a matter of minutes. Experiencing technology through a simple craft project takes out the anxiety of something new, providing context and a clear path to engage.



CAT makes this technology approachable. Support materials in print and digital formats use the CAT Development kit to make these electronics projects approachable. The Maker model of creating things, combined with simple hardware and software, are key to success for volunteers and teachers leading this curriculum.

Getting Started

The getting started guide is designed for someone who wants to start using the Connect AnyThing Development Kit in the classroom either as a volunteer or as a teacher. The guide takes the user through 1.)building up the kit to be classroom ready, 2.)downloading and installing the Connect AnyThing image onto a microSD card and 3.)testing it to make sure everything works. Once this is complete feel free to explore the curriculum below and give us any feedback in the comment section of this page. Have fun and Connect AnyThing!

The CAT Kit

If you are using the SparkFun CAT Development Kit you are all set for getting up and running. As you unpack your kit make sure to double check the contents before starting a workshop or class. Here is a list of the parts that should be included in each kit as well as an image for quick reference. If you are using a kit that has already been used in a prior workshop please double check the contents as well as the assembly instructions below.


Building up the Galileo

There is a bit of assembly required for the kit. Don't be too intimidated, if you can turn a screw driver you are good to go! The first step is to unwrap the Galileo, wireless card and PCI-E extension bracket. You should have these parts in front of you as well as a small Phillips screwdriver.

Wireless card and mounting bracket
Wireless Card and Extension Bracket

The wireless card enables CAT to connect to a network, or serve as a wireless hotspot to connect with other mobile devices. Build the assembly before attaching it to the Intel Galileo! attach the card extension bracket to the wireless card. The extension bracket includes four screws, you will only use two of them for attaching the bracket to the card. The bracket has two offset flanges that attach to the card. You can mount the bracket to either side of the card as long as the body of the bracket is flush with the printed circuit board (PCB) of the wireless card.

Wireless card and bracket are flush
Wireless Card and Bracket Assembly Completed

Once you have the bracket mounted to the wireless card you can now mount the whole thing on the Galileo. You will find a high-speed Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI-E) slot on the bottom of the Galileo. The wireless card can only be inserted one way. Insert the wireless card and align the bracket to the plastic mounting clasps on the back of the Galileo Board. Take great care to align the plastic clasps to the holes in the bracket, they snap off easily if you try to force the bracket.

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Final Wireless Card Assembly Attached to the Back of the Galileo

The next step in assembly is to add standoff legs to the Galileo so that it sits level on your desktop. Find the small packet of standoffs as well as the baggy that includes four cap screws and an Allen wrench. Screw four standoffs to the bottom of the Galileo, one at each corner. Make sure to tighten these well, as they tend to work themselves loose over time.

Standoffs, cap screws and Galielo board
Adding Standoff Legs to the Galileo

If you're using a previously used kit, and you find that yours is missing one or more of the standoff legs, extra standoffs are included and you can find more screws at any local hardware store. The threads of the standoffs are Standard 4-40.

The final step in the assembly process is to add the ProtoCAT Shield to the Galileo. The ProtoCAT Shield (in Red) was developed by the SparkFun Education team to simplify the hookup of sensors and actuators to the Galileo. The goal of the shield is to enable the user to simply and quickly prototype a project idea with little to no instruction or prior knowledge of circuit building or electronics.

Proto CAT Shield ready for placement
The Galielo and ProtoCAT Shield

The Shield has a number of legs sticking out of it that align with the headers on the Galileo. Take the shield and align all of the pins so that they all insert into the male pin headers on the Galileo. Once aligned, firmly pressed down on the shield so that all of the pins insert fully into the Galileo. Double check that all of the pins are aligned and inserted correctly. Your Galileo should now look like the following image.

Proto CAT shield in place on the Galileo
Final Placement of the ProtoCAT Shield

Installing Connect AnyThing

The software that runs Connect AnyThing needs to be placed on the microSD card that is included in the kit. The card comes with a USB adapter needed to install the software. Open the package and remove the card as well as the adapter. Insert the microSD card into the adapter as shown below.


MicroSD card and USB Adapter

Download the latest version of the software required directly from the link below. If you are interested in the details of the software, or update information you can visit the projects GitHub page here.

Download the Current Version of Connect AnyThing

When the software file has downloaded you can unzip or unpack the folder to the desktop of your computer or a place that is handy for you. Once you move the files to the MicroSD card you will no longer need them on your computer. Open the folder and you should see something that should look like the screen capture below.


File Directory Structure of your Download Should Look Like This

If you haven't done so already, plug the USB adapter with the MicroSD card into an open USB port on your computer. It will show up as an external drive. Open it and copy all of the files from the unzipped folder directly into your MicroSD card. Do not copy the folder itself!

Once you complete copying the files over,check to ensure the directory of your MicroSD card matches the contents of the downloaded folde. Eject the MicroSD card from your computer, remove it from the USB adapter and insert it into the MicroSD card slot on the Galileo. The card should be text facing up to insert correctly.


Insert the MicroSD Card with Text Facing Up

Test Connect AnyThing

Now comes the fun part, seeing if everything works! Find the power supply for the Galileo. It should have the two prongs with holes in them attached. If you are in a different country other than the US, we have included all of the international plugs that originally come with the Galileo. Insert the power cable barrel jack into the Galileo , and plug in the transformer to a wall socket to power it up.


Powering up the Galileo

Once you power up the Galileo you should see a few lights blinking next to the USB port. It should take about 2 minutes for the Galileo to boot Connect AnyThing, be patient! After about two minutes of boot up, use the wireless connection software on your computer or cell phone to check your wireless networks. You should see a new wireless network available, with the ID of ConnectAnyThing_XXXXX, where XXXXX = last 5 MAC address digits. You can find the MAC address of your Galileo printed on a sticker on the ethernet port. Select this new CAT network, and connect to your CAT.


MAC Address of Your Galileo is on the Ethernet Port

Once you connect to the ConnectAnyThing network depending on your browser settings, a web browser should automatically open the URL "cat.com". If the browser does not automatically open you may have to do it manually. Open a browser window and go the URL "cat.com". Your browser will navigate to the web page being broadcasted by the Galileo and you should see something similar to this.

Congratulations! If you get this far into Connect AnyThing, you're good to go!

As an option (for your own sanity), if you're dealing with younger students and/or want a more friendly network name for each Galileo you can click on the small gear icon at the top of the window. This will open the CAT settings window. You have two options here. The first allows you to rename your Galileo. Feel free to rename it to whatever you would like and submit. The change will take place the next time you power the Galileo up. You can also reset to factory settings, recommended after the kit has been used a few times to clear the names and settings of previous uses.

Now you're good to go! Your next step is to dive into the Curriculum, starting with Activity 1 below. Each curriculum module has an instructor guide, materials needed to accomplish the project, instructional slide decks and handouts. If you have any questions feel free to ask us at education@sparkfun.com.

Curriculum Breakdown

Each activity is designed to take a standard class period, or about 1 hour. Projects are designed to build upon one another, starting with project 1. Each activity relies on prior knowledge learned in previous activities, growing in complexity. Project 1 is designed as a stand-alone introduction for Intel volunteers and teachers alike. Projects 2 through 5 enable teachers and volunteers to take Connect AnyThing further, exploring systems thinking and rapid prototyping with participants.

This curriculum is organized for self-guided instruction and exploration. Each activity is designed for short introduction by the instructor, leaving more self-guided time for participants. Templates for printed project “placemats” and component flash cards are included for download with each activity. Placemats provide wiring diagrams for projects they are working on, plus reference materials to help them construct their own knowledge around CAT. To foster play and experimentation, each group receives a set of component flash cards to (hopefully) trigger students' curiosity. You may wish to encourage experimentation, inviting them to swap out sensors and actuators in their project to try something new.

Each project includes a list of recommended tools and materials in bullet-pointed lists. For convenience, we included Office Depot wish lists (handy for those who use Office Depot as a vendor). Feel free to use whatever materials you like, or have students bring materials to donate. Have fun, and build something cool!

Introduction

The introductory project to using Connect AnyThing (CAT) is to build a simple but artistic night light using CAT and basic craft supplies that are usually found in the classroom. This project engages students in hands on exploration of a system.

Instructional Materials

Follow-up Materials

Construction Materials

This list of tools and materials is a limited set to get you and your students up and running. Please add any materials, tools or techniques that fit your classroom. You should take the concept of this project and apply it to different fields, themes or topics to leverage the creativity of your students.

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Guns + Hot Glue
  • Tape
  • Manila file folders
  • colored construction paper
  • colored pens
  • stickers

Link to Office Depot Wish list

Going Further

Light

Light is a useful tool for the electrical engineer. Understanding how light relates to electronics is a fundamental skill for many projects.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Learn the basics about LEDs as well as some more advanced topics to help you calculate requirements for projects containing many LEDs.

Polarity

An introduction to polarity in electronic components. Discover what polarity is, which parts have it, and how to identify it.

Analog vs. Digital

This tutorial covers the concept of analog and digital signals, as they relate to electronics.

Introduction

Taking the concept of the night light further, students design and create a light box sculpture. Students will learn to use multiple LEDs in the project while exploring the artistic properties of light, color and the figure/ground relationship. These light boxes could be abstract or rooted in reality, it is up to the student!

The theme of this project is how surfaces reflect and absorb light. White reflects light and black absorbs it, your students will use these properties to their advantage when designing a light box. Also think about the concept of back-lighting materials. Some materials allow light to pass through and some do not. The differences between opaque, translucent and transparent are great concepts to discuss with students when working with light. How could your students make a spotlight, or make an object glow?

This project could also have an alternative narrative to it; have students create a city scene or skyline and light it either as a static scene, or with animated characters and a sky that changes color based on sensor inputs such as noise or light levels in the room.

Instructional Materials

Construction Materials

This list of tools and materials is a limited set to get you and your students up and running. Please add any materials, tools or techniques that fit your classroom. You should take the concept of this project and apply it to different fields, themes or topics to leverage the creativity of your students.

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Guns + Hot Glue
  • Tape
  • Copy Paper
  • colored construction paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Shoe Box
  • Velum or other translucent materials

Link to Office Depot Wish list

Going Further

What is a Circuit?

Every electrical project starts with a circuit. Don't know what a circuit is? We're here to help.

Light

Light is a useful tool for the electrical engineer. Understanding how light relates to electronics is a fundamental skill for many projects.

Pulse-width Modulation

An introduction to the concept of pulse width modulation.

Series and Parallel Circuits

An introduction into series and parallel circuits.

Introduction

Machines are a big part of how we live, work and play. Many objects that we use on a daily basis use motors of different kinds. For example a servo motor is a motor that can be controlled to rotate to a certain angle. You can use that to your advantage to animate certain things or build things move in a certain way at a certain time. A great example is a robotic arm or an electric latch on a door.

When paired with different types of linkages and connectors servo motors can animate machines. In this project you are going to use a servo motor to control a balance beam and build a simple desktop game. The goal of the game is to keep a marble on the balance beam but move it as close to the end as possible.

Play around with different types on inputs to control your balance beam. Which ones work the best? Which ones are easier to control? Which ones are harder? The standard input included with the lesson covers using Controller Mode as an input from a wireless device.

A classroom challenge is to line all of the balance beams up and have them pass a marble from one to the other; from one end of the room to the other without dropping it. It's fun and frustrating at the same time!

Instructional Materials

Construction Materials

This list of tools and materials is a limited set to get you and your students up and running. Please add any materials, tools or techniques that fit your classroom. You should take the concept of this project and apply it to different fields, themes or topics to leverage the creativity of your students.

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Guns + Hot Glue
  • Tape
  • Manilla file folders
  • colored construction paper
  • colored pens
  • stickers

Link to Office Depot Wish list

Going Further

Motors and Selecting the Right One

Learn all about different kinds of motors and how they operate.

Galileo Experiment Guide

Learn how to work with the Galileo with this Awesome experiment guide! Follow 16 experiments to become a Galileo all-star.

SIK Experiment Guide for Arduino - V3.2

The SparkFun Inventor's Guide is your map for navigating the waters of beginning embedded electronics. This guide contains all the information you will need to explore the 16 circuits of the SparkFun Inventor's Kit, 16 circuits of the SparkFun Arduino Kit, 8 circuits of the RedBoard Starter Kit.

Introduction

We all have fond memories of using the plastic Spirograph sets as a kid. Making rainbow colored and dizzying patterns with every pen we could find in the house. I don't know about you, but my hand would start hurting after a couple dozen spins around the page. I thought to myself, "Why not have a robot do this for me?".

Enter the CAT version of the Spirograph! The basic premise is spin the piece of paper and move the pen back and forth. You can do this with the CAT Kit by using the hobby motor to spin the piece of paper on an old CD and then use the servo to move your pen back and forth.

The creative part of this project is the control system is left up to you in terms of inputs. Use the sensor you have to control the speed of the piece of paper and the servo arm that holds the pen. You can choose to use CAT in Controller Mode and control it from your mobile device or build your own interface from the sensors in the kit. The sky is the limit here. Get building!!!

Instructional Materials

Construction Materials

This list of tools and materials is a limited set to get you and your students up and running. Please add any materials, tools or techniques that fit your classroom. You should take the concept of this project and apply it to different fields, themes or topics to leverage the creativity of your students.

  • Scewers or large popcicle stick
  • Hot Glue Guns + Hot Glue
  • Large Diameter Straw
  • Shoe Box
  • Colored Construction Paper
  • Colored Pens
  • Stickers
  • Compact Disks
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Washers

Link to Office Depot Wish list

Going Further

Galileo Getting Started Guide

An introduction to the Arduino/Intel Galileo, and how to begin using the nifty x86, 400MHz Arduino.

Galileo Unread Email Counter

How to create a simple unread-email checker with the Intel/Arduino Galileo.

Alternative Arduino Interfaces

We admit the Arduino IDE isn't for everyone. Here are some other options for programming your Arduino boards, including web interfaces and graphical programming languages.

Galileo Experiment Guide

Learn how to work with the Galileo with this Awesome experiment guide! Follow 16 experiments to become a Galileo all-star.

Introduction

Doesn't everyone need a digital garden? Inspired by Alice in Wonderland this project is for those with digital green thumbs. The goal is to create something that is beautiful and interactive with a hint of the organic. Students will use all that they have learned up to this point to make digital flowers light up, bloom or different things spin as part of an experience.

Using drink straws as a flower stem allows you to have things pop out or retract. Feathers are a great substitute for flower pedals and can be compressed into a straw to later pop up. Put the motors to good use to make things spin and move or make noise.

A great alternative project to this is to create a digital kaleidoscope where students build a device that has spinning disks with holes punched into them of different shapes and sizes. They then shine different colored LEDs through the disks onto the backside of a piece of paper. You can then view a light show from the front of the piece of paper. The project could be extended by making it interactive and connecting sensors to the motor speed or the LEDs.

This project is intended to be an opened ended capstone project for students. The instructional materials around this project are designed to equip students with peripheral knowledge around some basic mechatronics and cardboard automata, many of the concepts used in the materials are inspired and borrowed from the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium. You can find their materials here if you want to go deeper into cardboard Automata.

Instructional Materials


Construction Materials

This list of tools and materials is a limited set to get you and your students up and running. Please add any materials, tools or techniques that fit your classroom. You should take the concept of this project and apply it to different fields, themes or topics to leverage the creativity of your students.

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Guns + Hot Glue
  • Tape
  • Manilla file folders
  • colored construction paper
  • colored pens
  • stickers
  • Drink straw
  • Costume feathers
  • Printed Duct Tape

Link to Office Depot Wish list

Going Further

Pushing Data to Data.SparkFun.com

A grab bag of examples to show off the variety of routes your data can take on its way to a Data.SparkFun.com stream.

Alternative Arduino Interfaces

We admit the Arduino IDE isn't for everyone. Here are some other options for programming your Arduino boards, including web interfaces and graphical programming languages.

Box Monster

This hands-on workshop for middle school kids invites them to build their very own interactive monster.

Connecting Magic

Connecting Magic is a hands-on activity that encourages makers to perform “magic” with sensors and actuators.

Fwooosh Ball

What happens when you leave the Open Design team with a Galileo and a bunch of office supplies? Fwooshball!

Spin Ball

Learn about Spinball (Fwooshball’s descendant) – a competitive, multiplayer “pinball” game controlled by sensors

*Intel® and Intel brand names used by permission. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

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