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NerdKits Newsletter Archives » NerdKits Newsletter #6 - Interrupts Video, DEMO Conference, and Video Contest

October 06, 2009
by mrobbins
(NerdKits Staff)

mrobbins's Avatar

This newsletter was released on October 6th, 2009.

Hi! This is the sixth edition of the NerdKits Newsletter which we publish ~monthly to keep you and the world up to date with everything going on at NerdKits.

In this issue:

  1. New Video Tutorial! - All About Interrupts
  2. NerdKits Attends DEMO Conference
  3. New Video Competition - Submit Yours Today
  4. Halloween Approaches

NEW VIDEO TUTORIAL - Interrupts: Interfacing a Microcontroller with a PS/2


As part of our continuing mission to bring you top notch educational videos covering all aspects of microcontroller programming, we published a new video tutorial about interrupts last month. The video tutorial covers the concepts behind interrupts, and why they can be very useful in advanced microcontroller programming. Since at NerdKits we take a learn-as-you-do approach, we put together a quick project that allows you to hook up a normal computer PS/2 keyboard to your NerdKit, and read the keystrokes to the LCD display. The protocol for the PS/2 keyboard is simple enough that it still let us focus on how we used interrupts to implement the protocol, and how to think about interrupts more generally in your own projects.

If have ever been curious about using interrupts on your NerdKit, check out the video tutorial:


In mid-September the NerdKits team got the opportunity to attend the DEMOfall '09 Conference ( DEMO is one of the premier conferences for new technologies and new companies. All the companies debuting at DEMO were launching their product for the first time, and we were there to enjoy the presentations and chat with both seasoned and first-time entrepreneurs.

We had a great time at the conference, and learned a lot about start up companies. At least we learned that we are not completely crazy to keep going with a dream like NerdKits! During the first day of the conference, we noticed that the people from LeapFILE ( all had little LED displays mounted on their name badges. Well, being the electronics nerds that we are, we went home that night and decided to "one-up" them. Here are some photos of the conference and our improved badges, Humberto's featuring the randomly blinking LEDs from the LED Heart project, and Mike's with the LCD attached running a modified version of the sound meter:

NEW VIDEO COMPETITION - Submit yours today

Even from the very beginning, NerdKits as a company has been a home-brew project. We started shipping kits out of our basement, built our own website, filmed our own TV commercial:

and have done pretty much every aspect of running this business ourselves. This do-it-yourself spirit is very much at the core of what NerdKits is trying to teach, so we take great pride in having grown our business from scratch and in learning as we go. However, we are engineers, not marketing geniuses. Although we have tried many different approaches in the past to describe "what NerdKits is," we have always found it difficult to concisely put into words (or pictures) something that wholly embodies the NerdKits experience, especially since one kit can take on so many different projects and concepts.

If NerdKits is to grow and prosper, we need to find a way to better explain and market NerdKits to prospective customers. But instead of hiring some fancy marketing company, we are asking for your help. After all, who better to tell us why someone would buy a NerdKit, than the people who are already enjoying theirs!

So as of today we are launching a new competition: send us your ideas of how you would sell a NerdKit to someone who has never heard of us before. How would you explain what a microcontroller is? What is most exciting about electronics and programming and the projects you can build? And how does NerdKits help you learn what you need to get there? Pitch your idea to us via e-mail, or put together a YouTube video with your idea, or shoot a full commercial yourself! We will be rewarding the best, the most creative, and maybe those that make us laugh the most, with credit to our store.

Please submit your ideas to:


Halloween is fast approaching, and with a little bit of planning, you can make a unique and spooky decoration using your microcontroller skills! From a Jack-o-latern with PWM-controlled LED eyes, to playing strange synthesized noises through the piezoelectric buzzer, to actuating servos and motors and other gizmos, we hope that our various video tutorials will empower you to do something that really stands out, especially if you have lots of trick-or-treaters coming by in your neighborhood.

Post your results on our forums!


Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for being such great customers. Make sure you tell your friends and neighbors about NerdKits so we can keep the world's DIY spirit alive (now with NerdKits in 42 countries)!

Best wishes,

Humberto & Mike
NerdKits, L.L.C.

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