Archive for the ‘controllers’ Category

MaKey MaKey: how to turn anything into an input-device controller

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

MaKey MaKey

Jay Silver from SparkFun and Eric Rosenbaum from MIT kickstarted a very nice project, which lets you to convert almost everything into an input-device for your computer.

According to SparkFun:

MaKey MaKey allows you to turn almost any common object into an input-device for your computer. The front side of the MaKey MaKey board has six inputs: up/down/left/right arrow keys, spacebar and a mouse left-click. Using alligator clips you can hook those inputs up to anything that’s even slightly conductive – fruit, play-dough, water, pencil drawings, whatever you can dream up – which becomes a keyboard or mouse input to your computer. So you can play a banana piano, play-dough Mario, or even create custom webcam triggers.

As for the technical side, MaKey MaKey is based on Arduino Leonardo’s bootloader and on ATMega 32u4. From its kickstarter page:

It uses the Human Interface Device (HID) protocol to communicate with your computer, and it can send keypresses, mouse clicks, and mouse movements. For sensing closed switches on the digital input pins, we use high resistance switching to make it so you can close a switch even through materials like your skin, leaves, and play-doh.

A longer introduction to MaKey MaKey can be found on SparkFun, while a more comprehensive description can be found here, together with some funny videos about its use.

[Via: Sparkfun and Kickstarter]

Using Percussa’s AudioCubes with Arduino

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Percussa’s AudioCubes are wireless smart blocks for sound design, composition, live performance, music education and music app development.

They can sense your fingers and hands as well as each other’s location and orientation. They have built in RGB lighting for visual feedback.

Shaping sounds in this fashion is much more intuitive than using knobs:  rather than thinking about the particular setting a sound parameter should have, you can concentrate on the quality and timbre of the sound as you manipulate the sound, via MIDI,  using your hands and fingers.

 

Using Arduino, you’ll be able to control an analog synthesizer that use CV signals to modulate parameters like oscillator frequency, filter cutoff, or an amplitude envelope.

Details here.

Via [Percussa, Matrixsynth]

Using Percussa's AudioCubes with Arduino

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Percussa’s AudioCubes are wireless smart blocks for sound design, composition, live performance, music education and music app development.

They can sense your fingers and hands as well as each other’s location and orientation. They have built in RGB lighting for visual feedback.

Shaping sounds in this fashion is much more intuitive than using knobs:  rather than thinking about the particular setting a sound parameter should have, you can concentrate on the quality and timbre of the sound as you manipulate the sound, via MIDI,  using your hands and fingers.

 

Using Arduino, you’ll be able to control an analog synthesizer that use CV signals to modulate parameters like oscillator frequency, filter cutoff, or an amplitude envelope.

Details here.

Via [Percussa, Matrixsynth]

DIY Radio Control

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Going to buy a new Wireless Controller for your next Robotics project. Why buy a new one when you can Do-It-Yourself? All you need is an Arduino, an old Joystick with a Gameport (15-pin connector) and a pair of Series 1 xBee Modules.

The explanation of the xBee Configuration and the xBee Packet Description is very well done at the blog.

Block Diagram

Transmitter: Joystick + xBee [No additional hardware needed]
Receiver: xBee + Arduino + [your amazing Robot, Car or a Plane!]

Schematic

 

UnoJoy – A USB Joystick for Mac, PC, Linux or PS3

Monday, May 14th, 2012

There are people who use the Arduino for some serious electronics related stuff.

Then, there are folks who use it just for fun. Alan Chatham and his team over at UnoJoy have developed a concept for Arduino Uno based USB Controllers.

 

 

Here is an excerpt of our interview with Alan:

Me: What made you choose the Arduino Uno as the heart of the controller? There are many development boards available which incorporate an ATmega8U2/16U2 or even 32U2.

Alan: This is easy – everyone loves Arduino!  It comes down to ease of use and reach.  Our primary goal with this project is to make a tool that is both easy to use and accessible.  There’s lots of code out there to make joysticks with other chips, but all the Atmel USB chips are surface-mount, and they all need a whole big toolchain to use. Plus, USB is super-complicated, and we want to encourage people, even non-technical ones, to spend their time thinking up really sweet new ways to play games, not trying to figure out what an HID descriptor is for.  On the reach side of things, Arduino is a perfect platform – even those of us that love our inline assembly and fuse settings tend to have an Arduino around for quick prototyping, and of course, Arduino’s a great platform for students and designers.

 

Me: Any problems that you faced while developing the prototype?

Alan: I think the biggest challenge we faced was to make it much easier for non-experts to do some more complicated things, like re-flash the ATmega8u2 on the Arduino. Let’s face it, any instructions that open up with ‘First, install XCode’ aren’t exactly user-friendly. In that vein, I put together some simple one-click batch files for installing the appropriate drivers on Windows and OSX, as well as ones for reflashing the ATmega8u2 chip between Arduino and UnoJoy firmwares.  It’s still not as simple as I’d like, so if anyone out there is handy with basic OSX GUI application programming, or the program installation chain on Windows, drop me a line!

In the end, we’re hoping that our code and examples can inspire other designers and builders and gamers to make some really awesome controllers. If they do, I of course encourage them to send their pictures and videos our way, at unojoy.tumblr.com!

Now, you too can make yourself a USB Joystick/ Gamepad/ Controller by choosing any form of input that the Arduino boards can understand. The source code and all the necessary download files are available at Google Code. Don’t forget to check out the Controller for Gran Turismo:

 

 

Thank you Alan for sharing a wonderful project with us.

The age of the invisible steering wheel

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

A Nintendo Wii-remote along with bluetooth communication and an arduino gives us this magical cart with a wireless steering wheel.

These cool people are staunch DIY-ers and would love to see the community build more such vehicles.

The cart has two motors which use a chain to drive each of the rear wheels. A pair of H-bridge controllers let the Arduino interface with them. It’s also has a Bluetooth module that makes it a snap to pull accelerometer data from the Wii remote. The front end looks like it uses rack and pinion steering, but you won’t find a pinion or a steering column. Instead, a linear actuator is mounted parallel to the rack, moving it back and forth at the command of the Arduino.

The only downside I spot is the Battery life. I am sure that would be worked out too! Till then – Kudos to the inventors! I smell futuristic looking vehicle controls here. :)

Via:[Hackaday, NewsFactor]

Portal turret using MATLAB + Arduino

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

In the Maker’s own words:

This is the final project for my Advanced Mechatronics class at Penn State University. The robot is the skeleton of a turret from the game Portal that uses an IP webcam to track a target and fire nerf bullets at them. This is the current state of the robot as of 5/9/12, but I am currently molding a shell for the frame to make it look like the Portal turret, along with improving my code to make the tracking faster. All programming is done with MATLAB and Arduino. Enjoy!

Via:[Youtube]

Tetris using Arduino

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012


Tribute to Tetris using Snootlab Deuligne on an… by Snootlab

Okay, it is cool to see Tetris powered by Arduino. What is even cooler is that you can build your own one!

For the English readers (like me) here is a translated version of the discussions and details in the forum, and for the lucky French readers who wont lose information in translation the details are here.

All thanks to the nice people at Snoootlab.!

Via:[Dailymotion]

MAKEmatics – Mathematics for Makers

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Makers need to familiarize themselves with the core concepts and the theory involved in creating applications such as Motion Sensing and Face Tracking. As the technology is churning out new hardware day and night, DIYers need to work hard to keep up and always be in touch with the latest technology around them.

For example, anyone working with Accelerometers/ Gyroscopes or Inertial Measurement Units needs to understand the theory of Vectors, Force, Gravity and be able to work out complex mathematical problems. They may easily get an Arduino Board and an Accelerometer Breakout or an IMU Board and use a library instead of writing their own code but to truly understand the theory behind it; how the device actually works, is not for the faint of heart.

 

One such problem is the Face Tracking Application. Unless you know the real theory behind how the Algorithm actually works, you can only wonder about that robot which follows its master. Greg Borenstein had an idea of creating a website dedicated to this issue. Makematics – Math for Makers.

 

In an introductory post, Greg writes:

” I hope to show that a normal programmer with no special academic training can grapple with these areas of research and find a way in to understanding them. And as I go I aim to create material that will help others do the same. If I can do it, there’s no reason you can’t.”

More and more people should step forward and create or compile a good amount of research data to help fellow makers and DIYers in solving complex mathematical problems.

Arduino controlled catapult

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Want a timed egg thrower? Or a thrower triggered by motion?

A step-by-step instruction on how to make your own Arduino controlled catapult is here.

Looks like it can be built over a weekend!

Via:[Instructables]