Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Showcase your project: ultimate cat litter box

Monday, February 25th, 2013


This project by Greg is about building a smart litter box for his cats:

We have three cats and the litter is difficult to control. So I had been thinking through a project to build an enclosure. Once I stumbled on Arduino the doors of opportunity were opened. I ordered the electronics and got started on my project right away. So far the Arduino is activating exhaust fans, lightng, and a Lysol spray dispenser. It tracks the number of times the fans are activated and uses a piezo buzzer to alert a filter cleaning. I plan to use it to trigger cleaning based on usage and track each cats potties so we can control their stink before its too late.

A nice video about this project can be found on YouTube.

Data-logging made simple with Arduino

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

One of the best capabilities provided by Arduino regards its very high modularity, which helps users to quickly translate ideas into physical artifact, as practically demonstrated by Mauro, which shows on his blog how to build a simple data-logger by properly combining different shields. By using few additional components (mainly resistors and buttons) a fully-functional data logger can be easily implemented.

More information can be found here.

[Via: Mauro Alfieri's blog]

Enabling F-bus communications with Arduino

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

It’s always nice to see how creative makers approach communication issues in DIY projects, and today we would like to highlight the approach followed by Alex, from InsideGadgets.

On his website, he provides a detailed tutorial on how to use an old Nokia 6110 (or any derivatives) to send SMS messages by exploiting the Nokia’s F-bus, a simple bi-directional and full-duplex serial protocol.

After considerable reverse engineering work, made possible by useful online documentation, Alex finally managed to send a SMS from his Arduino board, connected to the phone, thanks to AVR libraries made available by AVRFreaks.

More information can be found on InsideGadget.

[Via: Inside Gadgets]

XBee-controlled 4WD wireless robot

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

In his blog, Michael describes a nice 4WD robot he realized by means of an arduino-compatible board, a motor shield and a couple of XBee radios, which have been used to implement a simple and effective remote control.

Actually, the remote is made up of a standard breadboard equipped with a joystick, a couple of buttons (that can turn the robot in a Kitt-like vehicle!) and the XBee radio. One interesting feature of this project is that the remote controller is fairly simple and has been designed to work with just the XBee radio board, instead of requiring an additional MCU.

More details can be found here.

[Via: Project Lab - Nootropic design]

Workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”: projects and outcomes

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Last July 23-27 2012, the workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”, organized by SUPSI within the summer school in “Digital Fabrication and Interaction Design”, has took place involving about 20 participants. This workshop has proved to be a very good approach to introduce future makers to the concepts of digital fabrication, prototyping and design of interactive objects.
On the workshop’s homepage, several prototypes and artifacts manufactured during the workshop are presented. Among them, it’s worth to mention Poetry Zoo, a set of laser-cut and RFID-equipped animals that generate poetries, The Sound of a Line, where simple melodies can be performed by using a ball with conductive ink in combination with a special glove, and Superfluo Shoes, a pair of shoes that react based on movement.
The complete list of projects developed during the workshop can be found on its official home page, while a personal view of this experience by Zoe Romano, who has taught at the summer school together with Massimo Banzi, can be found here.

[Via: homepage of the workshop and Zoe Romano's blog]

An open robot shield for Arduino

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Open Electronics‘ staff were looking for a common and standard hardware platform usable on different robots they were working on. Their goal was to find a single platform that had to provide power supply to the microcontroller, it had to provide stabilized voltage for the servos, and, finally, it had to be equipped with an obstacle detector and with an IR receiver.

Having chosen Arduino as the target core board, they developed an ad-hoc shield meeting all these requirements, whose detailed description can be found here, together with the BOM and a lot of source code.

[Via: Open Electronics]

Space experiments for everyone: the ArduSat project

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

ArduSat, which stands for “Arduino satellite”, is a recently kickstarted project that aims at developing an open platform usable to emulate space scientists:

Once launched, the ArduSat will be the first open platform allowing the general public to design and run their own space-based applications, games and experiments, steer the onboard cameras to take pictures on-demand, and even broadcast personalized messages back to Earth.

ArduSat will be equipped with several sensors (such as cameras, gyros, accelerometers, GPS and more) packed inside a small cube (the side will be approximately 10 cm long) that can be accessed through a set of Arduinos.

Once in orbit, the ArduSat will be accessible from the ground to flash the required firmware for the experiments and for getting back all the collected information. People interested in performing space experiments will have access to a ground replica of ArduSat explotable to test and debug their code before the actual deployment.

The project is very ambitious, and it is expected that such an open accessible space platform will have a considerable impact on how simple space experiments will be carried out in the forthcoming years, in the case of fundraising success.

You may find the Kickstarter page of the project here.

[Via: Hack A Day and Kickstarter]

An IBM Selectric II wishes to be a teletype

Friday, June 15th, 2012

In his blog, Marc from Robot Dialogs presents a very nice hack involving a IBM Selectric II typewriter: by means of an Arduino board and several solenoids, the typewriter can be successfully connected to a computer to emulate a vintage teletype.

The complete story can be found here, together with several videos about its development.

[Via: Hack A Day]

Some advances in aerial vehicles: bat-inspired smart wings

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Researchers from Centro de Automática y Robótica (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) and from Brown University carried out a very deep research about the specific behavior of bat flight, whose ultimate goal is to replicate the capabilities of bat’s wings by means of an ad-hoc designed micro aerial vehicle (MAV).

From the home page of the project:

[...] this research is oriented towards the development of a biological inspired bat robot platform, that allows to reproduce the amazing maneuverability of these flying mammals. The highly maneuverability is achieved by reproducing the flapping and morphing capabilities of their wing-skeleton structure. This structure is composed by several joints and a membrane that generates the required lift forces to fly.

To mimmic the muscular system that moves the joints of the wing-bones, Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) NiTi wires are used as artificial-muscles. Several challenges in controlling this SMA-based actuation system are regarded in this research.


Touché with Arduino

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Touché is a capacitive-sensing technology, developed by Walt Disney Research, which aims at providing touch and gesture sensitivity to a great variety of objects. From this research paper:

The technology is  scalable, i.e., the same sensor is equally effective for a pencil, a doorknob, a mobile phone or a table. Gesture recognition also scales with objects: a Touché enhanced doorknob can capture the configuration of fingers touching it, while a table can track the posture of the entire user.
The technique behind Touché is known as Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS): at a glance, by monitoring the capacitive response of an object over a specific range of frequencies (instead of a single one), it is possible to infer about its interaction with the outside world.
In his blog, Dzl describes his personal approach toward the development of a system capable to emulate Touché’s behavior with Arduino. Currently, the project is still in a early stage, but improvements and further developments are expected soon.
More information can be found here.
[Via: Geekphysical blog and Dzl's blog]
UPDATE 2012-06-02: you can now try out how to make it yourself following this instructable.