Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

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.


DIY custom rugged Arduino

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

In this instructable, Dustin Andrews shows how to make a custom Arduino board, equipped with a lcd, a buzzer and a solid enclosure. Dustin’s goal has been to design a rugged Arduino version, that can be employed “as is” in many practical project, in place of a less solid breadboard-based solution.

The project is released under Creative Commons CC-BY license.

[Via: Instructables]

Mean Machines

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I am proud to announce the final show for the Physical Prototyping course at the BA in Interaction Design at the School of Arts and Communication at Malmo University, Sweden. This year our students got to work under the brief “Mean Machines” and a whole series of seriously nasty objects were produced as a result. There is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these objects in action by coming to K3 on Friday March 23rd between 11.00 and 18.00. There will be a guided tour at 17.00, don’t miss it!

As an example, here a picture of the All-In-A-Row keyboard, trying to slow down the typing experience to the maximum:


(c) 2012 by its authors, All In A Row Keyboard

I love the way Tony Olsson, the course’s instructor, introduces the final show:

As always its not officially spring until the bachelor students at the Interaction Design program in Malmö present their final exhibition for the Physical Prototyping 1 class. At this one day only event the student will introduce you to some rude, anti social, annoying and politically incorrect technology made with a whole lot of love.
So head over to Malmö University’s School of Arts and Communication (K3) on the 23rd of March.

The exhibition will open at 11.00 and at 17.00 there will be a guided tour where you will have the chance to meet up with the students behind these mean creations. The exhibition closes officially at 18.00 and then the unofficial party will start and move from K3 to continue elsewhere through the night.

You can find K3 on this map.

As a side note, Tony is also known for being behind the Open Softwear book.


Arduino-Driven Content-Sensitive TV Mute

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Matt Richardson has a great blog post on Make about using an Arduino to read the closed-captioning stream from a TV using a video experimenters shield, then muting the TV whenever the name of an annoying celebrity is heard. Besides being a great idea, it’s a nicely made explanatory video.  Nice work, Matt!


Matt Richardson's TV muter project. Image from



Arduino meets Google Voice with the Verbalizer

Monday, June 27th, 2011

NYC-based interactive advertising agency and research lab Breakfast NY, in collaboration with Zach Eveland, just released The Verbalizer, an open source board based on Arduino, to use with Google Voice’s search for desktop.

The Verbalizer connects wirelessly to a personal computer via Bluetooth. When you trigger it, it opens in a new tab and activates Voice Search. An audio notification is played, signaling when google is ready for your queryYou speak into the mic, and the query starts. Breakfast released all the plans and firmware appropriately, and left some I/O pins open for those who want to play with it.


The Verbalizer



Pretty neat, and nice to see folks inching toward consumer devices with Arduino inside.

The Rhythm of City

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

This is an art project born as the collaboration between Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet. During the last couple of years they have been collaborating in the creation of several interactive installations, some of them containing Arduino boards. The Rythm of City is about to be presented in the following weeks at the Czec Festival Enter5 and has pretty good online documentation, so I think it is interesting to show it here.


2011 Rythms by Canet and Guljajeva

(c) 2011 Rythms by Canet and Guljajeva

The Rhythm of City(2011) is a mixed reality real-time artwork that applies geo-located social data for an artistic purpose. It is an art installation that explains in original way digital geo-located social content and characterizes cities [...] Moreover, we would like to give an alternative meaning and purpose to the location-specific invisible online data. In short, the artwork makes invisible information visible and even audible.

[...] Important thing is that we do not rely on single social network but multiple. At the moment we are applying Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. We plan extend our selection.

The installation controls 10 metronomes via servomotors using one Arduino Mega2560, The data to decide whether the metronome should be active and how active it should be is taken from geo-tagged posts to social networks. The following video hints how it works with 5 linked cities represented by 5 metronomes:

For more information visit Varvara Guljajeva or Mar Canet‘s personal websites, this blog explaining the process, the technical diagram, or the festival page with information where to see the piece in action this April.

Whatever happened, Happened

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011


(c) 2011 Courtesy of D. Palacios

“Whatever happened, Happened” is the title of Daniel Palacios’ latest work (WhH), powered by an Arduino Uno, representing the flow of time, how hard it is to stop it, and the human need for a point of reference to compare to. In his own words:

WhH is a machine which creates growth rings in a section of virgin wood, so that we may be part of a process which we believed before to be foreign to us, because we weren’t capable of perceiving it.

The machine engraves concentric rings in the wood surface by laser, so that the result is closer to reality than a computer-generated graphic. It is just as important that the graphic is realised slowly over time, involving external factors which could affect the process, separating us from the instantaneousness of a printer in order to understand the process that it is giving at that exact instant, while confronting the vision we are accustomed to, because we will always be able to make a comparison with the rings that it already drew at the moment of our visit.

Every day the machine begins drawing a new ring, taking as a reference point the shape of the previous one from the day before. However, the distance of this and variation of its perimeter with be directly tied to the number of people in the hall and their movements; this will also affect the number of passes the machine makes over the ring throughout the day, thus influencing its thickness and depth.

Daniel is known for his pieces including microcontroller technology. His first solo piece Waves that represented sound physically ran on an Arduino Diecimila using a bunch of PIR sensors and some relays, OutComes was a collection of human-size antennas made of pipes that would play depending on how people affected the electromagnetic field of a room stuffed with those (he made his own Arduino derivatives for this project), and now WhH is a self-made laser engraver replicating the growth of a tree running on Arduino Uno that reads information from the room.




(c) 2011 Courtesy of D. Palacios

Something I like from Daniel’s work is that he is happy to share. All his pieces come with the technical description on how he made them. And a CC-SA-NC license that will allow you replicating his work. This link will give you the information about WhH.

For more information, visit Daniel Palacios’ website.

Great work from OCAD Students

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Kate Hartman’s students at Ontario College of Art & Design have been doing some excellent projects using wearable technology to examine our relationship to our bodies.  Using sewable circuits, LilyPad Arduinos, and a lot of creative thought, they’ve come up with a range of projects, some thought-provoking, some humorous, some both, that will make you think twice about your body.

I am Woman hear me beep by Amanda Almeida, Erin Lewis, Loretta Faveri

The Shoulder by Michael Vaughan, Andrea Rataj, Hira Gardezi

The Heart Chakra by Katherine Dark, Hilary Hayes-Wilson, and Ken Leung

The Nipple byRachel Kess & Elija Hayden Montgomery

Check out the Social Wearables as well.


Learn programming playing cards

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Let’s say you are 9 and you want to learn how to program … syntax is hard, and it is usually one of the issues I find when teaching. But also, language is problematic, not everybody speaks/reads/writes English and most programming languages are written in English … Arduino’s is not an exception. The guys at Complubot are into something interesting when it comes to learn programming. They are now in the third iteration of a cardgame (name to be decided)  using the Arduino syntax.


(c) 2010-2011

The idea behind the game is simple. The players get some cards representing parts of a program and their goal is collecting points. You get one point for every card you put on the desk and twice as many if you are closing a command. The player with the bigger amount of points when someone is closing the loop is the winner. Closing the setup or loop functions will give you 10 points at once.


(c) 2010-2011 Complubot

Players are allowed to place cards on the desk as long as they are making sense with whatever has been placed already. E.g. you cannot build the line “digitalWrite( LUZ, valor );” if “LUZ” or “valor” haven’t been declared earlier on in the program.

I played one match this Saturday night and I realized how easy it becomes to discuss about programming when sitting around the table dealing with small Lego pieces as a currency. I could explain the idea of precompilation in a such an easy way that I am still amazed by it. Complubot is making a terrific job in teaching kids how the world of electronics works. Remember they are in a campaign to gather the funding they need to build their next generation competition robots. Just follow this link and send them some of your appreciation.

PS. as for the game, they will release it together with the design files once the rules are a more set, there are still some flaws that have to be polished :-)

PS2. more pictures can be found here.

PS3. yeah, I lost the game … I am pretty bad playing whatever game

Contributions needed

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I have been blogging a couple of times about the Complubot robotics team. It is the robotics team made of kids, based in Madrid, that has won the class B Soccer world championship the last 3 years. The team has existed for over 8 years and has until now had a list of dedicated sponsors to help them build the robots for the next competition.


(c) 2010 Complubot, Trophies

It is a rule that the robots have to be build by the kids. The whole process is open source, since they kids have to present publicly how they made the robot as a proof they didn’t get any external help with it. I have been making personal donations to the team in the form of boards during the last year. Now, that all their big sponsors fell off, it has become time for crowdsourcing their activities.

This is a call for you all with either the materials or the money needed by this kids to get their robots running to donate. Please visit their website, get to know their story (EN, ES), and contribute! At their website you will as well find how to make your own Arduino based robot using servos, how kids can build Paperduino boards, or explanations to the way they teach algorithms using theater. Remember, 25Eur are cool, but 100Eur are much cooler … and even more when you know they will help these kids education.



(c) 2010 Complubot, Theatrical Algorithms

Their total budget needs sum 4450Eur. If you want to know how the money will be spent, take a look at the following shopping list:

This list includes the equipment needed for us to finish our robots. It includes just what we need to make it to the competition.

  • 10 – Set motor-gear-encoder
  • 3 – Digital compass
  • 12 – LIPO batteries
  • 4 – LIPO battery chargers
  • 3 – Power Supply 12V/10A
  • 6 – Arduino Motor Shield
  • 10 – 12V DC motores
  • 15 – Ultrasound sensors
  • 64 – IR receivers
  • 6 – Atmega328p processors
  • 3 – Arduino Mega
  • 3 – Arduino Mega Sensor Shield
  • 3 – Arduino Nano
  • 3 – Arduino Nano Sensor Shield
  • 3 – OLED Module
  • 4 – Electromagnetic actuator
  • 2 – Metallic molds for working with carbon fiber
  • Bolts and screws in M3 and M2.5 of different lenghts
  • Bolts and screws in nylon M3 of different lengths
  • Cables, connectors and other electronic components
  • PCB manufacturing materials
  • Epoxy and other types adhesives


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