Arduino Uno-driven plotter uses rulers for arms

Arduino Team June 21, 2017

When you see a plastic ruler, you wouldn’t normally assume it was destined to become part of a CNC plotter. Maker “lingib,” however, realized their potential to be combined to form plotter arms, in this case actuated by two stepper motors.

The resulting build can expand and contract the resulting shape, allowing a pen at the end point of the two sets of rulers to move back and forth across a piece of paper. Necessary spaces in the plot are provided by a micro servo that can lift the pen/ruler off of the writing surface.

The device is powered by an Arduino Uno, which controls the two NEMA 17 stepper motors via a pair of EasyDriver Modules. You can find more details about how to create one of these, including code and how the geometry behind it works, on its Instructables page. Read the rest of this entry »

Face tracking with Arduino and Android

Arduino Team June 20, 2017

Computer vision has traditionally relied on an assortment of rather involved components. On the other hand, everything you need to do this complicated task is readily available on an Android phone. The clever setup seen in the video here uses a smartphone to capture and process images, then send out a signal over Bluetooth to tell which way the device needs to be adjusted in order to focus on a nearby face.

An HC-05 Bluetooth module receives this signal and passes it to two servo motors via an Arduino Nano, moving the phone left/right and up/down.

You can find the Arduino code for this project on CircuitDigest, and the Android Processing code can be downloaded there as a compressed folder. Read the rest of this entry »

Arduino-controlled frame makes objects move in slow motion

Arduino Team June 19, 2017

Though time may be relative, unless you’re planning on doing a lot of space travel, slowing things down in real life is “notoriously” difficult. On the other hand, with carefully-coordinated vibrations and lighting, the “sLOMO” device is able to make objects such as a feather or plant appear to move in slow motion with the naked eye.

Inspired by Jeff Lieberman’s Slow Dance Frame, this project is made out of a readily available IKEA Ribba frame, and the object inside vibrates using an electromagnet. An Arduino Nano controls this magnet and pulses a double-row LED strip, in order to make the item appear to slow down, or even distort itself into multiple overlapping images.

Read the rest of this entry »

A capacitive touch Jankó keyboard

Arduino Team June 12, 2017

If you have even a passing familiarity with how to play a piano, you know that there are a bunch of long white keys, with a lesser number of black keys in a nearly-universal arrangement. On the other hand, like the standard and much lesser-known Dvorak keyboard for typing, there are alternatives. One such alternative is the Jankó keyboard, which Ben Bradley decided to reconstruct for the Moog Werkstatt using a capacitive touch sensor setup.

His new instrument, which as of his write-up only had 13 keys connected, was constructed for the 2017 Moog Hackathon at Georgia Tech. It uses an Arduino Mega for control along with four MPR121 capacitive touch breakout boards, and as seen in the video below, can be played quite well after only one day of practice!

You can find more details on his build, including its Arduino code, on the Freeside Atlanta website and check out its feature on Hackaday here. Read the rest of this entry »

Experience the Internet through a modified rotary phone

Arduino Team June 12, 2017

A 2017 Core77 Design Award winner, the “Internet Phone” is an exploratory project that allows users to access websites with the nostalgic interface of a rotary phone.

For most of us the Internet is a mysterious black box that lets us read the news, watch videos or browse social media feeds. But how does the Internet work behind the scenes? Most our interaction with the Internet is through an intangible browser. What if we can make the Internet experience tangible and understandable?

In order to “get to” a certain page, one must look up a website’s IP address in a physical phonebook Internet directory and dial the necessary digits using the rotary. It then reads the website to the user via one of four different token-selected modes, including an “incognito” setting, which reads the site in a sort of computerized whisper.

The phone uses an Arduino for control, and was developed as part of a physical computer course taught by Dario Buzzini, Ankitt Modi, and… none other than Massimo Banzi. The device was put on display at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and the Langelinie Harbor, also in Copenhagen to amused and astonished responses.

Each step in the user experience is comparable to the process that a browser takes when retrieving a website. Looking up the IP addresses in a phone book is similar to how a browser gets an IP address from DNS (Domain Name System) directories. Dialing the twelve digits and waiting for the phone to retrieve the HTML content mimic how a browser requests data from servers. The voice-to-speech reading of the website is comparable to how a browser translates HTML and CSS code into human understandable content.

Read the rest of this entry »

PropHelix is an amazing 3D POV holographic display

Arduino Team June 9, 2017

Chances are you’re likely familiar with POV displays. These devices move through the air at a high enough speed to trick your eyes into thinking that a sequence of flashing lights is actually a solid image. Though interesting enough in two dimensions, LED aficionado “Gelstronic” decided to add more depth to his display, stacking 12 LED-enabled circuit boards in a helical pattern. This meant his project, dubbed “PropHelix,” can create a light display in not two, but three dimensions.

PropHelix’s LED pattern is controlled by an also-spinning Propeller board, powered by a wireless charging setup normally seen used with mobile phones. An Arduino Pro Mini in the base of the assembly takes care of making things spin at the correct speed via a multicopter-style ESC and brushless motor, while an encoder handles feedback. Read the rest of this entry »

Grandfather builds a backyard railroad with Arduino

Arduino Team June 7, 2017

If you want to truly impress your grandkids, and perhaps entertain yourself at the same time, there are many things you could do. Building a 1/4-size railroad, however, has to be close to the top of the list. This well-constructed model was inspired by a 1965 Popular Mechanics article, and includes a beautifully-painted engine, a 275-foot-long wooden track, and an engine house for storage and maintenance.

The engine is powered by two 24V 350W DC motors, which are controlled by an onboard potentiometer or remote signal, via an Arduino Uno. As an added bonus, the tracks have a designated crossing area for his lawn mower, along with a fully functioning warning signal using ultrasonic sensors and another Arduino. Read the rest of this entry »

A Paris-inspired, Arduino-powered binary clock

Arduino Team June 6, 2017

The La Fabrique DIY team has been working on a unique clock modeled after buildings seen along the Seine River in Paris. The “City Clock” is different from the others in that instead of a dial or decimal numbers, windows light up in a binary format, displaying the time in a binary sequence.

Electronics-wise, the clock can be made with an Arduino Uno, involving a fairly simple circuit with individual LEDs and resistors, as seen on this Imgur set. Also shown there is the Kickstarter version of the circuit, which amounts to a sort of gigantic shield that an Arduino Nano is plugged into.

With the City Clock, you calculate the time by adding every digit vertically. The first floor equals one, second equals two, third equals four, and the top equals eight. Using this system, it’s possible to create every digit from zero to nine by adding one number to another. Read the rest of this entry »

Computer gesture control via webcam and Arduino

Arduino Team May 31, 2017

While touchscreens are nice, wouldn’t it be even better if you could simply wave your hand to your computer to get it to do what you want? That’s the idea behind this Iron Man-inspired gesture control device by B. Aswinth Raj.

The DIY system uses an Arduino Nano mounted to a disposable glove, along with hall effect sensors, a magnet attached to the thumb, and a Bluetooth module. This smart glove uses the finger-mounted sensors as left and right mouse buttons, and has a blue circle in the middle of the palm that the computer can track via a webcam and a Processing sketch to generate a cursor position. Read the rest of this entry »

The ClearWalker is an 8-legged, Arduino-powered Strandbeest

Arduino Team May 30, 2017

What has eight legs, a tail, and is powered by an Arduino Mega? The ClearWalker, of course!

This Strandbeest-style walker employs two motors, controlled by individual H-bridge relay modules to traverse forwards, backwards, and slowly rotate to one side or another via a hesitating leg motion. You can see how the electronics (including a bunch of LEDs) were integrated into this build in the video below.

If you’d like to try a similar control scheme for your ClearWalker/Strandbeest/treaded vehicle using an Arduino and smartphone, you can find it outlined in this Arduino Project Hub post. For the rest of the steps in this quite involved build, and more rather zany inventions, be sure to check out the “Jeremy Cook’s Projects” YouTube page. Read the rest of this entry »