Ancient CRT monitor revived using an Arduino Uno

Arduino Team May 16, 2017

Hacker “MmmmFloorPie’s” senior project in college, in 1989, was a device based on the venerable Motorola 6800 chip that could record and play back sounds. It could also display these recorded waveforms on a monochrome CRT monitor. The monitor in question was purchased as a bare CRT for $20, and mounted in the cardboard box it was shipped in. Various risks aside, it’s quite an impressive setup.

As with many projects that seemed very cool at the time, this one sat in ‘FloorPie’s garage for many years, until it was finally powered up many years later. Naturally it didn’t work, but instead of giving up, an Arduino Uno shield was made in the form of the 68000 motherboard to send it the required signals. Read the rest of this entry »

Turn your door into an ‘alien portal’ using Arduino

Arduino Team May 15, 2017

As YouTuber Evan Kale puts it, his set is was kind of boring. He decided to spruce things up by turning his ordinary door into an “alien portal,” lining it with a strip of RGB LEDs. Though this may not be the first time you’ve seen this type of lighting in action, he directs our attention to a few interesting details about using them in typical Kale style.

One interesting note comes around the 4:50 mark, where he points out his portal is controlled using Hue Saturation Lightness (HSL) via a potentiometer instead of RGB. This keeps the glowing effect consistent, while allowing color adjustment.

For this project, he employed an Arduino Nano, which looks like a great choice since it needs a limited amount of I/O. Using this tiny board, the entire control package can fit into his small 3D-printed enclosure. Read the rest of this entry »

Grow your own salad with this rotating hydroponic system

Arduino Team May 13, 2017

You likely know that growing plants via hydroponics involves some sort of water and fertilizer solution. Perhaps, however, you don’t realize that these plants need to be removed from the water occasionally in order to air out the roots. Normally, this means that the water is raised and lowered.

Peter Fröhlich, though, decided to go a different route, and came up with a device to physically raise and lower the plants using a large wheel, resembling a sort of Ferris wheel for plants!

The frame itself is a plastic bin he purchased at a local hardware store, while the wheel and its arms were made with components lying around his lab and other laser-cut parts. To make this interesting setup turn, he used a stepper motor from an old printer, controlled by an Arduino and stepper driver. Read the rest of this entry »

Smell the rainbow with this olfactory device

Arduino Team May 11, 2017

Do you ever wonder what certain colors would smell like? Perhaps red would emit the fragrance of a rose, while blue may be reminiscent of the ocean.

During a recent workshop at ÉCAL in Lausanne, Switzerland, Niklas Roy challenged students to come up with new communication devices. In response, they devised an Arduino-based machine that senses a color and translates it into a certain smell.

The resulting mechanism, which they’ve dubbed “Bouquet,” comes in the form of a cone with an optical sensor on one end, and a stepper motor-controlled disc on the other that turns pads with according scents under the nose of the art connoisseur. Read the rest of this entry »

EduExo is a DIY exoskeleton kit

Arduino Team May 10, 2017

You’ve seen exoskeletons in movies such as Aliens and Iron Man, and perhaps even heard about current experiments with human use. Unfortunately though, if you want to learn about this technology, the barrier to entry is very high.

EduExo, now available on Kickstarter, is an attempt by robotics researcher Volker Bartenbach to bring this technology to the masses. Based on an Arduino Uno, the device takes the form of an upper and lower arm cuff, along with a motor and force sensor to allow it to be used for haptic control. Read the rest of this entry »

Smartwatch convenience ‘moves’ to the next level

Arduino Team May 9, 2017

To address the limitations of today’s fixed-face watches, researchers have come up with an actuated smartphone concept that physically moves itself using an Arduino Due, Bluetooth and several motors.

Receiving Internet notifications has gone from using a computer, to checking them on your smartphone, to now simply seeing them come in on your wearable device. On the other hand, you still have to rotate your wrist into the right position to see the screen. Worse yet, if you want to show others what is on your wrist, you may even have to twist your arm awkwardly.

Fortunately, there is a possible solution to this scourge in the form of Cito, which bills itself as “An Actuated Smartwatch for Extended Interactions.” This design can move in five different directions–rotates, hinges, translates, orbits and rises–potentially making viewing more convenient, or even providing haptic feedback. Prototype electronics are housed inside a control box on the upper arm, but presumably would become much smaller in a production version. Read the rest of this entry »

Building a pool-playing robot prototype with Arduino

Arduino Team May 8, 2017

Building robots can be (relatively) easy if you’d like something to wander around your room and avoid obstacles, but for complicated control tasks, like shooting pool, things need more development. Engineer “Bvarv” has been working on just such a robot, which currently exists as a one-sixth scale model.

Though it’s not currently capable of playing the game, the device uses some interesting tricks, including a frame supported by a pattern of increasing-diameter pieces of wood, a custom bearing made out of slingshot ammunition, and limit switches to control the billiard bot’s orientation. Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzle-locked geocache provides an extra challenge

Arduino Team May 8, 2017

Using an Arduino Uno and a servo motor, hacker “Cliptwings” came up with a surprise for treasure hunters!

Geocaching is a game where amateur adventurers find caches in different locations using a GPS receiver. Though this can be a fun way to get outside, once you find the storage box, the challenge is pretty much over. Cliptwings decided to take things in a different direction, and made his cache—which importantly contains a battery on the outside—lock until the retrieving party solves a hangman game.

Once this Arduino-based puzzle is solved, the gadget unlocks with a small servo, revealing the contents inside, most likely a logbook! Read the rest of this entry »

A LoRa home environment monitoring gateway

Arduino Team April 28, 2017

When you’re away from your home, perhaps you’d like to know what is going on there. A camera system is one solution, but is fairly data-intensive and might not be the right method if you’d like to monitor information such as temperature and humidity in several zones. For this, Rod Gatehouse decided to build his own LoRa environment monitoring system using an Arduino Mega.

To keep an eye on things, Gatehouse (aka “RodNewHampshire” on Instructables) came up with an excellent LoRa IoT gateway that can be controlled via four push buttons and an LCD screen. This device can take input from remote stations wirelessly, and can put this data online or push it to a user as a text message. Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance your keyboard with the SlideBar

Arduino Team April 28, 2017

Using a keyboard and mouse usually gets the job done, but if you want to navigate around a website or video, the process could be a little more efficient. It may not be a big deal to reach over and use your mouse and scroll wheel, but if you had this control on your keyboard, that tiny bit of time savings could add up over the thousands of times you do this.

For this purpose, Imgur user “Electricrelay” added a motorized force feedback slider to his keyboard using an Arduino Nano for control. This easily customizable device can scroll through pages, or switch between open browser tabs or programs. It can also act as a mechanical display, shaking for notifications, or sliding with keystrokes like an old-school typewriter. The Maker even created a plugin for timeline scrubbing in Adobe Premiere. Read the rest of this entry »