May 25, 2017
We’ve all seen hamsters in a cage, furiously running nowhere. Perhaps you’ve thought about the pointlessness of this activity, before going to the gym to lift weights up and down or run on a treadmill. From an outside perspective, both activities seem pointless, but when you realize the benefits, maybe tracking what “feats of strength” you’re able to accomplish, things become much more clear.
As seen on Hackaday, in order to track the activity of his daughter’s hamster, John Mueller implemented an Arduino Uno-based system that records revolutions using a magnet and a reed switch. Every time the magnet on the wheel passes the fixed switch, it triggers an Arduino input, recording how many revolutions, and thus how many miles the little guy runs each night. Results are quite impressive considering its size, recording over 3.5 miles on one occasion!
This type of encoder concept could be used in many different situations, such as logging bicycle speeds, or tracking motor stats. Read the rest of this entry »
May 25, 2017
If you’re familiar with the Segway or other vehicles that balance in what is known as an “inverted pendulum” configuration, you may think that while interesting, creating something similar would be too complicated or out of your budget. Though perhaps still not simple, Joop Brokking takes you through his design for this type of bot in the video seen here, making it accessible if you’d like to build your own.
The robot, which will cost about $80 in parts, uses two stepper motors for greater movement precision than could be had with normal DC models, and employs an Arduino Pro Mini, along with an MPU-6050 accelerometer/gyroscope for control. It can be driven around by a Wii U-style nunchuck, which transmits to the robot via an Arduino Uno and wireless transceiver module. Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2017
Depending on your point-of-view, you may see claw machines as an interesting device that can normally be ignored, or perhaps magnet for quarters that you must satisfy until you capture the stuffed animal that’s “so easy to get.” Maybe these gantry-crane gadgets would be a bit more fun if you could play them at home to your heart’s content. If that sounds appealing, then Ryan Bates of Retro Built Games has the perfect solution with his “Super Claw” machine.
This project, though on version four, is not currently for sale as a kit, but he is now selling his stepper driver board for the device, which links up to an Arduino Mega via an IDC cable. This takes advantage of the brick of I/O opposite the USB and power connector on the Mega to clean up wiring significantly.
You can buy the board here and check out his build page for lots more info on the (still ongoing) development process! Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »