Archive for the ‘Arduino’ Category

The Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine

Monday, August 8th, 2016

The brainchild of artist Neil Mendoza, the Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine is described as the “ideal device for anyone that feels that their verbal communication needs a little extra kick.”

The piece consists of four bells of baritone horns, tubing, microphone, speakers, a mechanical foot and a projector, while its software is written in openFrameworks. When the software starts, it launches a web browser and creates a WebSocket connection to it. As soon as someone starts speaking, the software sends a message to the browser to tell it to start speech recognition. Once the person finishes talking, the browser sends words back as text back over the WebSocket connection. Each word is then added to a Box2D physics simulation as a series of rectangles linked together with springs. There’s a mesh for each letter and shadows are created in GLSL with a shadow map.

When a word is near the foot, the computer sends a message to an Arduino telling it to kick. The foot is actuated with a linear actuator driven by a Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield. There is also a foot polygon in the physics simulation. Every time the mechanical foot starts to kick, the virtual foot in the physics engine is animated with a timeline that has been matched to the actual movement of the mechanical foot.

Intrigued? Be sure to check out its official page here.

Maker builds feeding machine that lets his cat ‘hunt’ for food

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Although automated pet feeders seem to be a dime a dozen these days, Benjamin Millam’s project is on a whole ‘nother level. Last year, the Maker created a system that caters to the primal instincts of his indoor cat, Monkey, by training him to look for plastic balls hidden around the house and then drop them into the machine. Once the apparatus recognizes the RFID-tagged balls, food gets dispensed into the bowl.

The system is comprised of a modified Super Feeder, an Adafruit RFID reader, a remote antenna, a few relays and an Arduino Uno. Millam writes that he conceived the idea after learning why cats repeatedly scour the same area. (more…)

Relive the ‘80s with a MIDI-controlled Scanjet keytar

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The ‘80s may be long gone, but James Cochrane is bringing the keytar back with the help of an old HP Scanjet. For this, the Maker has taken an Arduino, a stepper motor driver, a MIDI interface and an off-the-shelf keyboard, and integrated it into the flatbed scanner’s original features. The end result: the world’s first (and only) MIDI-controlled HP Scanjet keytar.

As he describes in his YouTube video:

This scanner had a hidden command set within the Scanner Control Language which allows you to send musical notes directly to the stepper motor. This is a tedious method where you have to enter the notes and durations manually into a text file (similar to G-code on a CNC machine). I have always used and will always use this method for my old school music videos; however, I wanted to try and build a MIDI-controlled stepper motor.

One day I had one of my HP Scanjets sitting on its side and for some reason it resembled a Roland SH-101 and that’s when I came up with the idea for the HP Scanjet Keytar. What a great way to merge both into a musical instrument.

Those wishing to relive the days of the classic yet quirky keytar are in luck. Cochrane has provided a detailed breakdown of the device in the video below, and has shared its code on GitHub.

Catch ‘em all with an Arduino Pokéball

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Like the rest of humanity, Arduino Sweden’s interaction designer Marcus Johansson has been glued to the Pokémon GO app. However, as fun as flicking a digital ball with his finger to catch ‘em all may be, he wanted something a bit more realistic. Enter the Arduino Pokéball.

Based off an Arduino CTC project, an Arduino 101 placed inside some protective MDF casing allows him to physically throw the ball, which is then mimicked within the game. It uses the 101’s IMU and Bluetooth track the toss and then send it to the phone.

UPDATE: For those who may’ve thought the video above was fake, you’re in luck. Johansson has updated his project along with a step-by-step tutorial so you can build your own. Since the original casing was damaged during testing, a colleague helped 3D-print the new exterior of the Pokéball to house the Arduino and power supply.

Experimental sound generating boxes for Makers, by Makers

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The brainchild of Tomás de Camino Beck, Polymath Boxes are experimental sound boxes. Using a Genuino Uno and 101 along with some 3D printing, these units enable young Makers and adults to experiment with programming and math to produce noises and tunes, from square and triangular waves to sample players and interactive sound generators.

The boxes were originally conceived by Camino Beck as part of an open-source experimental art project with the goal of stimulating STEAM in education, from high school to college, and to allow artists, engineers and computer scientists, or pretty much anyone interested, to explore programming and digital fabrication. They were developed and fabricated in “Inventoria”–Costa Rica’s own idea of a Makerspace.

More than just a finished project, these boxes are designed to be hacked and to help move away from more conventional ways of thinking when it comes to sound.

These boxes use coding as a way to “write music,” and to take advantage of the diversity of physical low cost sensors to trigger sound. Some of the boxes play with basic waves, just creating basic PWM, and others go from there to create arpeggiator and interactive. They will be used in several workshops and experimental music concerts in Costa Rica.

Build a pan and tilt camera with Raspberry Pi + Arduino

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Although there are plenty of DIY surveillance cameras already out there, MakeUseOf has taken it to the next level with the ability to remotely control its view. This DIY pan and tilt camera uses a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino Uno, a pair of servos, and a USB webcam.

The Pi streams video to a webpage and adds a few buttons to move the camera. Due to the lack of the hardware PWM pins, the servos are controlled by the Arduino that is connected to the Pi. Meanwhile, a Python server handles the web interface and commands. (more…)

Peak is a smart lamp that helps you form better habits

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Breaking bad habits can be difficult, but developing better ones isn’t so easy either. Mindful of this, former Project Ara founder Dan Makoski and David Khavari have come up with a smart, Arduino-friendly lamp that combines light, encouraging messages and a personal improvement algorithm to help you inch closer to your goal day by day.

Connect Peak to your smartphone using its configuration app and set up a habit you’d like to master–whether that’s exercising, reading more, learning a new instrument, meditating, or spending quality time with loved ones. Simply touch the lamp and it will then send you a motivational text message. It recommends a step towards your target that you’ve either entered yourself or have chosen at Peak’s suggestion. You can schedule reminders if you need that extra little push as well. Once completed, touch it again or text Peak and it’ll record your progress, celebrating with a burst of light. (more…)

The little Arduino robot arm that could!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

As its name would suggest, the LittleArm is a mini 3D-printed robot that began as a weekend project. Its creator Gabe Bentz wanted a small arm that was easy to work with, and one that wouldn’t require him to dig deep into his wallet. So, as any Maker would do, he decided to design his own low-cost device.

After showing the LittleArm off, it wasn’t before long that he was approached by some STEM teachers in the area who wondered if the kit was something they could use in their classrooms. Ideally, every student should have one to tinker with, but unfortunately today’s systems tend to be too expensive and quickly loose parts and pieces. This is a problem that LittleArm is looking to solve.

The arm is powered by an Arduino Uno and four identical metal-geared micro servos, while all other mechanical components are 3D-printed. There’s also a modular gripper that’s actuated by a servo along with rigid end-effectors for various tasks. What’s more, a basic GUI enables you to control the arm, its gripper, the speed, as well as use its record function to train the robot to perform a specific task and then watch it play out the sequence.

The entirely open-source gadget comes as a DIY kit that can be purchased or built from scratch. Want one of your own? Check out Bent’z Kickstarter page here, and see the LittleArm in action below (including some of its dance moves).

The most incessant (and annoying) Arduino project ever?

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

If you live with your family, a significant other or a few roommates, and you’re looking for a fun prank to drive them nuts, Connor Nishijima has the perfect trick for you: an Arduino cricket. Unlike actual crickets that are relatively consistent with the sounds they make, this one is a far cry from that. Instead, the Maker’s project will chirp for a brief second, and then go into a deep sleep for a random amount of time between three minutes and three hours. As you could imagine, this can make the source of the noise extremely difficult to pinpoint!

Nishijima combined the JeeLib library for reducing current consumption and his new library for 8-bit volume control to bring the insanely annoying “cricket” to life using nothing more than a speaker, a 7800mAh USB battery, and an Arduino. The best part? He estimates that the setup has enough juice to last for months, if not years. In his case, he enclosed the electronics within a box along with some magnets, then placed it in his vent to mess with his buddy.

For the lowest current comsumption with minimal effort, I’ll be using a 16MHz Arduino Pro Micro with a few power-hog components like the power LED desoldered. Unfortunately, the PWM speeds needed for my Volume lib only work well at 16MHz so far, so using 8MHz to conserve power is out.

However, the awesome battery calculator at Oregon Embeddedtells me that at 16mA “awake” current and 200uA “asleep” current (being asleep more than 95% of the time) this should last more than three years. Of course, the battery itself will have some drain involed with it’s circuitry, but even a FOURTH of the estimated battery life still puts us at almost a full year which is good enough for me, and bad enough for my friend.

Those wishing to give this prank a try can check out Nishijima’s videos below, as well as his code on GitHub.

Star Track is an Arduino-powered star pointer and tracker

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Maker and astronomy enthusiast Görkem Bozkurt has built a GoTo telescope mount-inspired system that points and tracks any object in the sky using its celestial coordinates. The aptly named Star Track sports a 3D-printed structure along with a pair of Arduinos (an Uno and Nano), a gyroscope, an RTC module, two low-cost 5V stepper motors, and a laser pointer. (more…)