Archive for the ‘Enviroment’ Category

Showcase your project: ultimate cat litter box

Monday, February 25th, 2013


This project by Greg is about building a smart litter box for his cats:

We have three cats and the litter is difficult to control. So I had been thinking through a project to build an enclosure. Once I stumbled on Arduino the doors of opportunity were opened. I ordered the electronics and got started on my project right away. So far the Arduino is activating exhaust fans, lightng, and a Lysol spray dispenser. It tracks the number of times the fans are activated and uses a piezo buzzer to alert a filter cleaning. I plan to use it to trigger cleaning based on usage and track each cats potties so we can control their stink before its too late.

A nice video about this project can be found on YouTube.

An Arduino-controlled RGB lamp

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

On his blog, Miguel presents one of his latest projects:

This project shows the operation of an RGB lamp using a digital LED strip. After activating the bluetooth connection, the user can open the GUI on the PC to control the lamp. The program shows a hue palette divided into 30 rods, one for each LED of the strip.
By clicking & dragging the mouse cursor it is possible to make your own patterns,. To remove a color, the user can simply click on a rod while pressing the spacebar, which switches off the selected LED.

Part list: wooden support, RGB digitally-addressable LED strip, microcontroller (Arduino Pro Mini, for example), Bluetooth or USB wire.

More information on this project can be found on Miguel’s blog, while a brief video about its operation can be found here; the code of the project can be found on Github. The project’s page on Thingiverse can be found here.

[Via: Miguel's blog]


Tuco 1.0: a digital door plate

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

In his blog, Andrea (a student in computer science from University of Napoli “Parthenope”) describes how to make a smart door plate with Arduino.


Arduino-controlled blinds: a tutorial

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Have you ever wanted a smart home that can automatically adjusts the blinds for you? If so, this project is for you.

In this instructable, the author describes his approach to “smart blinds”, by using an Arduino board, an ethernet shield, a motor shield and a couple of sensors.

By means of a simple web-based GUI, the user can manually open and close the blinds, or he/she can setup both temperature and brightness thresholds in order to automate the whole process. Finally, opening and closing events can also be scheduled at pre-defined times of the day, if necessary.

The complete tutorial, together with the source code of the project, can be found here.

[Via: Instructables and Lifehacker]

@JarroseLaPlante Social Botanical Project

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

@JarroseLaPlante is an installation created by Félicien Goguey and Thomas Meghe.

This plant has a twitter account, you can water it by direct tweets. Since a single tweet can’t save her, she needs twitter friends to grow up!

A Processing application listens to new tweets via Twitter APIs.  A servo motor is bringing water to the plant while sensor checks its the humidity rate (if it’s too low the plant tweets in order to alert her followers).

If you follow the plant’s account,  she can send you private messages.

Go here to visit the plant. And do not forget to water it!



Indoor air quality mapping

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

PLOTS guys propose an interesting way to measure the quality of the air for indoor environments, by hacking a second-hand Roomba robot (an autonomous vacuum cleaner).

These robots are programmed to randomly move inside rooms to clean up the floor, so by adding a simple air quality sensor on top of one of them, it is possible to easily implement a sort of “random walker” that will sense for us the presence of gases (volatile organic chemicals, VOCs), such as NH3, alcohol, CO2 and so forth.

To keep track of the air quality measurements, the authors equipped the so hacked Roomba with an RGB led, whose color can be changed according to the air sample. By taking a long exposure picture of the room where the robot was roaming in, they could determine the areas where a high concentration of VOCs was present.

The complete description of the project can be found on the PLOTS’ website, while here you may find a short video about it:

PLOTS guys are also working on a different approach to air sensing, which does not make use of a Roomba robot but uses a hamster ball, instead. Further details can be found here.

[Via: Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science]

DIY Amp Hour Meter

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Ever wanted to see how much electricity your next project is consuming? Look no further; this Instructable will guide you about how you can, too, make a device to monitor the same.

This project was developed by Steve Spence of Arduinotronics with input from forum members at the Yahoo Group – Arduino Home and The Arduino Forum.

Steve writes:

“There’s a couple of commercial products that can do this, but not with the flexibility I wanted. I designed an Arduino micro-controller based solution that is very extensible. Right now it monitors the above values of attached gear, and I’m thinking about adding web monitoring and an SD Card for data collection.”

Cheap Arduino-based Thermal Flashlight

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Thermal flashlight is a widely used technique to “paint temperature with light”: by using a temperature sensor and a RGB flashlight, it is possible to illuminate a surface with a proper tonality, which, in turn, can be acquired by means of a standard camera. It’s main use is to find thermal leaks in houses and buildings.

In their article, PLOTS‘ staff propose and describe a nice and cheap way to build your own thermal flashlight with Arduino, together with a clear introduction to the subject.

Read more here.

Via: The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science


Gardening + Arduino = Garduino!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

There are many available projects for the automated irrigation and lighting of plants using the Arduino board.


For those who were not already aware, here is the link to a tutorial by Instructables published a few days ago.

And here an old but useful article written by Luke Iseman on Make Volume 18.

The Botanicalls crew had created a leaf-shaped electronic board that allows transmission via Twitter of your plant conditions.


It ‘s time to seed!


MathWorks announces built-in Simulink support for Arduino

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

“MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB, the language of technical computing, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation. Simulink is a graphical environment for simulation and Model-Based Design of multidomain dynamic and embedded systems. ”

Now that the basics are clear, let us enjoy the beauty of the new feature!

“Simulink built-in support for hardware is a big boost to project-based learning,” said Dr. Farid Golnaraghi, professor and director of Mechatronic Systems Engineering at Simon Fraser University. “Our engineering students who learn control theory by creating and running models in Simulink can now easily test and tune their algorithms on hardware, without knowing embedded systems.”

Simulink provides built-in support for the following platforms:

Arduino Uno and Mega 2560 microcontroller boards for robotics, mechatronics, and hardware-connectivity tasks
BeagleBoard-xM single-board computers for audio, video, and digital signal processing
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics platform for robotics applications

As you know MATLAB is a product of MathWorks, and is widely used for data visualization, attaching an Arduino would be really beneficial and wonderful applications from the maker community can be expected!