Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Make your own Operation-style board game with Arduino

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Usually, when you think of doing “surgery” on electronics, it’s to replace a component, or maybe modifying an appliance into something different. In this case, an Arduino Nano powers Hurry, Doctor!, an updated version of the board game classic Operation meant as a middle school STEM exercise.

This game, of which creator “TrevorB23” gives an extensive explanation in his Instructables write-up, features a LEGO minifigure with cutouts inside that house obstructions such as a “mental block” and “funny bone.” As with the original, the objective is to remove these foreign bodies without touching the sides, constructed here with conductive aluminum foil tape in order to signal the Nano. (more…)

An Arduino-powered iris door… for chickens!

Monday, July 24th, 2017

There’s something beautifully sci-fi about the way an iris opens, whether as part of a camera or perhaps even as an entryway. Knowing that his father wanted an automatic chicken coop door, Ziven Posner decided to build one in the form of an iris, adding style to what would normally be the mundane task of letting the birds in/out.

The resulting iris mechanism is powered by a DC motor, and actuated by a toggle switch. Starting and stopping is controlled with an Arduino Uno, which prevents overtravel on the door via a set of limit switches.

If you’d like more details on the project, be sure to check out his Instructables post! (more…)

Arduino Create comes to Chrome OS devices!

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Arduino Create is now available to everyone on Chrome OS devices, with $0.99 per month subscription. An Arduino account and Google ID is all you need to use it, just follow the Create Getting Started guide on your Chrome OS device. We are actively working on specific licensing and pricing for schools, so stay tuned.

The new Arduino Create Chrome App enables students and other users to write code, access tutorials, configure boards, and share projects. Designed to provide a continuous workflow from inspiration to implementation, Makers can easily manage every aspect of their project right from a single dashboard.

Developed with the classroom in mind: The Arduino Chrome App allows you to teach and tinker with Arduino electronics and programming in a collaborative, always-up-to-date environment.

Built for Chrome OS: Code online, save your sketches in the cloud, and upload them to any Arduino connected to your Chrome OS device, without having to install anything locally. All the contributed libraries are automatically included.

The following Arduinos are currently supported: Uno, 101, Mega, Esplora, Nano (ATmega328), Micro, Zero, MKR1000, MKR Zero, MKR Fox 1200, Pro and Pro Mini (ATmega328). We are actively working with the Chromium team to restore support for the Arduino Leonardo in a future Chrome OS release.

The launch of this app would not have been possible without the following open source components:

As usual if you encounter any bugs, issues, or have an idea on how we can improve the Chrome app, please open a discussion thread on this Forum page.
Please note that this app will work only on Chrome OS, if you click on the Google Store link on any other OS you will not be able to install it.


UPDATE: We are applying for the Google for Education Partners – Technology Track to learn how to offer bulk discounts to schools and classrooms.

Other Google Education apps that are part of this program can be found here.

Ball-on-plate machine uses touchscreen position sensing

Friday, July 14th, 2017

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Redditor “xmajor9x” has spent several weeks building a three-legged machine to balance a metal ball on top of a plate. The device uses three servos attached to a rectangular surface with linkages that translate servo position into linear displacement of the table. This allows it to keep the ball centered, or rotate around the perimeter in a circle or square pattern.

An Arduino Due controls the ball using a PID loop, and the ball’s position is sensed not by an external camera, but by the top “plate,” which is actually made out of a resistive touchscreen. Although this adds a very unique element, it means that the ball on top must be quite heavy to be reliably tracked, and its creator is considering switching to a computer vision system in the future.

Be sure to check out the project’s GitHub page for code and more info on the build! (more…)

Dual Arduinos bring this Tauren cosplay to life

Friday, July 14th, 2017

It takes a lot to win best of show at a Comic Con, but Jason Caulfield’s Tauren Frost Death Knight named “Akulva” was more than up to the task. This beautifully detailed beast, his third try at this sort of costume, not only looks good but features backlit eyes that blink automatically, as well as a voice-changing circuit to allow Caulfield to speak in this creature’s deep tone.

The 8.5-foot-tall beast is equipped with a pair of Arduino Uno boards–one to control the eye blinking and another that uses an Adafruit Wave Shield to handle voice modulation. In addition, there’s a PicoTalk servo controller, which syncs the audio to the motor movement of the mouth. (more…)

Binge-watch and burn calories with the Arduino-powered Cycflix

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

As entertaining as watching Netflix may be, you’re not burning a lot of calories while binging on your favorite shows. In order to do both at the same time, hacker “Roboro” modded a stationary exercise bike to stop streaming if he’s not maintaining his fitness goals.

Bicycle speed is derived from the signal that’s normally sent to the built-in display. He uses an Arduino Nano to hijack the square wave, and sends this info to the streaming computer serially via USB. (more…)

Building an Arduino-controlled single-pixel scanner

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

If you’ve seen color sensors such as the TCS34725,  you may have considered them for projects that can pick out one colored object over another. On the other hand, if you were to take one of these sensors, mount them to an Arduino-driven plotter, and then take readings in an X/Y plane, you’d have all the elements needed for a simple single-pixel scanner.

In the video seen below, Kerry D. Wong does just this using his hacked HP 7044A plotter to scan a picture, recording RGB color values in a 128 x 128 grid. As the device scans, the Arduino Due used for control passes these values to a computer, which assembles them together into a low-resolution image. (more…)

Portal fan recreates a sentry turret using an Arduino

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Steven Gioiosa recently signed up for a “Makecourse” class at the University of South Florida, where he was required to build something that featured both an Arduino and a 3D-printed part. As a fan of Portal, and especially the sentry turrets in the game, it was an easy decision to construct one of these devices for himself.

Gioiosa’s turret recreation is based on an Arduino Uno connected to an HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor, and features motion-activated lasers that move back and forth, along with audio feedback, depending on how far away the human target is. The project also involves a bunch of servos: one to open the arms out, another to pitch them up and down, and two more to move each arm left and right. (more…)

ExoArm: An Arduino-powered assistive exoskeleton arm

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Whether to enhance one’s abilities or to compensate for a loss of strength due to a variety of reasons, the idea of a robotic exoskeleton is an exciting prospect. As seen here, Kristjan Berce, not content to let well-funded labs have all the fun, decided to make his own prototype assistive arm using simple hand tools to manufacture a bracing system over his left arm.

Control for the device, which is called “ExoArm,” is accomplished with an Arduino Uno that powers a windshield wiper motor via a driver board. As set up now, it extends via sensor input, and contracts with the push of a button.

Though it can be seen helping him lift a bicycle at the end of both of his videos, figuring out how to balance any load on the system with his actual muscle’s input is a challenge he’s still working on, but hopes to solve this issue using a strain gauge. (more…)

Hack an old typewriter with Arduino for digital input

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Mechanical typewriters are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Though the tactile feedback of these machines is interesting, as is the ability to directly mark on a piece of paper, they lack the important ability to input instructions into a modern computer. Konstantin Schauwecker, not satisfied with this analog-only output, decided to retrofit a German Olympia Monica typewriter as a unique digital user input device.

To accomplish this, he created a PCB with phototransistors that sense when the linkages for each key are pushed down. The result is a keyboard that functions perfectly well as a manual typewriter, and pushes this data to a computer using an Arduino Leonardo. (more…)