Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Bookcase automatically opens to reveal secret lair

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

A secret lair isn’t much fun if it’s a pain to get into, so Instructables user SPECTREcat decided to automate his hidden doors using an Arduino Uno. This drives four linear actuators via a MultiMoto shield, which both pull and turn the bookshelf in such a way that the books stay in place.

When opening, the doors first pull apart with one set of actuators, then turn with the other two to allow enough space for a person to pass through. Instead of drilling a hole through the maple plywood shelves, SPECTREcat chose to use a reed switch that’s activated on the other side by a magnet taped inside a DVD cover. (more…)

Dot² isn’t your typical coffee table

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Coffee tables are useful for putting coffee, food, or perhaps way too much junk on, but it’s 2017—we can do better than that! Akshay Baweja certainly has at least with Dot², an interactive piece of furniture that can run animations, display lighting effects, and play old-school games.

The Arduino Mega-based table features a matrix of 296 LEDs that shine up through sections of diffused acrylic, and uses a grid of foam board strips to keep each light in a square. Dot² can be controlled either by a PC running GLEDIATOR software, or via a smartphone using a Bluetooth connection and its own custom app. (more…)

Interactive geodesic LED dome = extreme geometric fun!

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

We’ve all seen geodesic domes in one form or another, whether as a modern experiment, as housing from a bygone era, or perhaps as a gigantic structure in Orlando (technically a geodesic sphere). Jon Bumstead apparently wasn’t satisfied with current dome options, and instead created his own, integrating elements from programmable LED tables to make it interactive.

The resulting build is quite spectacular. Each triangular section able to be lit up with an RGB LED, and further information is output to five MIDI signals in order to produce sound. This means that up to five people can play the dome as an instrument simultaneously. If that wasn’t enough, the Arduino Uno-based dome is programmed to play a version of Simon or Pong, and can be set up to display a light show!

I constructed a geodesic dome consisting of 120 triangles with an LED and sensor at each triangle. Each LED can be addressed individually and each sensor is tuned specifically for a single triangle. The dome is programmed with an Arduino to light up and produce a MIDI signal depending on which triangle you place your hand.

(more…)

Emulate a Commodore 64 keyboard with a modern PC and an Arduino

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Using an Arduino, Adam Podstawczynski is able to translate keystrokes on his notebook to character inputs on a C64.

If you enjoy using a Commodore 64, but either don’t like (or perhaps don’t have) its keyboard, Podstawczynski’s project could be a great solution. His build runs a Python script on a PC, Mac, or Linux computer, which maps Commodore keys to a series of binary digits. It then sends this data over USB to an Arduino Mega, which in turn uses an MT8088 crosspoint switch to interface with the mainboard of a C64, allowing for hardware keyboard emulation.

This setup can act as a simple keyboard interface from the computer, or could be employed as a macro generator for demonstration purposes. It could even enable you to input an entire BASIC program on your PC, then send it to the C64 as desired! (more…)

Control a tracked robot with your mind (or joystick)

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Whether you choose to control this vehicle with your mind or a joystick, the camera mounted on it will give you a new view of the world.

Maker “Imetomi” was inspired to create a tracked robot after he was able to salvage a camera off of a cheap drone. This became the basis of his FPV setup, which he fitted onto a little tracked vehicle. Although this would have been enough for most people, in addition to building a joystick-based controller, he also made it work with a brainwave headset. (more…)

An Arduino-powered automatic guitar footswitch

Friday, January 13th, 2017

If remembering to hit your foot pedal at the right time during shows is a challenge, this device will take care of it for you.

As creator Franco Molina points out, there’s a lot to worry about when playing guitar in front of an audience. Actually playing is one thing, but you have to pay attention to the crowd, move around on stage, make sure you don’t have any wardrobe malfunctions, and… hit a footswitch to change between clean and distorted channels when appropriate.

Molina’s device may not be able to help you with everything on that list, but by listing to a specially encoded ‘click track’ from a computer or MP3 player, it can automatically switch amplifier modes when appropriate. It does this by using an Arduino Uno along with an amp to listen to the track, then switch a relay to simulate a footswitch. (more…)

These students created their own Overwatch VR rig

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

A group of high school students in South Korea have created a multi-part rig that lets them play Overwatch in virtual reality.

Their console, which resembles somewhat of a Virtuix Omni treadmill, enables users to move around the battlefield by leaning in whichever direction they want to go, to fire and reload their weapon with a custom toy gun controller, and even to hit things by punching the air.

As you can see in the video below, the setup consists of a Samsung Gear VR headset, a smartphone, Arduino boards, an IMB sensor, a button, a ball bearing, a PC, a motion detection device, and a copy of Overwatch. (more…)

Attachment is like a modern-day message in a bottle

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

If you want to reach out to someone, you could always pick up your phone and send a text. But if you’re seeking something a bit more random and indirect, one idea would be to write and attach a message to a biodegradable balloon using Swiss designer David Colombini’s “poetic machine.”

Colombini’s Attachment project allows you to do just that, by dispatching digital notes, images or videos gleaned from the Internet into the atmosphere. Once the Arduino Mega-driven device receives this input, the message is laser-etched on a thin piece of balsa wood, then released into the air (though a human has to ‘reload’ after five launches). Word space is limited to a Twitter-esque 120 characters, but the finder of the balloon can access any additional content that you include through a code on the project’s website. (more…)

Scare away unwanted guests with an eye-moving portrait

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

There are certainly many ways to generate an old-looking portrait with moving eyes, but this method from Sonic Robots is simple and seems quite effective. The basic formula is to buy a Victorian-like frame, get a picture of a loved/hated/random person (preferably tweaked to resemble an antique oil painting), then put a strip of paper with eyes printed on it behind the person’s eye sockets.

This eyeball strip is pulled by a servo via a fishing line, and importantly, a rubber band keeps tension on it from the other side. This allows it to quickly snap back into place, creating an effect where the eyes randomly move then stay in place for a while, hopefully causing someone to question his or her sanity. (more…)

Watch an Arduino Mega-based robot play the bagpipes

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Using gigantic hands scaled up from a prosthetic design, “XenonJohn” can now hear the sweet sounds of Scotland whenever he wants.

Seeing this invention, you might note to yourself that most instrument-playing robots don’t actually bother to have realistic—if huge, at 171% normal print size—hands attached. Then again, you probably haven’t seen a robot configured to play the bagpipes.

The robot named Ardu McDuino plays the bagpipes, or rather the chanter part that is manipulated with one’s fingers, using actual prosthetic fingers to cover the holes. It also has a less-realistic “thumb” to cover a hole on the back. (more…)

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