Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

How many robots?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

How many robots run on Arduino? I really don’t know. The guys from Complubot keep on sending pictures from the robots they are finding at the Robo Cup in Mexico DF. Want to see some pictures? Look at the following:


(c) 2012 Complubot, Japanese Team on Soccer B

The Japanese Team on Soccer B have been working with Arduino for 3 years now. The robots on the picture are only using our IDE, as they made their own PCBs to host 8 InfraRed sensors, a compass, and the motor drivers. Take a closer look at it on the next picture.


(c) 2012 Complubot, Japanese Soccer B team at RCJ Mexico DF

On the other hand, the German team, running on an Arduino Mega, are controlling 60 InfraRed sensors to detect the ball on the field. They got the 1st price on Soccer A Open and have been using Arduino for just one year.


(c) 2012 Complubot, German Soccer A Open team (winner)

I bet you want to see that robot closer, 60 IR sensors are quite many. It also controls 4 UltraSound sensors and 1 Compass. Quite an achievement. Look at this:


(c) 2012 Complubot, German Soccer A Open robot

Well, the picture isn’t very sharp, but you can clearly see the amount of sensors on that machine. I have to make some more research to understand what is the black plastic thingy on the top board of the robot. It feels like some sort of exhaust pipe. The black dots on the red PCB are the IR sensors.

If there is a team that beats all about the amount of time they have been working with Arduino, is the Mexican coming from UNAM. On the Soccer B category, these guys have been running their robot on Arduino for only 2 months!! They are however controlling 8 IR sensors and one Compass over I2C.


(c) 2012 Complubot, Mexican (UNAM) Soccer B team

Also from Mexico, this time participating on the Rescue competition, we find a team with a really broad age range. The team from Monterrey ranges between 10 and 19 and made a robot controlled by Arduino Uno.


(c) 2012 Complubot, Moterrey Rescue Team

The Swiss team has been using Arduino during 2 years and are the only one in my list that have started using a camera. They run their bots on Arduino Mega and control 12 IR and 4 US sensors.


(c) 2012 Complubot, Swiss Soccer B team

If there is a country that is well know for soccer that is Brazil. Their Rescue A team at the RCJ looks like this:


(c) 2012 Complubot, Brazil Rescue A team

And their robots are pretty easy to spot, pitch black with an Arduino Mega in the stomach:


(c) 2012 Complubot, Brazil Rescue A robot

To close the post, I want to show you an image of my favorite robot so far. It is the one made by one of the Mexican teams again in the Soccer B category. It’s platforms are made in wood and it is a masterpiece of a combination of glue-gun and breadboard. Sometimes we think we need so much to build things, and others come to remind us how easy it is to make things happen with whatever you have in hand. If there was a price to the most low-tech solution at this competition, this team would win or be among the finalists.


(c) 2012 Complubot, Mexican Low-Tech team ;-)

Oh, yes … and a photo of the team:

(c) 2012 Complubot, Mexican Low-Tech Champions

Soon: some more images and thoughts about The Arduino Robot, after one week of beta testing in Mexico, stay tuned!

UnoJoy – A USB Joystick for Mac, PC, Linux or PS3

Monday, May 14th, 2012

There are people who use the Arduino for some serious electronics related stuff.

Then, there are folks who use it just for fun. Alan Chatham and his team over at UnoJoy have developed a concept for Arduino Uno based USB Controllers.



Here is an excerpt of our interview with Alan:

Me: What made you choose the Arduino Uno as the heart of the controller? There are many development boards available which incorporate an ATmega8U2/16U2 or even 32U2.

Alan: This is easy – everyone loves Arduino!  It comes down to ease of use and reach.  Our primary goal with this project is to make a tool that is both easy to use and accessible.  There’s lots of code out there to make joysticks with other chips, but all the Atmel USB chips are surface-mount, and they all need a whole big toolchain to use. Plus, USB is super-complicated, and we want to encourage people, even non-technical ones, to spend their time thinking up really sweet new ways to play games, not trying to figure out what an HID descriptor is for.  On the reach side of things, Arduino is a perfect platform – even those of us that love our inline assembly and fuse settings tend to have an Arduino around for quick prototyping, and of course, Arduino’s a great platform for students and designers.


Me: Any problems that you faced while developing the prototype?

Alan: I think the biggest challenge we faced was to make it much easier for non-experts to do some more complicated things, like re-flash the ATmega8u2 on the Arduino. Let’s face it, any instructions that open up with ‘First, install XCode’ aren’t exactly user-friendly. In that vein, I put together some simple one-click batch files for installing the appropriate drivers on Windows and OSX, as well as ones for reflashing the ATmega8u2 chip between Arduino and UnoJoy firmwares.  It’s still not as simple as I’d like, so if anyone out there is handy with basic OSX GUI application programming, or the program installation chain on Windows, drop me a line!

In the end, we’re hoping that our code and examples can inspire other designers and builders and gamers to make some really awesome controllers. If they do, I of course encourage them to send their pictures and videos our way, at!

Now, you too can make yourself a USB Joystick/ Gamepad/ Controller by choosing any form of input that the Arduino boards can understand. The source code and all the necessary download files are available at Google Code. Don’t forget to check out the Controller for Gran Turismo:



Thank you Alan for sharing a wonderful project with us.

Arduino ‘Simon says’ game

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A simple and a fun Simon says game re-created is using an Arduino in the following instructable.

Materials Needed:

– Arduino
– Bread Board
– Jumper Wires
– 4 different colored LEDs
– 4 100 Ohm Resistors
– 4 Push Buttons
– Small Speaker

It is a good exercise to practice interfacing multiple buttons and LEDs. Can be tried even by an arduino beginner.

[Via: Instructables]

Arduino 'Simon says' game

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A simple and a fun Simon says game re-created is using an Arduino in the following instructable.

Materials Needed:

– Arduino
– Bread Board
– Jumper Wires
– 4 different colored LEDs
– 4 100 Ohm Resistors
– 4 Push Buttons
– Small Speaker

It is a good exercise to practice interfacing multiple buttons and LEDs. Can be tried even by an arduino beginner.

[Via: Instructables]

Arduino Circuit Bending Workshop in Torino

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Il prossimo week-end a Torino si terrà un workshop gratuito di Arduino (un kit opzionale potrà essere comprato per partecipare qualora non disponeste dei materiali elencati) sul circuit bending e la generazione di suoni con la scheda.

Un workshop di tre giorni per smontare riciclare e far suonare vecchi strumenti elettronici, creare una digital toys orchesta e sfilare in parata a Paratissima.

Il circuit Bending è una pratica molto diffusa tra gli sperimentatori musicali. Soprattutto sulla scena della musica elettronica sono sempre più frequenti gli artisti che si creano controller o addirittura strumenti musicali personalizzati.

Nel workshop saranno coinvolte diverse discipline: toy hacking, riciclo elettronico, elettronica di base, sintesi sonora, programmazione ad oggetti e faremo largo uso di Arduino per comandare i nuovi strumenti.

Il workshop è gratuito, a carico dei partecipanti il costo dei materiali e l’acquisto del kit-workshop.
maggiori informazioni quì!

Per partecipare registrati qui.

via [FablabItalia]

Arduino, iPod and RFID make beautiful, handicapped-accessible music together

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Terrence O’Bien posts a clean music interface (no menus / no buttons)  based on RFID, as previously seen some time ago.

There isn’t actually much new about this awesome DIY project, but it’s the way it brings the various parts together that has us impressed. Designed by Instructables user XenonJohn, with help from software developer David Findlay, the Magic Music Table RFID was designed to let a disable child (or other such handicapped user) select albums to play back from an iPod touch playlist. The iPod is connected to anArduino, which tells the device to start playing a particular track based on a selection made with RFIDcards. The whole setup is built into a coffee table and the RFID tags are sandwiched inside clear plastic blocks with the album art. You can see it in action in the video after the break and, if you’ve got the patience and skill, you can build your own using the directions at the source link.

via [Engadget] source [Instructables]

Arduino Tree-Climbing Robot As The First Challenge

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

[Tecnochicken] has challeneged his arduino and robotic skills in developing a tree-climbing robot based on a L298 H-Bridge Motor Driver and some design time in Sketchup.

After I got comfortable programming and building with an Arduino, I decided to build a robot.  I did not have any particular type in mind, so I wracked my brain (and the internet) for cool robot ideas.  Eventually, somehow the idea popped into my head to build a robot that could climb trees.  At first I dismissed the idea as beyond my skill level, but after further thought, and some time in Sketchup, I decided to take a shot at the challenge.

Fully explained on [Instructables]

Chilean Teen Twitts About Earthquakes

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Sebastian Alegria, a 14 years old Chilean teen created an earthquake warning system based on Arduino, an earthquake detector (bought for less 100 $) and an ethernet shield.

Alegria’s rudimentary yet effective system comes from having survived Chile’s own earthquakes last year and seeing the devastation that covered Japan earlier this year. Keen on finding an inexpensive solution for early earthquake detection, he rigged an Arduino and domestic earthquake detector to tweet seconds before detectable seismic activity. Tweeting from @AlarmaSismos, it has already successfully detected every major earthquake that could be felt from Santiago since May. And it’s piling on the Twitter followers.

via [amazonNews] [HackDay] source [InfoBae]

Screen Your Genome Under $512, Open Sourcing Biology With OpenPCR

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Most of people working in the field of biological or scientific research should greet the open hardware applications we are  witnessing in this age of Garage Science. From the Phduino to the DIY Oscilloscopes, through  STM (Scanning-Tunneling Electron Microscope), Arduino is getting used to prototype tools that used to be more expensive and possibly unavailable some years ago.

OpenPCR is an amazing project aimed to bring the genome analysis to a desktot experience. From the “What Is OpenPCR?” page:

What can you do with it?

Cool apps include:

  • DNA Sequencing – PCR is used to generate enough DNA for the sequencing run. You can have a look at some of your own genome!
  • DNA Barcoding – Determining the species based on DNA. Can be used to identify plants, screen for agricultural pests, investigate airplane bird strikes, and check that sushi is legit. What about testing your food to see if they contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)?

The Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, is a method of replicating DNA. It is capable of taking a small amount of DNA, or even a single molecule, and amplifying (copying) a specific region exponentially, such that once the reaction is finished, there may exist up to 230 copies of each starting molecule (do the math — that’s more than a billion!).

This is important because DNA of interest often exists in quantities too small to detect, or may be mixed in with other DNA. For example, an accurate test for HIV must be able to detect a single virus particle in 50,000 cells. PCR is able to do this by targeting a small region of DNA that is specific to the HIV virus. If the virus exists in a sample, amplification will occur which can be easily detected. If no virus is present, no amplification will occur.

The specific region of targeted DNA is determined by how the reaction is setup, based on the specific “PCR primers” added to the reaction mixture. Virtually any sequence of DNA can be targeted.

if you still have some questions and / or want to know more about PCR have a look at this wonderful & explanatory graphics.

[See it in action!] via []

Arduino Day a Roma, 14 Aprile 2011

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Il prossimo 14 aprile (giovedì) Massimo parlerà a Roma in occasione dell’Arduino Day, una giornata di conoscenza delle possibilità di Arduino a livello didattico e formativo. Le possibilità Arduino come mezzo educativo nelle scuole era stata presentata a fine dell’anno scorso in occasione di questo evento a Torino, seguito da un corso tenuto da me presso alcune scuole del circuito Dschola. Ora grazie all’associazione discienza abbiamo la possibilità di parlare a Roma, e finalmente conoscere un po’ di realtà locali.

Arduino Day è una giornata dedicata a far conoscere a docenti, ricercatori, artisti e ragazzi la piattaforma Arduino.

L’iniziativa, organizzata dall’associazione per la divulgazione scientifica DiScienza, nasce con l’obiettivo di catalizzare il sempre maggiore interesse nei confronti del progetto Arduino, e di convogliarlo in un’unica giornata in cui sarà possibile conoscere le diverse realtà che utilizzano la piattaforma e approcciarne alcune applicazioni.

segui il [thread sul forum di Arduino].