An Arduino-based cartridge reader for Nintendo systems

Arduino Team August 1, 2016

GitHub user Sanni has created a Nintendo cartridge and save game reader shield for the Arduino Mega.

The ROM gets saved to an SD card. You can also read/write save files to the SRAM, display information about the cartridge on a 0.96″ 128X64 OLED LCD, and calculate the checksum of your ROM dump. You control it using the push button–one click moves the selection down, a double-click moves it up, and a long press executes the current menu option. Read the rest of this entry »

Turn your printer into a MOCO slider with Arduino

Arduino Team July 29, 2016

Product designer Eduard Puertas continues to impress us with his makeshift motion control projects. Recently, the animation enthusiast had come across a broken HP printer on the street; rather than let it be picked up by the garbage truck, he decided to repurpose it into a MOCO slider for stop motion and time-lapse photography.

Aside from the printer’s mechanical parts, Puertas used an Arduino Uno, some stepper drivers, and Dragonframe software to bring his idea to life. You can see the end result below!

Ride to work on an Arduino-based electric unicycle

Arduino Team July 29, 2016

Some people drive their car to work. Some walk. Others ride their bike. Well, in Nick Thatcher’s case, he prefers to hop on his own electric unicycle. The serial creator of self-balancing vehicles has just completed his latest project, dubbed  “Plan-B.”

Unlike his other builds, this time Thatcher set out to make Plan-B a true “commuter” unicycle with the utmost portability–boasting a foldable design, a handle on its rear for easy carrying, and a LiFePo4 battery to keep it lightweight. Read the rest of this entry »

Honey, I shrunk the NES… with Raspberry Pi and Arduino!

Arduino Team July 29, 2016

The NES was one of, if not, the first gaming consoles most of us ever experienced. That’s why we were all pretty excited to hear Nintendo’s recent plans of releasing the NES Classic Mini. As great as it sounds, though, turns out it won’t connect to the Internet and can’t play games beyond the 30 classics that come preloaded on the device. But leave it to a Maker to come up with a better solution! Enter DaftMike, who has built his own shrunken-down, 3D-printed version of the retro system complete with some of the features we all would’ve loved to see with Nintendo’s re-creation.

The DIY unit–which is 40% the size of the original–is powered by a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. It runs on RetroPie emulation software and uses itsy-bitsy NFC tagged cartridges, ranging from Super Mario Bros. to Zelda. When a cartridge is inserted into the machine’s fully-functional slot, an NFC reader scans it, selects that specific game from the Pi’s internal memory, and boots it up onto the screen. Read the rest of this entry »

Monitor your solar energy with a dual-axis tracker

Arduino Team July 28, 2016

As part of a thesis project, Belgian student Bruce Helsen built a dual-axis tracker for optimizing solar panel use. Although adding a tracking system to a larger installation can be pricey (and likely not the most cost-effective option), it can certainly come in handy for smaller units.

Helsen’s dual-axis tracker fits two 12V 150W solar panels for a 300W peak output, and has a few key features: it turns to make sure the panels are aligned with the sun for as long as possible, it measures the panels’ voltage and current then calculates the generated power and energy, and it sends that data from the monitor to ThingSpeak for analysis and logging. There’s also an LCD to display the readings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Musician creates MIDI-triggered LED cubes with Arduino

Arduino Team July 28, 2016

For the release of his latest EP, Dario Marturano brought together electronic music, technology, science, and dance to create an awe-inspiring music video called “Pyrite.” The artist (and STEAM advocate), who goes by the stage name Holograph, built a set of illuminated cubes using plexiglass boxes and LED strips that are MIDI-triggered via Arduino circuitry. Read the rest of this entry »

Kick the habit with a cigarette smoke-detecting shirt

Arduino Team July 27, 2016

You’ve heard it before, smoking is bad for your health. However, despite the countless warnings, millions of people continue to use cigarettes–including 7th grade student Petter’s dad. Mindful of this, the young Maker came up with a new way to shame smokers into quitting.

The aptly named “Cigarette Smoke Detecting Shirt” consists of an Arduino LilyPad, a smoke sensor, and three LED sequins, all sewn into the t-shirt using conductive thread. When cigarette smoke is sensed, one of three different lights illuminate alongside a message to embarrass the wearer such as “stinky breath,” “yellow teeth,” or “lung cancer.” Read the rest of this entry »

Download the new Arduino IDE 1.6.10!

Arduino Team July 27, 2016

Great news, Makers! We’re excited to announce the immediate availability of the Arduino IDE 1.6.10, AVR core 1.6.12 and SAM core 1.6.9.

The most notable feature of this release is the introduction of an up-to-date bundled toolchain for AVR containing the latest goodies from Atmel, GCC and AVRDUDE devs.

Thanks to LTO (Link Time Optimization), making your sketches smaller and faster is now only a push of the “Compile” button away.

The AVRDUDE update brings out-of-the-box support for a wide range of microcontrollers and debuggers, making it is as simple as possible to deploy. (For example, problems with Gatekeeper on Mac and dependencies on Linux are a thing of the past.) Read the rest of this entry »

Control with your smart devices by staring and gesturing

Arduino Team July 26, 2016

As part of a recent Microsoft HoloLens hackathon in San Francisco, Maker Ian Sterling developed a new app that interacts with you smart home via augmented reality. The proof of concept, dubbed “IoTxMR,” allows a user to simply glance at a gadget and control it through gestures.

As you can see in the video below, IoTxMR enables Sterling to connect various Android and Arduino-based devices with the HoloLens to create a customized interdependent network. It also features a mixed reality experience called “virtual zen mode,” complete with calming sounds and light orbs in his surrounding environment.

During a recent interview with Digital Trends, Sterling revealed:

The primary goal of the app is to provide a 3D spatial UI for cross-platform devices — Android Music Player app and Arduino-controlled fan and light — and to interact with them using gaze and gesture control.

The connectivity between Arduino and a mixed reality device is something which holds a huge amount of creative opportunity for developers to create some very exciting applications — be it [Internet of Things], robotics, or other sensor data visualization. Besides this, our app features some fun ways to connect devices. Our demo featured a connection between a music player and a light in order to set a certain mood in your home.

Although just a demo, IoTxMR does highlight the endless possibilities that AR platforms like HoloLens offer in the not-too-distant future.

The Floppotron is back with the Pokémon theme song

Arduino Team July 26, 2016

A few weeks ago, we heard Pawel Zadrozniak’s computer hardware orchestra perform a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Now, the Floppotron is back–this time with its own geeky rendition of the Pokémon theme song.

The Floppotron is comprised of 64 repurposed floppy disk drives, eight hard disks, and two scanners. Every column of floppy drives is connected to an 8-channel controller based on ATmega16 MCU. The higher the volume, the more drives are playing.

Meanwhile, the eight hard disks with a pair of 4-channel controllers act as percussion. The sound generated depends on the driving speed–the higher the frequency, the greater the pitch. Hard disks use a magnet and a coil to tilt the head. When voltage is supplied for long enough, the head speeds up and hits the bound making the “drum” sound.

To drive the coils, Zadrozniak says he employed a pair of push-pull outputs built using discrete SMD MOSFETs. Most of the tunes are made by the two scanners, both of which are connected to Arduino devices. Data is received over UART (USB-UART) and buffers messages to keep the music in time.

The host application is written in Python 2.7 and parses the language that is used to write note sequences and arrange tracks that go to a specific controller. You can read more about the Floppotron here, or just listen to the Pokémon anthem below!