Calcuino is an Arduino Calculator

All by itself, a calculator based on an Arduino isn’t necessarily very novel. However, [Volos] has a nice board that, of course, looks like a calculator. There are 16 keys and an LED display. But it seems to us the real value would be using this as a base for other projects.

As an inexpensive development board, it’s handy to have a simple processor with a keyboard and a display. There’s some extra I/O pins and the first example in the video below shows using the setup as a simple organ, for example. We’d love to see an option to replace the LED with an LCD and maybe even some different CPU options, as well.

The board is essentially an Arduino with a standard USB to serial chip and a MAX7219 display driver. Of course, you could breadboard up all of these things, but it wouldn’t be as neat looking. One unusual thing about the keyboard is that it is not multiplexed. Each button has a label that indicates what Arduino pin it connects with. So key 6 connects to pin 6 and pin A2 connects to the key marked =/A2.

With the availability of inexpensive PC boards, we’re seeing many nice designs out there that would be easy to repurpose for other things. For example, we thought this board would easily run the Kim Uno, with some modifications to the I/O routines. Might even be able to work out a clone of an even older computer to fit on the board.

Hack a Day 28 Jun 15:00

433 On A Stick

Cheap 433 MHz wireless switches are a tempting way to enter the world of home automation, but without dedicated hardware, they can be less easy to control from a PC. That’s the position [TheStaticTurtle] was in, so the solution was obvious. Build a USB 433 MHz transceiver.

At the computer end is a CH340 USB-to-serial chip and the familiar ATmega328 making this a compact copy of the Arduino. At the RF end are a pair of modules for transmit and receive, unexpectedly with separate antennas. This device is a second revision, after initial experiments with a single antenna connector and an RF switch proved not to work. On the software side the Arduino uses the rc-switch library, while on the PC side there’s a Python library to make sense of it all. The code and hardware files are all on GitHub, should you wish to experiment.

The problem of making a single antenna transceiver is not for the faint-hearted RF engineer, as while diode switches seem on paper to deliver the goods, they can be extremely difficult to get right and preserve linearity. We’re curious that a transceiver module wasn’t used instead, but we’re guessing that cost played a significant part in the equation.

Over the years we’ve featured quite a few fascinating 433 MHz projects, like this TP-Link router conversion.

Hack a Day 28 Jun 03:00

Women Safety Device with GPS Tracking and Alerts Using Arduino

With all the technology available to us in recent times, it's not hard to build a safety device for women which will not only generate an emergency alarm but also send a message to your friends, family, or concerned person. Here we will build a band that can be worn by women, using which they can inform police or anyone, using SOS emergency SMS along with the current location. Using this information, the police will be able to save the victim from the location.

Circuit Digest 26 Jun 11:02

Measuring the Time is a Breeze With This Air Flow Clock

If you’ve ever had surgery, and you’re over a certain age, chances are good you’re familiar with the dreaded incentive spirometer. It’s a little plastic device with one or more columns, each of which has a plastic ball in it. The idea is to blow into the thing to float the balls, to endure that your lungs stay in good shape and reduce the chance of pneumonia. This unique air-powered clock reminds us a little of that device, without all the pain.

Like a spirometer, [Nir Tasher]’s clock has three calibrated tubes, each big enough to hold a foam ball loosely. At the bottom of each tube is a blower whose motor is under PWM control. A laser rangefinder sits below each ball and measures its height; the measurement is used by a PID loop to control the speed of each fan and thus the height of each ball. The video below shows that the balls are actually pretty steady, making the clock easy to read. It doesn’t, however, reveal what the clock sounds like; we’re going to go out on a limb here and guess that it’s pretty noisy. Still, we think it’s a fantastic way to keep time, and unique in the extreme.

[Nir]’s Air Flow clock is an early entry in the 2020 Hackaday Prize, the greatest hardware design contest on Earth. Everyone should enter something, or at least check out the cool things people are coming up with. It’s still early in the process, but there are so many neat projects already. What are you waiting for?

The HackadayPrize2020 is Sponsored by:

DIY TV-B-Gone is A-OK

Where won’t they put a TV these days? We’ve even seen one creeping behind semi-transparent mirror film in the ladies’ room of a sports bar, though that one didn’t last long. Up until that moment, we had never wished so hard for a TV-B-Gone, especially one as small and powerful as this DIY version by [Constructed].

The best thing about [Constructed]’s DIY TV-B-Gone is the strength of signal, though the size is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a 10-watt array or IR LEDs out of a security camera, and you can see how much brighter it is than a single IR LED in the video after the break.

Packed inside this minty enclosure is an Arduino Nano, which holds all the TV power-off codes known to hackers and fires them off in quick succession. [Constructed] salvaged a MOSFET from an electronic speed controller to drive that LED array, and there’s a voltage booster board to raise the 3.7V lithium battery to 5V. [Constructed] hasn’t really had the chance to test this out in public what with the global pandemic and all, but was able to verify a working distance of 40 feet inside the house.

Don’t care for such a raw look? Hide your zapper inside a toy, like this sonic screwdriver version.

Voice Controlled FM Radio using Arduino and Google Assistant

Nowadays, most of us like to listen to music, with our smartphones. But a few years back, this was not the case, at that point in time, FM radios were the first choice for listening to music, podcasts, news, and others. Nowadays nobody listens to the radio for music, news, and others, grandma and grandpa being an exception.

Circuit Digest 25 Jun 08:28

Rotary Phone Takes You Around The World And Through Time – With Music

Purposely choosing obsoleted technology combines all the joy of simpler times with the comfort of knowing you’re not actually stuck with outdated (and oftentimes inferior) technology. The rotary phone is a great example here, and while rarely anyone would want to go back to the lenghty, error-prone way of dialing a number on it on an everyday basis, it can definitely add a certain charm to a project. [Caroline Buttet] thought so as well, and turned her grandma’s old rotary phone into a time-traveling, globe-trotting web radio.

The main idea is fairly simple: a Raspberry Pi connects via browser to a web radio site that plays music throughout the decades from places all over the world. [Caroline]’s implementation has a few nice twists added though. First of all, the phone of course, which doesn’t only house the Raspberry Pi, but serves both as actual listening device via handset speaker, and as input device to select the decade with the rotary dial. For a headless setup, she wrote a Chromium extension that maps key events to virtual clicks on the corresponding DOM element of the web site — like the ones that change the decade — and a Python script that turns the rotary dial pulses into those key events.

However, the phone is only half the story here, and the country selection is just as fascinating — which involves an actual world map. An audio connector is attached to each selectable country and connected to an Arduino. If the matching jack is plugged into it, the Arduino informs the Raspberry Pi via serial line about the new selection, and the same Chromium extension then triggers the country change in the underlying web site. You can check all the code in the project’s GitHub repository, and watch a demo and brief explanation in the videos after the break.

Sure, listening radio through a telephone may not be the most convenient way — unless it’s the appropriate genre — but that clearly wasn’t the goal here anyway. It’s definitely an interesting concept, and we could easily see it transferred to some travel- or spy-themed escape room setting. And speaking of spying, if [Caroline]’s name sounds familiar to you, you may remember her virtual peephole from a few months back.

RFID based Contactless Body Temperature Screening using Arduino and MLX90614 IR Temperature Sensor

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, infrared thermometers are being used as a screening tool to scan the people at Airports, Railway Stations, and other crowded establishments. These scans are being used to identify potential patients of Covid-19. The government made it compulsory to scan everyone before entering the office, school, or any other crowded place.

Circuit Digest 24 Jun 07:17

Switch Tester Servo-Slaps Them ’til they Fail

[James] is designing an open-source 3D printed keyboard switch, with the end goal of building a keyboard with as many printed parts as possible. Since keyswitches are meant to be pressed quite often, the DIY switches ought to be tested just as rigorously as their commercial counterparts are at the factory. Maybe even more so.

The broken spring after 13,000+ automated boings.

Rather than wear out his fingers with millions of actuations, [James] built a robot to test switches until they fail. All he has to do is plug a switch in, and the servo-driven finger slowly presses the slider down until the contacts close, which lights the LED.

The system waits 100ms for the contacts to stop any tiny vibrations before releasing the slider. That Arduino on the side tracks the contact and release points and sends them to the PC to be graphed. If the switch fails to actuate or release, the tester stops altogether.

We love that this auto-tester works just fine for commercial switches, too — the bit that holds the switch is separate and attaches with screws, so you could have one for every footprint variant. [James] recently did his first test of a printed switch and it survived an astonishing 13,907 presses before the printed coil spring snapped.

One could argue that this doubles as a servo tester. If you want a dedicated device for that, this one can test up to sixteen at a time.

Via @Microchip_Makes

MPU6050 Gyro Sensor Interfacing with ESP32 Board

The MPU6050 sensor module consists of an accelerometer and gyro on a single chip. It contains analog-16 bits in the digital converter for each channel. So it can capture the x, y, and z channels at the same time. The sensor uses I2C-bus to interact with Arduino or any other microcontroller. The MPU-6050 sensor module used in many applications like drones, robots, motion sensors. This sensor is also called the Gyroscope or Triple axis accelerometer.

Circuit Digest 22 Jun 12:11