Posts with «actuators» label

Prototype room-scale, shape-changing interfaces with LiftTiles

Shape-shifting interfaces, which could be deployed to create dynamic furniture, structures or VR environments, have great potential; however, creating them is often quite difficult. To simplify things, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have developed “LiftTiles,” modular blocks that raise to the desired height (between 15 and 150 centimeters) via air pressure and then collapse under spring force when needed.

Each pneumatic tile costs under $10 USD, weighs only 10kg each, and supports up to 10kg of weight. To demonstrate their design, the team used solenoid valves to inflate blocks and servo motors to open release valves that allow the blocks deflate and compress. 

The system is based on an Arduino Mega board, along with an SR300 depth camera to measure the height of each section and client software running on a control computer. 

More details can be found in the project’s research paper.

UCSD engineers developed electrically-controlled soft robot actuators

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have come up with a way to build soft robots that are compact, portable and multifunctional without the requirement for compressed air. 

Instead, they’re using a system of tubular actuators made out of heat-sensitive liquid crystal elastomer sheets. Heating elements are placed between two layers of elastomer, which is then rolled up into a cylinder, allowing the tubular digit to bend and contract.

With this novel method, they’ve been able to build a three-jaw gripper, as well as a robot that walks independently with four legs under Arduino control. While the grippers are slow at this point, taking 30 seconds to bend and minutes to return to their original position, the eventual goal is to have them react at the speed of human muscles.

Crush Cans Effortlessly with an Arduino-Powered Arm

Use an Arduino and an H-bridge motor circuit to build an automatic can crusher

Read more on MAKE

The post Crush Cans Effortlessly with an Arduino-Powered Arm appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Control Large DC Motors with Arduino

Arduino boards are able to control small motors very easily and it’s just as easy when you have to deal with controlling large motors. In the following video tutorial by NYC CNC you’ll see two examples. In the first you’ll learn how to get up and running, to start, stop, control direction and speed of a large motor with Arduino Uno. In the second example, how to use two proximity sensors as limit switches and two potentiometers to allow on-the-fly speed adjustment.

Arduino Blog 31 Oct 16:44

Weird Eye Robot with the Arduino Starter Kit

[Robotgrrl] made a nice project with the Arduino Starter Kit: The Eye Robot.

It reacts differently when you ‘pet’ it and ‘poke’ it. Beware when it ruffles its brow! It enjoys singing short jingles. Rumour has it that the light up googely eye can peer into your soul.

source [Robotgrrl]

Arduino Blog 06 Nov 17:31

Arduino-controlled blinds: a tutorial

Have you ever wanted a smart home that can automatically adjusts the blinds for you? If so, this project is for you.

In this instructable, the author describes his approach to “smart blinds”, by using an Arduino board, an ethernet shield, a motor shield and a couple of sensors.

By means of a simple web-based GUI, the user can manually open and close the blinds, or he/she can setup both temperature and brightness thresholds in order to automate the whole process. Finally, opening and closing events can also be scheduled at pre-defined times of the day, if necessary.

The complete tutorial, together with the source code of the project, can be found here.

[Via: Instructables and Lifehacker]

Arduino Starter Kit is here to Rock

We are eager to announce the launch of the official Arduino Starter Kit! We have been working hard together in developing a complete selection of 15 projects that will let you become a true arduino tinkerer!

But that’s more:

The new starter kit has been developed together with a series of ten video tutorials hosted by Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi, which can be viewed at Ideally used in conjunction with the videos, the kit provides an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It contains all of the essential components required to start programming with the Arduino Uno board, and a guidebook featuring 15 different projects, which are designed to evolve the user from beginner to professional level. Comprising a motor, servomotor and driver, the kit also offers particular benefits to users wishing to apply mechatronics to their designs.

read through for the whole components and projects list

We are aware this kit will let a lot of people step in the Arduino world: for this reason we opened a brand new category of the arduino forum. You can buy the Kit on RS Components and will soon be available on the Arduino Store and the other distributors [notify me when this happen]


Workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”: projects and outcomes

Last July 23-27 2012, the workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”, organized by SUPSI within the summer school in “Digital Fabrication and Interaction Design”, has took place involving about 20 participants. This workshop has proved to be a very good approach to introduce future makers to the concepts of digital fabrication, prototyping and design of interactive objects.
On the workshop’s homepage, several prototypes and artifacts manufactured during the workshop are presented. Among them, it’s worth to mention Poetry Zoo, a set of laser-cut and RFID-equipped animals that generate poetries, The Sound of a Line, where simple melodies can be performed by using a ball with conductive ink in combination with a special glove, and Superfluo Shoes, a pair of shoes that react based on movement.
The complete list of projects developed during the workshop can be found on its official home page, while a personal view of this experience by Zoe Romano, who has taught at the summer school together with Massimo Banzi, can be found here.

[Via: homepage of the workshop and Zoe Romano's blog]

An open robot shield for Arduino

Open Electronics‘ staff were looking for a common and standard hardware platform usable on different robots they were working on. Their goal was to find a single platform that had to provide power supply to the microcontroller, it had to provide stabilized voltage for the servos, and, finally, it had to be equipped with an obstacle detector and with an IR receiver.

Having chosen Arduino as the target core board, they developed an ad-hoc shield meeting all these requirements, whose detailed description can be found here, together with the BOM and a lot of source code.

[Via: Open Electronics]

Vertical Plotter Prototype

Nice Grasshopper-to-Arduino plotter hack from FablabTorino maker Pietro Leoni, a collabotator at Carlo Ratti Associati studio in Turin. We’d love to see code & sketches online soon, as much as a second edition of the plotter.