If you’ve been waiting for a new way to generate geometric art, then be sure to check out the Cycloid-O-Matic from InventorArtist Darcy Whyte.
This three-axis cycloid drawing machine is something of an update on the classic spirograph toy, but instead of (only) using an arrangement of gears, it incorporates stepper motors to create smooth curving patterns.
Control is accomplished via an Arduino Uno and GRBL shield, while a single motor rotates the paper in a circle on top of a lazy Susan. A pen is held above in a linkage system, actuated by two steppers that spin to move the linkages and draw in the X/Y plane.
Hydraulically-actuated robots are nothing new, but normally they come with a battery or external supply of some sort. This lifelike robotic lionfish developed by Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania researchers, however, has its own artificial circulatory that pumps synthetic ‘blood’ to help flap its fins and as the device’s power source itself.
The trick is that the liquid is actually the cathode of a battery built into the fish, which powers its two hydraulic actuators, as well as the Arduino Uno control system. This integral battery—which would be analogous to blood in a real fish—gives it enough energy to operate untethered for 36 hours, though as it swims at 1.56 body lengths per minute, so it can use all the time it can get!
As James Pikul, a co-author on the study and researcher at Penn, told Gizmodo:
In our synthetic vascular system, the fluid stores chemical energy which we can use to power the fish robot. As the fluid is pumped through the fish robot, the moving fluid also causes the robot to move. The vascular system, therefore, is multifunctional. It is these multiple functions that allow the robot to maintain its dexterity while also having a long operational time.
Alarm clocks of old—and certainly many of those today—require several button pushes to set things up properly. Maker Michael Wessel, however, decided to implement his own take on a more intuitive clock, creating a device that features three separate eight-digit seven-segment LED panels. Eight buttons allow for direct manipulation of each of the digits, with their own dedicated LEDs.
The info on display includes time and date, as well as temperature, and it can even show how many days, hours, or minutes have passed since a special pre-programmed day. Up to seven audible alarms are available, which can be silenced by a loud noise (e.g. clapping your hands) via a sound sensor.
The clock is controlled via an Arduino Mega, along with an RTC module to keep things accurate.
I remember I always had to set all digital clocks for my grandparents in the ’80s — these clocks and watches always required some complicated button juggling! So, here it is: a DIY LED alarm clock that my grandparents would have been able to set and use without my help!
An Arduino-based LED clock with 7 individual alarms, highly intuitive user interface, temperature display, and display of days / hours / minutes passed since a special date, e.g., your birthday. An active / ringing alarm can be disabled by making a loud noise, e.g., by clapping your hands. Timer-based PWM sound output for alarm melodies.
The Arduino’s EEPROM is being used to store the alarms of course, and the DS3231 RTC is battery backed up, so it survives a temporary power outage and you won’t be late for work the next morning.
This was put together rather quickly, thanks to off the shelf components, Velcro and existing Arduino libraries for them! The clock can be built for about $30 – 40.
As you experiment with Arduino boards and programming, you’ll likely have ideas that you want to test right now. Unfortunately, you can’t always have the entire project with you to try out. With that in mind, Khang Nguyen has designed the Portable Arduino Bot.
This sci-fi-inspired device packs an Arduino Nano inside, along with an on/off switch, a microswitch, three LEDs, and a LiPo battery for power. To protect these components, the bot features a nice 3D-printed enclosure, complete with foldable feet that make it look like a small robot or even spaceship.
While it won’t replace all the tools you have at home, it appears to be a great way to carry out testing, and as shown in the videos below, to play sounds with the addition of a buzzer!
Having a light on your bike at night is important for safety, but what if those headlights could talk to others sharing the road with you? Well now it can, using the [Bike] Swarm by Alex Berke, Thomas Sanchez, and Kent Larson from the MIT Media Lab.
Their device—or collection of devices—controls a bicycle’s lighting via an Arduino and LED driver, and features an nRF24L01 wireless module to communicate with others in the vicinity. When another rider is encountered, the bikes sync their lights up automatically.
The team has already designed and fabricated prototypes, then strapped them onto local city bike share program bikes for testing.
It’s an interesting effect when two bikes pass, but as shown in the video below, things get much more fascinating when a handful of bikes can coordinate both their direction and light pattern.
As bikes navigate city streets after dark, they are often equipped with lights. The lights make the bikes visible to cars or other bikers, and the hazards of traffic less dangerous.
Imagine that as solitary bikes come together, their lights begin to pulsate at the same cadence. The bikers may not know each other, or may only be passing each other briefly, but for the moments they are together, their lights synchronize. The effect is a visually united presence, as groups of bikes illuminate themselves with a gently pulsing, collective light source.
If you’ve ever played with desk toys portraying a beach with liquids that splash around, this project by Lena Strobel, Gabriel Rihaczek and Guillaume Caussarieu takes things up several levels as a surf simulator that you can actually ride.
The device features two parts — an oil/water wave diorama which sloshes around using a servo actuator and a wooden “surfboard” large enough for a person to stand on.
The board is curved on the bottom enabling for someone to tilt it back and forth with their body movement, while a three-axis accelerometer handles angle measurement. This data is then passed from an onboard Arduino Uno to a second Uno that drives the diorama’s servo via nRF24L01 radio transceivers.
The result is an actual body-controlled wave motion, and a distraction that looks like a lot more fun than simply pushing a tank around with your finger!
Do you feel a sudden urge of going surfing, but there is no large body of water nearby? Are you scared of deep and turbulent waters? Or are you just to lazy to go outside? Then the Ultra Realistic Surfing Simulator is the perfect solution for you! It allows for a close to reality surfing experience from any place imaginable. As a two part system, motion is sensed by a board and translated into wave motions of an ocean diorama.
Normally the 10-50 gigapixels of a DSLR are good enough for nearly any photo you can imagine, but if you need more—and don’t want to spend many thousands of dollars—then this clever setup by Jon Bumstead may be just the thing.
His contraption uses a Nikon D5000 camera situated above a small photographic subject, which progressively moves in front of the lenses using an X/Y stage setup. Motion is handled by pair of stepper motors, under the control of an Arduino Nano and two L9110 driver boards. The Nano also commands the camera to snap a picture when the subject in position, producing an array of photos that can be stitched together to form an image with extreme detail.
In optical microscopes, there is a fundamental trade-off between field-of-view and resolution: the finer the detail, the smaller the region imaged by the microscope. One way to overcome this limitation is to translate the sample and acquire images over a larger field-of-view. The basic idea is to stitch together many high resolution images to form a large FOV. In these images, you get to see both the full sample, as well as fine detail in any portion of the sample. The result is an image consisting of about a billion pixels, much larger in comparison to the pictures taken by a DSLR or smartphone, which typically have around 10 to 50 million pixels.
In this Instructable, I will go over how to build a microscope capable of imaging a 90mm x 60mm field-of-view with pixels corresponding to 2 micrometer at the sample (although, I think the resolution is probably closer to 15 micrometer). The system uses camera lenses, but the same concept can be applied using microscope objectives to get even finer resolution.
The bike isn’t the functional part of this build, as it doesn’t seem to have been intended to move. Rather, it was chosen because it is inconspicuous (read: rusty and not valuable) and simply housed the radar unit and electronics in a rear luggage case. The radar was specially calibrated to have less than 1% error, and ran on a deep cycle lead acid battery for around eight days. Fitting it with an Arduino-compatible shield and running some software (provided on the github page) is enough to get it up and running.
This is an impressive feat of citizen activism to provide the local police with accurate data to change a problem in a neighborhood. Not only was the technology put to good use, but the social engineering involved with hiding expensive electronics in plain sight with a rusty bicycle is a step beyond what we might have thought of as well.
The crux of the build is a watery diorama, which interacts with a faux-surfboard. The diorama consists of a tank constructed out of plexiglas, sealed together to be watertight. It’s then filled with blue-dyed water, and topped off with baby oil. The tank is then mounted on a cam controlled by a servo, which rocks the tank back and forth to create waves. This is controlled by the motion of the rider on the plywood surfboard, which can be rocked to and fro on the floor thanks to its curved bottom. An Arduino built into the board monitors a three-axis accelerometer, and sends this information to the Arduino controlling the tank.
By riding the board, the user can shake the tank. Get the motion just right, and smooth rolling waves are your reward. Jerk around with no real rhythm, and you’ll just get messy surf. We reckon it would be even better with a little surfer floating in the tank, too. It’s a fun build, and one that might help stave off the negative health effects of sitting at a desk all day. You might prefer a more shocking desk toy, however. Video after the break.
The clock employs an IV-27M vacuum fluorescent display, manufactured in the now-defunct USSR. Featuring 13 seven-segment digits, it’s got that charming blue glow that you just don’t get with other technologies. A MAX6921AWI chip is used to drive the VFD, and an Arduino Mega is the brains of the operation. There’s also an HD44780-compliant LCD that can display further alphanumeric information, and a 4×4 keypad for controlling the device.
The best part of the build though is the enclosure. The VFD is encased in a glass tube, and supported at either end by 90-degree copper pipe couplers. These hold the VFD aloft, and also act as a conduit for the wires coming off each end of the tube. It’s all built on top of a wooden base that holds the rest of the electronics.