Posts with «arduino leonardo» label

A Macro Keyboard In A Micro Package

Remember back in the early-to-mid 2000s when pretty much every cheap USB keyboard you could find started including an abundance of media keys in its layout? Nowadays, especially if you have a customized or reduced-sized mechanical keyboard, those are nowhere to be seen. Whenever our modern selves need those extra keys, we have to turn to external peripherals, and [Gary’s] Knobo is one that looks like it could’ve come straight out of a fancy retail package.

The Knobo is a small macro keypad with 8 mechanical Cherry-style keys and a clickable rotary encoder knob as its main feature. Each key and knob gesture can be customized to any macro, and with five gestures possible with the knob, that gives you a total of thirteen inputs. On top of that, the build and presentation look so sleek and clean we’d swear this was a product straight off of Teenage Engineering’s money-printing machine.

The actions you can do with those inputs range from simple media controls with a volume knob all the way to shortcuts to make a Photoshop artist’s life easier. Right now you can only reprogram the Knobo’s Arduino-based firmware with an In-Circuit Serial Programmer to change what the inputs do, but [Gary] is currently working on configuration software so that users without any programming knowledge will be able to customize it too.

Knobs are just one of those things that everyone wants to use to control their computers, much like giant red buttons. Alternative input devices can range from accessibility-designed to just downright playful. Whatever the inspiration is for them, it’s always nice to see the creativity of these projects.

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Arduino Leonardo Gets A Lockable Bootloader

Security is something that’s far too often overlooked in embedded devices. One of the main risks is that if the device doesn’t verify the authenticity of incoming firmware updates. [Walter Schreppers] was working on a USB password storage device, so security was paramount. Thus, it was necessary to develop a secure bootloader.

[Walter]’s device was based upon the Arduino Leonardo. Starting with the Caterina bootloader, modifications were made to enable the device to be locked and unlocked for programming. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on how things are setup. Unlocking can be by using a secret serial string, an onboard jumper, and [Walter] even suspects a SHA1 challenge/response could be used if you were so inclined.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about security in your projects. After all, we must stave off the cyberpunk future in which leather-clad youths flick all your lights on and off before burning your house down in the night by overclocking the water heater. Naturally, we’ve got a primer to get you going in the right direction. Happy hacking!

Vintage Atari Becomes Modern Keyboard

The modern keyboard enthusiast is blessed with innumerable choices when it comes to typing hardware. There are keyboards designed specifically for gaming, fast typing, ergonomics, and all manner of other criteria. [iot4c] undertook their own build for no other reason than nostalgia – which sounds plenty fun to us.

An Arduino Leonardo is pressed into service for this hack. With its USB HID capabilities, it’s perfectly suited for custom keyboard builds. It’s built into a working Atari 65XE computer, and connected to the keyboard matrix. The Keypad and Keyboard libraries are pressed into service to turn keypresses on the 80s keyboard into easily digseted USB data.

There’s plenty of room inside the computer for the added hardware, with the USB cable neatly sneaked out the rear. [iot4c] notes that everything still works and the added hardware does not cause any problems, as long as it’s not used as a computer and a keyboard at the same time.

It’s possible to do a similar hack on the Commodore 64, too. If you’re doing tricky keyboard builds yourself, you know where to send ’em.

A Keyboard To Stomp On

Macros are useful things. They allow one to execute a series of commands with a single keypress. There exists a wide variety of hardware and software solutions to create and use macros to improve your workflow, and now [Evan] has brought the open-source ManyKey into the fray, along with a build tutorial to boot.

The tutorial acts as a great introduction to ManyKey, as [Evan] walks through the construction of a macro keyboard designed to be operated by the feet. Based around the Arduino Leonardo and using off-the-shelf footswitches commonly used in guitar effects, it’s accessible while still hinting at the flexibility of the system. Macros are programmed into the keyboard through a Python app which communicates over serial, and configurations are saved into the Arduino’s onboard EEPROM. The ManyKey source is naturally available over at GitHub.

[Evan] tells us he uses his setup to run DJ software with his feet while his hands are busy on the turntables. That said, there’s all manner of other applications this could be used for. Efficiency is everything, and we love to see keyboard projects that aim to improve workflow with new ideas and custom builds – this shortcut keyboard makes a great example.


Create a gesture control unit for your PC using Skywriter and Arduino

While keyboards are great, and custom shortcuts can make things even better, why not do away with buttons and knobs altogether, controlling your computer instead via simple gestures? Maker Ben James has done just this, creating a unique interface using a Skywriter device to pick up finger movements, along with an Arduino Leonardo to emulate a keyboard on his laptop.

Since the Skywriter can detect a number of gestures, James assigned various swipes, taps and circular motions to keyboard commands. As you can see in the video here, the results are pretty neat. 

More info on this project can be found on his blog post, and its code is available on GitHub.

Over-engineered, Arduino-powered closet lights

If you’re faced with a closet that doesn’t have any lights inside, you simply could go and find puck lights at most retail stores. But, if you’re Dillon Nichols, you buy a set of lights, and enhance them with a wired power supply and automatic Arduino control.

To accomplish this, Nichols decoded the infrared remote control signal to his puck lights using an Arduino Leonardo, then set up things up to sense the door’s opening via a physical switch and signal the lights accordingly. Now when he opens the closet, lights automatically shine down and fade out when it’s closed.

He also added a timer, so that they turn off after 10 minutes automatically if he forgets to shut the door. Looking for an over-engineered, non-permanent solution for yourself? You can check out his detailed write-up here and find the code for his build on GitHub.

Hack an old typewriter with Arduino for digital input

Mechanical typewriters are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Though the tactile feedback of these machines is interesting, as is the ability to directly mark on a piece of paper, they lack the important ability to input instructions into a modern computer. Konstantin Schauwecker, not satisfied with this analog-only output, decided to retrofit a German Olympia Monica typewriter as a unique digital user input device.

To accomplish this, he created a PCB with phototransistors that sense when the linkages for each key are pushed down. The result is a keyboard that functions perfectly well as a manual typewriter, and pushes this data to a computer using an Arduino Leonardo.

I modified a vintage type writer to function as a USB keyboard using an Arduino and 50 phototransistors. The typewriter is a German Olympia Monica that I bought at a local flea market. For this project I created a simple PCB that carries the phototransistors and several multiplexers and decoders. The PCB is connected to the Arduino through a ribbon cable. I used an Arduino Leonardo, which can function as a USB input device.

Check out Schauwecker’s write-up for more info on this clever build.

Get your DDR on with an Arduino dance pad

Alex of the YouTube channel “Super Make Something” is a huge fan of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), and still has to play the game whenever he steps foot into an arcade. However, with the number of arcades slowly declining, the Maker has decided to bring that experience into his living room with a USB DDR dance pad.

And yes, you could always buy a metal dance pad but rather than spend $300, why not build your own? That is exactly what Alex has done using some easy-to-find materials: a 35″ x 35” slab of plywood for the base, four 1” x 35” pieces of wood for the border, five 11” x 11” pieces of MDF for the stationary panels, four 9″ x 9” pieces of cardboard for the riser panels, 12 metal button contacts out of aluminum, four 11” x 11” MDF button pads, acrylic sheets for the dance surface, and plenty of paint and graphics for the finishing touch.

The dance pad itself is based on pull-up resistors and an Arduino Leonardo, which is housed inside a 3D-printed enclosure. The Arduino includes an ATmega32U4 chip that can be programmed to act as a USB input device. The working principle here is that the MCU sends out a keystroke every time a button panel is stepped on. Alex provides a more in-depth breakdown of how it works in the video below! Meanwhile, the Arduino code can be downloaded here.

Get the party started with these coke bottle lights

With school just about out for the summer, Brian Fitzgerald’s son was throwing a party to celebrate the end of exam week. Like any cool Maker dad would, he decided to build awesome lights made out of a few old soda bottles, the “gooey innards” of glow sticks, and some other supplies he had lying around the basement.

Fitzgerald used a wooden plate for the base and a playground post bracket for the mount, along with an Arduino Leonardo (though any Arduino would do) and three NeoPixel rings for the colorful effects.

Fill the Coke bottles with water. Alternatively, you can add a drop of milk to get a cloudy effect — it makes the liquid translucent and gives the impression of solid light, but you loose the little bubble and scratch effects that clear water highlights, which we thought was cooler. We put a black Sugru cap on the bottles to avoid a drunken accident involving water and electronics. And filled the countersunk bolt holes with Sugru to hide the bolt heads as well.

I attached the plastic Arduino casing with double-sided velcro to the base unit for easy removal. It’d look nicer if I’d put the whole unit inside the base, but as we’re planning to pull the board out and modify for music sensitivity, I opted for convenience over beauty. If anybody has any cool Arduino code that gets an Adafruit auto-gain mic and NeoPixels jamming via FFT, I’d love to see it. There are some great color organ projects out there, but I can’t seem to find this particular combo. So we may have to write it ourselves!

Plug the 9v wall wart into the Arduino and BOOM. You got yourself a classic party light that’s mesmerizing to look at, throws patterns on the ceiling that look like Hubble images of distant nebulae, a fine conversation piece, and a bunch of cast off junk transformed into a thing of beauty.

Intrigued? You can check out the entire project on Instructables, as well as see it in action below.


A rec&play loop station for little musicians

The Interaction Awards  published the shortlisted projects for 2016 and up to five finalists in each category will be announced during the event on Friday evening, March 4, 2016. In the Expressing category, showcasing projects enabling self expression and/or creativity there is a project called Step representing an innovative and engaging way of approaching music production for children between 6 and 100 years old.

Step runs on an Arduino and has been created by Federico Lameri, Sandro Pianetti at the Master of Advanced Studies in Interaction Design in Lugano under the supervision of Massimo Banzi and Giorgio Olivero of Todo.

To prototype the user experience we’ve used an Arduino Leonardo connected to a processing sketch that handle the recording and playback features. Using a Mux Shield 2 we managed connecting 25 IR sensors, 16 LEDs, 1 knob and a button to a single Arduino board. We needed a quick and effective way to test the experience and by using Arduino we managed to design and build the whole product in three weeks.

Most of the music toys on the market are trying to fake the sounds and the experience of real instruments. Step has a different approach as it’s designed to give children the opportunity to create real loops and beats using whatever sounds they like from objects of everyday life.

Players can record any sounds and match them with  coloured tags, and then  create melodies, loops and and beats by placing tags on the track and by adjusting the tempo!

Check the video below to see it in action: