Posts with «arduino» label

Hackaday Links: June 9, 2019

The Chicago Pile led to the Manhattan Project, which led to the atomic bomb. In Germany, there were similar efforts with less success, and now we have physical evidence from the first attempted nuclear reactor in Germany. In Physics Today, there’s a lovely historical retrospective of one of the ‘fuel cubes’ that went into one of Germany’s unsuccessful reactor experiments. This is a five-centimeter cube that recently showed up in the hands of a uranium collector. In the test reactor, six hundred of these cubes were strung along strings and suspended like a chandelier. This chandelier was then set inside a tub surrounded by graphite. This reactor never reached criticality — spectroscopy tells us the cube does not contain fission products — but it was the best attempt Germany made at a self-sustaining nuclear reaction.

The biggest failing of the Arduino is the pinout. Those header pins aren’t all on 0.1″ centers, and the board itself is too wide to fit on a single solderless breadboard. Here’s the solution to that problem. It’s the BreadShield, an Arduino Uno-to-Breadboard adapter. Plug an Uno on one end, and you get all the pins on the other.

There’s a new listing on AirBnB. this time from NASA. They’re planning on opening the space station up to tourism, starting at $35,000 USD per night. That’s a cool quarter mil per week, launch not included. The plan appears to allow other commercial companies (SpaceX and whoever buys a Boeing Starliner) to accept space tourists, the $35k/night is just for the stop at the ISS. Costs for launch and landing are expected to be somewhere between $20 and $60 Million per flight. Other space tourists have paid as much: [Dennis Tito], the first ‘fee-paying’ space tourist, paid $20M for a trip to the ISS in 2001. [Mark Shuttleworth] also paid $20M a year later. Earlier space ‘tourists’ paid a similar amount; Japanese journalist [Toyohiro Akiyama] flew to Mir at a cost of between $12M and $37M. Yes, the space station is now an AirBnB, but it’s going to cost twenty million dollars for the ride up there.

We’re getting into conference season, and there are two hardware cons coming up you should be aware of. The first is Hardwear.io, keynoted by [Christopher Tarnovsky], famous for DirecTV hacks. There will be other talks by [@TubeTimeUS] on cloning the Sound Blaster and [John McMaster] on dropping acid. All of this is going down this week at The Biltmore in Santa Clara, CA. The second upcoming conference of note is Teardown, the hardware conference put on by Crowd Supply. That’s in Portland, June 21-23, with a presence from the Church of Robotron.

Dead Bug Arduino Is Lively And Shield-Compatible

Microcontroller demo boards such as the Arduino UNO are ubiquitous on Hackaday as the brains of many a project which inevitably does something impressive or unusual. Sometime someone builds a particularly tiny demo board, or an impressively large one. In the case of the board featured here, the Arduino is a gorgeous labor of love which can’t really be called a board since there is no PCB. Instead of the traditional fiberglass, [Jiří Praus] formed brass bars into the circuitry and held it together with solder.

This kind of dedication to a project leaves an impression. His notes show he saw the barest way to operate an ATMega328, built it, tested, and moved on to the power supply to make it self-sustaining, then onto the communication circuit, and finally the lights. The video below shows a fully-functional Arduino happily running the blink program. He plans to encase the brass portion in resin to toughen it up and presumably keep every bump from causing a short circuit. The components are in the same position due to a custom jig which means a standard shield will fit right into place.

The Arduino started far less flashy yet nearly as fragile, and it has grown. And shrunk.

Hack a Day 09 Jun 21:00

Manage household chores with an RFID system

If your kids aren’t thrilled about doing chores, you could resort to a whiteboard, or simply create your own RFID tracking system like maker “alastair-a.” 

His project uses an Arduino Nano, along with an RFID reader and RTC module to track when a job has been completed. The chore is selected using a rotary encoder and displayed on a 16×2 LCD screen. When it’s done, the child who completed it can then scan in with their RFID fob to claim it as his or her own.

While there was initially some cash payment in mind for each task that’s accomplished, the novelty factor of using the system is reportedly so interesting that alastair’s children have entirely forgotten about it. Whether it works this well or not in all cases is an open question, but Arduino code and build info is available here if you’d like to make your own!

Plastic lid becomes Arduino Nano short circuit armor

If you want to keep your Arduino project or other circuit boards safe from exposure, an electrical box is the traditional choice. But what if you want to apply protection directly to the board?

In the video below, “TheRainHarvester” shows us a novel and inexpensive method for hardening a Nano from short circuits and other minor exposure by simply melting plastic on the top. 

The Nano’s new armor is sourced from a lid that you might find on a coffee or oatmeal container, and after cutting it to size, a “plasti-shell” is fused to the board with a heat gun. The procedure couldn’t be simpler, and appears to provide a good amount of protection for the little board!

Solving the Rubik’s cube with an Arduino-powered machine

Since its invention in 1974, Rubik’s cubes have been entertaining and frustrating those that choose to take on the challenge of aligning their shapes. More recently, however, people have been building algorithms and machinery to do it for them, including Mario Milanesio’s Arduino Rubik Solver, or ARS.

ARS, which was constructed with the help of Milanseio’s students, is comprised of several 3D-printed and laser-cut parts. The device utilizes a series of four stepper motors to rotate the cube, along with two more to pull the grippers back when needed. 

Solving is assisted by the ARS Studio software package, which lets users program in the existing color sequence. It then sends movement commands to an Arduino Uno over serial, which controls the motors via six A4988 Pololu drivers to complete the puzzle.

Quick Fix is a social media vending machine

Do you want to grow your popularity on social media? Sure, there are those online services that could give your audience a boost, but if you’d prefer something a bit more tangible, then the “Quick Fix” vending machine is just the thing for you—and it even accepts actual currency. 

After you deposit the appropriate amount of coins and enter your social media account name, you’re then bombarded with an army of new followers or likes. As you might suspect, these interactions are via faux accounts.

Fake or not, it’s a brilliant art installation constructed by Dries Depoorter as a commission for the 2019 Pixelache Festival. The build features an industrial-style enclosure and hardened keyboard, along with an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi 3B+, and a few I2C LCD screens. 

As the video below puts it, “Influencers will love it.” 

Smart grip system helps cricketers improve their technique

When batting in cricket, applying the proper amount of force with both hands is critical; however, as a coach, it’s difficult to judge just how much is actually used. To assist with player improvement, researchers at the University of Auckland’s Augmented Human Lab have come up with a bat that senses the force exerted by each hand gripping the handle.

The augmented handle is covered with an array of force sensitive resistors, which push data to an Arduino Mega and then to a PC over Bluetooth. Direct vibrotactile feedback is implemented in a pair of smart wristbands, leading to better accuracy and confidence in swing technique.

CricketCoach is a smart system that creates awareness of the hand-grip force for cricket players. A custom Force-Sensitive Resistor (FSR) matrix was developed and attached to the bat’s handle to sense the gripping. Two wristbands, incorporating vibration motors, provide feedback that helps non-expert users to understand the relative forces exerted by each hand while performing a stroke. A preliminary user study was conducted to collect first insights. The results show that both, binary vibration, as well as vibration patterns, improved the execution of batting strikes significantly. 

For more information, the team’s research paper can be found here.

This motion-tracking face follows you across the room

Plenty of people and organizations have busts of famous figures, but how many of them can follow you around the room with a moving head? If you would like to be one of those lucky few, check out this Chartreuse model by Anna Lynton.

The face itself was laser cut in layers, stuck together to form its 3D figure, and a diffused LED eye assembly is also implemented to give it a more lifelike feel. Whenever someone approaches Chartreuse, the person or thing is tracked via an ultrasonic sensor mounted to a servo, while a separate stepper is used to actuate the head. 

This Arduino Uno-controlled statue not only rotates, but conveys emotion through the color of its eyes, as well as an internal eyebrow assembly that changes the light’s shape.

Meet Chartreuse! Chartreuse’s face follows you when you walk by. When she sees you, her eyes turn yellow and she gets a happy expression in her eyes. As you walk away, her eyes change to blue and she sadly turns away.

Chartreuse is powered by an Arduino Uno, two servos, and a stepper motor and a couple of addressable LEDs and constructed from a few pieces of 1/8″ hardboard.

Drag:on varies air resistance for VR feedback

As seen here, “Standard controllers for virtual reality (VR) lack sophisticated means to convey realistic, kinesthetic impression on size, resistance or inertia.” To overcome these limitations, André Zenner and Antonio Krüger at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) have come up with Drag:on—a haptic feedback device that changes air resistance and weight distribution using a commercially-available hand fan.

Drag:on uses a pair of MG996R servos to actuate the fan, shifting its weight and air resistance as needed to simulate a virtual environment. The assembly is attached to an HTC Vive tracker, and an Arduino Nano provides control and computer interface via a USB serial link.

Drag:on leverages the airflow occurring at the controller during interaction. By dynamically adjusting its surface area, the controller changes the drag and rotational inertia felt by the user. In a user study, we found that Drag:on can provide distinguishable levels of haptic feedback. Our prototype increases the haptic realism in VR compared to standard controllers and when rotated or swung improves the perception of virtual resistance. By this, Drag:on provides haptic feedback suitable for rendering different virtual mechanical resistances, virtual gas streams, and virtual objects differing in scale, material and fill state


More details on the project can be found in the researchers’ paper here.

A light-up Newton’s cradle for your desk

Newton’s cradles consist of a series of suspended spherical masses, and are normally started by pulling one ball back. The outer balls then click back and forth for an interesting distraction. 

To make things even more interesting, “TecnoProfesor” made his own version using ping pong balls and RGB LEDs. As the outer balls sway, they light up in sequence, along with the inner three balls that stay largely in one place.

Power here isn’t provided by kinetic energy, but everything moves via a pair of servo motors. An Arduino Mega is used to control the light/motion simulator, while a button and potentiometer allow the user to change between two modes and variable swing frequency.

Arduino Blog 03 Jun 18:54