Posts with «arduino» label

Making an LED matrix out of glue sticks

Glue sticks are great for attaching electronics and other bits to projects, but as Jon Bumstead shows in his latest work, they can also make pretty cool light diffusers. 

His project takes the form of a wooden box with plexiglass panels, allowing observers to see 64 vertical illuminated glue sticks inside. Hidden within the cube are 128 WS2811 LED modules, melted into the top and bottom of each stick. 

Everything is built around an Arduino Nano, using only a pair of its outputs to control each LED. User interface is provided by a button and knob to adjust speed, color, and patterns.

In this project, I created a “fiber optic” LED matrix using WS2801 LED strip and glue sticks. The light displays have a different look than similar LED cubes and a few advantages. First, you can’t see the actual LEDs in the display because the glue sticks guide the light away from the LEDs. Second, the device requires much fewer LEDs to make up the volume. Because the top and bottom have different LED strips, the fiber optic cables can take on two different colors that mix in the center. There are tons of different color displays that can be achieved with the device. I also added a button and knob for controlling the speed, color, and type of light display.

An Arduino-powered mini turntable with magnetic attachments

If you need a motorized turntable for filming or simply to display your latest project, here’s an easy 3D-printable option from Ali of Potent Printables

The design takes two forms—one using a full-sized hobby servo, and a smaller version that employs a micro servo for motion, both of which are set up for continuous rotation.

Electronics for the project are fairly straightforward, with an Arduino Uno powering the tables via an Adafruit Motor Shield. While this could be expanded for different I/O or sensor use, the clever bit of this configuration is its interchangeable design. A master circle is connected to the servo horn, while the swappable plates attach to it with magnets, accommodating a flat surface, mounting holes, or even LEGO bricks.

A Turntable For Model Railroads

Way back when, before diesel-electric locomotives were a thing, trains weren’t really able to go backwards too well. Also it’s sometimes necessary to turn carriages around in a small space. For that, the railway turntable was invented. If you want to implement one on a model layout, this project from DIY & Digital Railworld is for you.

The project is at an early stage – thus far, laying out how to set up an Arduino Uno using a potentiometer to control the speed of a stepper motor, which rotates the turntable. The turntable itself is a 3D printed part sourced from Thingiverse, designed to suit the specific stepper motor used.

This has the easy part sorted – rotating a piece of track through 360 degrees to orient a train properly. However, there’s significant work ahead. Power needs to be hooked up to the rails, and a system for accurately aligning the turntable with outgoing tracks needs to be devised. This is particularly relevant for N-gauge setups, where tolerances are everything.

We’d love to know how you’d tackle the various issues to build a working model turntable in the comments. We’ve seen some serious model railroad builds before around these parts. Video after the break.


A semi-autonomous circular robot for escape rooms

If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you’ve undoubtedly had to deal with a wide variety of puzzles that you have to solve in order to get out of the “prison” that you’ve willingly thrown yourself into. Beyond the puzzle that you’re trying to decode, the mechanisms used can be extremely clever, and coming up with a new device to use in these scenarios was a perfect challenge for this team of Belgian college students.

Based on the project requirements, they created a Roomba-like circular robot controlled by an Arduino Uno and motor shield that drives a pair of DC motors. The idea, while not fully implemented due to time constraints, is that it can be remotely operated only after solving a riddle and within a certain time period, then drive itself back to a designated spot once the game is over. 

Here is a summary of what happens in the robot:

– The non-autonomous part: a remote controller is linked to Arduino through a receiver. Players control the remote and therefore control the Arduino which controls the motors. The Arduino is turned on before the game starts, but it enters the main function when players solve a riddle on the remote controller. An IR wireless camera is already turned on (turned on at the same time as the “whole” (controlled by the Arduino) when switch on/off turned on). Players guide the car with remote controller: they control the speed and the direction. When the timer that starts when the main function is entered is equal to 30 minutes, the control from the controller is disabled.

– The autonomous part: the control is then managed by the Arduino. After 30 minutes, the IR line tracker sensor starts following a line on the ground to finish the parcours.

For inspiration on building your own, check out the team’s write-up (including code) and a clip of the prototype below.

Tell time with a servo-driven skull clock!

While model skulls are generally relegated to Halloween, or biology class, this maker decided to construct a very unique clock out of one. 

The “hands” of the terrifying timepiece are represented by two eyes—right for hours, left for minutes—that are rotated about using a pair of 360-degree (but not continuous rotation) servos. If this wasn’t freaky enough, a third servo pulls the jawbone open with a thin cable, which then snaps shut with springs to “chime” the hour.

An Arduino is used for control of the assembly, along with a DS3232 RTC module to keep things accurate. A nice octagonal frame was built for it as well, giving this otherwise strange creation a classy home in which to reside. 

Code for the project can be found here and more pictures are up on Imgur.

Cooperative couch game uses aggressive sitting for input

At some point in your life, you may have wrestled over the preferred sofa cushion on which to sit, but what if these informal games of couch dominance were codified into an actual contest? That’s the idea behind the co-op game by Carol Mertz and Francesca Carletto-Leon, aptly named “HELLCOUCH.”

Unlike most “video” games, this system—which runs on an Arduino along with the Unity game engine—has no screen. Instead, it relies on lighting and audio cues to guide the players on where to sit, or as its disembodied voice puts it, “Perform the sacred butt ritual!” 

The game takes around 90 seconds to play, during which time participants’ normal attitudes about giving each other space—and not bouncing around on the couch like crazy people—are thoroughly questioned.

It’s a challenge. At first glance, HELLCOUCH is designed to look like just a regular couch, so players don’t necessarily enter into it with the expectation of being silly and letting their guard down. We didn’t design an attract mode, and were careful to keep any indication of it being a “possessed” couch hidden until someone sits down. As soon as a butt hits a cushion, though, players are met with a loud thunderclap, demonic cackling, and a fiery array of lights. And when the game starts, solo sitters have to face the fact that they’re not going to be able to play alone, so they need to figure out how to get another butt or two in the game.
This theme and sound design are meant to set the stage for humor and joyful play. The first guidance players get is a disembodied demonic voice declaring that they need to “perform the sacred butt ritual,” which often makes players giggle or raise an eyebrow. The game only takes about 90 seconds to play, but often by the end folks get very comfortable embracing their role as a goofy demon liberator.

Adaptive Spoon Helps Those With Parkinson’s

There are a lot of side effects of living with medical conditions, and not all of them are obvious. For Parkinson’s disease, one of the conditions is a constant hand tremor. This can obviously lead to frustration with anything that involves fine motor skills, but also includes eating, which can be even more troublesome than other day-to-day tasks. There are some products available that help with the tremors, but at such a high price [Rupin] decided to build a tremor-compensating utensil with off the shelf components instead.

The main source of inspiration for this project was the Liftware Steady, but at around $200 this can be out of reach for a lot of people. The core of this assistive spoon has a bill of material that most of us will have lying around already, in order to keep costs down. It’s built around an Arduino and an MPU6050 inertial measurement unit with two generic servo motors. It did take some 3D printing and a lot of math to get the utensil to behave properly, but the code is available on the project site for anyone who wants to take a look.

This project tackles a problem that we see all the time: a cost-effective, open-source solution to a medical issue where the only alternatives are much more expensive. Usually this comes up around prosthetics, but can also help out by making biological compounds like insulin directly for less than a medical company can provide it.

Monitor radioactivity levels with this low-cost Geiger counter

While you may not have a graduate degree in nuclear physics, you likely have some inkling that large amounts of radiation should be avoided. In order to monitor local levels, AdNovea has come up with a DIY Geiger-Müller counter, which displays radiation stats on a 20×4 LCD display.

The device uses an SBM-20 or STS-5 tube to measure radioactivity, with an Arduino Nano to process this input. It can be employed as a standalone unit, or transmit readings wirelessly via an Ethernet interface. Readings can then be tracked over time with a web app, or even shared with the wider world over the Internet.

This DIY low-cost ($50$/€43) C-GM Counter project provides hardware and firmware for building a Geiger-Müller counter device aka G.M. Counter for continuous measurement of the radioactivity level. It is based on an Arduino Nano, a 20 chars x 4 lines LCD display, a W5100 Ethernet card, a 400V power supply and very few components around. The number of components has been kept to minimum for easy assembling and reducing the cost.

The C-GM Counter is able to run as a standalone radioactivity counter or for ensuring long term radioactivity monitoring, the C-GM counter can be used in association with A-GM Manager (in the sequel) that is an open-source web application running on a SOHO server (e.g. QNAP sells Small Office Home Office servers). A-GM Manager is also able to publish the C-GM Counter measures on the worldwide shared map managed by GMC MAP. Finally, there is also a Node-RED version for integration of the C-GM Counter with Node-RED such as the QNAP IoT framework.

Recreating the Death Star Trench Run scene with LEGO

South Korean LEGO Certified Professional Wani Kim, with the help of Olive Seon, has created an incredible replica of the Death Star Trench Run scene from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

The LEGO diorama—which measures 2,680mm (8.79 feet) long, 1,370 mm (4.49 feet) deep, and stands 1,100 mm (3.60 feet) tall— features defensive turrets, along with Luke’s X-Wing, the wreckage of another Rebel ship, and Vader and two TIE Fighters in pursuit.

The build required 80,000 LEGO bricks to complete and even includes a cutaway of the back, revealing the insides of this astronomical object. If that wasn’t enough, an Arduino was used to coordinate flashing effects to further enhance this iconic recreation. 

Additional images of this impressive project, plus some of Kim’s other work, can be found on his Instagram page.

Arduino Blog 09 Jan 21:37

Convert an ordinary longboard to electric with the help of Arduino

After going through what not to do when building an electric longboard, Electronoobs is now ready to show us how to control one of these devices. For his project, the YouTuber used a 6S battery pack, an ESC, a brushless motor, and an Arduino Nano, along with a handheld RC transmitter and receiver.

Underneath the deck, he’s broken up the hardware mounting into two parts—a front compartment contains the unit’s ample battery, while a rear enclosure houses the rest of the components.

The Arduino Nano receives PWM signals directly from the receiver, then translates them to ESC inputs, allowing for better handling of how the board starts and stops.

You can find more details on Electronoobs’ page here and in his video below!