Posts with «featured» label

Make an Arduino-controlled boost gauge for your racing sim dash

If you’re really serious about car racing games, at some point you may want to upgrade your instruments from being on-screen to physically residing in your living room.

While this would appear to be an arduous task, displaying your in-game boost level on a physical gauge is actually as easy as connecting a few wires to an Arduino Nano, then using SimHub to tie everything together.

As seen in the video below around 2:45, it looks like a lot of fun! While a boost gauge by itself might not be as immersive costly sit-inside racing sims, one could see where this type of hack could lead to ever more impressive DIY accessories.

Arduino Blog 18 Oct 18:35

Antique organ speaks clues at an escape room

When tasked with converting an antique pump organ—sort of a miniature version of a full-sized pipe organ—into part of an escape room puzzle, hacker Alec Smecher decided to turn it into a vocal MIDI device.

To accomplish this, he embedded switches in each of the keys, then wired them into an Arduino Leonardo embedded in the 100-year-old organ to act as input to a desktop computer. Information is translated into browser commands using the Web MIDI API, which controls the Pink Trombone application in order to imitate a human vocal tract.

A common stop on an organ is called “Vox Humana”, or “Human Voice” in Latin. This is supposed to somehow sound like a choir or soloist, generally by adding a tremolo effect. It’s not effective — all pump organ stops sound like pump organ stops. I wanted to modify this stop so that engaging it would sound like a human voice — and not at all like a musical instrument.

The results–shown in the first video below–sound almost but not quite human, certainly adding to the tension and mystery of the escape room. Be sure to read more about Smecher’s project here.

Arduino Blog 17 Oct 20:25

A Playmobil Wedding Band

Two of Boris Werner’s friends, both musicians, were getting married, so for a unique gift he decided on a miniature stage setup with a Playmobil bride and groom as the guitarists. After some research and ordering quite a few parts, he was able to construct an impressive festival-like stage, complete with guitars, lights, and some tunes.

In order to bring this diorama to life, he used an Arduino Uno board to play WAV files from a micro SD card, along with NeoPixel rings in the background, and MOSFET-driven LEDs for lighting.

The stage even features a tiny disco ball that spins via a stepper motor, propelling the tiny bride, groom, and their young son as the drummer into the limelight.

You can check it out in the video below, and see Werner’s series of posts on the construction here.

Arduino Blog 16 Oct 19:17

Be among the first to try the Arduino IDE 1.9 Beta

Today we’re very excited (and a bit nervous) to announce the new development cycle of the Arduino IDE.

As you may have noticed, we’ve been continuously removing functionality from the Java package, and migrating them to a collection of external tools. We began this project by moving the build logic to arduino-builder, which now also powers the Arduino Create infrastructure.

We think that this split will keep the tools manageable, while giving a chance for third parties to integrate them into their products without the burden of a full-blown IDE.

Moreover, we are introducing another couple of tools:

One is arduino-cli, which we’ll uncover in the next few weeks as soon it comes out of pre-pre-alpha stage.

The other is arduino-preprocessor, which supersedes ctags in the sketch preprocessing phase. Moving to a different tool has been a necessary step for many reasons, the most important being the ctags’ limited parsing of complex C++ sketches.

arduino-preprocessor is based on libclang, statically compiled for zero dependencies execution; it uses clang’s superpowers to extract the prototypes we need, directly from the AST. As a (really nice) side effect, this engine can even be used for context-aware completion, probably the most required feature from the beginning of Arduino.

Since we’re unveiling such a big feature, it will surely impact the overall performance. To avoid keeping it out-of-tree for too long, we decided to open the beta branch.

This branch will be a playground for new ideas and implementations, including more collaborators with push powers. The branch has just been populated with all the IDE-related pull requests scheduled for the next release.

The beta branch is quite peculiar as well, because precompiled binaries generated from this branch will be available directly from the arduino.cc download page. We noticed that nightly (or hourly) builds are insufficient to spot a whole class of bugs, which may harm non-developers, users with non-latin charsets, and so on.

Being marked as experimental, the beta branch will not be ready for large-scale deployment (although it will probably be okay for everyday use); thus, we won’t provide a Windows exe or a signed OSX app. However, we hope that many people will test it and report bugs and impressions, so we can merge it safely into master in the near future.

A short curated list of the beta branch’s improvements over the latest 1.8.x IDE:

  • Initial support for autocompletion (activate it using CTRL+space)
    • Attention: Launching for the first time is quite slow and will freeze the UI. Don’t worry, simply wait for it to unstick.
  • Initial work on daemonized builder (using file watchers, will be able to spot if compilation can be avoided, partially or totally).
  • AVR core has been moved to its own repo.
  • Tabs are scrollable. 🙂
  • The serial monitor is html-aware and clickable (if steady).
  • Initial work on Library dependencies UI.
  • Initial work on Hi-DPI support on Linux.
  • Find/replace window is always on top of its own editor window.
  • Library/Board manager show buttons on mouseover.

An Arduino Mouse Wiggler!

If, for whatever reason, you need your computer to stay awake without changing its settings, that’s easy—just remember to shake your mouse back and forth intermittently! If remembering to do that over and over seems like too much work, then here’s a simple solution: a device setup to optically wiggle your mouse using an Arduino Nano and a micro RC servo.

The 3D-printed unit sits underneath a mouse and rotates a printed grid left and right in order to trick it into thinking that you’re moving the mouse, and thus keeping the computer awake.

Place your mouse on top of the Mouse Wiggler and make sure the optical sensor on top of the wheel. Power the device up use a USB power adapter and you’re good to go.

There’s no software to install, which makes it easy to enable and disable as needed! You can find more details on the build on its Instructables page.

Cutting electronic parts with Arduino-powered scissors

When faced with the need to cut thousands of parts from reels in order to make them into kits, “Der Zerhacker” decided to automate the process.

For his robotic machine, an Arduino Pro Mini pulls strips of tape into position with a stepper motor, coloring them along the way with a marker. An infrared sensor is used to align the correct number of parts with a pair of scissors, which are then cut via a second motor and tumble into a basket.

If you’d like to build your own, 3D print files and Arduino code can be found on Thingiverse. As the author doesn’t have a ton of spare time, wiring and other project details will need to be figured out, but you can get a few clues from the video below…

Meet Moo-Bot, a robotic cow scarecrow

With Halloween around the corner, hackers are gearing up for festivals and trick-or-treaters, hoping to spook visitors or simply impress others with their automation prowess. DIY bloggers Ash and Eileen are no different, and decided to enter a local scarecrow contest in the “Out of this World” category. Their entry? Moo-Bot, an Arduino-powered sheet metal cow that looks like it came straight off the set of a 1950s sci-fi flick.

Not that that is a bad thing; somehow this retro-futuristic bovine looks quite interesting. Making it even better is that the robotic cow’s eyes are made out of two OLED displays, and that it can interact with observers through an internal speaker.

When someone presses a button on its nose, the onboard Uno powers up and tells a pre-recorded series of cow jokes via an MP3 player module. Power is supplied by eight D batteries, which is enough to keep the Moo-Bot going for a few months.

You can read more about the project here, and see it in action below!

The BecDot is an Arduino-based Braille teaching tool for children

While instruments are available for those with visual impairment to read electronic media, they can be quite expensive, costing over $1,000. This is good for adults, but something more kid-friendly (and possibly replaceable) is needed to open up this world to those just learning.

For this purpose, Jacob Lacourse, whose daughter Rebecca was born with Usher Syndrome, developed the BecDot educational toy.

The device–which is now in a prototype form–senses when a plastic object (a letter block, a plastic animal, etc.) is placed in the reader via preprogrammed NFC tags, then raises the corresponding dots on four Braille pads. The prototype uses an Arduino Uno for control, and a system that he developed to raise the Braille dots as needed.

I incorporated an NFC reader (Adafruit PN532) into the device.  The idea was that the reader would read a preprogrammed tag that a parent, caregiver or educator could place on a toy such as a letter block, a plastic dog, cow, goat, etc. When the child places the toy in the reader the device will display the braille equivalent of the object on the four cells.  Of course lights and sounds would also come later in the development of the device.

Lacourse hopes to one day bring the BecDot to market for under $100. Until then, you can check it out in the video below and read more about this amazing project here!

Who Owns Arduino?

Who owns Arduino? We don’t mean metaphorically — we’d say that’s the community of users and developers who’ve all contributed to this amazing hardware/software ecosystem. We mean literally. Whose chips are on the table? Whose money talks? It looks like it could be ARM!

The Arduino vs Arduino saga “ended” just under a year ago with an out-of-court settlement that created a private holding company part-owned by both parties in the prior dispute over the trademark. And then, [Banzi] and the original founders bought out [Musto]’s shares and took over. That much is known fact.

The murky thing about privately held companies and out-of-court settlements is that all of the details remain private, so we can only guess from outside. We can speculate, however, that buying out half of the Arduino AG wasn’t cheap, and that even pooling all of their resources together, the original founders just didn’t have the scratch to buy [Musto] out. Or as the Arduino website puts it, “In order to make [t]his a reality, we needed a partner that would provide us with the resources to regain full ownership of Arduino as a company… and Arm graciously agreed to support us to complete the operation.” That, and the rest of the Arduino blog post, sure looks like ARM provided some funds to buy back Arduino.

We reached out to [Massimo Banzi] for clarification and he replied:

“Hi arm did not buy nor invest in arduino. The founders + Fabio Violante still own the company. As I wrote in the blog post we are still independent, open source and cross platform.”

We frankly can’t make sense of these conflicting statements, at least regarding whether ARM did or didn’t contribute monetary resources to the deal. ARM has no press release on the deal as we write this.

Announcing a partnership without details isn’t a new activity for Arduino. Recently we wrote about open questions on the Arduino Foundation. [Banzi] was willing to speak with Hackaday at length about that topic, suggesting more details were just weeks away but we have yet to see follow-through on that.

What we can tell is that [Banzi] and Arduino want us to know that they’re still independent. The Arduino post mentions independence and autonomy eight times in a 428-word post. (The lady doth protest too much?) They’re very concerned that we don’t think that they’ve been snapped up by ARM.

And there’s also good reason to believe that Arduino will remain autonomous even if ARM owns a big stake. ARM sells its intellectual property to a number of silicon manufacturers, who then compete fiercely by offering different peripheral sets and power budgets, and they’re very serious about providing them all with a level playing field.

Anyway, the various ARM chips are nice to work with from a hacker perspective. If the AVR-based UNO was the last non-ARM Arduino board ever made, we’d only shed a tiny little tear. On the other hand, if you’re an MSP430 or PIC fanboy or fangirl, we wouldn’t be holding your breath for a light-blue board sporting your favorite silicon but that is just conjecture.

So we have seemingly conflicting information on the details of this deal, but also promises of openness and transparency. On one hand we’re pleased that ARM is the apparent silent partner, but on the other hand we’re left confused and wanting more. Who owns Arduino?


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Business, Current Events, Featured, news

Arduino announces Arm partnership

Dear Arduino Community,

Back in July, we announced that the original Arduino founders regained full control of Arduino as a company. It was the culmination of a project that lasted several months, which required a tremendous amount of effort in finding the right partner that could help us make it happen while keeping the spirit of Arduino true to itself.

Throughout the litigation we dreamed of reclaiming control of the company, bringing it back to its original principles while designing a strategy that would allow us to tackle the challenges of the contemporary IoT world.

In order to make his a reality, we needed a partner that would provide us with the resources to regain full ownership of Arduino as a company while keeping it independent and true to its values of openness.

It wasn’t easy, but more than a year ago, in the middle of the litigation, we started a conversation with an important technology company that is an essential building block of today’s digital world: Arm.

During a very hot day in spring I visited California to meet with Arm. It was a great meeting of minds and we determined that such a partnership was the right fit for us. Arm is an extremely innovative company whose processors can be found inside virtually every mobile device on the planet; but they don’t actually build silicon. Instead, they have created an ecosystem of a thousand-plus partners, some of whom compete with each other, but Arm works in harmony with all of them.

Arm recognized independence as a core value of Arduino. This was very important for us, as it meant full understanding of our need to work with multiple silicon vendors and architectures as long as they make sense for Arduino—without any lock-in with the Arm architecture.

Following the meeting with Arm, I was thrilled. I shared my excitement with our new CEO Fabio Violante and my cofounders: Arduino could again be 100% ours, with the help of a supportive partner that leaves complete autonomy to our team and our community.

We worked very hard for many months to make this happen, and Arm graciously agreed to support us to complete the operation.

What should you expect from us in the future? A stronger Arduino, free to innovate with more firepower, and plenty of enthusiasm for future challenges and opportunities.

We will continue to work with all technology vendors and architectures moving forward. We stay independent; we stay open, and we still provide the most loved microcontroller development platform that has changed the lives of so many people around the world.