Posts with «featured» label

Ancient CRT monitor revived using an Arduino Uno

Hacker “MmmmFloorPie’s” senior project in college, in 1989, was a device based on the venerable Motorola 6800 chip that could record and play back sounds. It could also display these recorded waveforms on a monochrome CRT monitor. The monitor in question was purchased as a bare CRT for $20, and mounted in the cardboard box it was shipped in. Various risks aside, it’s quite an impressive setup.

As with many projects that seemed very cool at the time, this one sat in ‘FloorPie’s garage for many years, until it was finally powered up many years later. Naturally it didn’t work, but instead of giving up, an Arduino Uno shield was made in the form of the 68000 motherboard to send it the required signals.

Though it’s now much slower than the original, the CRT was brought back to life. You can find more about this build on Imgur or on ‘FloorPie’s Reddit post here.

Arduino Blog 16 May 16:03

Turn your door into an ‘alien portal’ using Arduino

As YouTuber Evan Kale puts it, his set is was kind of boring. He decided to spruce things up by turning his ordinary door into an “alien portal,” lining it with a strip of RGB LEDs. Though this may not be the first time you’ve seen this type of lighting in action, he directs our attention to a few interesting details about using them in typical Kale style.

One interesting note comes around the 4:50 mark, where he points out his portal is controlled using Hue Saturation Lightness (HSL) via a potentiometer instead of RGB. This keeps the glowing effect consistent, while allowing color adjustment.

For this project, he employed an Arduino Nano, which looks like a great choice since it needs a limited amount of I/O. Using this tiny board, the entire control package can fit into his small 3D-printed enclosure.

You can see a demo of Kale’s “alien portal” below, and check out his channel for more fun Arduino projects!

Arduino Blog 15 May 20:01

Arduino device helps keep dogs safe from overheating

Pets bring an untold amount of joy into our lives, but unfortunately they aren’t allowed to go everywhere that humans are. Of course this makes sense in many situations, but if you’d like to take your dog with you wherever you go, this means occasionally leaving poochie in the car. Along with leaving the sunroof and windows open, this project’s author also came up with a transmitter and receiver to monitor the temperature inside of the car with a series of LED pulses.

The car unit consists of an Arduino Mega, along with a temperature sensor and LoRa transciever. The receiver takes this wireless information, which can be reliably read at a range of 250 meters (820 feet) in an urban environment, and gives the user a series of blinks to assure Max’s (the dog) human that he’s not overheating!

You can find the entire build’s write-up here, or check out its code on GitHub.

Grow your own salad with this rotating hydroponic system

You likely know that growing plants via hydroponics involves some sort of water and fertilizer solution. Perhaps, however, you don’t realize that these plants need to be removed from the water occasionally in order to air out the roots. Normally, this means that the water is raised and lowered.

Peter Fröhlich, though, decided to go a different route, and came up with a device to physically raise and lower the plants using a large wheel, resembling a sort of Ferris wheel for plants!

The frame itself is a plastic bin he purchased at a local hardware store, while the wheel and its arms were made with components lying around his lab and other laser-cut parts. To make this interesting setup turn, he used a stepper motor from an old printer, controlled by an Arduino and stepper driver.

Want to grow your own salad right inside your home? You can find more details of this fascinating build in Fröhlich’s project write-up and on Hackaday here.

Smell the rainbow with this olfactory device

Do you ever wonder what certain colors would smell like? Perhaps red would emit the fragrance of a rose, while blue may be reminiscent of the ocean.

During a recent workshop at ÉCAL in Lausanne, Switzerland, Niklas Roy challenged students to come up with new communication devices. In response, they devised an Arduino-based machine that senses a color and translates it into a certain smell.

The resulting mechanism, which they’ve dubbed “Bouquet,” comes in the form of a cone with an optical sensor on one end, and a stepper motor-controlled disc on the other that turns pads with according scents under the nose of the art connoisseur.

As seen here, they topped the project off with a series of colorful posters that could be experienced in a new way! You can find more of this project on Roy’s website, as well as in this Creative Applications article.

Arduino Blog 11 May 21:26

EduExo is a DIY exoskeleton kit

You’ve seen exoskeletons in movies such as Aliens and Iron Man, and perhaps even heard about current experiments with human use. Unfortunately though, if you want to learn about this technology, the barrier to entry is very high.

EduExo, now available on Kickstarter, is an attempt by robotics researcher Volker Bartenbach to bring this technology to the masses. Based on an Arduino Uno, the device takes the form of an upper and lower arm cuff, along with a motor and force sensor to allow it to be used for haptic control.

It’s available for you to 3D print and assemble yourself, or for a larger pledge, you can receive all the parts needed to build it. Interested? Check out Bartenbach’s campaign!

Smartwatch convenience ‘moves’ to the next level

To address the limitations of today’s fixed-face watches, researchers have come up with an actuated smartphone concept that physically moves itself using an Arduino Due, Bluetooth and several motors.

Receiving Internet notifications has gone from using a computer, to checking them on your smartphone, to now simply seeing them come in on your wearable device. On the other hand, you still have to rotate your wrist into the right position to see the screen. Worse yet, if you want to show others what is on your wrist, you may even have to twist your arm awkwardly.

Fortunately, there is a possible solution to this scourge in the form of Cito, which bills itself as “An Actuated Smartwatch for Extended Interactions.” This design can move in five different directions–rotates, hinges, translates, orbits and rises–potentially making viewing more convenient, or even providing haptic feedback. Prototype electronics are housed inside a control box on the upper arm, but presumably would become much smaller in a production version.

You can see the team’s entire paper here, or read this write-up for a more involved summary.

Photo: Jun Gong

Building a pool-playing robot prototype with Arduino

Building robots can be (relatively) easy if you’d like something to wander around your room and avoid obstacles, but for complicated control tasks, like shooting pool, things need more development. Engineer “Bvarv” has been working on just such a robot, which currently exists as a one-sixth scale model.

Though it’s not currently capable of playing the game, the device uses some interesting tricks, including a frame supported by a pattern of increasing-diameter pieces of wood, a custom bearing made out of slingshot ammunition, and limit switches to control the billiard bot’s orientation.

For this project, Bvarv employed a pair of Arduino Unos and a PixyCam vision system, along with some servos, belts, and gears. While we may still be a few years away from a full-scale robotic opponent, you can check out the entire build over on Instructables and follow along with his progress in the videos below.

Puzzle-locked geocache provides an extra challenge

Using an Arduino Uno and a servo motor, hacker “Cliptwings” came up with a surprise for treasure hunters!

Geocaching is a game where amateur adventurers find caches in different locations using a GPS receiver. Though this can be a fun way to get outside, once you find the storage box, the challenge is pretty much over. Cliptwings decided to take things in a different direction, and made his cache—which importantly contains a battery on the outside—lock until the retrieving party solves a hangman game.

Once this Arduino-based puzzle is solved, the gadget unlocks with a small servo, revealing the contents inside, most likely a logbook!

The number of this geocache is GC72AFD. The object of the cache is to play and win a game of hangman in order to open the container. An Arduino is used to store five random words. The player uses a knob to turn to a letter, then presses a button to see if it is contained in the word. When the player gets all the words correct, the box opens. If too many wrong words are guessed, access is denied and the box remains locked.

You can find more info on this device in the video below, or check out Dan Wagoner’s hangmanduino code, a modified version of which powers this box!

A LoRa home environment monitoring gateway

When you’re away from your home, perhaps you’d like to know what is going on there. A camera system is one solution, but is fairly data-intensive and might not be the right method if you’d like to monitor information like temperature and humidity in several zones. For this, Rod Gatehouse decided to build his own LoRa environment monitoring system using an Arduino Mega.

To keep an eye on things, Gatehouse (aka “RodNewHampshire” on Instructables) came up with an excellent LoRa IoT gateway that can be controlled via four push buttons and an LCD screen. This device can take input from remote stations wirelessly, and can put this data online or push it to a user as a text message.

The system enables a homeowner to monitor the home environment via an Internet accessible dashboard, receive periodic SMS environmental notifications, receive real-time SMS alerts when monitored environmental parameters exceed preset thresholds, and log environmental data to the cloud.

For more details on how Gatehouse set up this project and on his design choices, check out his Instructables page here.