Posts with «featured» label

Motorgan is an electromagnetic organ

What do you get when you combine three small motors with a guitar pickup and a touch keypad? That would be the Motorgan by Moscow-based media artist Dmitry Morozov (aka ::vtol::). The result is a unique Arduino Mega-controlled instrument that looks and sounds like he somehow combined a V8 engine with a pipe organ.

The electromagnetic/electromechanical organ uses two differently sized PC cooling fans, as well as a gear motor to produce various sounds. A separate keypad is used for each motor, and each of the 24 keys can be tuned with a potentiometer, which reportedly allows one to “make any kind of music.”

The speed of each motor is controlled by voltage changes via touch keyboard with 24 keys. Keyboard is split into three parts (registers) for each motor, so it’s possible to play chords/polyphonic lines by taking one note from each register. Electromagnetic fields produced by motors are picked up with a single coil guitar pickup.

As you might suspect, it’s not exactly an easy instrument to play, but the results are certainly stunning, or perhaps you might even say “shocking.” Be sure to check out ::vtol::’s latest project in the video below!

Arduino Blog 22 Aug 20:22

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.

The GuitarBot will strum you a song

While many Makers have musical skill, others attempt to compensate for their lack of it by producing automatic instruments that play themselves. One such attempt started in 2015 as a collaborative project between three University of Delaware professors as part of an initiative known as “Artgineering.” This was meant to “create a public spectacle… to demonstrate that engineering and art can work together harmoniously.”

Although many would consider engineering to be an art in itself, if you’d like to create your own robotic band, this Instructables write-up for the GuitarBot is a great place to start.

The guitar-playing robot is comprised of three major components: the brains, a strummer, and a chord mechanism. An Arduino Mega, a specially-ordered PCB and several shields are used for control, and a series of solenoids press down frets as needed. Finally, strumming is handled by a pick that is pulled by a DC motor and belt assembly, all of which is held up by an aluminum frame.

Levitate liquids and other tiny objects with this DIY device

If you’ve ever wished you could levitate tiny drops of liquid, small solids, or insects in mid-air, new research has you covered. That’s because Asier Marzo, Adrian Barnes, and Bruce W. Drinkwater have developed a 3D-printed, Arduino Nano-controlled acoustic levitator.

Their device uses two arrays of 36 sonic transducers in a concave pattern, which face each other in order to suspend objects like Styrofoam, water, coffee and paper in between. Several items can even be trapped at the same time, and liquid is inserted into the “levitation zone” via a syringe.

The principle is similar to the vibration you feel when next to a large speaker, but in this case, the homemade levitator employs ultrasonic waves to push particles without causing any damage to humans.

Acoustic levitation has been explored in hundreds of studies for applications in pharmaceuticals, biology or biomaterials. It holds the promise of supporting innovative and ground-breaking processes. However, historically levitators have been restricted to a small number of research labs because they needed to be custom-made, carefully tuned and required high-voltage. Now, not only scientists but also students can build their own levitator at home or school to experiment and try new applications of acoustic levitation.

If you’d like to make your own, be sure to check out Marzo’s Instructables post or the team’s full paper on the experiment here.

Maker creates his own coilgun using an Arduino Nano

If you suppose that electromagnetically-propelled projectiles are strictly the purview of well-funded government research labs, think again! Using two sets of coils wrapped around custom 3D-printed base structures and an Arduino Nano for control, YouTuber “Gyro” created his own coilgun capable of propelling steel fast enough to dent a piece of wood.

When fired, a photodiode at the end of each electromagnet coil sends a signal to the Arduino. This, in turn, shuts off the coil, allowing it freely escape the barrel.

As noted in his Instructables write-up, the gun is constructed without large capacitors, which can be expensive and dangerous. Instead, two LiPo battery packs are combined to produce around 22 volts, though this and the number of coils used, could be increased to produce a more powerful device!

Physically mix digital colors with Colorwise

As seen here, mixing colors in real life is simple enough to understand, if difficult to perfect. With red, green and blue, any color in the rainbow can be produced, and the same can be done virtually using these digital RGB components. To help make color theory easier to grasp, Justin Daneman and Tore Knudsen developed a tangible interface that employs an Arduino to detect the fill levels of three cylinders, which represent red, green, and blue.

The intensity of each color is increased by pouring more water into the corresponding container, and decreased by removing it with a syringe. In one mode, users can explore how RGB colors create and affect a digital image on a computer screen, which in this case is Leonid Afremov’s painting “Misty Mood.” A second Color Challenge mode places a random color onscreen—or even in another glass—and participants try to match it by correctly proportioning the three liquid containers.

Colorwise is a physical game and exploration concept that aims to create awarness about digital color theory. More spiecifically, the RGB color system. Through a tangible interface of three cylinders, you mix different combinations of red, green and blue. This is done with water which works as a metaphor for digital data. By rearranging the water, a feedback of aesthetic visual and audio is experienced.

You can read more about Colorwise on its page here, and see a demo of it below!

An Arduino-powered backlit Clemson Tiger Paw

Most people support their school or favorite sports team by buying a shirt or tuning into games. Jacob Thompson, however, took things one step further and created his own Arduino-powered, backlit Clemson Tiger Paw.

Thompson’s “WallPaw,” as he calls it, uses an Arduino Uno to receive signals from an infrared remote and to pick up sounds with a small microphone. This information is passed on to an Arduino Mega, which controls a five-meter-long strip of WS2812 LEDs to provide lighting effects.

He notes that it would be possible to use only one Arduino board for everything, but patterned his code after this tutorial that included two. The paw itself is cut out of wood and clear acrylic, allowing the lights underneath to shine through nicely.

You can see the build in action below and find more details on Thompson’s website here.

Build an arcade-style hoops game with Arduino and LEGO

You may be familiar with “Pop-A-Shot” at arcades and amusement parks, which allows you to shoot baskets at a hoop for fun and prizes. This Maker, apparently unsatisfied with not having one of these at home, decided to duplicate the game with the “Pop o Shop.”

In this version, an ultrasonic sensor in the hoop tells an Arduino Nano when a shot has been registered, while two 7-segment displays inside of a LEGO scoreboard show the current count, time remaining, and high score. There is also an RGB LED that turns green after every made basket and changes color with a new top score.

Incidentally, one of the displays can also spell out “POPOSHOP,” which dictated the name of the game, since there is no “T” character in the LedControl library used! For more info and code, be sure to check out the “Internet of LEGO” build log!

An Arduino fidget spinner arcade controller

Apparently unsatisfied with existing video game input devices, game designer Rob Santos created his own using, what else, fidget spinners. His system combines a spinner and five buttons on a pair of controllers to interface with Flock Off, an arcade game loosely based on Flappy Bird.

To register spinner input, a magnet is embedded on each lobe, triggering a Hall effect sensor three times per revolution when spun. An Arduino in each control box reads these signals, then sends this information, along with button inputs, to the game via USB accessible through a serial port.

Although using the Uno means that the game must be programmed especially for this type of input, Santos notes that using an HID-capable board, such as the Leonardo, would give it the capability to act as keyboard input by itself.

Create an interactive laser sheet generator with Arduino

What’s better than a laser? How about two rapidly rotating lasers, attached to servo motors and controlled by an Arduino Mega? That’s exactly what Jon Bumstead made with his “Interactive Laser Sheet Generator.”

In addition to controlling the lasers, his device can sense hand motion on top of it using an array of 12 ultrasonic sensors, and can even coordinate music through a built-in MIDI output.

As seen in the demonstration video, Bumstead’s project–which was constructed with the help of a CNC router–looks like a cross between a coffee table and a test fixture for a space vehicle. When activated, a brushless motor spins the two lasers at a high speed, while the Mega controls the laser angles via two servos, creating a unique vortex-like light show!

I included distance sensors in the device so that the laser sheets could be manipulated by moving your hand towards them. As the person interacts with the sensors, the device also plays music through a MIDI output. It incorporates ideas from laser harps, laser vortexes, and POV displays. The instrument is controlled with an Arduino Mega that takes in the inputs of ultrasonic sensors and outputs the type of laser sheet formed and music generated. Due to the many degrees of freedom of the spinning lasers, there are tons of different laser sheet patterns that can be created.

You can find more details on the laser sheet generator on Instructables.