Posts with «featured» label

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.


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! 

Destroyed books tell a unique story

When you pick up a book, the text inside is normally the point, but what if the book itself was the story? That’s the idea behind Alistair Aichison’s Alt.Ctrl.GDC exhibition called “The Book Ritual.”

Aichison’s work is told through an interactive computer installation, where an onscreen book talks about loss and change, but also encourages you to add your story by creatively modifying a real book.

The process involves cutting and marking the book, and even requires the user to tear out pages to put it through an actual shredder—this is meant to evoke feelings of loss and regret, ultimately leading to the formation of new memories.  

Control is accomplished using infrared sensors that verify page destruction, along with an Arduino that interfaces with the computer running this Unity-based game.

The Book Ritual is a narrative game played using a real book and a real shredder. Your book becomes a character talking to you through the screen. It has a story to tell, but it wants you know your own story too. It asks you to write in its pages and deface it in creative ways to reflect your feelings. The book also needs you to tear out its pages and put them through a shredder.

This is where the custom hardware comes in: the shredder is attached to the computer by a USB cable and detects when paper’s going through it. So, you actually need to shred pages in order to progress.

The shredder itself is dressed up as a character, with big cartoon eyes and teeth. Because the subject matter is quite melancholic, I want the player to feel welcomed in by something innocent, childlike and friendly.

More details on the project can be found in Gamasutra’s recent article and on Aichison’s website here.

Sam Battle’s Synth Bike 3.0 dissected after months on display

Back in June 2017, Sam Battle (aka LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER) released the Synth Bike 3.0, a stationary bike with handlebars adorned with a functional synthesizer. This was promptly put on display at the Science Gallery Dublin, where it was ridden by approximately 130,000 people over six to eight months. 

In his latest video, Battle decides to open up the control panel to revive it for an upcoming tour. The good news is that the system is still mostly functional, though a couple of the device’s Arduino—it’s run by a dozen Nanos along with four frequency central boards, a SparkFun WAV trigger, and a bunch of stripboard circuits—are missing. 

After deciphering what he was thinking well over a year ago, considering what he might do differently today, reattaching wires, and tinkering, he’s able to get things functional. This is, of course, followed by the requisite solo synth-bike performance.

More details on how Battle’s beat-banging bike can be found here. 

FelixMatic automatically feeds your cat at preset times

For busy people with unpredictable schedules, keeping one’s feline friend fed in a timely manner can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are automatic cat food dispensers available, or you can even build one yourself.

Open Electronics’ 3D-printed device, called “FelixMatic,” claims to be more complex and complete than average off-the-shelf solutions. Not only can it be programmed to supply up to nine meals a day using a spiral-action rotary feeder, but it also measures food levels with a load cell for dispensing feedback. 

Control is via an Arduino Uno along with an RTC shield for meal timing, while the user interface consists of an LCD display and five buttons.

Having a pet involves big responsibilities, first of all granting them food; unfortunately, a hectic lifestyle and imposed work hours do not go hand-in-hand with the needs of our four-legged friends, and surely anyone living on their own will have a hard time providing the pets meals on schedule. In order to solve a problem that is surely dear to any pet owner, and especially cat and dog owners, we have designed a device we called FelixMatic: it is a practical automatic dispenser of dry food for cats (or small dogs) equipped with a high-capacity container that can easily be opened from the top and a bowl to collect the kibble when it is supplied. We know we can already find automatic dispensers on the market, however, our example is unique because it can be programmed with 9 meals a day in order to supply very precise quantities of dry food.

The way the dispenser works is more complex and complete than the average available product on the market, in fact, it does not only supply food but it also gives exact doses as decided by us; basically, at a preset time, a cochlea at the base of the container will turn, and drop a certain amount of kibble in the bowl, regulated by a dedicated weight sensor.

Wind your thread automatically with this Arduino-powered machine

If you ever wondered how thread could be wound on spools without human intervention, this build by Mr. Innovative will show you one option. 

The YouTuber’s DIY machine features a motor to rotate a small roller, pulling thread off a larger “feeder” spool. An encoder disk and photoelectric sensor are used to measure how much thread has been dispensed, and a servo-powered arm swings back and forth to allow the thread to feed evenly.

The device is controlled by an Arduino Uno and custom PCB shield, while an encoder and OLED display serve as the user interface.

I have made a thread coil winding machine, using Arduino and 3D-printed parts. For GUI I have used 0.96 OLED display, and for user input I have used a rotary encoder knob. A photoelectric speed sensor is used to measure the length of thread.

The machine has two modes of operation. 1st is manual mode in which thread starts to wind on coil until stop is not pressed. In 2nd mode, auto mode, the machine will wind the thread as per the user predefined length.

Parts, code, and print files can be found in the video description if you’d like to construct something similar.

Squeeze through pipes with this six-wheeled robot

If you need a robot to traverse piping systems, what are you to do? You could purchase a (very expensive) inspection robot, or you could instead build your own like the prototype pipe-crawler presented here. 

The device features six spring-loaded wheel assemblies that help it get a grip on different diameters of pipe, with two of the wheels powered for locomotion.

An Arduino Uno controls the uniquely-shaped bot, with an LN298N H-bridge used to regulate the three 9V batteries wired in series that run the motors. 

Pipeline systems deteriorate progressively over time through various means. Pipeline inspection robot are designed to remove the human factor from labour intensive or dangerous work environments and also to act in inaccessible environment. However, if you take a look at the prices of those robots you will find that they are way too expensive.

This project aims to create another kind of pipeline inspection robot. Because we think that It is beneficial to have a robot with an adaptable structure to the pipe diameter, and cheaper at the same time.

Our challenge is to make this robot adaptable to diameters varying from 260mm to 390mm based on two sliding mechanisms.

Be sure to see it in action in the short video below!