Posts with «mega» label

Toy piano converted into a self-playing instrument

Upon obtaining a small toy piano, Måns Jonasson went to work “Arduinoizing” it with 30 solenoids to hammer out tunes. 

A MIDI shield is used to pipe commands from a computer to the Arduino Mega that’s used for control, and after experimenting with discreet wiring and electronics for each of the solenoids, he switched to motor shields as outlined here to simplify the setup. This, along with a new version of the solenoid holders he designed, cleaned up the build nicely, allowing it to play a plinky version of the Super Mario Bros. theme song.

Be sure to check out the Mario themed auto-concert in the video below, plus a video outline of its construction, below. 

Reviving an old CNC router with Arduino

Makerspace i3Detroit was the recent recipient of a free yet non-functioning CNC router. While out of commission when received, the device’s mechanical components and motors appeared to be in operational condition, plus it had a large work surface. The decision was made to get the CNC up and running for now, with the eventual goal of turning it into a plasma cutter.

First, they booted up its (Windows 95) computer and replaced a power supply on the controller. An adapter board for the controller was then built using info from this Arduino Forum post, allowing the router to be controlled with an Arduino Mega running grbl firmware

Although there is still some work to do, it can be seen happily jogging along in the video below, and appears well on its way to becoming a usable machine!

Track made baskets with this Arduino/smartphone setup

Marcelo Ávila de Oliveira likes to practice basketball, and while most of us would be content to shoot and hopefully improve, he actually tracks his workouts. While figuring out the number of made baskets, misses, times, etc. is useful, it’s also quite boring and difficult, so he came up with a real-time scoreboard system to take care of this for him. 

The device is mounted to an enclosure under the hoop, and uses an IR proximity sensor poking through Jerry West’s head to know when a ball has gone through. It also employs a vibration sensor to detect if the ball has hit the rim, and if the IR sensor isn’t triggered within three seconds, a miss is counted. 

The setup’s Arduino Mega communicates with a custom smartphone app over Bluetooth, and displays statistics on the practice session. It even plays notification sounds for scores and misses, as shown in the video below.

If Then Paint is a six-axis CNC painting machine

It’s easy to see that painting takes a lot of skill, but few really understand how much skill is involved like John Opsahl, who created the “If Then Paint” CNC canvas painting machine.

In order to produce the proper paint strokes, his device implements full six-axis brush control, moving not only in the X/Y/Z coordinate system, but rotating on three axes. Movement is handled by a modified version of Grbl running on an Arduino Mega.

If Then Paint also features the ability to change painting/art tools automatically, as well as a clever paint management system that turns a carousel of paint syringes. 

More info on the build can be found here, and check out a few examples of how it works in the videos below.

Zeus is a humanoid that can hold a conversation

As seen in the videos below, Zeus is a metallic humanoid robot capable of moving its head and arms around, featuring a pair of hand grippers that should be quite useful when the time comes. For now, creator Luis appears to be focusing on its vocal skills, with plans to eventually teach it how to walk.

The robot can engage in conversation with its companion, whether it’s answering questions like “What’s your name?” with“My name is Zeus,” or “What’s your favorite movie?” with “I wasn’t that impressed with the special effects, also the plot was not deep.” Zeus even lets Luis know when he “has no idea what to say.”

Zeus’ communication and movement are accomplished through a variety of hardware, including an Arduino Mega and an AAEON UP board, as well as an Intel RealSense Camera SR300 for vision. Luis is also using CMUSphinx for voice recognition, eSpeak for text-to-speech and AIML chatbot for interactive responses.

Perhaps we’ll see this ~1/2-sized humanoid traipsing around on its own in the future, though hopefully its comment about “taking over the world” was just a joke!

A fun Fibonacci clock for math fans

In the early 1200s, Fibonacci introduced a series of numbers that now bear his name, starting with 0, then 1, and continuing on as the sum of the two preceding numbers. This gives values of 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so on, and after being prompted by a friend, “TecnoProfesor” decided to turn this numerical pattern into a clock.

The concept here is that instead of using the conventional 1-12 to display the time, this device uses blocks corresponding to Fibonacci numbers 1-5, with circular icons adding increments of 12 for minute and second values. 

It’s an interesting concept, somewhat akin to the world of binary or even word clocks. The build consists of an Arduino Mega and a DS3231 RTC module for control, a wood and methacrylate housing, and a number of programmable RGB LEDs to indicate numbers.

This machine creates images using Skittles as pixels

Skittles candies come in various vibrant colors. While they may be a tasty treat, JohnO3 had another idea: to create an amazing automated display for the little circles. 

His device, dubbed the “Skittle Pixel8r,” uses an Arduino Mega to pull a dispensing funnel between one of 46 channels, covered on one side with a piece of glass.

On top of the shuttle mechanism, eight boxes release the correct flavor/color into an intermediate tube via individual metal gear servos. The Arduino then commands the linear axis to move the funnel to the appropriate bin. This process is repeated 2,760 times until an image, measuring up to 785 x 610mm (31 x 24 inches), is completed. 

The Skittle Pixel8r an incredible build, and perhaps we could see it expanded even further to not just dispense, but also sort Skittles as an all-in-one auto art installation! Code and files for the project can be found here.

Arduino Blog 09 Jul 16:55

Store and replay this robot’s movements from your phone

Robotic arms can be interesting, as are robots that roll around—especially on a semi-exotic Mecanum wheel setup. Dejan Nedelkovski’s latest How To Mechatronics build, however, combines both into one package.

This project actually starts out in a previous post, where he constructs the moving base with Mecanum wheels, enabling it to slide and rotate in any direction.

In this final(?) stage, he adds a five-axis robot arm mounted on top of its boxy frame, or six-axis if you count the gripper. Either way, the arm uses a total of six servos for actuation, and the base of the bot travels around under the power of four stepper motors. Each motor is controlled by an Arduino Mega, using a custom shield, allowing repeatable movements in any direction. These can be stored and replayed via the robot’s custom Android app as desired.

Random sticks made to walk under Arduino control

What if you were to neglect a robot’s mechanical design entirely and instead construct it out of unusual materials like random sticks? Researchers from the University of Tokyo and Preferred Networks have done just that. To accomplish this feat, the engineers first scanned and weighed the branches, then used deep reinforcement learning to teach the new contraption to walk.

The branch-bots were then constructed in the real world using generic servos, and controlled via an Arduino Mega tether setup with a motor driver and a separate power supply.

You can see one of these bots moving around in the video below, though this configuration ironically seems to have more trouble when dropped off at its native forest habitat. Be sure to read more about this research in IEEE Spectrum‘s article here.

This project aims at creating bricolages of robots out of tree branches found at hand. Through the process in which natural objects learn how to walk by themselves, the artwork portrays the perspectives of objects. Unlike the top-down process where functions of mechanical systems are explicitly defined by designers, this project puts an emphasis on the emergence of functions, which is a bottom-up process where found objects seek for the function as a whole.

Images: Azumi Maekawa/University of Tokyo

This electric soapbox car can reach a top speed of 35 km/h

If Elon Musk was to design a soapbox car, the prototype might look something like this by David Traum.

Traum’s project is powered by a 500W motor which is fed by a pair of 12V batteries and a 40 W solar cell, allowing it to attain a top speed of 35 km/h and a range of 10 to 15km. Although that might not sound like a huge number, it looks pretty fast at the end of the video below!

But that’s not all. The vehicle features a rather unique control system, with front wheel steering actuated by a stepper and cable assembly. An Arduino Mega is the brains of the operation, while user input is via a small touchscreen, a joystick, and even a steering wheel (equipped with an Uno, a 9V battery, radio module, and gyro sensor) that can work wirelessly as needed—perhaps to park remotely, or simply as a gigantic RC car

The clip here is in German, but you can read more in this English-translated article.

Arduino Blog 02 Jul 19:57