Posts with «mega» label

Intuitive Arduino clock has seven alarms and three LED displays

Alarm clocks of old—and certainly many of those today—require several button pushes to set things up properly. Maker Michael Wessel, however, decided to implement his own take on a more intuitive clock, creating a device that features three separate eight-digit seven-segment LED panels. Eight buttons allow for direct manipulation of each of the digits, with their own dedicated LEDs.

The info on display includes time and date, as well as temperature, and it can even show how many days, hours, or minutes have passed since a special pre-programmed day. Up to seven audible alarms are available, which can be silenced by a loud noise (e.g. clapping your hands) via a sound sensor. 

The clock is controlled via an Arduino Mega, along with an RTC module to keep things accurate.

I remember I always had to set all digital clocks for my grandparents in the ’80s — these clocks and watches always required some complicated button juggling! So, here it is: a DIY LED alarm clock that my grandparents would have been able to set and use without my help! 

An Arduino-based LED clock with 7 individual alarms, highly intuitive user interface, temperature display, and display of days / hours / minutes passed since a special date, e.g., your birthday. An active / ringing alarm can be disabled by making a loud noise, e.g., by clapping your hands. Timer-based PWM sound output for alarm melodies. 

The Arduino’s EEPROM is being used to store the alarms of course, and the DS3231 RTC is battery backed up, so it survives a temporary power outage and you won’t be late for work the next morning. 

This was put together rather quickly, thanks to off the shelf components, Velcro and existing Arduino libraries for them! The clock can be built for about $30 – 40. 

Wake up to this unique VFD alarm clock!

If you’re a fan of novel timepieces, then you’ll want to check out Christine Thompson’s VFD Alarm Clock.

The device features a USSR-manufactured IV-27V 7-segment tube, capable of displaying 13 numbers or letters via a 24V supply, though the MAX6921 chip used here means that only 10 grids are used.

10 characters, however, are plenty to show time, date, humidity, temperature, and pressure, plus the text “WAKE UP!” when an audible alarm sounds.

The clock runs on an Arduino Mega, along with an RTC module, a keypad, and secondary LCD screen on the back to assist with setting it up.

3D printer converted into a cheap bioprinting rig

While most 3D printers deposit melted plastic in carefully controlled positions to build up a physical model, a similar process called “bioprinting” can be accomplished with biological materials. Commercial bioprinters can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more, but as shown here you can make your own using the shell an inexpensive desktop machine. 

In this example, a Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 is stripped down to its bones and motors, subbing in an Arduino Mega and RAMPS 1.4 stepper driver board.

A syringe-like extruder is added to push out custom bioink, and the Z-axis switch mounting and Marlin firmware is modified to accommodate the new device. The homing sequence is modeled in the video below, giving a short snippet of how it works.

Hoverboard motors turned into an RC skater

While the hoverboard craze has faded somewhat, the good news is that this means their powerful wheel motors can easily be found on online auction sites. Lukas Kaul took advantage of this component’s availability and created his own “HoverBot,” which as shown in Felix von Drigalski’s video below, acts as something in between a radio-controlled skateboarder and a rather large self-balancing bot.

The device is built around an Arduino Mega, which takes input from an RC receiver, along with a Bosch BNO055 IMU, and passes appropriate signals to the motors through an ODrive controller. 

The HoverBot is a bit unsteady at high speeds, requiring close operator supervision. However, it looks like a lot of fun, especially when attempting tricks—sometimes successfully—at a skate park.

Smart grip system helps cricketers improve their technique

When batting in cricket, applying the proper amount of force with both hands is critical; however, as a coach, it’s difficult to judge just how much is actually used. To assist with player improvement, researchers at the University of Auckland’s Augmented Human Lab have come up with a bat that senses the force exerted by each hand gripping the handle.

The augmented handle is covered with an array of force sensitive resistors, which push data to an Arduino Mega and then to a PC over Bluetooth. Direct vibrotactile feedback is implemented in a pair of smart wristbands, leading to better accuracy and confidence in swing technique.

CricketCoach is a smart system that creates awareness of the hand-grip force for cricket players. A custom Force-Sensitive Resistor (FSR) matrix was developed and attached to the bat’s handle to sense the gripping. Two wristbands, incorporating vibration motors, provide feedback that helps non-expert users to understand the relative forces exerted by each hand while performing a stroke. A preliminary user study was conducted to collect first insights. The results show that both, binary vibration, as well as vibration patterns, improved the execution of batting strikes significantly. 

For more information, the team’s research paper can be found here.

A light-up Newton’s cradle for your desk

Newton’s cradles consist of a series of suspended spherical masses, and are normally started by pulling one ball back. The outer balls then click back and forth for an interesting distraction. 

To make things even more interesting, “TecnoProfesor” made his own version using ping pong balls and RGB LEDs. As the outer balls sway, they light up in sequence, along with the inner three balls that stay largely in one place.

Power here isn’t provided by kinetic energy, but everything moves via a pair of servo motors. An Arduino Mega is used to control the light/motion simulator, while a button and potentiometer allow the user to change between two modes and variable swing frequency.

Arduino Blog 03 Jun 18:54

Augmented office chair provides hands-free drone control

Multi-rotor drones are normally controlled using handheld devices, but what if you wanted to instead operate them with your whole body? Flight Chair, developed by researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, allows you to do just that, and is envisioned for use with emergency personnel observing a scene.

The chair is augmented with ultrasonic sensors to detect when a user leans forward, backward, left, and right, commanding the drone to do the same, while a gyroscopic sensor detects when the chair is swiveled to adjust its heading. 

Altitude adjustment is handled by a T-shaped foot panel, leaving one’s hands free to do other tasks. Sensor values are collected by an Arduino Mega, which passes this to a drone server over a USB connection.

In future, emergency services will increasingly use technology to assist emergency service dispatchers and call taker with information during an emergency situation. One example could be the use of drones for surveying an emergency situation and providing contextual knowledge to emergency service call takers and first responders. The challenge is that drones can be difficult for users to maneuver in order to see specific items. In this paper, we explore the idea of a drone being controlled by an emergency call taker using embodied interaction on a tangible chair. The interactive chair, called Flight Chair, allows call takers to perform hands-free control of a drone through body movements on the chair. These include tilting and turning of one’s body.

More details on the team’s prototype design be found in their research paper here

RC wheelbarrow racing with James Bruton, Ivan Miranda, and Tom Stanton

We’ve seen Arduino boards used in a wide variety of situations, but this may be the first time one has been implemented to control an RC wheelbarrow. 

In the video below, YouTubers James Bruton, Tom Stanton, and Ivan Miranda have taken on a ‘barrow racing challenge,’ where each competitor must modify a wheelbarrow for remote racing purposes.

Miranda and Stanton went with air-powered designs, while Bruton instead chose differential steering, adding a pair of wheelchair wheels to the main wheel that he modified to swivel on a caster. Bruton’s user interface is provided by a generic RC transmitter, and an Arduino Mega translates these signals into the proper left/right wheel speeds. 

‘Race’ results are quite entertaining, and include a variety of wheelies, crashes, and even some improvisation to deal with the day’s rainy conditions!


Star Wars-themed Mastermind with an Arduino Mega

Mastermind is a game where one player attempts to guess a secret combination of colored pegs. It normally requires a second player to act as the judge, giving hints in the form of secondary pegs as to whether the other participant is on the right track. Maker “luisdel” decided to put a new spin on things using an Arduino Mega to display RGB LEDs on a Star Wars-themed play field. This automation allows players to directly compete, rather than taking turns.

In action, each player uses a series of buttons to enter light codes, with 10 tries at guessing the correct combination. No human judge is needed, so it’s a race to see who can unlock this critical sequence first and save—or further subjugate—the galaxy!

These are adverse times for rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, the Imperial troops are using free hardware and Arduino as a secret weapon.

That is the advantage of free technologies, any person (either good or bad) can use them.

In a hidden base located on the planet Anoat, they are building a 3D printer capable of replicating Imperial Destroyer.

The only solution to defeat the Empire is that a group of rebels commanded by Luke Skycuartielles and Obi-Wan Banzi, defeat the imperial troops and get the key that will give access to the plans to destroy the secret weapon.

This key consists of 4 colors and you have 10 attempts to get it deciphered. There are only four rules:

1. The colors can be repeated

2. A white light indicates that you have hit the right color and position

3. A violet light indicates that you have hit the color but not the position

4. If there is no light you have not guessed the color or the position.

You must hurry since at the other extreme, the evil Darth Ballmer will try to get the key before you. In that case, you will not be able to find out what it is and you will not have access to the plans of the secret weapon. Your mission will have failed.

Little Padawan, may the force accompany you to decipher the key and thus be able to save the galaxy.

Arduino Blog 28 May 14:08

VR boxing robot actually punches back

VR environments are meant to be immersive, but if you’ve ever thought what was missing is being actually pummeled by robotic fists, then James Bruton’s newest project could be just the thing. 

Bruton recently teamed up with students from Portsmouth University to build a robot that works in the real world, and coordinates its movements with a virtual setting displayed on the human’s headset.

The robot itself is controlled by an Arduino Mega, and features a differential (tank) drive with encoders for feedback. Shoulders can tilt from left to right, and the actual punching motion is handled by pneumatic actuators built from modified bicycle pumps. Robo-fists are covered by boxing gloves to keep humans relatively safe, and flesh-based competitors are given a small shield and sword-bat with which to fight back!

I worked on this project with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University CCI faculty. The robot hardware is controlled over a serial interface, the team built an VR game which controls the robot, so when you get hit in VR you get hit in real life! The robot is tracked back into VR with Vive trackers so it stays in sync.

Arduino Blog 15 May 23:25