Posts with «mega» label

Creating a classroom quiz machine with Arduino

Quiz games, where contestants try to “buzz” in and answer questions make for fun televised game shows, but they can also be great for making learning fun. In order to avoid paying several hundred dollars for an official quiz machine, Instructables user “arpruss” decided to build one for his school using an Arduino Mega.

The device uses a series of CAT-6 cables to connect individual arcade-style buttons to a central control unit with RJ45 connectors, allowing each contestant to buzz in with an answer. While not approved for official competition, the system can pick out button presses down to a precision of 50 microseconds or less and displaying the order on an LCD screen, reliably determining the fastest individual nearly all of the time!

The Certamen quiz team competition from the Junior Classical League involves quiz questions on Greek/Roman subjects. Individual contestants press buzzer buttons when they have an answer. The machine keeps track of the order in which buttons were pressed, subject to the team-lockout rule that once a player on a team presses a button, the other presses from that team don’t count. The machine we built was for three teams of four players each. Additionally, so that other school groups could use the machine as a standard quiz machine, there is an option to disregard teams and just keep track of button order.

Want to create your own? Be sure to check out the project’s full tutorial here!

ASPIR is a full-size, Arduino-powered humanoid robot

Building robots can be difficult, and if you want to construct something humanoid, designing the mechanics alone can be a significant task. ASPIR, which stands just over four feet tall, looks like a great place to start.

John Choi’s 3D-printed robot can move its arms, legs, and head via 33 servo motors, all controlled by an Arduino Mega, along with a servo shield.

The documentation found here is excellent; however, it comes with a warning that this is a very advanced project, taking several months to build along with $2,500 in parts. Even if you’re not willing to make that commitment, it’s worth checking out for inspiration, perhaps parts of the ASPIR could be adapted to your own design!

An Arduino-controlled geodesic greenhouse and chicken coop

Danish industrial design student Mikkel Mikkelsen decided to do something a little different this spring, and constructed a self-sufficient geodesic greenhouse dome. His dome, which was planned using this online calculator, now stands roughly 13 feet tall, providing space for crops, along with an annex for chickens.

While this seems like a very “back to nature” project, he didn’t forget to include modern conveniences via an automation system that uses both an Arduino Nano and a Mega. The chickens can come and go through an automatic door, while ventilation windows on the top of the dome can be opened as needed. Even plant watering is controlled automatically.

The dome is also equipped with a GSM module that allows Mikkelsen to check on things using his phone via SMS, as well as a potentiometer for manually varying the watering levels and a speaker that is triggered upon entering the greenhouse.

Be sure to check out Mikkelsen’s elaborate Instructables write-up for more info on the build.

Ivy is a massive 240-step sequencer

Most musical sequencers use an array of buttons to control sounds played in 16 or perhaps 32 steps. As seen here, Moscow-based artist Dmitry Morozov (aka ::vtol::) created an installation called “Ivy” wth not 16, but 240!

The sequencer is based on an Arduino Mega along with 74HC40967 multiplexers to handle input from the 240 sliders arranged as controls for each step.  There’s also a bunch of WS2811 LEDs, which are driven by a Teensy board.

Ivy stretches five meters in length, and several “voices” represented by dots on the 1-dimensional light array travel both right and left at different speeds simultaneously. This allows it to be programmed in ways that wouldn’t be possible with traditionally-operated musical devices.

The project is created specially for Open Codes exhibition in ZKM center, dedicated to codes and programming in art. On one side, Ivy is a representation of an archaic method of electronic music programming for analog synthesizers. On the other side – gigantic scale and obsessive multiplication of simple primitive elements turns this project into an art installation, that is referring to the topic of graphic and physical organization of parameters in electronic music.

You can read more about ::vtol::’s latest sound installation here, and see it in action below!

Arduino Blog 24 Oct 19:27

The Weather Followers randomizes your digital experience

As our lives become more and more automated, we tend to rely on computers and unseen algorithms to “protect” us from unapproved experiences. In order to illustrate this concept, and hopefully introduce serendipitous events to our digital lives, David Columbini has come up with an installation that feeds information to users via a web app, available only when it’s on display.

Instead of implementing a carefully designed algorithm, what users experience is based on constantly evolving local weather data sensed by a physical machine equipped with an Arduino Mega, a Raspberry Pi, various sensors, and some other components.

“The Weather Followers” is comprised of four different instruments: a wind-driven messaging app, a pollution-distorted selfie tool, a music player based on the rhythm of rain, and even a device that erases your feed depending on the sun’s intensity!

The installation is comprised of two elements, the four weather instruments and the webapp. Users are invited to connect to the weather machine through the webapp and choosing between one of the four weather instruments: Windy encounters (when your digital social life follows the wind), Polluted Selfie (when your digital individual life follows the pollution), Drizzly Rhythms (when your digital audio life follows the rain) and finally Sun(e)rase (when your digital overwhelming life follows the sun).

More details on the project can be found here. If you want to see another weather/digital world combination by Columbini, be sure to check out this balloon messaging system!

SKELLY the Skeleton Robot

While it might seem like a long time away to most people, if you’re looking to make an amazing automated display for Halloween, it’s time to start planning! One idea would be an automated skeleton robot like SKELLY.

This particular robot was built using an Arduino Mega, a Cytron PS2 Shield, a modified sensor shield, and a wireless PS2 controller. SKELLY is equipped with a total of eight servos: six for bending his shoulders, elbows and wrists, one for running his mouth, and another for turning his head. There is also a pair of LEDs for eyes, and a small motor in his head with a counterweight that allows him to shake.

SKELLY is programmed using the Visuino visual programming environment. As seen in the videos below, the robot–which is the author’s first–is quite nimble, waving and moving along with an automatic piano!

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

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.

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.

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.