Posts with «mega» label

“Rare Candy” played on even more rare electronic instrument

According to musician/maker Ruben Dax, “Few things make him happier than being able to create things that create things.” As seen in the video below, what he’s created is a very strange cylindrical instrument with an array of buttons and what appears to be an auxiliary loop controller. 

What he creates with it is music that starts off as simple “plink-plonk” sounds, but builds up into something of an orchestral arrangement.

The DIY device utilizes an Arduino Mega for control, with a bunch of pushbuttons and a dual-axis joystick for inputs. Button info is then sent to his computer over Bluetooth, which takes care of actual MIDI generation. 

As cool as this is, a new gadget is in the works, which uses a Leonardo and other hardware for plug-and-play functionality. Whether this will interfere with the instrument’s unique rotating action remains to be seen!

Cheeseborg is a voice-controlled robot that makes grilled cheese sandwiches

Do you like grilled cheese? Would you rather not make it yourself? If so, then the Cheeseborg by Taylor Tabb, Mitchell Riek, and Evan Hill could be the perfect device for you

This assembly line-like robot first stacks bread-cheese-bread using a vacuum gripper, and passes the unheated sandwich onto the grill via a pusher mechanism. Butter spray is first added to the bottom of the grill, then the top of the sandwich when present in order to coat both sides. Upon heating, the finished sandwich is pushed into a “food slot” for consumption.

Electronics are controlled using an Arduino Mega, while Google assistant running on a Raspberry Pi allows for voice activation. So the next time you’re hungry, all you have to do is ask, “Hey Google, make me a grilled cheese please!”

Our goal was to make an easy snack even easier. The design combines 7 individual subsystems enabling the assembly, cooking, and serving of a perfect, repeatable, tasty grilled cheese. 

A big learning was how challenging it is to manipulate bread and cheese repeatedly. After several iterations, we converged on a vacuum lift mechanism, inspired by industrial robotic manipulation of small electronics. Due to the porosity of bread and the gloss of cheese, it was very challenging to find a mechanism working for both, but vacuum certainly seemed to do the trick! 

For the actuation of of the electromechanical subsystems, we use stepper motors and servos combined with linkages, lead screws, linear bearings, a winch, and other mechanical components.  For buttering (not pictures) we have a delightful spray butter can attached to an acrylic stand beside the grill.

Beyond the mechanisms, which are controlled by an Arduino Mega, the system is enabled with Google Assistant SDK running on an Raspberry Pi 3B, so the whole thing can be activated just by saying “Hey Google, make me a grilled cheese please!” From there, the machine stacks the bread, cheese, bread, then slides over the platform toward the grill as the buttering station sprays the bottom of the grill. Once the sandwich is placed on the grill, the butter sprays again (to coat the top of the sandwich). Then the grill closes, and cooks for the precise amount of the time for the perfect gooey grilled cheese! Then the grill opens and the sandwich is kicked to the serving slot for a hungry friend to enjoy.

Augment your tongue’s senses with the Cthulhu Shield

Whether one of your senses is weak or non-existent, or you would simply like a way to augment your perception and control options, the Cthulhu Shield can be applied in either situation

The device takes the form of an Arduino Uno or Mega shield, with a strange flexible electrode setup that is placed directly on the user’s tongue.

When these electrodes are fired, they activate nerve fibers on the tongue, producing a feeling like that of carbonated bubbles popping. This can then be used to convey information to the user, whether this is visual, sound, or even Internet updates or other non-traditional stimuli. Importantly, it can also be utilized as an interface for tongue computer control. 

The Cthulhu Shield lets anyone experiment and make devices that can expand your sensory experience!

We’ve made android apps and example programs that will let you use the Cthulhu Shield and your smartphone to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ with your tongue without needing to write a single line of code!

For those of you interested in making your own projects, we’ve written an easy to use Arduino library and provided example code to get you started on projects including tongue-heat-vision, tongue-based GPS directions, and soon, tongue-ultrasonic hearing. But don’t limit yourselves to the examples we’ve provided, the only limit to what you can make is your imagination!

Finally, we designed the Cthulhu to be used as a tongue based computer interface (because if you already have something in your mouth, why not use it to control your computer)? Write your own code to hotkey video game actions, send text messages, or control a wheelchair or mobility device with your tongue. 

If you’d like to get your hands on one, the Cthulhu Shield is now being funded on Kickstarter, while code and board schematic are available on GitHub.

Arduino Blog 31 Jan 19:34

An RFID-powered seating chart for your wedding

Seating charts at weddings and other formal events are usually handled by small cards at each table, but Gabrielle Martinfortier had other plans. 

For her big event, she along with help from her now-husband and friends constructed a seating arrangement on a 3’ x 4’ wood canvas, equipped with a 7” TFT display and an RFID reader. An Arduino Mega serves as the brains of the device, taking advantage of its expanded IO capabilities to control an LED assembly over each table on the chart.

Wedding guests simply had to present the card they received with the invitation, then their proper table was lit. As seen in the video below, this eliminated seating confusion, and provided a bit of extra entertainment for those involved. 

I wanted to make something special for my wedding tables chart, and I thought this was a good way of making it personal, as it reflects my love (addiction) for electronic projects.

So the plan was to make a big wood panel with the plan of the room on it, including, of course, the tables and their names (they are plant names, in French). The guests received a card with an RFID sticker on it along with their invitation. On the back of the card was written (in French) something like “This card is of great importance, keep it safe and carry it on you at the wedding.” I didn’t want them to know what it was for until the wedding.

The chart has several elements  a TFT display, an RFID reader, a green LED and a red LED, a push button and one strip of 3 LEDs for each table. When the RFID tags are scanned, the green LED turns on if it is recognized, and a personalized message is displayed on the screen, including the name of the table where the guest is seated. In addition, the LED strip associated with the table is turned on, shedding light on the table on the room’s plan. If the card is misread or unrecognized, the red LED is turned on with an “access denied” message on the screen. The button is for those who did not succeed in not losing or forgetting the card. It displays a message on the screen, asking them to go to the bar and say something like “I am not reliable,” in exchange of which they get a backup chart to find their seat.

I changed a few things along the way: I wanted to paint the wood panel but changed my mind because I was scared I’d make a mess and have to start over with a new panel. Since I have a circuit machine I decided to make the writings and drawings with vinyl.

I also had a 20×04 character LCD screen in the beginning, but I upgraded to a 7″ TFT screen because it’s bigger and not as limiting in terms of message length.

This robot is eggsactly what you need to cook breakfast

Normally, boiling an egg involves heating water in a saucepan, then dropping an egg inside to be properly heated. James Bruton, however, now has a bit of help in the form of his breakfast-making robot. 

The device uses two servos, along with a motor/encoder/screw assembly to rotate and lower the egg into place. It then takes it out after six minutes, and tips it out into a secondary container.

As of now, temperature is manually controlled, but it’s tracked with a DS18B20 temperature sensor to initiate the egg lowering procedure. An Arduino Uno takes care of the lifting screw assembly, while an Arduino Mega handles everything else.

Hunt the Wumpus comes to Arduino!

Hunt the Wumpus is a text-based survival/horror game developed in 1973. As such, it’s perhaps due for an update, and Benjamin C. Faure was able to do so using an Arduino Mega to run a graphical version on an 8×8 MAX7219 LED display.

The game consists of moving your character through the 64-LED randomly generated world, avoiding pits and bats, attempting to face the Wumpus to fire your one arrow. Navigation is aided by “wind” and “stench” lights, indicating either a pit or the foul Wumpus is nearby. The game is also enhanced with a few LED animations and a small piezo speaker. 

On startup, the game will generate an 8×8 map for the player that contains bats, pits, and a Wumpus. The player must pay attention to their senses to ensure they don’t fall into a pit or run into a Wumpus. Running into a bat might not be instant death, but they can carry you over a pit or even straight to the Wumpus.

If the player wishes to win, they must pinpoint the location of the Wumpus. Then, they must take one step towards the Wumpus (so that they are facing the proper direction) and fire their only arrow. If they hit the Wumpus, they win! If they miscalculated, however, they will meet a grisly fate.

A demo can be seen below, while code for the project is available on GitHub.

High school play gets a simulated sports scoreboard

Maker “DJ’s Fantasi” is the technical director at his local high school’s theater arts program, and when the director of their winter production of Disney’s High School Musical requested a scoreboard prop, he excitedly set to work. 

The resulting build consists of four 7-segment displays, lit up by strips of non-programmable LEDs. 

Numbers on the device are shown with the help of an Arduino Mega, which takes input via a single-channel remote. Seven I/O pins are used to indicate each segment to be displayed, and another four multiplex the signal into the required four digits.

While a more general input device could be used, this particular scoreboard was especially set up for this musical, sequencing through numbers that correspond to the performance on command.

More details on this impressive project can be found here.

Arduino and Pi Share Boardspace

A Raspberry Pi Zero (W) and Arduino are very different animals, the prior has processing power and connectivity while the latter has some analog to digital converters (ADCs) and nearly real-time reactions. You can connect them to one another with a USB cable and for many projects that will happily wed the two. Beyond that, we can interface this odd couple entirely through serial, SPI, I2C, and logic-level signaling. How? Through a device by [cburgess] that is being called an Arduino shield that supports a Pi0 (W). Maybe it is a cape which interfaces with Arduino. The distinction may be moot since each board has a familiar footprint and both of them are found here.

Depending on how they are set up and programmed, one can take control over the other, or they could happily do their own thing and just exchange a little information. This board is like a marriage counselor between a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. It provides the level-shifting so they don’t blow each other up and libraries so they can speak nicely to one another. If you want to dig a bit deeper into this one, design files and code examples are on available.

Perhaps we’ll report on this board at the heart of a pinball machine retrofit, a vintage vending machine restoration, or maybe a working prop replica from the retro bar in Back to the Future II.

OpenLH robot automates biological exploration

If you’d like an easy way to accomplish repetitive biological experiments, the OpenLH presents a great option for automating these tasks. 

The heart of the system is the Arduino Mega-controlled uArm Swift Pro robot, which is equipped with a custom end effector and syringe pump. This enables it to dispense liquids with an average error of just .15 microliters.

A Python/Blockly interface allows the OpenLH to be set up for creative exploration, and because of the arm’s versatility, it could later be modified for 3D printing, laser cutting, or any number of other robotic duties. 

Liquid handling robots are robots that can move liquids with high accuracy allowing to conduct high throughput experiments such as large scale screenings, bioprinting and execution of different protocols in molecular microbiology without a human hand, most liquid handling platforms are limited to standard protocols.

The OpenLH is based on an open source robotic arm (uArm Swift Pro) and allows creative exploration. With the decrease in cost of accurate robotic arms we wanted to create a liquid handling robot that will be easy to assemble, made by available components, will be as accurate as gold standard and will cost less than $1,000. In addition the OpenLH is extendable, meaning more features can be added such as a camera for image analysis and real time decision making or setting the arm on a linear actuator for a wider range. In order to control the arm we made a simple Blockly interface and a picture to print interface block for bioprinting images.

We wanted to build a tool that would be used by students, bioartists, biohackers and community biology labs around the world.

The OpenLH can be seen in the video below, bioprinting with pigment-expressing E. coli bacteria.

Arduino Mega is the brains of this ant-like hexapod

Six-legged robots are nothing new, but if you’d like inspiration for your own, it would be hard to beat this 22 servo-driven, 3D-printed hexapod from Dejan at How To Mechatronics. 

The ant-inspired device features three metal geared servos per leg, as well as a pair to move the heat, another for the tail, and a micro servo to activate the mandibles.

To control this large number of servos, Dejan turned to the Arduino Mega, along with a custom Android app and Bluetooth link for the user interface. While most movements are activated by the user, it does have a single ultrasonic sensor buried in its head as “eyes.” This allows it to lean backwards when approached by an unknown object or hand, then strike with its mandibles if the aggressor continues its advance. 

As the name suggests, the hexapod has six legs but in addition to that, it also has a tail or abdomen, a head, antennas, mandibles and even functional eyes. All of this, makes the hexapod look like an ant, so therefore we can also call it an Arduino Ant Robot.

For controlling the robot I made a custom-built Android application. The app has four buttons through which we can command the robot to move forward or backwards, as well as turn left or right. Along with these main functions, the robot can also move its head and tail, as well as it can bite, grab and drop things and even attack.

You can see it in action and being assembled in the video below, and build files are available here.