Growing your own food is a fun hobby and generally as rewarding as people say it is. However, it does have its quirks and it definitely equires quite the time input. That’s why it was so satisfying to watch Farmbot push a weed underground. Take that!
Farmbot is a project that has been going on for a few years now, it was a semifinalist in the Hackaday Prize 2014, and that development time shows in the project documented on their website. The robot can plant, water, analyze, and weed a garden filled with arbitrarily chosen plant life. It’s low power and low maintenance. On top of that, every single bit is documented on their website. It’s really well done and thorough. They are gearing up to sell kits, but if you want it now; just do it yourself.
The bot itself is exactly what you’d expect if you were to pick out the cheapest most accessible way to build a robot: aluminum extrusions, plate metal, and 3D printer parts make up the frame. The brain is a Raspberry Pi hooked to its regular companion, an Arduino. On top of all this is a fairly comprehensive software stack.
The user can lay out the garden graphically. They can get as macro or micro as they’d like about the routines the robot uses. The robot will happily come to life in intervals and manage a garden. They hope that by selling kits they’ll interest a whole slew of hackers who can contribute back to the problem of small scale robotic farming.
A few weeks ago, an announcement was posted on the Arduino Forum mentioning new improvements on the software side of the Arduino/Genuino 101. With this release, the board–which was developed in collaboration with Intel–is reaching its full potential, with not only better code generation but unlocking useful features to make your sketches even more interactive as well.
You can easily upgrade the core using the Arduino IDE’s Board Manager (pictured below), while Arduino Create users will be automatically updated, so no action is required–the cool thing about the cloud!
In more detail:
The GCC compiler has been updated to support hardware extensions to the ARC EM core in the Intel® Curie™ module. This provides significant improvements in floating point operations, bit shifting, and other operations to enhance Sketch performance.
The Arduino/Genuino 101 platform offers 2MB Flash storage onboard, which is now enabled for user sketches.
An experimental driver has been implemented to enable the I2S interface via the CurieI2S library. Connecting the I2S bus to an external DAC (digital to analog converter) allows users to play high-quality music (HiFi).
Other improvements and bug fixes:
Motion Sensor: Several sample sketches, like MotionDetection, have been implemented to demonstrate the application of the IMU data
Bluetooth LE: Several new examples for BLE peripheral library added
IMU: Correct motion detection setting implemented
Library CurieTimerOne APIs are now compatible with the TimerOne library
The LEDmePlay is an open-source DIY gaming console powered by an Arduino Mega. Games are displayed on a 32 x 32 RGB LED matrix housed inside an IKEA picture frame, and played using any C64-compatible joystick from the ‘80s. LEDmePlay supports several games, each of which are downloadable for free online, and Makers are encouraged to develop their own as well.
Its creator Mithotronic has also built a handheld variant for on-the-go fun, LEDmePlayBoy. This device is based on the same Arduino Mega, powered by eight AA batteries, and uses an analog thumb joystick and two fire buttons for control.
With hopes of reinventing the way food is grown, Rory Aronson has developed humanity’s first open-source CNC farming machine. The FarmBot Genesis — which will begin taking pre-orders in July — is capable of planting seeds and then watering them precisely.
Designed with the Maker community in mind, FarmBot is driven by an Arduino Mega 2560, a RAMPS 1.4 shield, NEMA 17 stepper motors, and a Raspberry Pi 3. What’s more, all of its plastic components can easily be 3D printed, while its flat connecting plates can be made with either a waterjet, plasma or laser cutter, a CNC mill, or even a hacksaw and drill press.
The three-axis machine employs linear guides in the X, Y, and Z directions, which allows for tooling such as seed injectors, watering nozzles, sensors, and weed removal equipment to be accurately positioned. Impressively, FarmBot can cultivate a variety of crops in the same area simulatenously.
FarmBot is controlled via mobile device or laptop, while its web-based interface makes customizing your garden as simple as playing FarmVille. You can also build and schedule sequences by dragging and dropping basic operations, adjust the parameters to your liking, and save. Meanwhile, a decision support system adjusts water, fertilizer and pesticide regimens, seed spacing, timing, and other factors based on soil and weather conditions, sensor readings, location, and time of year. And of course, FarmBot can be manually operated in real-time as well.
Aronson’s vision is to make precision agriculture open and accessible to everyone. Each FarmBot Genesis can be modified and augmented to suit anyone’s unique growing style and needs. For instance, you can power your machine with renewable energy from a small off-the-grid solar panel, or install a barrel to store and use rainwater.
Swedish electric car startup Uniti has unveiled an open-source, Uno-compatible board designed for controlling three-phase motors. The “Uniti ARC” combines the familiar layout of Arduino with a number of other powerful features that will help facilitate the prototyping of electronic machinery — which includes the company’s own EV.
Aside from transportation vehicles like cars, e-bikes and e-scooters, the Uniti ARC can be used with other equipment employing three-phase motors, such as CNC mills, conveyor belts, or even 3D printers.
In terms of hardware, the Uniti ARC is powered by an ATmega64M1 at 16 MHz, and comes with a 12-bit high speed three-phase motor controller, CAN 2.0 A/B transceiver for real-time communication, 10-bit digital to analog converter, and four analog comparators. In addition, it can be easily programmed using the Arduino IDE.
The ARC inherits the versatility of the Arduino and even expands it. Therefore, the possibilities of what you can build with it are only limited by your creativity. Every electric motor can also be used as a generator! Let your imagination go wild…
It is designed to empower makers, startups, educators and anyone else, to be part of the electric vehicle revolution by making electric car prototyping more accessible for a wider public.
The Boogie Cup is an interactive project controlling the music volume according to the number of cups used in a party and allowing party-goers to follow each other on Spotify. How does it work?
The Boogie Cup Holder uses an infrared distance sensor to detect how many cups are in the stack. As guests take cups, the sensor detects a change in distance, and increases the volume at the party. The Genuino MKR1000 wifi chip connects the Boogie Cup to the Spotify API. When two guests pass by with similar playlists, their cups light up. When they cheers, a message is sent to a server that enables each user to follow each other on Spotify.
The device was created by a team of student (Sophie Chow, Priscila Ferreira, Lars Kaltenbach, Mary Mikhail) during a 4-day exploration into Physical Computing during the Interaction Design Programme at CIID with the support of Massimo Banzi and Dario Buzzini, with the aim to encourage new behaviors with ordinary objects.
[Evan] found his minion at a McDonald’s and took out essentially everything inside of it, using the minion as a case for all of the interesting bits. First he scavenged a PS/2 port from an old motherboard. An Arduino Nano is wired to an HC-05 Bluetooth chip to translate the signals from the PS/2 peripherals into Bluetooth. The HC-05 chip is a cheaper alternative to most other Bluetooth chips at around $3 vs. $40 for more traditional ones. The programming here is worth mentioning: [Evan] wrote a non-interrupt based and non-blocking PS/2 library for the Arduino that he open sourced which is the real jewel of this project.
Once all the wiring and programming is done [Evan] can turn essentially any old keyboard and mouse into something that’ll work on any modern device. He also put an NFC tag into the minion’s head so that all he has to do to connect the keyboard and mouse is to swipe his tablet or phone past the minion.
We are finally ready to release create.arduino.cc, the Arduino platform that will provide the community with a more modern and flexible tool to write code, a more integrated way of accessing content and learning while doing.
While we are still busy refining the web-based Editor (IDE) based on the feedback of the current beta-testing program, we are really excited to launch Arduino Project Hub, our tutorial platform powered by hackster.io. We cannot wait to see all the projects made with Arduino and Genuino boards that you will submit! Comment on the tutorials you are curious about, and ‘Respect’ the ones you like the most. We will feature the best projects on the Arduino Blog!
Within create.arduino.cc you will be also able to access a new website focused on Internet of Things. Arduino IoT collects inspiring tutorials, and provides guidance for anyone who wants to get started tinkering with the Internet of Things. Most importantly it presents the “Arduino IoT Manifesto”, an important statement that will guide the development of our IoT products and tools in the coming years, and that we hope will be adopted by a larger network of people and industries. We propose these three principles for the future of this burgeoning industry: Open, Sustainable and Fair!
As usual if you encounter any issue, or you have an idea you want to share, please let us know on the Arduino Forum, we’d love to hear your feedback!
Hernando Barragán is the grandfather of Arduino of whom you’ve never heard. And after years now of being basically silent on the issue of attribution, he’s decided to get some of his grudges off his chest and clear the air around Wiring and Arduino. It’s a long read, and at times a little bitter, but if you’ve been following the development of the Arduino vs Arduino debacle, it’s an important piece in the puzzle.
Wiring, in case you don’t know, is where digitalWrite() and company come from. Maybe even more importantly, Wiring basically incubated the idea of building a microcontroller-based hardware controller platform that was simple enough to program that it could be used by artists. Indeed, it was intended to be the physical counterpart to Processing, a visual programming language for art. We’ve always wondered about the relationship between Wiring and Arduino, and it’s good to hear the Wiring side of the story. (We actually interviewed Barragán earlier this year, and he asked that we hold off until he published his side of things on the web.)
The short version is that Arduino was basically a fork of the Wiring software, re-branded and running on a physical platform that borrowed a lot from the Wiring boards. Whether or not this is legal or even moral is not an issue — Wiring was developed fully open-source, both software and hardware, so it was Massimo Banzi’s to copy as much as anyone else’s. But given that Arduino started off as essentially a re-branded Wiring (with code ported to a trivially different microcontroller), you’d be forgiven for thinking that somewhat more acknowledgement than “derives from Wiring” was appropriate.
The story of Arduino, from Barragán’s perspective, is actually a classic tragedy: student comes up with a really big idea, and one of his professors takes credit for it and runs with it.
At the same time, Massimo Banzi is teaching a class in essentially microcontrollers-for-designers at Ivrea using a PIC-based board called the Programma2003 and a curious language that you’ve never heard of, “JAL: Just Another Language“. At the time, there was no GCC support for the PIC, so the choices for open-source development were few. Worse, most of the design students are using Macs, and JAL only compiles on Windows. It wasn’t user friendly.
Barragán’s thesis is a must-read if you want to know where Arduino comes from. The summary is everything you know now: it’d be revolutionary if one could make a hardware / software platform that were easy enough that artists and non-microcontroller-nerds could get into. This is exactly the revolution that was underway in the computer graphics front, powered by Processing. Make it open source and freely available, and you’ll take over the world. So he turned to the Atmel AVR chips, which had the GCC open-source toolchain behind it.
From Wiring to Arduino
So by 2004, Barragán had a few prototypes of Wiring boards out, and he and his fellow students were using them informally for projects. The GUI will look ridiculously familiar if you’ve used Processing or Arduino. Since the students were already familiar with Processing, it made a lot of sense to just clone it — with Casey Reas’ blessing of course. Barragán wrote a little program that maybe you’ve heard of: Blink.
Now Barragán needed a faculty advisor at Ivrea, and his interests clearly aligned best with Massimo Banzi. So with his thesis work well underway and Reas’ backing, Barragán took on Banzi as his advisor. With Banzi and three other faculty members, the Wiring platform got its first real test-run, the “Strangely Familiar” workshop and show (PDF). It was a stunning success — in the space of only four weeks students actually made stuff.
Barragán graduated in 2004 and moved back to Colombia. The success of “Strangely Familiar” lead Massimo Banzi to drop Programma2003 like a hot potato and teach his physical design classes using Wiring.
Work began on the Arduino project, according to Banzi, because he wanted a board that was cheaper to make than the Wiring board. So he replaced the ATmega128 microcontroller for a cheaper, smaller version, and chopped off everything that wasn’t “essential” from the Wiring board, like the power LED. This became the “Wiring Lite” board — and eventually the first Arduino prototype.
Giving Arduino its Due
It is not the case that Arduino doesn’t acknowledge Wiring at all. They do. There are a few sentences in the first paragraph of the Credits section of the website, as mentioned above. That and $4.50 will buy you a Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha, but how much more can one ask for?
The Arduino project has been marketed with extreme savvy, something that cannot be said of Wiring. Banzi hooked up with influential people in the US, eventually friend-of-a-friending himself into contact with Dale Dougherty, who invented not just “Web 2.0” but also the “Maker Movement” and Make Magazine. Arduino and Make was a match made in heaven, and the rest is history.
But as mentioned at the top of the article, this is a classic tale of woe. Banzi had better connections and more marketing drive and skill. He pushed the exact same project — rebranded — a lot harder, better, and further than Barragán did, or probably could. Arduino is a household name simply for that reason. If Massimo Banzi hadn’t been behind the wheel, it’s unlikely that you’d be complaining about how many Wiring-based projects we feature.
And, being open-source software and hardware, Barragán gave away the shop. He probably (naïvely) expected to get more credit from his former advisor, or even get invited along on the ride. He asks why Arduino forked Wiring instead of continuing to work with him, and the answer is absolutely clear — Arduino was taking it for their own. And they could. It’s not nice, but that’s business.
Still, we feel Barragán’s pain. So we’re glad, after a decade of silence, that Barragán is speaking out on behalf of himself and Wiring, because it sets the record straight and because his project really was “Arduino” before there was an Arduino.