Posts with «school» label

MIT's light-up robot garden teaches you how to code

If you're teaching kids how to code, what do you do to show that software makes an impact in the real world? MIT has a clever idea: a robot garden. The project lets you control a grid of Arduino-linked "plants" through programming that makes them blossom and light up in pretty (and occasionally mesmerizing) ways. It'll even teach the virtues of distributed computing -- you can tell these leafy robots to bloom or change color in algorithm-driven sequences. The garden is just a demo for now, but it'll eventually turn into an easy-to-replicate curriculum for students who'd otherwise have to settle for seeing their results on-screen.

[Image credit: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL]

Filed under: Science, Software


Source: MIT News

Arduino Tetris on a Multiplexed LED Matrix

[Alex] needed a project for his microcomputer circuits class. He wanted something that would challenge him on both the electronics side of things, as well as the programming side. He ended up designing an 8 by 16 grid of LED’s that was turned into a game of Tetris.

He arranged all 128 LED’s into the grid on a piece of perfboard. All of the anodes were bent over and connected together into rows of 8 LED’s. The cathodes were bent perpendicularly and forms columns of 16 LED’s. This way, if power is applied to one row and a single column is grounded, one LED will light up at the intersection. This method only works reliably to light up a single LED at a time. With that in mind, [Alex] needed to have a very high “refresh rate” for his display. He only ever lights up one LED at a time, but he scans through the 128 LED’s so fast that persistence of vision prevents you from noticing. To the human eye, it looks like multiple LED’s are lit up simultaneously.

[Alex] planned to use an Arduino to control this display, but it doesn’t have enough outputs on its own to control all of those lights. He ended up using multiple 74138 decoder/multiplexer IC’s to control the LED’s. Since the columns have inverted outputs, he couldn’t just hook them straight up to the LED’s. Instead he had to run the signals through a set of PNP transistors to flip the logic. This setup allowed [Alex] to control all 128 LED’s with just seven bits, but it was too slow for him.

His solution was to control the multiplexers with counter IC’s. The Arduino can just increment the counter up to the appropriate LED. The Arduino then controls the state of the LED using the active high enable line from the column multiplexer chip.

[Alex] wanted more than just a static image to show off on his new display, so he programmed in a version of Tetris. The controller is just a piece of perfboard with four push buttons. He had to work out all of the programming to ensure the game ran smoothly while properly updating the screen and simultaneously reading the controller for new input. All of this ran on the Arduino.

Can’t get enough Tetris hacks? Try these on for size.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, led hacks

Home Automation with a Custom Wireless Sensor Network

We’re no strangers to home automation projects around here, but it’s not often that you see one described in this much detail. [Paul] designed a custom home automation system with four teammates for an undergraduate thesis project.

The system is broken into two main components; the server and the peripherals. The team designed their peripherals from early prototypes of an upcoming ArduIMU v4 measurement unit. They removed all of the default sensors to keep costs down and reduce assembly time. The units can them be hooked up to various peripherals such as temperature sensors, mains relays, RGB color strips, etc.

The central management of the system is performed using a web-based user interface. The web server runs on Java, and interacts with the peripherals wirelessly. Basic messages can be sent back and forth to either read the state of the peripherals or to change the state. As far as the user is concerned, these messages appear as simple triggers and actions. This makes it very simple to program the peripherals using if, then, else logic.

The main project page is a very brief summary of what appears to be a very well documented project. The team has made available their 182 page final report (pdf), which goes into the nitty-gritty details of the project. Also, be sure to watch the demonstration video below.

Filed under: home hacks

Tuco 1.0: a digital door plate

In his blog, Andrea (a student in computer science from University of Napoli “Parthenope”) describes how to make a smart door plate with Arduino.

The goal of this project, which is part of the larger “Sebeto Project” (more information can be found on its homepage), is to provide dynamic information to the user, which can be updated remotely by using an Arduino ethernet shield and a modified Fonera wireless router.

A detailed tutorial on how to build your own Tuco (in Italian) can be found here.

[Via: Andrea Esposito's blog]

Butlers, lunar rovers, snakes and airboats: the best of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute

How was your week? We got to spend a couple of days trekking around the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh, PA to check out some of the latest projects from the school's world renowned Robotics Institute -- a trip that culminated with the bi-annual induction ceremony from the CMU-sponsored Robot Hall of Fame. Given all the craziness of the past seven days, you might have missed some of the awesomeness, but fear not, we've got it all for you here in one handy place -- plus a couple of videos from the trip that we haven't shown you yet. Join us after the break to catch up.

Continue reading Butlers, lunar rovers, snakes and airboats: the best of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute

Butlers, lunar rovers, snakes and airboats: the best of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 27 Oct 2012 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”: projects and outcomes

Last July 23-27 2012, the workshop on “Physical and Wearable Computing”, organized by SUPSI within the summer school in “Digital Fabrication and Interaction Design”, has took place involving about 20 participants. This workshop has proved to be a very good approach to introduce future makers to the concepts of digital fabrication, prototyping and design of interactive objects.
On the workshop’s homepage, several prototypes and artifacts manufactured during the workshop are presented. Among them, it’s worth to mention Poetry Zoo, a set of laser-cut and RFID-equipped animals that generate poetries, The Sound of a Line, where simple melodies can be performed by using a ball with conductive ink in combination with a special glove, and Superfluo Shoes, a pair of shoes that react based on movement.
The complete list of projects developed during the workshop can be found on its official home page, while a personal view of this experience by Zoe Romano, who has taught at the summer school together with Massimo Banzi, can be found here.

[Via: homepage of the workshop and Zoe Romano's blog]

Labview and Arduino: 3Dmicro Toolkit Arduino Expansion (beta)

3D SuperVision Systems is an italian spin-off from “Università Politecnica delle Marche“, whose mission is to design and to develop new solutions for embedded applications.
Few days ago, they published the latest release of 3Dmicro toolkit, a software add-on to NI Labview usable for firmware rapid prototyping on 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, by using Labview’s easy-to-use graphical programming language; along with this, an Arduino-oriented version has been released as well for academic beta testers, which allows users to make use of Arduino’s I/O, ADCs, timers, PWM and serial communication directly from Labview’s interface.


More information can be found here, while interested beta-testers can sign up this application form.

Castelao Barcamp Vigo 2012

Desde BricoGeek nos llega la noticia de la celebración de una nueva Barcamp, esta vez en Vigo. La reunión perfecta para cacharrear y debatir entre amigos sobre temas como el Open Hardware, Arduino o impresoras 3D entre otros muchos, y puede que con alguna que otra sorpresa.


Unas jornadas DIY muy interesantes que tendrán lugar en las instalaciones del CFP Daniel Castelao de Vigo en las que Alejandro Taracido presentará a su mítico robot ORUGAS con las últimas novedades añadidas.


Sin duda, un evento al que no se debe faltar!


Planning preliminar (sujeto a cambios):

  • Introducción al Open Harwdare
  • Orugas: Robot explorador basado en Arduino
  • Impresión 3D DIY. Crea objetos en tu casa
  • Workshop BricoGeek
  • Taller: DIY Soldadura SMD por refusión
  • Taller: Medidas PWM analógicas
  • Presentación proyecto RACE
  • Raspberry PI como servidor FTP de contenidos


VIA | BricoGeek

Wearable Fabric on the Arduino Store

We are happy to announce the first wearable kit on the Arduino Store . This kit has been made by Plug’n'Wear specifically for us. All fabrics in this kit are produced in Italy, and strongly related to a textile family business. If you want to get deeper into the story of this product have a look at Riccardo Marchesi presentation (still in Italian, soon to be traslated!) at World Wide Rome 2012.

Read over for Kit’s features

This kit features:

  1. 1x Circular Stretch Sensor Designed by Hannah Perner-Wilson, this circular knit stretch sensor works perfect when you need to detect tension in many projects.
  2. 2x Textile push button to make easy digital inputs in cloth, scarfs o bags.
  3. 2x Spools of Conductive thread, ready to be hooked over a sewing machine
  4. 2x Soft potentiometer kit will let you import analog data into your wearable project: this kit includes 1 meter of knitted conductive tape and a metal ring. Watch it in action (see video)
  5. 10x 1k ohm resistor
  6. 10x 10k ohm resistor
  7. 1x Textile perfboard is going to change the way you think of wearable circuits. You can sew or even solder components (SMD & through-hole) on this . It can be easily cut or sewn with a standard sewing machine. Washable. Size: 15 cm x 15 cm (6″ x 6″) / Pitch: 2.54 mm (0.1″)
  8. 1x Knitted Coated Copper Tape. Small conductive tape made of coated copper fine wire (112 micron). Flexible, easy to cut, sewable with a standard sewing machine, It can be easily welded ( The coating will melt and tape will be soldered). The surface of this tape has a good insulation thrughout its lenght. Resistance: 107 Ohm/m. Width: 9 mm (0.35″)
  9. 1x Analog Textile Press Button, working with a resistive principle (resistance goes down when you press it). It works as a bend sensor as well. By connecting more sensors together it is possible to make a matrix analog switch. Sensitive area 40mm x 40mm (1.57″x1.57″)
  10. 2x LilyPad LED Bright White A simple, very bright, 250mcd, white LED LilyPad

source: [arduino store]

Schools projects with Arduino: Flow Meter

Loccioni Group, is an italian company that sponsors every year a project internship entitled “Classe Virtuale”, dedicated to young students coming from local technical schools.

This year, “Classe Virtuale 2012″ has been composed by 27 students with different backgrounds, selected among 120 candidates. After a stating training period, during the three-weeks internship the team worked on a very nice Arduino-based project: Flow Meter.

Here you may find a brief interview we had with Daniele Caschera, one of the components of “Classe Virtuale 2012″, about Flow Meter and on how Arduino helped in its design.

Alessandro: Daniele, could you describe us what “Classe Virtuale” is, in practice?

Daniele: “Classe Virtuale”, the partnership between Loccioni Group and local technical education institutions, has began in 2001 when Mr. Loccioni decided to invest on young students, by offering training periods and stages inside his company. In 2010 the project, which occours on annual basis, expanded to three more scools and in 2012 it has reached the 12-th edition.

The goal of this collaboration is to train and educate young technicians, by serving as a bridge between school and a real employment.

A: Could you briefly describe us the “Flow Meter” project?

D: “Flow Meter” is a real flow measurer: it has been designed to measure the flow of all the students who have attended to the previous editions of “Classe Virtuale”, starting from the first edition.

First, we have designed a PHP web application usable to collect the information reagarding all the participants to the previous editions and, then, we used some Arduino boards to represent this amount of data into a visible form, by means of several LEDs.

More in details, Flow Meter can be turned on by laying the hands on it, which can be detected by means of some proximity sensors located on the surface.

Then, it begins to show the collected data, starting from the first edition of “Classe Virtuale”, by turning on a set of LEDs, arranged in three rows inside a semi-transparent, white sphere. The first row, composed by red LEDs, represents how many students are currently employed at Loccioni, while the second one, composed by blue LEDs, shows how many people work or study in Italy; the last row (again composed by red LEDs) presents how many people work or study abroad.

By leaving the hands on Flow Meter, it is possible to scroll through all the editions of “Classe Virtuale”.

Finally, four small pillars, placed at the corners of the structure, represent the four schools involved in the 2012 edition of the project: a set of LEDs is used to show how many students come from each institution per year.

A: How Arduino contributed to this Flow Meter?

D: Many of us did not know Arduino at the beginning of “Classe Virtuale 2012″. The board has been introduced us during the initial training period by some electronic engineers at Loccioni. Then, we started to find out more information about it and how to adopt it in our project on the web, on books and so on.

Arduino has been fundamental in our project, simply because it composes the “brain” of Flow Meter, by means of a set 4 Arduino Uno and an Arduino Mega, and because it is used to activate the LEDs composing its “visual” interface.


A: How do you evaluate this internship experience?

D: This experience has been very positive for us, mainly because it gave us the chance to work on a real project together with very skilled people and technicians. Moreover, since the team has been divided into small working groups (e.g., those working on mechanical parts and those working on electronics and programming), we have gained experience on topics that you typically won’t study at school. Everyone has learned a lot during “Classe Virtuale”!

This very nice project, which has been presented on July 19 (the streaming of the event will be available here), represents another example of how open-source solutions can be used as effective enabling technologies, even for educational purposes.

Great job “Classe Virtuale” and thanks for this interview!

Arduino Blog 10 Jul 14:54