Desklamp comes alive with Arduino

Add a few servomotors and an Arduino to a desklamp to make an appliance that seems to be alive.

Pinokio is an exploration into the expressive and behavioural potentials of robotic computing. Customized computer code and electronic circuit design imbues Pinokio with the ability to be aware of its environment, especially people, and to expresses a dynamic range of behaviour. As it negotiates its world, we the human audience can see that Lamp shares many traits possessed by animals, generating a range of emotional sympathies. In the end we may ask: Is Pinokio only a lamp? – a useful machine? Perhaps we should put the book aside and meet a new friend.

Pinokio

Arduino for Beginners, by John Baichtal

John Baichtal is a contributor to MAKE online, and is good at explaining complex things to newbies. He's put this talent to use in his new book, Arduino for Beginners, which assumes nothing from the reader except for a willingness to learn. (Arduino is a inexpensive electronic prototyping platform.)

The Arduino projects in the book are presented in full color: a laser/infrared trip beam to protect your home from intruders, a Bluetooth doorbell, an LED strip coffee table, a plant-watering robot, an ultrasonic cat toy, a bubble-blowing robot, and more.

The book goes far beyond teaching you how to make cool things with Arduino. His chapter on maker tools (hand tools, power tools, laser cutters, 3D printers, design software, etc.) alone is worth the price of the book.

Read the rest

Arduboy: tiny Arduino-based video game player

Kevin Bates made this credit card sized video game player using a Barebones Arduino and a tiny OLED screen. It's just 1.6mm thick.

Arduboy: The Interactive Digital Business Card

Tekken Piano

Mc Cool hooked up a MIDI-capable piano to the control inputs of classic fighting game Tekken, thereby synchronizing the on-screen action and musical performance. Then he recorded video of him doing online battle. He won!
This is the final product of my project for interaction design. Took the whole semester, to get this to work but it was worth it. How it works: The piano sends a Midi-Signal, which is transferred to an arduino. According to the signals, the arduino triggers transistors, which then trigger inputs on a paewang PCB (This is the PCB of an arcadestick). The paewang is connected to an Xbox360 (you can also use it on PS3).
The TekkenPiano [Vimeo]

Make a drawer that opens with your secret knock

A couple of years ago inventor Steve Hoefer wrote a how-to project for MAKE called the Secret Knock Gumball Machine. You record a special knock pattern by rapping your knuckles against the case. After that, only people who enter the correct knock pattern get a gumball.

Recently Steve made a Secret Knock Drawer Lock and wrote a tutorial for Adafrut’s learning site.

Steve remarks, "I’ve built this project a dozen times and every single time I finish it, it makes me incredibly happy to see it work. Even though I know every detail of it, it still feels a little bit magical." Indeed!

Below, a video of the lock in action.

3D printed, trainable robot arm with Arduino controller

Joly sez, "Maker navic09 demos a prototype trainable robotic arm, made from 3d printed parts, an Arduino, and Adafruit analog feedback servos. Inspired by the Baxter robot, this arm can be trained to move with your own hands. Once the train button is pressed, you move the arm and gripper as needed while the Arduino stores the positions in EEPROM. After that the arm will replay the motion as needed."

The gripper and arm are on Thingiverse.

Trainable Robotic Arm 1 (Thanks, Joly!)

AutoDesk announces free electronic circuit design app

DC Denison of MAKE says:

Autodesk today expanded its suite of free 3D tools by partnering with Circuits.io to launch an electronics design tool: 123D Circuits.

The program allows users to create virtual breadboard-based designs to build and experiment with circuits. A virtual Arduino board can be added to the design, and the code can be edited in a browser window and simulated. The code can also be edited collaboratively (“a Google Doc for electronics” Autodesk claims).

The program also provides hooks that allow users to have the virtual boards professionally manufactured.

Autodesk Partners with Circuits.io to Create Free Electronics Design Tool

Arduino Workshop: A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects

The Arduino is a low cost microcontroller that was made for artists and designers to add interactivity to their projects. If you are interested the Arduino microcontroller but have no experience with it, buy an Arduino and a copy of Getting Starting with Arduino. If you know a little about Arduino and are looking for project ideas, get Arduino Workshop: A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects. You'll learn how to use the Arduino to control motors, interface with GPS an IR remote control, and connect to the Internet.

Sample projects:

  • A digital thermometer that charts temperature changes on an LCD
  • A GPS logger that records data from your travels, which can be displayed on Google Maps
  • A handy tester that lets you check the voltage of any single-cell battery
  • A keypad-controlled lock that requires a secret code to open
  • An electronic version of the classic six-sided die
  • A binary quiz game that challenges your number conversion skills
  • A motorized remote control tank with collision detection to keep it from crashing

Arduino Workshop: A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects

Arduino-controlled pelvic-floor strength-tester, with light-up penis

Last September, Doctor Kristen Stubbs -- a roboticist who makes sex-gadgets for her Toymaker Project -- released a video (NSFW) demonstrating her prototype pelvic-floor strength-tester, called "The Hammer." The Hammer has a bulb that is internally inserted, containing a squeeze-sensor, and a penis-shaped, light-up readout that protrudes between the wearer's legs. The harder the wearer squeezes, the more the readout lights up.

Right now The Hammer has two modes: the test-your-strength game, where the more you squeeze, the more it lights up; and a demo mode which cycles through all of the colors of the LEDs.  Soon I hope to connect the Arduino to my Android phone, and then I’ll be able to do even more cool things!

I’ll be following up on this with more technical details over the next few weeks. (Update, 10/11/12: If you would like to hear me talk about how I made The Hammer, you can see some excerpts and my slides from my technical talk at Arse Elektronika 2012.) My plan is for The Hammer to become an Open Hardware project.  This is still very much a prototype, but I would be thrilled if anyone else wanted to build their own.

The Hammer: A Muscle-Controlled, Light-Up Dildo (via JWZ)

Gemma, a 1" diameter Arduino-compatible board for wearable electronics


Adafruit has announced "Gemma," a bite-sized, Arduino compatible board intended for use in wearable electronics projects. It measures 1" in diameter, and while it's not shipping yet, they're taking names for people who want to get 'em when they ship:

* Powered by the ATtiny85 with 3 available I/O pins, one of which is also an analog input and two which can do PWM output*
Progammable over the micro USB connection*
Onboard 3.3v Regulator and power LED*
Reset button*
Works with our Flora NeoPixels (can drive about a dozen - not much RAM!)*
Super tiny design, only 1" (25mm) diameter & 4mm thick

Adafruit Gemma - Miniature wearable electronic platform (Thanks, Matthew!)

30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius

I had a lot of time on my hands this holiday season and decided to get an arduino kit (I have solar panels I want to aim for max efficiency during the day, on a VW van.) A lot of intro titles seemed interesting but Simon Monk's 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius grabbed my attention. Good title!

Sadly, this is no guide to building shark-mountable lasers. There are however a lot of simple, short projects that help you understand building with an arduino controller. Monk uses very clear pictures and schematics to show what needs doing. His text is precise and understandable. The steps are easy to follow and the thing you should learn from an exercise is blatantly obvious. Most importantly these projects are fun! I'm not just making an LED blink or a speaker chirp when I work with this book. Projects like the temperature monitor and computer controlled fan are giving me the foundation I need to aim my solar panels. The results and functions are easy to apply to the types of things I want to do with an arduino.

Lasers would have been nice.

30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius by Simon Monk

Burrito Bomber: open source hardware-based drone autonomously delivers Mexican food

The good folks at Darwin Aerospace have figured out how to use drones to parachute burritos directly onto your property. They await pending FAA reforms before they can go into business, however. Here's how it works:

It works like this:

  1. You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone's autopilot.
  2. We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
  3. The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.

We built Burrito Bomber using a handful of open source projects and some new bits we created ourselves. All the code and 3D models we created for Burrito Bomber are on our GitHub page so you can build one too!

Burrito Bomber - Darwin Aerospace (via JWZ)

Esplora - new Arduino device for learning and play

Marc De Vinck says:

The Arduino Esplora is a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that lets you explore the infinite possibilities you have in the world of Arduino, without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. Shaped like a game controller, it’s designed to be used out of the box without extra parts since it comes with many sensors and actuators already on it.

For the time being, it's available at RadioShack stores.

Arduino Esplora

Video profile of co-creator of Arduino, Massimo Banzi


The Braun Lectron was an electronics kit designed in the 1970s by Dieter Rams, whose minimalist aesthetic was hugely influential to Steve Jobs and Jonny Ives. The Lectron was also Arduino co-creator Massimo Banzi’s “Rosebud.” It not only got him interested in electronics, it also shaped his ideas about design. This fascinating 20-minute documentary about Arduino was produced by Wired Italy. It’s in Italian but is subtitled in English.

Open source, sonar-controlled vibrator you play like a theremin, with your whole body

Scanlime's Beth modded a remote control vibrator, replacing the interface with an Arduino-based sonar controller that she can activate with any part of her body, playing it like a theremin. The result is pretty cool -- it "closes the feedback loop" between the vibrator's intensity and the user's physical response. The post includes a detailed technical breakdown of the reverse-engineering steps that she used to work out how to hijack the control mechanism, and the steps that went into building the remote, including a 3D printed chassis. The plans are open source hardware (CC-BY-SA), and posted to Github.

This toy serves as a kind of analog bridge between two remote spaces: the column of ultrasonically-oscillating air in front of the remote, and whatever body part happens to be in contact with the vibrator. Touch that invisible space above the remote, and the vibrator touches you.

In fact, it does start to feel like there’s a palpable object in space above the remote’s sensors. Move your body close to it, and it reacts. Press into it lightly, or tease the edges. Flick your hand through it, or make graceful waves back and forth. You can use your whole body to touch it, almost like a big fuzzy vibrating cone floating in air.

If the sensor can see your body’s rhythms, it responds in kind, effortlessly synchronizing to its frequency. This is exactly the sort of closed-loop control I was after.

Hacking My Vagina (via Reddit)