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As part of a thesis project, Belgian student Bruce Helsen built a dual-axis tracker for optimizing solar panel use. Although adding a tracking system to a larger installation can be pricey (and likely not the most cost-effective option), it can certainly come in handy for smaller units.

Helsen’s dual-axis tracker fits two 12V 150W solar panels for a 300W peak output, and has a few key features: it turns to make sure the panels are aligned with the sun for as long as possible, it measures the panels’ voltage and current then calculates the generated power and energy, and it sends that data from the monitor to ThingSpeak for analysis and logging. There’s also an LCD to display the readings.

The panel’s two axes are controlled by a pair of inexpensive linear actuators. It uses an Arduino Mega for a brain, and an ESP8266 for transmitting the data over to the cloud. Light direction is detected by a homemade light sensor housed inside an industrial lamp enclosure. A 3D-printed crossbeam separates the sensor into four quadrants, with a light-dependent resistor for each. By comparing the average LDR values, the panel is able to point in the best direction.

Looking to monitor your solar energy? Check out Helsen’s project page here.

For the release of his latest EP, Dario Marturano brought together electronic music, technology, science, and dance to create an awe-inspiring music video called “Pyrite.” The artist (and STEAM advocate), who goes by the stage name Holograph, built a set of illuminated cubes using plexiglass boxes and LED strips that are MIDI-triggered via Arduino circuitry.

As Make: Magazine explains, the setup consists of an Arduino, some MOSFET for 12V (in the LED cubes), and opto-triac for 220V (for the big lightbulb props). Holograph wrote a MIDI sequence in Ableton Live that syncs with the tunes, assigning every note to a light-up box. The sequence is sent to Arduino, which activates the LEDs as the dancers move through their choreography.

It should be noted that this isn’t the first time the musician has employed MIDI-driven lights either. See the magic in action below!

_DSC6614m"It's not only a musical project, but a union between different arts and sciences, where the sound meets design, electronics, and computer science"

Read more on MAKE

The post LEDs and MIDIs: Check Out the STEAM-Inspired Music of Holograph appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

You’ve heard it before, smoking is bad for your health. However, despite the countless warnings, millions of people continue to use cigarettes–including 7th grade student Petter’s dad. Mindful of this, the young Maker came up with a new way to shame smokers into quitting.

The aptly named “Cigarette Smoke Detecting Shirt” consists of an Arduino LilyPad, a smoke sensor, and three LED sequins, all sewn into the t-shirt using conductive thread. When cigarette smoke is sensed, one of three different lights illuminate alongside a message to embarrass the wearer such as “stinky breath,” “yellow teeth,” or “lung cancer.”

In the future, Petter hopes to finish the prototype and start making more shirts to sell on Etsy. Whether or not this idea takes off, it’s pretty cool nonetheless. As Adafruit puts it, “This is such a fine example of a project that works on an issue and gets students excited about STEM.”

downloadIDE_blogpost_1-6-10

Great news, Makers! We’re excited to announce the immediate availability of the Arduino IDE 1.6.10, AVR core 1.6.12 and SAM core 1.6.9.

The most notable feature of this release is the introduction of an up-to-date bundled toolchain for AVR containing the latest goodies from Atmel, GCC and AVRDUDE devs.

Thanks to LTO (Link Time Optimization), making your sketches smaller and faster is now only a push of the “Compile” button away.

The AVRDUDE update brings out-of-the-box support for a wide range of microcontrollers and debuggers, making it is as simple as possible to deploy. (For example, problems with Gatekeeper on Mac and dependencies on Linux are a thing of the past.)

Likewise, the builder has received the love it deserves and some of its shortcomings are gone forever. You’ll never have to worry again about encountering weird errors if you need to use C++ advanced libraries like <vector>.

All these improvements have been shared with Arduino Create, our cloud-based IDE. Check it out if you’ve never tried it, or test out these enhancements if you’re already an active user! ;-)

Of course, we also fixed some corner cases for user experience, so now we have a better error reporting when the upload fails and a [nicer] way to include libraries containing lots of header files.

What’s more, we have gone ahead and developed a new firmware and certificate updater for MKR1000 / WiFi101 Shield users–it’s bundled with the IDE and available as a plugin for older installations.

Our community effort continue to grow well with tons of bugfixing, proposals, and libraries added to the Library Manager. As you can imagine, this makes us extremely happy–thank you all for the contributions!

As usual, be sure to check the entire changelog for a complete list of changes and credits. Don’t forget to report any issue you may find, either on GitHub or on the Arduino Forum–your help is very much appreciated.

Go ahead and download IDE 1.6.10! Happy hacking!

As part of a recent Microsoft HoloLens hackathon in San Francisco, Maker Ian Sterling developed a new app that interacts with you smart home via augmented reality. The proof of concept, dubbed “IoTxMR,” allows a user to simply glance at a gadget and control it through gestures.

As you can see in the video below, IoTxMR enables Sterling to connect various Android and Arduino-based devices with the HoloLens to create a customized interdependent network. It also features a mixed reality experience called “virtual zen mode,” complete with calming sounds and light orbs in his surrounding environment.

During a recent interview with Digital Trends, Sterling revealed:

The primary goal of the app is to provide a 3D spatial UI for cross-platform devices — Android Music Player app and Arduino-controlled fan and light — and to interact with them using gaze and gesture control.

The connectivity between Arduino and a mixed reality device is something which holds a huge amount of creative opportunity for developers to create some very exciting applications — be it [Internet of Things], robotics, or other sensor data visualization. Besides this, our app features some fun ways to connect devices. Our demo featured a connection between a music player and a light in order to set a certain mood in your home.

Although just a demo, IoTxMR does highlight the endless possibilities that AR platforms like HoloLens offer in the not-too-distant future.

A few weeks ago, we heard Pawel Zadrozniak’s computer hardware orchestra perform a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Now, the Floppotron is back–this time with its own geeky rendition of the Pokémon theme song.

The Floppotron is comprised of 64 repurposed floppy disk drives, eight hard disks, and two scanners. Every column of floppy drives is connected to an 8-channel controller based on ATmega16 MCU. The higher the volume, the more drives are playing.

Meanwhile, the eight hard disks with a pair of 4-channel controllers act as percussion. The sound generated depends on the driving speed–the higher the frequency, the greater the pitch. Hard disks use a magnet and a coil to tilt the head. When voltage is supplied for long enough, the head speeds up and hits the bound making the “drum” sound.

To drive the coils, Zadrozniak says he employed a pair of push-pull outputs built using discrete SMD MOSFETs. Most of the tunes are made by the two scanners, both of which are connected to Arduino devices. Data is received over UART (USB-UART) and buffers messages to keep the music in time.

The host application is written in Python 2.7 and parses the language that is used to write note sequences and arrange tracks that go to a specific controller. You can read more about the Floppotron here, or just listen to the Pokémon anthem below!

When the Golf GTI and the Jetta GLI were born, Volkswagen packed both with turbocharged engines, precision performance, and a whole lot of vroom. But aside from their stylish exteriors, a rivalry between the vehicles was forged. And, what better way to settle this rivalry than with a massive RC car race on a custom, Tron-like track?

As part of their “Rival Road: GTI vs. GLI” virtual experience, Volkswagen built a giant 1,800 square-foot track equipped with illuminated walls, low-polygon-looking mountains, and nine Arduino-powered obstacles (connected to a laser-etched control panel) that are activated by viewers on Twitch. These barriers include everything from a turntable that spins the cars around, to whack-a-mole-style pillars that pop up randomly, to rumble strips.

From July 26-27th, fans can tune in to the live stream to support their favorite team and vote on the obstacles that’ll be raised from the track to thwart opponents. The RC Golf GTI and Jetta GLI vehicles will be operated by professional RC drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.

Pretty sweet, right? Jalopnik had the chance to get a firsthand look at the project, where Volkswagen showed off everything from how it was made to how it works.

The second prototype.Graham and Sam worked together to create a robotic gripper controlled with a glove and strong enough to hold household items.

Read more on MAKE

The post Our Journey in Building a Glove-Controlled Robotic Gripper appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

IMG_6972 copyAR-Duo is a steampunk telepresence robot that shows off the skills and ingenuity of a school's metal shop.

Read more on MAKE

The post This Telepresence Robot from the 1800s Helps Promote Metal Shop appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.



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