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An Arduino at Heart prototyping board you can DIY

arduino, ArduinoAtHeart, diy, prototyping Commenti disabilitati su An Arduino at Heart prototyping board you can DIY 

Newtc Prototyping board

Newtc is our latest partner joining the Arduino At Heart program with three new products of the same family.

The Prototyping Board by Newtc is an Arduino At Heart coming in a couple of versions: the DIY version you can assemble and solder yourself and the Assembled version ready to be used. The CPU of the boards ( ATMEGA328P-PU ) is already burned with Arduino Uno bootloader. In addition to the boards, Newtc provides also the Arduino At Heart USB to Serial uploader for Arduino compatible boards.

In the picture below you can see the components of the DIY Version and in the video you can follow the tutorial and learn how to assembled it!



How the Makers at Nomiku Are Moving Manufacturing Into The Bay Area

arduino, crowdfunding, education, Food & Beverage, kickstarter, Maker Pro, nomiku, prototyping Commenti disabilitati su How the Makers at Nomiku Are Moving Manufacturing Into The Bay Area 

02ae649a0565c09924f3f4cd5c9096a8_largeThis is a series that will document Nomiku’s journey into lean manufacturing in America through the conversations of the founding team: Lisa, Abe, and Bam. We will update the series as our adventure in building our high-tech device that lets people cook with the cloud continues. As we enter uncharted […]

Read more on MAKE


Arduino at school: People Meter

arduino, education, high school, prototyping, rfid, School Commenti disabilitati su Arduino at school: People Meter 

classe virtuale 2013

After 13 years, Classe Virtuale project is once again an interesting opportunity for students to experiment a bridge between school and work. “Classe Virtuale” is a partnership between Loccioni and technical educational institutions started in 2001 when the group started offering to young students training periods and internships in the company giving the chance to work on a real project together with very skilled people and technicians. In 2012 they worked on a flow meter and this year the project focused on a similar project called People Meter, using Arduino Uno, wi-fi and rfid modules, and a 3d printer.


Below you can find more information (in italian) about the team, the project and the results!


Designing a replacement for an obsolete Electro Cam control system

arduino, industrial machines, prototyping, reverse engineering, Schematics, Teensy Commenti disabilitati su Designing a replacement for an obsolete Electro Cam control system 

etched prototype

Patrick Griffin is a  maintenance technician working in the plastics industry for the last 20+ years with primary focus being the repair, upkeep, & design of electrical, electronic, automation, and both relay & PLC control logic. He submitted his project to Arduino blog about using Teensy Arduino on a Maac vacuum former:

This story revolves around one of the workhorse machines in the company where I work: a Maac vacuum former. It is a solid, well-designed machine with a solid, well-designed control system that Maac contracted out to the Electro Cam systems group. As with any industrial equipment, as time goes by the OEM develops new products that replace their old stuff, technologies advance, and eventually they start the formal process of obsoleting their older inventory.
The situation started out years ago, long before I arrived on the scene, when the company I work for hired a contractor to add some automation to the Maac. When the automation was added almost all of the Electro Cam system was necessarily replaced with an Allen-Bradley SLC500 PLC to provide the changes in logic & the additional I/O points to do all of the new functions. The only Electro Cam components left in the Maac are the parts in the 84 zone oven controller.

We have been aware that more and more of it’s components, especially the Electro Cam controls, were being obsoleted. Recently we were put in the position to ask ourselves what our options are when one of these proprietary controls have a permanent catastrophic failure. What we learned was that we would be given few options through the official channels. We would have to leave the machine down and idle for an undetermined amount of time while the failed component was sent to Electro Cam for assessment and possible repair. This would certainly take longer than a week, but my gut says it would be closer to a month. There are also no guarantees that the part could be repaired at all. We were quoted a price for a replacement as starting at $4500, but with no promises.

Not having a replacement for a proprietary single-sourced part on the shelf is scary. Worse is when that single source says that they really can’t help you. This is one of several (maybe many) triggers for the maintenance department that I am a part of to fly wildly into a re-engineering frenzy.

Read the complete story and take a look at the schematics, on his website.

Prototype hooked to spare Electro Cam output boards


The Mood Lamp recognizes your facial expressions and turns them into light

arduino, duemilanove, Interaction Design, lamp, prototyping Commenti disabilitati su The Mood Lamp recognizes your facial expressions and turns them into light 

Mood Lamp

The Mood Lamp project by Vittorio Cuculo, is a system using interactions to communicate an emotional state to a physical object and receive back  a coherent response. In particular, through your facial expression you communicate your emotional state to an RGB color lamp . The lamp, at this point, will respond to the interaction by changing the color of the light emitted in accordance with the emotional state inferred.

The aim of the systems is to remove the mediation between human and machine typical of classic interfaces. Among the modes of natural interaction we usually have gestures, gaze tracking and facial expressions. The latter are particularly relevant because they play a fundamental role in nonverbal communication between human beings.

Regarding the man-machine interaction, the ability to recognize and synthesize facial expressions allows the machine to gain more communication skills, on the one hand by interpreting the emotions on the face of a subject, and on the other by translating their communicative intent through an output, such as movement, sound response or color change.

An IKEA lamp becomes a Natural Interaction system which senses human emotional states through facial expression. It uses OpenCV for image processing and analysis to identify emotional state through the movements of face’s fiducial points. The lamp, made with an Arduino Duemilanove, changes its color to represent the user’s current emotion.
In particular, it receives via serial communication, the values of pleasure, arousal and dominance, following the PAD emotional state model, as inferred from the facial expression and changes accordingly the color of the RGB LEDs.

Mood Lamp


Theatrical electronics hero: Ben Peoples

arduino, Interview, prototyping, teacher, Workshops Commenti disabilitati su Theatrical electronics hero: Ben Peoples 


Ever wondered about the extent of diversity in electronics? Been to a theatre and wondered at the sophistication of the live stage set? Welcome to the world of theatrical electronics. An exclusive inteview with this engineer in Arts – Ben Peoples

Priya: What is theatrical electronics? I always thought that theatres bought standard stuff off the shelves.
Ben: Theatrical electonics is a field of science where we try to rapid prototype electronic items on the stage to make things appear more real. Of course, it is a huge field. With 25 different theatres around the place where I live, my plates are generally full!

P: Interesting! How long have you been associated with electronics to capture such prototyping skills? What are the general tools that you use?
B: I have been prototyping electronics for over 20 years. I have been an ardent user of Arduino for the past 6. I loved the community so much that I even teach it to other people.

P: Oh teach too? Like classes for theatre prototyping? I would like more details on that.

B: (Smiles) Well not much, they are just getting started on how to rapidly put things together and program it using an Arduino to give it an “appearence” of more complex stuff like Time machine on stage.

P: Sounds fun. What are the theatre-specific whacky things that you teach them to build in the workshop? What are the general tools needed to attend your class?
B: I teach them to build Reed-candles, an elevator, wireless fireplace, wireless-dimmer, using Xbee radios for the lighting console and more things like that. I typically teach them inside a theatre wherein they need to bring their own laptops and software. They are seated inside a rehersal space so that they get the exact feel of designing things for a theatre. Other than that, its the usual arduino boards, gear motors, LEDs and of course, loads and loads of scotch tape! (Laughs)

P: Woah! How long does it take for you to teach them these?
B: 2-3 hours to teach math and the basics, 5 hours to explain the basic expriments and seeing them prototype their first objects. So yes, in total, 8 hours.

P: What according to you, is the advantage to pick electronic skill in the field of theatre?
B: There is theatre in colleges, the person could rise up to be a technical director, there is huge demand for lighting design, scenery design and of course in this age of television and movies, every drama theatre wants to stand out and do something extra. I see a huge future for it!

P: Okay one question that intrigues me after all this conversation is how different is theatre electronics from electronic arts?

B: Interesting question! For starters, Electronic Arts is very finished and polished. Theatrical electronics is well.. more raw and duct-taped at the back. They are two entirely different industries.

P: What are the things that interest you other than prototyping and what would be your ideal birthday present?

B: I love Ariel photography. Ideal birthday present is anything photography related. For work, I have to shoot digital, but for art I shoot 100% film, and just love it.

P: Any advice for youngsters?
B: Don’t be afraid to try anything new. Ship early, ship often.

(Ben can be contacted from his blog here. Also he is the author of a very cool book speaking on the same topic and yes, I contacted him via reddit. :P )


Data-logging made simple with Arduino

data logger, logger, logging, projects, prototyping, RTC, sd, shield, tutorial Commenti disabilitati su Data-logging made simple with Arduino 

One of the best capabilities provided by Arduino regards its very high modularity, which helps users to quickly translate ideas into physical artifact, as practically demonstrated by Mauro, which shows on his blog how to build a simple data-logger by properly combining different shields. By using few additional components (mainly resistors and buttons) a fully-functional data logger can be easily implemented.

More information can be found here.

[Via: Mauro Alfieri's blog]


[#arduinotour] Matera Report, Prossima Puntata: Reggio Emilia

arduino, ArduinoTour, community, education, Matera, prototyping, Related Initiatives, sensors, workshop, Workshops Commenti disabilitati su [#arduinotour] Matera Report, Prossima Puntata: Reggio Emilia 

Ecco un piccolo video report della puntata dell’Arduinotour a Matera (c’é anche un set su Flickr). Questa edizione del tour é stata caratterizzata dalla partecipazione di un ragazzo francese (partito dalla Bretagna e volato per un week-end a Matera – Grande Baptiste!) che ha condiviso con noi la sua esprienza di sviluppatore di open energy monitor, un framework open source per la visualizzazione di consumi online, di cui parleremo presto in una intervista ad hoc. (il blog di Arduino ha trattato precedentemente questa storia, vai al post).

Causa maltempo il workshop é stato ospitato presso le Monacelle, un bed & breakfast poco l’ontano dall’Incubatore, all’interno dei Sassi. Un grazie a Sviluppo Basilicata per il supporto e l’aiuto nell’organizzazione dell’evento.

Per chi si stesse chiedendo quando e dove si farà il prossimo workshop #arduinotour, eccovi serviti: Reggio Emilia a fine gennaio (26-27), presso il neonato Fablab ospitato all’interno dello Spazio Gerra.

Se volete portare l’#arduinotour a casa vostra riempite questo form. Se volete spargere il verbo fate il like sulla pagina dell’arduinotour su facebook.

This is part of a series titled “Getting Started with Arduino!” by John Boxall – A tutorial on the Arduino universe. The first chapter is here, the complete series is detailed here.

Welcome back fellow arduidans!

This chapter we will spend some more time with the rotary encoder by using it to control a clock, look at ways of driving a common-anode LED display with Arduino, and make a usable alarm clock with which we can start to move from the prototype stage to an actual finished product – something you would be proud to give to someone.

So off we go…

In chapter eleven, we looked at getting some values from the rotary encoder. Not the easiest way of receiving user input, but certainly interesting. This week I have an example for you where the encoder is used for setting the time of a digital clock.

Example 12.1

This example is basically two previous projects mashed together. It consists of the LED digital clock from exercise 7.1, and the rotary encoder sketch from example 11.2. The sketch was quite simple in theory, but somewhat complex in execution. The idea was to read the decoder, and after every read, display the time. However, if the encoder’s button was pressed, the time set function would be activated. At this point, you turn the encoder in one direction to set the hours, and the other direction to set the minutes. Then press the button again to set that time and return to normal operations.

To recreate it you will need:

  • Your standard Arduino setup (computer, cable, Duemilanove or 100% compatible)
  • Seven 560 ohm 1/4 watt resistors
  • Four 1 kilo ohm 1/4 resistors
  • Four BC548 NPN transistors (if you cannot find these, you can use 2N3904)
  • Two 74HC595 shift registers
  • DS1307 timer IC circuit components (see this schematic from chapter seven) or a pre-built module
  • Solderless breadboard and connecting wires

Here is the sketch for your perusal: example 12.1.pdf, and the matching schematic (sorry, I forgot to add the DS1307 module – see example 12.2 schematic below for how to do this):

… in real life:

and a video clip:

After watching that clip you can soon see that there is an issue with the encoder. As a normal switch can bounce (turn on and off very very quickly in the latter part of operation), so can a rotary encoder. That is why it would sometimes return a result of clockwise, instead of anti-clockwise. Furthermore, they are right little pains when trying to use in a breadboard, so if you were going to use one in greater lengths, it would pay to make up your own little breakout board for it. Therefore at this stage we will leave the encoder for a while.

You may also have noticed the extra shield between the real time clock shield (yellow) and the TwentyTen arduino board. It is the Screwshield for Arduino – reviewed here. It is very useful to making a stronger connection to the I/O pins, or using normal multi-core wires.

Next on the agenda is the common-anode LED display. Normally the LED display we have demonstrated in the past has been common-cathode, and very easy to use. Current would flow from the power supply, through the shift register’s outputs (for example the 74HC595), through current-limiting resistors, into the LED segment, then off to earth via the cathode. Current flows through a diode from the anode to the cathode, and finally back to earth/ground. For a refresher on diodes, please read this article.

The other month I found this useful LED display:

Absolutely perfect for our clock experimentations. A nice colon in the middle, and another LED between the third and fourth digit which could make a good indicator of some sort. However the one catch (always a catch…) is that is was common-anode. This means that current starts from the power supply, through the common anode pin for the particular digit, then the LED segment, the LED’s individual cathode pin, through the current-limiting resistor and then to ground. With the current flowing in the opposite direction via a common anode, we can’t just hook the display up to our 74HC595 shift register.

Therefore, we will need the shift register to control switches to allow the current to flow through each segment, just like we have done previously controlling the cathodes of a common cathode display (see example 12.1). So to control the digits of this new display, we will need twelve switches (eight for the segments of the digit, and four to control the anodes). That would mean twelve BC548  transistors and 10k ohm resistors, and a lot of mess.

Example 12.2

Instead we will now use the 74HC4066 quad bilateral switch IC. I have reviewed this chip being used with Arduinos in a separate article here. The 74HC4066 is quite a common chip, available from many suppliers including: Farnell/Newark (part number 380957), Digikey (part number 568-1463-5-ND) or Mouser (771-74HC4066N). If you cannot find them, email me and I can sell you some at cost plus postage. Once you have a understanding of this IC, please consider the following circuit:

Most of this should be easily understood. One shift register is controlling the anodes, turning them on and off via a 74HC4066. In past examples this shift register would have turned off common cathodes via a 10k resistor and an NPN transistor. The other shift register is controlling the individual LEDs for each digit via a pair of 74HC4066s (as they only have four switches per IC).

Here is the sketch, this should be quite a familiar piece of code for you by now: example 12.2.pdf.

To recreate it you will need:

  • Your standard Arduino setup (computer, cable, Duemilanove or 100% compatible)
  • Seven 560 ohm 1/4 watt resistors
  • DS1307 timer IC circuit components (see this schematic from chapter seven) or a pre-built module
  • Two 74HC595 shift registers
  • Three 74HC4066 quad bilateral switch ICs
  • Solderless breadboard and connecting wires
  • LED clock display module

And here is the result, with red and a blue display.

And the usual board layout:

QuestionDo you think the time shown on the display was correct when I took the photo? :) Personally the blue looks really good in a dark background. You can also get them in yellow and green.

Moving along. Now and again, you often want to have a few buttons in use for user input, however the cheap ones don’t really like to sit in a breadboard. Naturally, you could make your own “button shield”, which would be very admirable, but then it would be preset to certain pins, which could interfere with your project. I had the same problem in writing this chapter, so came up with this example of an external “button panel” to make life easier.

Example 12.3

Here is the schematic, nothing complex at all – just four buttons and the required 10k ohm pull-down resistors:

and the finished product:

This was a quick job, as I will need to use a few buttons in the near future. Have also put some rubber feet on the bottom to stop the solder joints scratching the surface of the bench. Originally I was going to chop off the excess board at the top, but instead will add some LEDs to it after finishing this article. However using this button board will save a lot of frustration by not trying to jam the buttons into a breadboard.

Exercise 12.1

Now it is time for you to do some work. From this chapter onwards, we will be working on making a small alarm clock – something you could use. Just like the six million dollar man, we have the capability, the technology, and so on … except for Steve Austin. So this chapter, your task is to create and breadboard the  circuit and the underlying sketch. Using the LED display from example 12.1, your clock will have a menu option to set the time, alarm time, turn on and off the alarm, a snooze button – and also switch the display on and off (so you don’t stare at it when you should be trying to sleep).

You could either use a DS1307 module, or the raw parts. For an explanation of the circuitry, please see this post about making a RTC shield. You can always change it when we get to making a real prototype. The same with the Arduino – but for this exercise just stick with the normal board. Later on we will use a bare circuit the same as in chapter ten. With regards to user input, it’s up to you. A rotary encoder could be a real PITA, my example below just uses buttons. Anyhow, off you go!

Parts you will need:

  • Your standard Arduino setup (computer, cable, Duemilanove or 100% compatible)
  • Seven 560 ohm 1/4 watt resistors
  • DS1307 timer IC circuit components (see this schematic from chapter seven) or a pre-built module
  • Two 74HC595 shift registers
  • Three 74HC4066 quad bilateral switch ICs
  • Four normally open buttons or a board as described in example 12.3
  • Solderless breadboard and connecting wires
  • LED clock display module

Here is my interpretation of the answer to the exercise, the sketch: exercise 12.1.pdf. Although this is a particularly long sketch for our examples, it is broken up into many functions which are quite modular, so you can easily follow the flow of the sketch if you start at void loop(). All of the types of functions used have been covered in the past tutorials. In then next chapters we will add more functions, such an an adjustable snooze, selectable blinking colon, and so on. If you have any questions, please ask.

The buttons have several functions. In normal clock display mode, button one is for menu, two turns the alarm on, three turns it off, and four turns the display on and off. If you press menu, button two is to select time set, three for alarm set, and four is like an enter button. When in the time/alarm set modes, button one increases the hour, button two increases minutes in units of ten, and button three increases minutes in ones, and four is enter. When the alarm activates, button four turns it off.

The schematic is just example 12.2 and example 12.3 connected together, however the first button on the external board is connected to digital pin 8 instead of 1.

So here is a photo of our work in progress:

And a video clip showing the various functions of the clock in operation:

Well that is another chapter over. However, as usual I’m already excited about writing the next instalment… Congratulations to all those who took part and built something useful!

Please subscribe (see the top right of this page) to receive notifications of new articles. High resolution photos are available from flickr.

If you have any questions at all please leave a comment (below). We also have a Google Group dedicated to the projects and related items on the website – please sign up, it’s free and we can all learn something. If you would like to showcase your work from this article, email a picture or a link to john at tronixstuff dot com. You might even win a prize!

Don’t forget to check out the range of gear at Little Bird Electronics!

So have fun, stay safe and see you soon for our next instalment, hopefully by 23rd July 2010.

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