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Smartphones have become a part of our day-to-day lives, but for those with visual impairments, accessing one can be a challenge. This can be especially difficult if one is using a cane that must be put aside in order to interact with a phone.

The GesturePod offers another interface alternative that actually attaches to the cane itself. This small unit is controlled by a MKR1000 and uses an IMU to sense hand gestures applied to the cane. 

If a user, for instance, taps twice on the ground, a corresponding request is sent to the phone over Bluetooth, causing it to output the time audibly. Five gestures are currently proposed, which could expanded upon or modified for different functionality as needed.

People using white canes for navigation find it challenging to concurrently access devices such as smartphones. Build­ ing on prior research on abandonment of specialized devices, we explore a new touch free mode of interaction wherein a person with visual impairment can perform gestures on their existing white cane to trigger tasks on their smartphone. We present GesturePod, an easy-to-integrate device that clips on to any white cane, and detects gestures performed with the cane. With GesturePod, a user can perform common tasks on their smartphone without touch or even removing the phone from their pocket or bag. We discuss the challenges in build­ ing the device and our design choices. We propose a novel, efficient machine learning pipeline to train and deploy the gesture recognition model. Our in-lab study shows that Ges­ turePod achieves 92% gesture recognition accuracy and can help perform common smartphone tasks faster. Our in-wild study suggests that GesturePod is a promising tool to im­ prove smartphone access for people with VI, especially in constrained outdoor scenarios.

As previously announced, the Arduino IoT Cloud is an easy to use Internet of Things application platform that enables developers to go from unboxing their board to a working device in just minutes.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a quick project that’ll walk you through connecting a MKR1000 (or MKR WiFi 1010) to the Arduino IoT Cloud.

By the end of the tutorial, you’ll be able to control and monitor your board over the Internet using the Arduino IoT Cloud site.

First, we’ll add the board to the Arduino IoT Cloud as a Thing — a representation of the board in the cloud. We’ll then give the Thing a set of Properties which represent sensors, LEDs, motors, and many other components in the project that you’ll want to access from the cloud.

Want to see more? You can find the entire step-by-step guide here.

For an electronics person, building the mechanics of a robot — especially a robust robot — can be somewhat daunting. [Jithin] started with an off-the-shelf 4 wheel drive chassis to build an off-road Arduino robot he calls the Badland Brawler. The kit was a bit over $100, but as you can see in the video below, it is pretty substantial, with an enclosed frame and large mud tires.

The remaining parts include an Arduino, a battery, and a motor driver IC. The Arduino is one with WiFi (an MKR 1000, in fact) and there’s a phone app for controlling the robot.

Honestly, once you have the chassis taken care of, the rest is pretty easy. Of course, the phone app is a bit more effort, but you could replace it in a number of ways. Blynk, comes to mind, for example.

The motor drivers are easy to figure out. This would be a great platform for some sensors to allow for more autonomy. We liked how the frame had mount points for a lot of different boards and sensors and could hold everything, for the most part, inside. That’s probably a good idea for a robot which will be traversing rugged terrain.

If you do decide to roll your own app with Blynk, we’ve done it with a very different kind of robot. Four-wheel drive robots don’t have to be big, as we’ve seen in the past.

For an electronics person, building the mechanics of a robot — especially a robust robot — can be somewhat daunting. [Jithin] started with an off-the-shelf 4 wheel drive chassis to build an off-road Arduino robot he calls the Badland Brawler. The kit was a bit over $100, but as you can see in the video below, it is pretty substantial, with an enclosed frame and large mud tires.

The remaining parts include an Arduino, a battery, and a motor driver IC. The Arduino is one with WiFi (an MKR 1000, in fact) and there’s a phone app for controlling the robot.

Honestly, once you have the chassis taken care of, the rest is pretty easy. Of course, the phone app is a bit more effort, but you could replace it in a number of ways. Blynk, comes to mind, for example.

The motor drivers are easy to figure out. This would be a great platform for some sensors to allow for more autonomy. We liked how the frame had mount points for a lot of different boards and sensors and could hold everything, for the most part, inside. That’s probably a good idea for a robot which will be traversing rugged terrain.

If you do decide to roll your own app with Blynk, we’ve done it with a very different kind of robot. Four-wheel drive robots don’t have to be big, as we’ve seen in the past.

Besides, perhaps a longer battery life, what would make your smartphone experience better? If you said a more versatile interaction method than poking one side with your thumb, researchers in Germany may have just the thing.

InfiniTouch morphs two LG Nexus 5 phones into one, with their touchscreens stacked back-to-back. This allows for not only thumb interaction, but also program control with the four fingers that normally only grip the device. It can even tell what finger your using via a convolutional neural network. 

In order to save space, most of the electronics are housed in a separate hardware container, including the phone boards as well as an Arduino MKR1000. 

More info is available in the project’s research paper, and a short demo can be seen in the video below.

Besides, perhaps a longer battery life, what would make your smartphone experience better? If you said a more versatile interaction method than poking one side with your thumb, researchers in Germany may have just the thing.

InfiniTouch morphs two LG Nexus 5 phones into one, with their touchscreens stacked back-to-back. This allows for not only thumb interaction, but also program control with the four fingers that normally only grip the device. It can even tell what finger your using via a convolutional neural network. 

In order to save space, most of the electronics are housed in a separate hardware container, including the phone boards as well as an Arduino MKR1000. 

More info is available in the project’s research paper, and a short demo can be seen in the video below.

As Arduino boards have revolutionized what people can make at home, you might say that GoPros have done the same thing for portable cameras. Later generations of these devices even feature WiFi capabilities, so with the proper programming, Arduinos like the MKR1000 can be used for control!

In this project write-up, maker Randy Sarafan (AKA “randofo”) takes us through how he was able to set up a MKR1000 to communicate with a HERO4 as well as a HERO5 Session, including sending a “magical” Wake-on-LAN signal to power up the Session camera. 

While he’s not the first to control a GoPro using an Arduino, it’s certainly more elegant than methods like hot-wiring a remote or even recording your own voice to speak commands to it remotely!

We’re excited to announce the Arduino Engineering Kit, the first product released as a result of our new partnership with MathWorks, to reinforce the importance of Arduino at the university level in the fields of engineering, Internet of Things, and robotics.

The Arduino Engineering Kit, which will be available for purchase starting today on the Arduino online store, consists of three cutting-edge, Arduino-based projects and will teach students how to build modern electronic devices – challenging them intellectually and helping them develop physical engineering skills that will better prepare them to enter the commercial market following graduation. In addition to the hardware, after registering online, students and educators will have access to a dedicated e-learning platform and other learning materials. The kit also includes a one-year individual license for MATLAB and Simulink, providing the user with hands-on experience in system modeling and embedded algorithm development.

Following the global success of Arduino CTC 101, a program tailored for upper secondary schools, the Arduino Engineering Kit enables college students and educators to incorporate core engineering concepts like control systems, inertial sensing, signal and imaging processing, and robotics with the support of MATLAB and Simulink programming. These software packages are the base of industry-standard tools for algorithm development, system modeling, and simulation, all of which will be required in their future careers.

Each Arduino Engineering Kit comes with a durable and stackable plastic toolbox for easy storage and years of reuse. Inside the box is an Arduino MKR1000 board, several customized parts, and a complete set of electrical and mechanical components needed to assemble all three projects:

  • Self-Balancing Motorcycle: This motorcycle will maneuver on its own on various terrains and remain upright using a flywheel for balance.
  • Mobile Rover: This vehicle can navigate between given reference points, move objects with a forklift, and much more.
  • Whiteboard Drawing Robot: This amazing robot can take a drawing it’s given and replicate it on a whiteboard.

“We designed the Arduino Engineering Kit the way we would have liked to have learned mechatronics, control algorithms, state machines, and complex sensing when we were in our first years of engineering school: in a fun and challenging way,” said David Cuartielles, Arduino co-founder and Arduino Education CTO. “It’s all about hands-on activities built on top of well-grounded theoretical concepts. But more importantly, after finishing the basic materials, there’s plenty of flexibility to experiment, for the students to deviate and test their engineering creativity.”

https://youtu.be/pymRl7FCV0A

What could be better than a lamp that expands with the pull of a control cord? How about one that looks like the Death Star and is controlled with your voice? 

That’s exactly what maker Adi Singh created using a popular IKEA lamp and embedding it with an Arduino MKR1000 to take voice commands via Alexa. A stepper motor is tasked with opening and closing the exterior segments, and a solid-state relay turns the light on and off. It also features a spectacular custom paint job, making this lamp/superweapon stand out even more.

You can see the results in the video below as it changes shape and blinks to the soothing sounds of the Imperial March!

Using a pair of Arduino MKR1000s, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and FX Palo Alto Laboratory have come up with a new way to track 10 fingers to within less than two millimeters.

In this technique, called “Lift,” a normal DLP projector is used to display a series of tiny encoded images onto any flat surface. Instead of using an external vision system, or even an accelerometer, Lift employs tiny light sensors on each finger to detect this pattern, then relay this information to the MKR1000 mounted on each wrist. From there, the Arduino is able to translate these light signals into positional data with an average accuracy of 1.7 millimeters and an average refresh rate of 84Hz.

By projecting encoded visible patterns onto an object’s surface (e.g. paper, display, or table), and localizing the user’s fingers with light sensors, Lift offers users a richer interactive space than the device’s existing interfaces. Additionally, everyday objects can be augmented by attaching sensor units onto their surface to accept multi-touch gesture input.

You can find a quick summary of this project here, and download the team’s entire paper to learn more.

Photos: Shang Ma



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