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While you may know on some level that an Arduino can help you make music, you probably haven’t seen as good an implementation as this MIDI controller by Switch & Lever. 

The device features a numeric pad for note input, which can also be used as a drum pad, and a variety of knobs and even a joystick for modifying the beats. Controls are housed inside a beautiful laser-cut, glued, and finished wooden enclosure.

An Arduino Mega (with its 54 digital IO and 16 analog pins) is used to accommodate the inputs, and data is passed on to a digital audio workstation, or DAW, to produce actual sound. 

Code and circuit diagrams are available here if you want to build one, though your setup can be customized however you like!

Unless you’re very good, personal synths are fun for you — though often quite annoying for onlookers. After making his own wristwatch-based synth in 2016, Clem Mayer decided to build a new version that’s larger and louder than ever, and programmable via an Arduino controller.

Mayer chose the MKR WiFi 1010 here to take advantage of its LiPo charging abilities. This enables the device to be entirely self-contained in its custom housing, with a variety of switches and sliders for an interface. 

Users can program their own “tune” to be played back, or even take advantage of a random sequence generated on startup, then modify the sound as it plays live.

Robot-sumo bouts can be a great way to pit your automation skills against others. Participating normally means a lot of hard work to get your bot functioning properly, and likely a fair amount of travel to meet your opponents. SurrogateTV, however, has a new alternative with their SumoBots Battle Royale arena that allows you to control actual sumo-bots over the Internet 24/7.

Their customized “pushers” from JSumo are made out of steel sheets, powered by an Arduino, a motor shield and a lithium-ion battery — all housed inside a 3D-printed enclosure — and tracked by a computer vision system. Four motors are used for movement and a servo on the top flips them right side up as needed.

The arena isn’t just a traditional circular ring either, but an area that is always dynamically changing. SurrogateTV decided on an interactive floor that drops as the game goes on, voted upon by the chat/viewers. A quick overview of the build process and how it works can be seen in the video below.

Portal 2 is one of RobotsWithRyan’s favorite games, so he — of course — decided to build his own personality core character from this title

His Space Core is 3D-printed from a model that he found online, scaled up by 300% to fit the electronics inside, including an Arduino Uno and eight servo actuators. As with many projects, there was barely enough room to fit the electrical components, but as seen in the video below, it looks delightfully glitchy.

The Arduino controls the servo-driven eye movement and is linked to a smartphone over Bluetooth for remote operation. A second phone is integrated into the moving eye section, which displays an image of the personality core’s iris, and plays game quotes through its music app.

YouTuber MrTeslonian was asked if he could create an automatic fishing pole for someone with a serious disability. While this would seem like a daunting task, he was able to build one using a spring-loaded mechanism, a number of motors, and an Arduino board.

His portable device takes commands over WiFi, allowing control from a smartphone or computer. When it receives the signal, the pole is automatically pulled back and tension is added to a large spring via a winch. This tension is then released with a servo-actuated system, and a small gearmotor reels the bait back in… hopefully with a fish attached!

Nerf guns can be a lot of fun, but what if you want your launcher to shoot 10 projectiles simultaneously? Is so, then look no further than James Bruton’s custom blaster.

His 3D-printed project employs two BLDC-powered rollers to accelerate cartridges of 10 darts each, and allows for quick reloading via a clever manual locking mechanism. The device holds five magazines, for total of 50 darts.

When loaded, an arcade-style button fires the darts, pushing them into the rollers at the same time using a couple of servo motors. Everything is powered by a six-cell 24V LiPo battery, while an Arduino Mega is used for control, and to track which cartridge is in place, enabling the operator to concentrate on getting shots downrange!

[Amirreza Nasiri] sends in this cool USB keystroke injector.

The device consists of an Arduino, a Bluetooth module, and an SD card. When it’s plugged into the target computer the device loads the selected payload from the SD card, compromising the system. Then it does its unique trick which is to switch the injector over to Bluetooth mode. Now the attacker has much more control, albeit local, over the system.

While we would never even be tempted to plug this device into a real computer, we like some of the additional features, like how an added dip switch can be used to select from up to eight different payloads depending on the required attack. The addition of a photo diode is also interesting, and makes us dream of all sorts of impractical movie hacker scenarios. [Amirreza] says it’s to trigger when the person leaves the room and turns the lights off.

[Amirreza] has all the code and design files on the GitHub. There are also a few payload examples, which should be fun to hack on. After all, one of life’s pleasures is to find new ways to mess with your friends.

Maker Jeremy S. Cook has been building Theo Jansen-style walkers for literally years, and after several iterations has come up with what he calls the “ClearCrawler.” 

This little guy stands at just over 15 inches tall — including its comparatively large clear cylindrical head — and travels around via a pair of motors that move four legs on either side like tank treads.

For control, Cook is using an Arduino Nano onboard, along with a motor driver, plus an Uno and joystick shield as the remote unit. Communication between the two is accomplished by a pair of nRF24L01+ radio modules. 

Code for the project is available on GitHub, and the build is split up into an electronics and mechanical section in the videos below.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a novel hand-based input technique called Tip-Tap that amazingly requires no batteries. 

The wearable device uses a series of three custom RFID tags on both the thumb and index finger with half an antenna on each digit. When the fingertips are touched together, a signal is sent to the computer indicating where the thumb and index finger intersect, which is mapped as a position on a 2D grid.

Usability experiments were carried out using an Arduino Mega, with both on-screen visual feedback and without. Possible applications could include the medical field, where Tip-Tap can be added to disposable gloves enabling surgeons to access a laptop without dictating inputs to an assistant or sterilization issues.

We describe Tip-Tap, a wearable input technique that can be implemented without batteries using a custom RFID tag. It recognizes 2-dimensional discrete touch events by sensing the intersection between two arrays of contact points: one array along the index fingertip and the other along the thumb tip. A formative study identifies locations on the index finger that are reachable by different parts of the thumb tip, and the results determine the pattern of contacts points used for the technique. Using a reconfigurable 3×3 evaluation device, a second study shows eyes-free accuracy is 86% after a very short period, and adding bumpy or magnetic passive haptic feedback to contacts is not necessary. Finally, two battery-free prototypes using a new RFID tag design demonstrates how Tip-Tap can be implemented in a glove or tattoo form factor.

If you’d like to build your own vaguely humanoid robot, but don’t care about it getting around, then look no farther than Aster

The 3D-printed bot is controlled by an Arduino Uno, with a servo shield to actuate its 16 servo motors. This enables it to move its arms quite dramatically as seen in the video below, along with its head. The legs also appear to be capable of movement, though not meant to walk, and is supported with a column in the middle of its structure.

Aster’s head display is made out of an old smartphone, and in the demo it shows its eyes as green geometric objects, an animated sketch, and then, somewhat shockingly, as different humans. Print files for the project are available here and the design is actually based on the more expensive Poppy Humanoid.



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