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Quick Charge, Qualcomm’s power delivery over USB technology, was introduced in 2013 and has evolved over several versions offering increasing levels of power transfer. The current version — QCv3.0 — offers 18 W power at voltage levels between 3.6 V to 20 V.  Moreover, connected devices can negotiate and request any voltage between these two limits in 200 mV steps. After some tinkering, [Vincent Deconinck] succeeded in turning a Quick Charge 3.0 charger into a variable voltage power supply.

His blog post is a great introduction and walk through of the Quick Charge ecosystem. [Vincent] was motivated after reading about [Septillion] and [Hugatry]’s work on coaxing a QCv2.0 charger into a variable voltage source which could output either 5 V, 9 V or 12 V. He built upon their work and added QCv3.0 features to create a new QC3Control library.

To come to grips with what happens under the hood, he first obtained several QC2 and QC3 chargers, hooked them up to an Arduino, and ran the QC2Control library to see how they respond. There were some unexpected results; every time a 5 V handshake request was exchanged during QC mode, the chargers reset, their outputs dropped to 0 V and then settled back to a fixed 5 V output. After that, a fresh handshake was needed to revert to QC mode. Digging deeper, he learned that the Quick Charge system relies on specific control voltages being detected on the D+ and D- terminals of the USB port to determine mode and output voltage. These control voltages are generated using resistor networks connected to the microcontroller GPIO pins. After building a fresh resistor network designed to more closely produce the recommended control voltages, and then optimizing it further to use just two micro-controller pins, he was able to get it to work as expected. Armed with all of this information, he then proceeded to design the QC3Control library, available for download on GitHub.

Thanks to his new library and a dual output QC3 charger, he was able to generate the Jolly Wrencher on his Rigol, by getting the Arduino to quickly make voltage change requests.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, hardware

As our lives become more and more automated, we tend to rely on computers and unseen algorithms to “protect” us from unapproved experiences. In order to illustrate this concept, and hopefully introduce serendipitous events to our digital lives, David Columbini has come up with an installation that feeds information to users via a web app, available only when it’s on display.

Instead of implementing a carefully designed algorithm, what users experience is based on constantly evolving local weather data sensed by a physical machine equipped with an Arduino Mega, a Raspberry Pi, various sensors, and some other components.

“The Weather Followers” is comprised of four different instruments: a wind-driven messaging app, a pollution-distorted selfie tool, a music player based on the rhythm of rain, and even a device that erases your feed depending on the sun’s intensity!

The installation is comprised of two elements, the four weather instruments and the webapp. Users are invited to connect to the weather machine through the webapp and choosing between one of the four weather instruments: Windy encounters (when your digital social life follows the wind), Polluted Selfie (when your digital individual life follows the pollution), Drizzly Rhythms (when your digital audio life follows the rain) and finally Sun(e)rase (when your digital overwhelming life follows the sun).

More details on the project can be found here. If you want to see another weather/digital world combination by Columbini, be sure to check out this balloon messaging system!

When the Power Glove was released in the early 1990s, the idea that you could control games with hand motions was incredible, but like the Virtual Boy that followed years later, the hardware of the day just couldn’t keep up. Today, hardware has finally gotten to the point where this type of interface could be very useful, so Teague Labs decided to integrate a Power Glove with an HTC Vive VR headset.

While still under development, the glove’s finger sensors have shown great promise for interactions with virtual touchscreen devices, and they’ve even come up with a game where you have to counter rocks, paper, and scissors with the correct gesture.

Making this all possible is the Arduino Due, which supports the library for communicating with the Vive tracker.

We took a Power Glove apart, 3D scanned the interfacing plastic parts and built modified parts that hold the Vive Tracker and an Arduino Due on the glove. After some prototyping on a breadboard, we designed a shield for the Due and etched it using the laser-cutter transfer technique. We then soldered all components and spray-painted the whole shield to protect the bare copper. After mounting the tracker and tweaking the code by matzmann666, we had the glove work.

If you’d like to see the details of what has been accomplished so far, check out the Teague Labs team’s design files and code on GitHub.

When you’re sick or have a headache, you tend to see things a bit differently. An ill-feeling human will display a cognitive bias and expect the world to punish them further. The same is true of honey bees. They are intelligent creatures that exhibit a variety of life skills, such as decision-making and learning.

It was proven back in 2011 that honey bees will make more pessimistic decisions after being shaken in a way that simulates an attack by varroa destructor mites. The bees were trained to associate a reward of sugar-water with a particular odor and to associate foul-tasting punishment water with another odor—that of formic acid, a common treatment against varroa mites. When a third stimulus created by mixing the two odors was presented, the experimenters found that the aggravated bees were more likely to expect the bad odor. Sure enough, they kept their tongues in their mouths when they smelled the third odor. All the bees that weren’t shaken looked forward to sucking down a bit of sugar-water.

So, how does one judge a honey bee’s response? Whenever their antennae come in contact with something appetizing, they stick out their proboscis involuntarily to have a taste. This is called proboscis extension reflex (PER), and it’s the ingrained, day-one behavior that leads them to suck the nectar out of flower blossoms and regurgitate it to make honey.

[LJohann] is a behavioral biologist who wanted to test the effects of varroa mite treatment on bee-havior by itself, without agitating the bees. He built a testing apparatus to pump odors toward bees and judge their response which is shown in a few brief demo videos after the break. This device enables [LJohann] to restrain a bee, tantalize its antennae with sucrose, and pump a stimulus odor at its face on the cue of an LED and piezo buzzer. A fan mounted behind the bee helps clear the air of the previous scents. We especially like the use of a servo to swing the tube in and out of the bee’s face between tests.

[LJohann] and his colleagues concluded that the varroa mite treatment by itself does not make the bees pessimistic. This is great news for concerned apiarists who might be skeptical about using formic acid in the fight against the honey bee’s worst predator. Check out the brief demo videos after the break.

Hackaday has long been abuzz about bees whether they produce honey or not. We’ve covered many kinds of sweet projects like intelligent hives, remote hive weight monitoring, and man-made bee nest alternatives.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks

If you’re really serious about car racing games, at some point you may want to upgrade your instruments from being on-screen to physically residing in your living room.

While this would appear to be an arduous task, displaying your in-game boost level on a physical gauge is actually as easy as connecting a few wires to an Arduino Nano, then using SimHub to tie everything together.

As seen in the video below around 2:45, it looks like a lot of fun! While a boost gauge by itself might not be as immersive costly sit-inside racing sims, one could see where this type of hack could lead to ever more impressive DIY accessories.

If Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz were to wake up in 2017, with her magic Ruby Slippers on her feet, she’d probably believe she had woken up in a magical world. But modern folks will need a little more magic to impress them. Like Clicking your heels thrice to get home with these Uber ruby slippers. [Hannah Joshua] was tasked by her employer to build a quirky maker project. She got an idea when a friend complained about having trouble hailing a cab at the end of a hard day at work.

[Hannah] started with ruby colored slippers with a platform toe and high heels to allow space to stuff in all the magic dust, err, electronic bits. The initial plan was to use an Arduino with a GSM/GPS shield but that would have needed a separate SIM card and data plan for the shoes. Instead, she opted for the 1Sheeld which connects to a smart phone over Bluetooth. The 1Sheeld gets access to all of the smart phone’s sensors including the GPS as well as the data connection. The Arduino and 1Sheeld are put in a cavity carved out in the toe section. The 9 V battery goes inside another cavity in the heel, where an activation switch is also installed. Three LED’s indicate when the shoe is active, the cab request is accepted, and when the cab is on its way.

The code is basic since this one of her first Arduino projects, but it gets the job done. It sends an http request to Uber’s API to request a cab. The destination is hard-coded, so the slippers only allow you to get from your current location to whatever destination is programmed. The GitHub repository provides code, as well as some additional information on construction. [Hannah] has also added notes explaining some of the design choices and things to take care about if you plan to build one of these magic slippers.

We covered the 1Sheeld when it was introduced several years back, and if you get your hands on one, try building this Hand Waving Door Unlocker.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

When tasked with converting an antique pump organ—sort of a miniature version of a full-sized pipe organ—into part of an escape room puzzle, hacker Alec Smecher decided to turn it into a vocal MIDI device.

To accomplish this, he embedded switches in each of the keys, then wired them into an Arduino Leonardo embedded in the 100-year-old organ to act as input to a desktop computer. Information is translated into browser commands using the Web MIDI API, which controls the Pink Trombone application in order to imitate a human vocal tract.

A common stop on an organ is called “Vox Humana”, or “Human Voice” in Latin. This is supposed to somehow sound like a choir or soloist, generally by adding a tremolo effect. It’s not effective — all pump organ stops sound like pump organ stops. I wanted to modify this stop so that engaging it would sound like a human voice — and not at all like a musical instrument.

The results–shown in the first video below–sound almost but not quite human, certainly adding to the tension and mystery of the escape room. Be sure to read more about Smecher’s project here.

Two of Boris Werner’s friends, both musicians, were getting married, so for a unique gift he decided on a miniature stage setup with a Playmobil bride and groom as the guitarists.

After some research and ordering quite a few parts, he was able to construct an impressive festival-inspired stage, complete with guitars, lights, and some tunes.

In order to bring this diorama to life, he used an Arduino Uno board to play WAV files from a micro SD card, along with NeoPixel rings in the background, and MOSFET-driven LEDs for lighting. There’s even a tiny disco ball that spins via a stepper motor, propelling the tiny bride, groom, and their young son as the drummer into the limelight.

You can check it out in the video below, and see Werner’s series of posts on the construction here.

When it comes to building a neural network to simulate complex behavior, Arduino isn’t exactly the first platform that springs to mind. But when your goal is to model the behavior of an organism with only a handful of neurons, the constraints presented by an Arduino start to make sense.

It may be the most important non-segmented worm you’ve never heard of, but Caenorhabditis elegans, mercifully abbreviated C. elegans, is an important model organism for neurobiology, having had its entire nervous system mapped in 2012. [Nathan Griffith] used this “connectome” to simulate a subset of the diminutive nematode’s behaviors, specifically movements toward attractants and away from obstacles. Riding atop a small robot chassis, the Arduino sends signals to the motors when the model determines it’s time to fire the virtual worm’s muscles. An ultrasonic sensor stands in for the “nose touch” neurons of the real worm, and when the model is not busy avoiding a touch, it’s actively seeking something to eat using the “chemotaxis” behavior. The model is up on GitHub and [Nathan] hopes it provides an approachable platform for would-be neuroroboticists.

This isn’t the first time someone has modeled the nematode’s connectome in silico, but kudos to [Nathan] for accomplishing it within the constraints an Arduino presents.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, misc hacks

If, for whatever reason, you need your computer to stay awake without changing its settings, that’s easy—just remember to shake your mouse back and forth intermittently! If remembering to do that over and over seems like too much work, then here’s a simple solution: a device setup to optically wiggle your mouse using an Arduino Nano and a micro RC servo.

The 3D-printed unit sits underneath a mouse and rotates a printed grid left and right in order to trick it into thinking that you’re moving the mouse, and thus keeping the computer awake.

Place your mouse on top of the Mouse Wiggler and make sure the optical sensor on top of the wheel. Power the device up use a USB power adapter and you’re good to go.

There’s no software to install, which makes it easy to enable and disable as needed! You can find more details on the build on its Instructables page.

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