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Invented back in the 1940s, a spectrophotometer is a scientific instrument used to measure how different wavelengths of light are absorbed by a sample. Daniel Hingston decided to build his own spectrum analysis device as a fun Arduino experiment, outlined in the project write-up and in the video below.

Inside the 3D-printed device, a servo-driven rotating triangular prism assembly selectively shines parts of the color spectrum through a sample using an E10 filament bulb. Light that passes through the test tube is picked up by an LDR sensor, producing data for different spectral ranges. This info is sent along to a PC over serial, which can then be plotted in a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Imaging phantoms are used to evaluate and test medical devices, such as X-ray machinery, where a human subject would be impractical and/or dangerous. In order to simulate the motion and deformation of a lung, Stefan Grimm created an Arduino-powered phantom at a materials cost of around $350 USD.

Much of the project’s structure is printed with dissolvable PVA, used as a form for silicone that mimics tissue and plaster for bone. Movement is controlled via three linear and rotary actuator setups outlined here, and the structure can either be pre-programmed or manipulated in real-time using a USB cable and PC.

You can see a simulation of the setup in the video below, tracking target objects as they move along with cylinders that represent respiratory motion.

As a part of their masters program at the University of Stuttgart, Jan Ingo Haller and Lorin Samija created a robotic pet that moves in a manner that may not be immediately evident. With the internals obscured by a cloth covering, the moving OLOID, or mOLOID, seems to roll from one vague lobe section to another like some sort of claymation creature.

The mOLOID’s unique locomotion is due to an internal “oloid” structure, an arrangement of two circles at 90°. Two servos move weights around the perimeter of each circle to vary its center of gravity, causing it to flop back and forth.

An Arduino Uno controls the mOLOID, which features a passive infrared sensor that allows it to react to the environment and an HC-05 Bluetooth module for user interface. A small speaker also provides audible feedback.

Corona has changed our lives: it requires us to physicially distance, which in turn leads to social distancing. So what could be a solution? Maybe a pet? But no, Corona comes from animals. Let’s save ourselves from another Corona 2.0. But if we have to keep away from humans (to not infect and not be infected) and animals but remain the social beings we are, what should we do?

Have no despair! We have found a solution: the moving OLOID a.k.a. mOLOID. It combines interesting geometry (a bit nerdy but nerdy is trendy!) with many aspects of pets: it can make you smile, moves on its own, makes cute sounds and listens to you — at least most of the time.

While many of us take playing tunes for granted, whether via MP3s, CDs, or streaming services, for others — such as many that are very young or old — actually figuring out the interface can be a challenge. To make it easier for the elderly to enjoy music, Ananords and his girlfriend created the Juuke box.

The Juuke features an RC522 RFID reader to trigger specific songs stored on an SD card via a DFPlayer Mini, using a stereo jack and external powered speakers. The device is controlled by an Arduino Uno, and includes a volume potentiometer along with two light-up buttons — red to play/pause tracks, green for random playback.

Code for the project can be found on GitHub, with 3D print files, and the actual Fusion 360 files are also available if you’d like to build your own.

If you participate in beer pong, and your skills aren’t up to the challenge, you might be in for a rough time. While “practice makes perfect,” if you’d rather shortcut this process then engineers Nils Opgenorth and Grant Galloway have just the solution with their Arduino-powered PongMate CyberCannon Mark III.

This wrist-mounted launcher uses a time-of-flight sensor, along with an inertial measurement unit to calculate the vertical and horizontal distance to the red Solo cup, marked with a small laser. Bubble levels help users fix the device in the horizontal direction and five programmable RGB LEDs indicate when it’s ready to shoot.

To fire, it pushes a ball forward using a small servo, which is then flung out using a pair of spinning wheels. Distance is set by varying the speed of driving motors, in order create the appropriate shot velocity.

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have developed an Arduino-based logger to measure levels of methane and carbon dioxide in greenhouse environments. The device also implements a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, data from which can be correlated with gas readings. Figures are stored on an SD card using an Adafruit data logging shield.

Importantly, the team’s study outlines a procedure for calibrating the methane sensor module at atmospheric concentrations, much lower than its normal use. The entire unit can be made for around €200, or about $235 USD. While an inexpensive method for monitoring CO2 has been available for some time, this fills in the need for a low-cost methane sensor that could be used for distributed measurements.

More information on the greenhouse gas logger can be found in the researchers’ paper.

Spectrum analyzers are a great way to visualize music, and “TUENHIDIY” came up with an interesting take on this device using not one, but four Arduino Uno boards.

Each Uno receives the same sound input via a 3.5mm audio jack, and separately processes it to break out the left and right channels, as well as upper and lower frequency ranges using fast Fourier transforms, or FFTs.

36 different bands are shown on four LoL Shields, with each 9×14 Charliexplexed LED matrix attached to an Uno, for a total of up to 504 individual points of light. Everything is put together on an acrylic plate, and powered by a portable USB battery.

TUENHIDIY is quick to note that it’s a “crazy project,” but as seen in the video below, it looks like a lot of fun!

Inspired by an old FlipFold TV ad, YouTuber Ty Palowski decided to make his own automated shirt folding machine.

Palowski’s device is made in four folding sections, which lie flat to accept the unfolded piece of laundry. When the shirt is properly placed, a capacitive touch sensor starts the folding process, which is controlled via an Arduino and motor drivers.

Two motors bring in the sides sequentially, then a third motor folds the bottom up. Activation is based simply on timing, with no sensor feedback. As seen at the end of the video, the project does save folding time and it works even better once Palowski gets some practice with it!

Whether you work in meters, feet, inches, or kilometers — or any number of other units corresponding to properties that you need to convey — conversions are a fact of life when making things. While this could mean pulling up a Google tab or flipping open a Machinery’s Handbook and doing a few hand calculations, neither is particularly convenient for shop use.

As an alternative, Kaleb Clark over at element14 came up with a dedicated desktop conversion calculator using an Arduino Uno and Cherry MX switches in a matrix arrangement as the main input method. A rotary encoder is also implemented to swap between functions and output is via a 4×20 LCD screen.

Although the device still needs a bit of programming work to be called “complete,” it’s currently able to handle an impressive variety of conversions.

Seven-segment displays are normally diminutive items, able to show info from a clock or other device, in a size that’s easily tucked away when not needed. Jegatheesan Soundarapandian’s single-digit display, however, is just the opposite standing at nearly seven feet tall.

The project is constructed out of cardboard, with a PVC spine for extra strength. Inside, addressable LED lighting illuminates each segment under Arduino control, with an HC-05 module used to interface with an Android app. Two 18550 batteries provide power for the unit, along with a DC-DC voltage regulator to supply the strip with 5V.

You can see it demonstrated in the clips below!

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