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Unless you happen to be from Finland, this is just an all too familiar situation: you’re stuck in an inescapable situation with this one person who is really more of an acquaintance than a friend, and neither of you knows who should say something in hopes of keeping a conversation going. Awkward silence is inevitable, and the longer it lasts, the more excruciating the thought of opening your mouth becomes. Well, consider those days over, thanks to [Jasper Choi] and his friends, who blessed us with the System for Awkward Silence Solution and Interaction Enhancer, or SASSIE.

Built as a laser-cut rotating cylinder, and equipped with a pair of microphones, SASSIE detects and counts the duration of any ongoing silence in the room. Once a pre-defined time limit is reached, it rotates itself to a random direction, symbolically pointing a finger to one of the people present in the room to indicate its their turn to speak now. To break the silence right off the bat, the finger pointing is accompanied by some pre-recorded messages. Unfortunately the audio files exceeded the storage of the Arduino Uno used here, so the responsibilities had to be divided between two Arduinos, arranged with the help of some simple serial communication.

While this is obviously a tongue-in-cheek project, it might just be a welcoming relieve for people with social anxiety, and there is definitely potential to take the idea further. Maybe with some inspiration from this happy robot fellow, a future version might ease the conversation even further by suggesting a topic along the way.

Who doesn’t love a good robot? If you don’t — how dare you! — then this charming little scamp might just bring the hint of a smile to your face.

SDDSbot — built out of an old Sony Dynamic Digital Sound system’s reel cover — can’t do much other than turn left, right, or walk forwards on four D/C motor-controlled legs, but it does so using the power of a Pixy camera and an Arduino. The Pixy reads colour combinations that denote stop and go commands from sheets of paper, attempting to keep it in the center of its field of view as it toddles along. Once the robot gets close enough to the ‘go’ colour code, the paper’s  orientation directs the robot to steer itself left or right — the goal being the capacity to navigate a maze. While not quite there yet, it’s certainly a handful as it is.

With the care of a maker, [Arno Munukka] takes us under the hood of his robot to show how he’s made clever use of the small space. He designed a duo of custom PCBs for the motors and stuck them near the robot’s top — you can see the resistors used to time the steps poking through the robot’s case, adding a functional cosmetic effect. The Arduino brain is stuck to the rear, the Pixy to the front, and the power boards are snug near the base. Three USB ports pepper the robot’s posterior — a charging port, one for programming the Arduino, and a third to access the Pixy camera.

What do you think — had a change of heart regarding our future overl– uh, silicon-based friends? Yes? Well here’s a beginner bot to will get you started.

Filed under: Android Hacks, Arduino Hacks, robots hacks

bonus_1.slr_PRThis isn't your typical schoolroom globe... Create a Persistence-of-Vision LED Globe to display a map, a skull, or message.

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The post Build a Persistence-of-Vision LED Globe appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

RC EyebrowsTurn an old headlamp into a power assist for your eyebrows. Use an infrared remote control to raise, lower, waggle, and adjust.

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The post Strap a Robot to Your Face! Your Expressions Are Now Controlled by Technology appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

encoder1Watch a Redditor share how he hacked a DC motor and hooked it up to an Arduino to use as an encoder.

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The post Hack an Old DC Motor to Provide Rotary Input appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

One of the bigger problems with any CNC machine or 3D printer is the issue of missed steps when moving the toolhead. If a stepper motor misses a step, the entire layer of the print – and every layer thereafter – will be off by just a tiny bit. Miss a few more steps, and that print will eventually make its way into the garbage. [Misan] has the solution to this: closed loop control of DC motors for a 3D printer.

Most printer firmwares use an open loop control system for moving their motors around. Step a few times in one direction, and you know where the nozzle of a 3D printer will be. Missed steps confound the problem, and there’s no way for the firmware to know if the nozzle is where it should be at any one time.

[Misan]’s solution to this was a DC motor coupled to an optical encoder. Both the motor and the encoder are connected to an Arduino Pro Mini which receives step and direction commands from the printer controller. The controller takes care of telling the motor where to go, the Arduino takes care of making sure it gets there.

The entire build is heavily derived from ServoStrap, but [Misan] has a very cool demo of his hardware: during a print, he can force the X and Y axes to either side, and the Arduino in each motor will move the print head back to where it needs to be. You can check that out below.

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Arduino Hacks

[Jack], a mechanical engineer, loom builder, and avid sailor wanted an autopilot system for his 1983 Robert Perry Nordic 40 sailboat with more modern capabilities than the one it came with. He knew a PC-based solution would work, but it was a bit out of reach. Once his son showed him an Arduino, though, he was on his way. He sallied forth and built this Arduino-based autopilot system for his sloop, the Wile E. Coyote.

He’s using two Arduino Megas. One is solely for the GPS, and the other controls everything else. [Jack]‘s autopilot has three modes. In the one he calls knob steering, a potentiometer drives the existing hydraulic pump, which he controls with a Polulu Qik serial DC motor controller. In compass steering mode, a Pololu IMU locks in the heading to steer (HTS).  GPS mode uses a predetermined waypoint, and sets the course to steer (CTS) to the same bearing as the waypoint.

[Jack]‘s system also uses cross track error (XTE) correction to calculate a new HTS when necessary. He has fantastic documentation and several Fritzing and Arduino files available on Dropbox.

Autopilot sailboat rigs must be all the rage right now. We just saw a different one back in November.

[Thanks Jeremy]

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, gps hacks, misc hacks, transportation hacks

Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light: Assembly | Part 2

arduino, circuit, DC motor, project, RGB LED, soldering, spinning night light Commenti disabilitati su Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light: Assembly | Part 2 

  1. Arduino RGB LED night light schematicSolder wires to motor terminals and cover with heat-shrink tubing
  2. Using a knife or sharp scissors, puncture a small hole (to fit the motor shaft snugly) on the center of the jar lid
  3. Solder motor shaft to jar lid (if necessary use hot glue or super glue, as some surfaces won’t “catch” the solder easily)
  4. Solder the RGB LED leads to long wires and cover the connections with heat-shrink tubing
  5. Build the circuit on the mini breadboard using the schematic as your guide
  6. Prepare the paper diffuser (use a hole puncher and punch a few holes to allow some light to shine through) and tape it around the jar lid using mounting tape

  7. motor leads

  8. Mount the motor to the side of the breadboard using mounting tape
  9. Tie the LED wires together and secure the wire bundle using a stick as prop (I used a lollipop stick in one of the holes on the breadboard); split the stick tip shaping it as a “Y” to help secure the LED wires in place(show finished picture)

Check the previous post if you need to see the sketch for the Arduino RGB LED night light again.

Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light: Assembly | Part 2 originally appeared on Tinker Hobby on July 13, 2010.


Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light | Part 1

arduino, DC motor, project, RGB LED, sketch, spinning night light, video Commenti disabilitati su Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light | Part 1 

Arduino RGB LED Night LightThis month’s project uses the Arduino to control a motor and an RGB LED to create an aquarium style spinning night light.

The initial idea was to recycle empty toilet paper tubes to serve as the lampshade, but it turns out the project looks much more attractive and colorful using white paper. (I haven’t given up on the idea of finding a use for the empty tubes, though. Suggestions are welcome.)

A simple DC Motor is used to spin the lamp structure, and a jar lid serves as the base. There is (a lot of) room for improvement in the design of the lamp, but I’m a computer scientist and wanna-be crafter at best.

I intend to revisit these projects in the future, and make them stand alone using smaller Arduino boards and sporting a nicer finish (something worthy of showing guests). For now the purpose of these projects is solely educational (in a microcontroller programming way, not hand crafting).

In the upcoming posts we will explore the assembly of the night light, as well as the circuit and Arduino sketch that make the project work.

Parts list:

I have recorded a short video of the Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light in action.

And here is the Arduino sketch:

// Natalia Fargasch Norman
// RGB LED night light using Arduino

// Arduino pins used for motor and LEDs
#define MOTOR 3
#define RED 9
#define GREEN 10
#define BLUE 11

// pins for motor and LEDs are outputs
void setup() {
  pinMode(MOTOR, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(RED, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(GREEN, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(BLUE, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
  // set motor speed, between 0 and 255
  analogWrite(MOTOR, 69);

  // fade from aqua to magenta
  for (int i = 0; i < 256; i++) {
    analogWrite(RED, 255-i);
    analogWrite(GREEN, i);
    analogWrite(BLUE, 0);

  // fade from magenta to aqua
  for (int i = 0; i < 256; i++) {
    analogWrite(RED, i);
    analogWrite(GREEN, 255-i);
    analogWrite(BLUE, 0);


Arduino RGB LED Spinning Night Light | Part 1 originally appeared on Tinker Hobby on July 6, 2010.

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