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[Ash] built Moo-Bot, a robot cow scarecrow to enter the competition at a local scarecrow festival. We’re not sure if Moo-bot will win the competition, but it sure is a winning hack for us. [Ash]’s blog is peppered with delightful prose and tons of pictures, making this an easy to build project for anyone with access to basic carpentry and electronics tools. One of the festival’s theme was “Out of this World” for space and sci-fi scarecrows. When [Ash] heard his 3-year old son sing “hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle…”, he immediately thought of building a cow jumping over the moon scarecrow. And since he had not seen any interactive scarecrows at earlier festivals, he decided to give his jumping cow a lively character.

Construction of the Moo-Bot is broken up in to three parts. The skeleton is built from lumber slabs and planks. The insides are then gutted with all of the electronics. Finally, the whole cow is skinned using sheet metal and finished off with greebles to add detailing such as ears, legs, spots and nostrils. And since it is installed in the open, its skin also doubles up to help Moo-bot stay dry on the insides when it rains. To make Moo-Bot easy to transport from barn to launchpad, it’s broken up in to three modules — the body, the head and the mounting post with the moon.

Moo-Bot has an Arduino brain which wakes up when the push button on its mouth is pressed. Its two OLED screen eyes open up, and the MP3 player sends bovine sounding audio clips to a large sound box. The Arduino also triggers some lights around the Moon. Juice for running the whole show comes from a bank of eight, large type “D” cells wired to provide 6 V — enough to keep Moo-Bot fed for at least a couple of months.

Check out the video after the break to hear Moo-bot tell some cow jokes – it’s pretty funny. We’re rooting for it to win the competition — Go Moo-bot.

If you’re hungry for more scarecrows, this isn’t the first we’ve seen.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, robots hacks

For our Northern Hemisphere readers the chill winds of winter are fast approaching, so it seems appropriate to feature a weather station project. Enjoy your summer, Southern readers!

[Fandonov] has created a weather station project with an Arduino Uno at its heart and a Waveshare e-ink display as its face to the world, and as its write-up (PDF) describes, it provides an insight into both some of the quirks of these displays, and into weather forecasting algorithms.

The hardware follows a straightforward formula, aside from Arduino and display it boasts an Adafruit sensor board and a hardware clock. Software-wise though there are some tricks to give the display a scalable font that other tinkerers might find useful, drawing characters as a matrix of filled circle primitives.

The write-up gives an introduction to forecasting based only on local readings rather than on the huge volumes of data over a wide area used by professional meteorologists. In play here is the Zambretti algorithm, which takes the readings and information about whether they are rising or falling, and returns a forecast from a look-up table.

As we’ll all be aware, even professional weather forecasting is fraught with inaccuracies, but this is nonetheless an interesting project that is very much worth a second look. Meanwhile we’ve covered huge numbers of weather stations in the past, a couple of interesting ones are this one using a classic TI99/4A home computer, and more relevant here, this one using an e-paper badge.

Thanks [Phil] for the tip!


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Nikodem Bartnik had a small problem. When soldering, he had to move his light around in order to properly see what he was working on. In order to avoid this constant interruption, he built a 3D-printed lamp capable of manuevering like a small robot arm under voice command.

An Arduino Uno controls the light’s movement directly via three servos, and a relay flips the switch on and off. Instead of adding voice recognition hardware to his robotic light, he cleverly linked it with an Android app over Bluetooth, using his phone to translate spoken words into serial commands.

Although great for soldering, this device can certainly come in handy when reading books or even finding your way to bed at night. Want to create your own? You can find more details on Bartnik’s Instructables page here.

While most of us take being able to remotely control a television or other appliance for granted, for the millions of people with some form of disability, this can present a challenge. In order to help those with limited mobility, Cassio Batista along with Erick Campos have come up with a system that translates head movements into infrared (IR) control signals.

In the project’s video seen below, Batista shows off how he can move his head to turn a TV on and off, as well as control channel selection and volume. A webcam captures these gestures, which are passed on to a Linux-based C.H.I.P. board that translates the movements using OpenCV. Finally, an Arduino Uno receives these commands over Bluetooth and signals the TV as needed via IR.

In addition to television, this system could easily be applied to other IR-based appliances, making lives easier, or perhaps simply eliminating a physical remote altogether.

When [::vtol::] wants to generate random numbers he doesn’t simply type rand() into his Arduino IDE, no, he builds a piece of art. It all starts with a knob, presumably connected to a potentiometer, which sets a frequency. An Arduino UNO takes the reading and generates a tone for an upward-facing speaker. A tiny ball bounces on that speaker where it occasionally collides with a piezoelectric element. The intervals between collisions become our sufficiently random number.

The generated number travels up the Rube Goldberg-esque machine to an LCD mounted at the top where a word, corresponding to our generated number, is displayed. As long as the button is held, a tone will continue to sound and words will be generated so poetry pours forth.

If this take on beat poetry doesn’t suit you, the construction of the Ball-O-Bol has an aesthetic quality that’s eye-catching, whereas projects like his Tape-Head Robot That Listens to the Floor and 8-Bit Digital Photo Gun showed the electronic guts front and center with their own appeal.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

We’ve all seen clips of people careening down mountain roads on luges, but if landing on concrete or careening off a cliff doesn’t look like your cup of tea, perhaps something meant for the beach would be more suitable. Taking inspiration from these luges, as well as kite surfing rigs, and even Land Speeders from Star Wars, UK-based maker John Dingley came up with his Electric Beach Luge.

Foot pegs straddling a single go-kart tire in the front are used for steering the vehicle, while power is transferred to the sand by a pair of wheels in the back. A potentiometer is wired into an Arduino Uno for speed input, which uses this information to signal a 500W, 24V golf cart motor via a robot combat controller, capable of producing 160 amps continuously.

You can check out the project page for more info and see it in action in the videos below!

 

Most people support their school or favorite sports team by buying a shirt or tuning into games. Jacob Thompson, however, took things one step further and created his own Arduino-powered, backlit Clemson Tiger Paw.

Thompson’s “WallPaw,” as he calls it, uses an Arduino Uno to receive signals from an infrared remote and to pick up sounds with a small microphone. This information is passed on to an Arduino Mega, which controls a five-meter-long strip of WS2812 LEDs to provide lighting effects.

He notes that it would be possible to use only one Arduino board for everything, but patterned his code after this tutorial that included two. The paw itself is cut out of wood and clear acrylic, allowing the lights underneath to shine through nicely.

You can see the build in action below and find more details on Thompson’s website here.

When you hear the words “Arduino alarm clock,” likely you think of something that uses a real-time clock (RTC) module to wake one up in a creative way, perhaps with light patterns or pleasant sounds. Though creative, the Duvet Eating Alarm Clock is not pleasant, literally ripping the covers off of your bed for a very “rude awakening.”

This project, the brainchild of YouTuber “1up Living,” uses a modified mechanical alarm clock to signal an Arduino Uno to start the duvet stealing machine. A powerful winch turns a custom-made drum that progressively wraps the bed cover around it, leaving no option but to get up and get dressed!

If you need a little more motivation in the morning, you can find 1up Living’s build instructions here.

Digital cameras have revolutionized the ways that we can record and share our lives. Action cameras, such as the GoPro and other similar models, have taken things one step further, allowing use in rugged environments. If you want to capture nature, however, you may want your camera to start recording automatically.

In order to add this ability, YouTuber “ItMightBeWorse” hooked up an ultrasonic sensor to his CA Kenai CA2001 camera using an Arduino Uno along with a transistor to act like the normal start/stop button. The output is soldered directly to the button leads, and he also tapped into the battery terminals to give himself more power supply options.

He can now record birds as they feed without being there to scare them away!

Perhaps you enjoy various flavors of electronic music, and would love to try making your own. Although this seems like a fun idea, after considering the amount of equipment and knowledge that you need to get started, many people simply move on to something else. On the other hand, the NOMNOM machine, seen here, allows you to create tunes visually using YouTube clips as samples.

The device has 16 buttons which can start and stop up to 16 clips displayed via a JavaScript web application. An Arduino Uno takes input from these buttons as well as four potentiometers to modify the clip sounds, and sends the appropriate signals to the computer running the app. There are also four knobs that control the repetition rate, volume, speed and playable length of each selected video. This enables you to make really interesting music without the normally steep learning curve.

For more details, you can check out the project log on Hackaday.io or on GitHub. NOMNOM will also be making an appearance at the World Maker Faire in New York City this fall, so be sure to see it in person if you’re there!



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