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In ridiculous times, it can help to play ridiculous instruments such as the slide whistle to keep your bristles in check. But since spittle is more than a little bit dangerous these days, it pays to come up with alternative ways to play away the days during lockdown life.

Thanks to some clever Arduino-driven automation, [Gurpreet] can maintain a safe distance from his slide whistle while interacting with it. Slide whistles need two things — air coming in from the top, and actuation at the business end. The blowing force now comes from a focused fan like the ones that cool your printed plastic as soon as the hot end extrudes it. A stepper motor moves the slide up and down using a printed rack and pinion.

Here’s a smooth touch — [Gurpreet] added a micro servo to block and unblock the sound hole with a cardboard flap to make the notes more distinct. Check out the build video after the break, which includes a music video for “My Heart Will Go On”, aka the theme from Titanic. It’s almost like the ship herself is playing it on the steam whistles from the great beyond.

Speaking of, did you hear about the effort to raise and restore the remains of her radio room?

At this point, society has had over three decades to get used to the Blue Man Group. Maybe that’s why we’re less disturbed by [Graham Jessup]’s face-tracking Watchman than we should be. Either that, or it’s because it reminds us of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frankly, this is just way too cool to be dismissed out of hand as creepy.

The Watchman finds faces via video feed from a camera module positioned in his forehead as a third eye. The camera is connected to a Pi Zero that’s wearing a Google AIY vision bonnet. The Pi translates the face locations into servo positions and feeds them to an Arduino UNO located in the frontal lobe region to move the eyeballs and lids accordingly.

[Graham] had a bit of trouble with tracking accuracy at first, so he temporarily replaced the pupils with 5 mW lasers and calibrated them by tracking a printed stand-in of his head to avoid burning out his retinas.

This project builds on previous work by [Tjahzi] and the animatronic eye movements of [Will Cogley]. We can only imagine how awesome the Watchman would look with a pair of [Will]’s incredibly realistic eyeballs. Either way, we would totally trust the Watchman to defend our modest supply of toilet paper in the coming weeks. Check out a brief demo after the break, and a whole lot more clips on [Graham]’s site.

Via reddit

Want to take that annoyingly productive coworker down a notch? Yeah, us too. How dare they get so much done and be so happy about it? How is it possible that they can bang on that keyboard all day when you struggle to string together an email?

The Slippy Slapper is a useless machine that turns people into useless machines using tactics like endless distraction and mild physical violence. It presses your buttons by asking them to press buttons for no reason other than killing their productivity. When they try to walk away, guess what? That’s another slappin’. Slippy Slapper would enrage us by proxy if he weren’t so dang cute.

You’re right, you don’t need an Arduino for this. For peak inefficiency and power consumption, you actually need four of them. One acts as the master, and bases its commands to the other three on the feedback it gets from Slippy’s ultrasonic nostrils. The other three control the slappin’ servos, the speakers, and reading WAV files off of the SD card. Slap your way past the break to see Slippy Slapper’s slapstick demo.

Need to annoy a group of coworkers all at once? Slip a big bank of useless machines into the conference room while it’s being set up.

When one thinks of audio processing, the mind doesn’t usually leap to an 8-bit micro. Despite this, if you’re looking for some glitchy fun, it’s more than possible, as [Amanda Ghassaei] demonstrates with the Arduino Uno in this 2012 throwback project.

The build is designed for vocal effects, based on the idea of granular synthesis. This is where audio samples are chopped up into small chunks, called “grains”, and manipulated in various ways to make fun sounds. Controls on the box allow the nature of the sound created to be modified by the user.

[Amanda]’s project serves as a great example of what it takes to run audio processing on the Arduino Uno. There’s a guide to using the on-board ADC as a microphone input, as well as the construction of a resistor ladder DAC for output. As a neccessity, this also requires discussion of how to write directly to the ATMEGA’s IO ports, rather than using the slower digitalWrite() function typically used in Arduino projects. There’s plenty of value here for anyone learning to do audio on a microcontroller platform.

Overall, it’s a fun project that serves as a good primer for those keen to dive into digital sound processing. Of course, those looking to kick things up a gear would do well to check out the Teensy Audio Library, too. Video after the break.

It’s that time of year again when production in Shenzhen grinds to a halt. Lunar New Year has kicked off the annual month-long Spring Festival, and the whole country has taken time off to be with family and celebrate. One tradition of Spring Festival is that everyone gives each other red envelopes with various amounts of money in them called hongbao. The point of this ‘lucky money’ is to spread good fortune in the new year, and it’s easy to amass a whole pile of hongbao by the end of the festival.

[Makerming] made this lovely counting box for anyone looking to keep track of their hongbao in style. It probably goes without saying that this would make an awesome mailbox for Valentines (or anything else that fits in the slot), but there you go. The circuit is pretty simple thanks to a Grove connector shield meant for Arduinos. An IR break-beam module detects the incoming envelope, and the Uno increments the count on the display. The wiggly, servo-driven example hongbao on top are there to add to the fun.

We love the laser-cut decoration on the front, which is an homage to the intricate paper cut decorations. If you don’t like that one, [Makerming] included design files for several other options. Watch it wiggle after the break!

If you won’t be looking to collect valentines because you’ve already found that special someone, give them something that lasts longer than chocolate or roses.

Via Adafruit

You know how it goes — sometimes you just have to stop in the middle of a project and build yourself a tool that vastly improves your workflow as soon as it’s completed. [Ikkalebob] aka [Will Cogley] on YouTube is working on some super secret project that requires a whole bunch of servos. And since all of them have to be tested and set, he built this adorable servo tester as a time-saving gift to himself.

This tester revolves around an Adafruit 16-channel servo driver and an Arduino Uno. The servos show up on the screen in groups of four, and can be tested four at a time with the pots. The buttons let [Ikkalebob] move up and down between the groups. The SainSmart LCD proved to be more difficult to set up than others, but [Ikkalebob] did you a solid and tweaked the library. It’s available along with his code and STLs.

Speaking of STLs, we really dig the mini NASA console look and the folding enclosure. Leveraging the print process to build hinges and other things is awesome, and so is getting away with using fewer fasteners. You can see a bit of how [Ikkalebob] designed it in the video after the break.

Depending on what you’re doing with servos, you might want a different kind of testing suite. Here’s one that’s geared toward RC pilots.

Have you built a 3D scanner yet? There’s more than one way to model those curves and planes, but the easiest may be photogrammetry — that’s the one where you take a bunch of pictures and stitch them into a 3D model. If you build a scanner like [Brian Brocken]’s that does almost everything automatically, you might consider starting a scan-and-print side hustle.

This little machine spins objects 360° and triggers a Bluetooth remote tethered to an iPhone. In automatic mode, it capture anywhere from 2-200 pictures. There’s a mode for cinematic shots that shoots video of the object slowly spinning around, which makes anything look at least 35% more awesome. A third mode offers manual control of the turntable’s position and speed.

An Arduino UNO controls a stepper that moves the turntable via 3D printed-in-place bearing assembly. This project is a (vast) improvement over [Brian]’s hand-cranked version that we looked at over the summer, though both are works of art in their own right.

Our favorite part aside from the bearing is the picture-taking process itself. [Brian] couldn’t get the iPhone to play nice with HC-05 or -06 modules, so he’s got the horn of 9g servo tapping the shutter button on a Bluetooth remote. This beautiful beast is wide open, so fire up that printer. You can watch the design and build process of the turntable after the break.

Want to scan some really tiny things? Make a motorized microscope from movie machines.

In the midst of striking for climate change awareness, you may need some extra hands. That’s what [Anred Zynch] thought when they built Strettexter, the text-spraying writing robot that sprays onto streets.

The machine is loaded with 8 spray cans placed into a wooden box (a stop line with a wooden ledge to prevent the cans from falling out) and is fixed on top of a skateboard. It uses a PWN/Servo shield soldered onto an Arduino Uno connected to 8 servo motors (TowerPro SG90s) to control each of the spray bottles. A table converts every character into 5×8 bit fonts to fit the size of the spraying module. The device also includes a safety switch, as well as an encoder for measuring the horizontal distance traveled.

The Strettexter is activated by pulling on the skateboard once it’s been set up and connected to power (for portability, it uses a 8000mAh power bank). In its current configuration, the words stretch out pretty long, but some additional testing will probably lead to better results depending on the constraints of your canvas. The shorter the words, the more difficult it is for the white text to be legible, since there is significant spacing between printed bits.

We don’t condone public vandalism, so use this hack at your own discretion.

[Thanks neiß for the tip!]

Phones are pretty great. Used as telephones, they can save us from bad situations and let us communicate while roaming freely, for the most part. Used as computers, they often become time-sucking black holes that can twist our sense of self and reality. Assuming they pick up when you call, phones are arguably a good thing for kids to have, especially since you can hardly find a payphone these days. But how do you teach kids to use them responsibly, so they can still become functioning adults and move out someday? [Jaychouu] believes the answer is inside of a specialized lockbox.

This slick-looking box has a solenoid lock inside that can be unlocked via a keypad, or remotely via the OBLOQ IoT module. [Jaychouu] added a few features that drive it out of Arduino lockbox territory. To prevent latchkey children from cheating the system and putting rocks (or nothing at all) in the box, there’s a digital weight sensor and an ultrasonic sensor that validate the credentials of the contents and compare them with known values.

Want a basic lockbox to keep your phone out of reach while you work? Here’s one with a countdown timer.

Phones are pretty great. Used as telephones, they can save us from bad situations and let us communicate while roaming freely, for the most part. Used as computers, they often become time-sucking black holes that can twist our sense of self and reality. Assuming they pick up when you call, phones are arguably a good thing for kids to have, especially since you can hardly find a payphone these days. But how do you teach kids to use them responsibly, so they can still become functioning adults and move out someday? [Jaychouu] believes the answer is inside of a specialized lockbox.

This slick-looking box has a solenoid lock inside that can be unlocked via a keypad, or remotely via the OBLOQ IoT module. [Jaychouu] added a few features that drive it out of Arduino lockbox territory. To prevent latchkey children from cheating the system and putting rocks (or nothing at all) in the box, there’s a digital weight sensor and an ultrasonic sensor that validate the credentials of the contents and compare them with known values.

Want a basic lockbox to keep your phone out of reach while you work? Here’s one with a countdown timer.



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