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Remember all of those fantastically horrible handheld LCD games that hit the toy stores back in the ’90s. You know, the ones that had custom LCD screens to make for some fake animation. Here’s an example of what those should have been. It’s an LCD-based handheld with some soul.

The entire thing is roughly the size of a television remote, with a 3D printed case making it very presentable. But looking at the wiring which hides inside proves this is one-of-a-kind. The Arduino Pro Mini is probably the biggest difference in technology from back in the day compared to now. It has plenty of space for all of the different settings and games shown off in the clip below. The user interface itself is definitely a throw-back though. The Nokia 3310 screen boasts a whopping 84×48 pixel monochrome area. There are four buttons serving as a d-pad, and two as action buttons. Perhaps the greatest feature (besides the printed case we already mentioned) is the ability to recharge the internal battery via USB.

[Zippy314] built this with his son. What’s more fun: learning to program the games, or mastering them and discovering the bugs you missed along the way?


[via Brad's Projects]

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, handhelds hacks


Here’s another interesting project to come out of the MIT Media Lab — it’s called LightByte, and it’s all about interacting with sunlight and shadows in a new, rather unorthodox way.

We suppose its technical name could be a massive interactive sun pixel facade, but that’s a bit too much of a mouthful. What you really want to know is how it works, and the answer is, a lot of servos. We weren’t able to find an exact number but the hardware behind LightByte includes well over 100 servos, and a matrix of Arduinos to control them. While that is quite impressive by itself, it gets better — it’s actually completely interactive; recognizing gestures, responding to text messages and emails, and you can even draw pictures with the included “wand”.

We love anything mechanical like this — it’s just something about mechanical shutters that make them so awesome. Of course, reverse-engineered flip dot displays are pretty cool too! Or massive home-made flip-dot displays like this one…

[Thanks Alexander!]

Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Lego and Arduino

NooTrix submitted us a 4-part tutorial to build a Lego Mindstorm Elevator controlled by an Arduino Uno:

 The elevator is built using components from an old Lego Mindstorms RCX 1.5. For the control part, we use an Arduino Uno board instead of the obsolete Lego RCX brick. The motor and sensors are from Lego. The connection to motor is done using a set of transistors organized in a H-Bridge.

The goal of the project is to show how to control Lego parts (motor, sensors, …) using an Arduino:

the elevator carries a smartphone and keep it level which is useful for taking snapshots of documents instead of scanning them. Full description, a step by step tutorial, as well as pictures, videos are available online.

All circuit schematics and source code are released under a free open source license (creative commons).

Galileo-IllustrationTonight at at 9pm ET / 6pm PT, we’re wrapping up Getting Started with Intel Galileo Maker Sessions with a “show-and-tell” Hangout On Air.

Read more on MAKE

photoSimple modifications that make a better barbeque

Read more on MAKE


jojo @ writes:

When we learn a new programming language in computer science (say C, PHP or Java), we begin the learning curve with the classic “Hello World” program. We learn some essential keywords used in the programming language, then we learn the structure of the language and finally we begin to play with the language by making it display the two words “hello world” in our computer screen. So that’s how we begin to learn a programming language used to build computer applications. Our world of embedded systems is a little different. We create software to control hardware. In our world, we begin our learning curve by saying “hello world” using an LED. Our way of “hello world” is blinking an LED using the micro controller under study.

Blink LED with Arduino – say Hello World - [Link]


Dahlander Switch

[Jean-Noel] is fixing a broken Lurem woodworking machine. This machine uses a three-phase Dahlander motor, which has three operation modes: stop, half speed, and full speed. The motor uses a special mechanical switch to select the operating mode. Unfortunately, the mechanical bits inside the switch were broken, and the motor couldn’t be turned on.

To solve the problem without sourcing a new switch, [Jean-Noel] built his own Arduino based Dahlander switch. This consists of three relays that select the wiring configuration for each speed mode. There’s also a button to toggle settings, and two lamps to show what mode the motor is currently in.

The Arduino runs a finite-state machine (FSM), ensuring that the device transitions through the modes in the correct order. This is quite important, since the motor could be damaged if certain restrictions aren’t followed. The state machine graph was generated using Fizzim, a free tool that generates not only FSM graphs, but also Verilog and VHDL code for the machines.

The final product is housed in a DIN rail case, which allows it to be securely mounted along with the rest of the wiring. The detailed write-up on this project explains all the details of the motor, and the challenges of building this replacement switch.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, tool hacks



When chall2009 was a kid, he loved playing with Estes Rockets:

So I decided to get back into the hobby but using all of my maker skizzls. So here’s a really cool Arduino Rocket Launcher launching 3D Printed rockets from my MakerBot Rep2! Enjoy! Fully Open Source for anyone to make!




Full Assembly and Launch Instructions are on Instructables, Arduino code is on Github and the 3d files for the rockets are downloadable from Thingiverse!




Imagine a machine that [Anderson Silva] could throw a punch at, that would locate his fist in real time and move a punching pad to meet his moving fist. How would you do it? Kinect? Super huge sensor array? Sticking charm? What if we told you it could be done with two electret microphones, an Arduino, and a Gumstix? Yeah, that’s right. You might want to turn your phone off and sit down for this one.

[Benjamin] and his fellow students developed this brilliant proof of concept design that blocks incoming punches for their final project. We’ve seen boxing robots here before, but this one takes the cake. The details are sparse, but we’ve dug into what was made available to us and have a relatively good idea on how they pulled off this awesome piece of electrical engineering.

Consider two microphones fixed to both ends of an axis. Then consider a tone generator that could move back and forth on the same axis. The amplitude of the waveform coming off of each microphone would be inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the microphones and the tone generator. Put more simply – the amplitudes would follow the inverse square law. These value’s, multiplied by a constant, can be used to represent the radius (r) of a circle, from which a circle equation (x2 + y2 = r2) can be derived. Because there are two microphones, there are two circles. Or more specifically, two values of (r), which we will call (r1) and (r2).





[Benjamin's] mission was to pinpoint the exact location of the tone generator source (which is attached to the punching glove) and move a target to intercept it. After amplification, the signals from each microphone are fed into an Arduino, where they are averaged. He then sends the peak data to a Gumstix via I2C. One could probably get a rough idea of where the tone generator was from this data alone. But [Benjamin] and his team wanted an exact location, and used what is known as the Circle-Circle Intersection equation that runs as a algorithm in the Gumstix. This gives him the precise location on the axis where the two circles meet, and thus the location of the tone generator source. From this point, it’s relatively simple to move the guard (part that blocks the punch) to the location. An IR sensor is used to determine the current location of the guard, and the Gumstix moves it to the punch location via PWM and an H bridge. Brilliant!

We’ve stepped through the math to demonstrate exactly how the Circle-Circle Intersection algorithm is solving the location. You can count the squares to represent data. The answer of 2.6 is the distance from the center of the smaller circle to the intersection point. You can get the distance from the larger circle to the intersection point simply by swapping (r) and (R) in the equation. Try it!



This technique of determining the location of a moving object along a single axis is bound to come in handy for other hacks.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, ARM, robots hacks

Manually typing your login password every time you need to login on your computer can get annoying, especially if it is long and complex. To tackle this problem [Lewis] assembled an NFC computer unlocker by using an Arduino Leonardo together with an NFC shield. As the latter doesn’t come with its headers soldered, a little bit of handy work was required.

A custom enclosure was printed in order to house the two boards together and discretely mount them under a desk for easy use. Luckily enough very few code was needed as [Lewis] used the Adafruit NFC library. The main program basically scans for nearby NFC cards, compares their (big-endianned) UIDs against a memory stored-one and enters a stored password upon match. We think it is a nice first project for the new generation of hobbyists out there. This is along the same lines as the project we saw in September.

(You’ll notice I made this post without mentioning the you-know-what project!)

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, radio hacks

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