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Before the NSA deletes this post, we’ll be clear: We’re talking about a model of a nuclear reactor, not the real thing. Using Legos, [wgurecky] built a point kinetic reactor model that interfaces with the reactor simulator, pyReactor.

Even without the Lego, the Python code demonstrates reactor control in several modes. In power control mode, the user sets a power output, and the reactor attempts to maintain it. In control rod mode, the user can adjust the position of the control rods and see the results.

If things get out of hand, there’s a SCRAM button to shut the reactor down in a hurry. The Lego model uses an Arduino to move the rods up and down (using a servo) and controls the simulated Cherenkov radiation (courtesy of blue LEDs).

We’ve been excited to see more high schools with significant engineering programs. This would be a good project for kids interested in nuclear engineering. It certainly is a lot safer than one of our previous reactor projects.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Before the NSA deletes this post, we’ll be clear: We’re talking about a model of a nuclear reactor, not the real thing. Using Legos, [wgurecky] built a point kinetic reactor model that interfaces with the reactor simulator, pyReactor.

Even without the Lego, the Python code demonstrates reactor control in several modes. In power control mode, the user sets a power output, and the reactor attempts to maintain it. In control rod mode, the user can adjust the position of the control rods and see the results.

If things get out of hand, there’s a SCRAM button to shut the reactor down in a hurry. The Lego model uses an Arduino to move the rods up and down (using a servo) and controls the simulated Cherenkov radiation (courtesy of blue LEDs).

We’ve been excited to see more high schools with significant engineering programs. This would be a good project for kids interested in nuclear engineering. It certainly is a lot safer than one of our previous reactor projects.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Snow skiing looks easy, right? You just stay standing, and gravity does the work. The reality is that skiing is difficult for beginners to learn. [19mkarpawich] loves to ski, but he was frustrated seeing crying kids on skis along with screaming parents trying to coach them. Inspired by wearable electronics, he took an Arduino, an old jacket, some LEDs, and created Ski Buddy.

The brains in the jacket consist of an Adafruit Flora, accelerometer, and a battery pack. Conductive thread connects to LED sequins. The jacket can help teach linking turns, parallel skiing, hockey stops, and gradual pizza stopping. In addition to the build details and some notes on where not to place sensors (doubtlessly learned the hard way), [19mkarpawich] also does a detailed explanation of the software and how to use the jacket.

You can see a very short video demonstration of Ski Buddy below. We’ve seen more wearables lately, some of them pretty creative. Maybe it is time to learn how to sew if you can’t already.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, wearable hacks

trojan77

Trojan 77 is a gamified simulation of the Trojan virus running on Arduino Uno. The Trojan is a malware designed to provide unauthorised remote access to a user’s computer amongst other harmful possibilities and this prototype was designed to be exhibited at a technology museum to show the most important effects the virus. Inspired by the tilting labyrinth game, the prototype simulates a few key effects of the Trojan virus like passwords leaking out, files being deleted and culminating in a system crash.

Trojan 77  was created by a team of Physical Computing students (Dhrux Saxena, Gunes Kantaroglu, Liliana Lambriev, Karan Chaitanya Mudgal) at CIID:

The idea of designing something analog to explain a digital construct was an exciting challenge to undertake. The way that computer viruses operate can be very complicated and hard to explain without overloading people with detailed information. Making this information visual via animated projections helped to communicate the effects in a fun and memorable way.

The Trojan moved through several prototyping stages. Initially, the wooden structure was built, followed by the maze. The structure as a whole became functional with the addition of Arduino and Processing. Two servo motors controlled by a joystick enabled the tilt while the movement of the ball triggered distinct light sensors which in turn triggered events in a Processing sketch mapped onto the maze.

The students created also a great video documentary  to explain the project with a style inspired by the work  of Charles and Ray Eames:

Want to really understand how something works? Make one yourself. That’s the approach that Reddit user [Oskarbjo] took with this neat electric motor build. He made the whole thing from scratch, using an Arduino, 3D printing, and ample quantities of wire to create a solenoid motor. This transforms the linear force of a solenoid, where a magnet is moved by a magnetic field, into rotary force. It’s rather like an internal combustion engine, but driven by electricity instead of explosions. Hopefully.

[Oskarbjo]’s engine seems to work, including a rather neat mechanism to detect the rotation of the shaft and relay that back to the controller. He hasn’t posted much detail in the build process, unfortunately, but did say that “If you’d want to build something similar I can probably help you out a bit, but half the fun is coming up with your own solutions.” Amen to that. We’ve seen a few neat solenoid motor builds, but this one wins points for starting from scratch. There is an Instagram video of the motor running after the break.



Filed under: Arduino Hacks

macchinaPoetica01
Macchina Poetica is a digital prototype converting sounds into onomatopoeic words and images and it’s inspired by the art of the Futurism movement.

Futurism is a modernist, avant-garde artistic movement originated in Italy in the early 20th century. Thanks to sound representation, Futurism artists aimed to emphasize speed, technology, youth and violence, all concepts arising from industrial innovations and war.

In order to keep continuity with this particular artistic movement, the authors, Alessandra Angelucci, Aris Dotti, Rebecca Guzzo, students at Master of Advanced Studies in Interaction Design SUPSI, decided to design an object that looks like the musical instrument of Futurism movement (precisely a Celesta). The object plays a metallic sounds and the user is facilitated in understanding how to use the object due to a instrument-like interface.

The machine is built using 4 piezo sensors, a thermal printer, a board, electrical cables, 4 resistors (1K), a 6 volt power supply and a Genuino Uno board.

The instrument’s interface is designed with plywood, metal plates and sponge that serves as a shock absorber. Between the metal plates and the sponge there are the piezo sensors along with resistors communicating with the Genuino Uno board every time the user interacts with the metallic plates. Once the Genuino receives the signal, it sends a command to the thermal printer that will print a word or a Futurism poem.

The interaction takes place when the user with the help of a metal tool (for example a screwdriver or a wrench) strikes the metal plates with different pressures. At the end of the performance the user and the viewers can have a clear overview of the produced sounds reviewing the printed paper outputs.

macchinaPoetica02

The prototype is the result of two weeks physical computing class Creating Tangible Interfaces held by Ubi De Feo at Maind program SUPSI  in Lugano, the goal of the course is how to make tangible interfaces via learning fundamentals of electronics prototyping and interaction design.  (Applications are open for the next edition 2016/2017 starting in September 2016)

stellar

Stellar is an interactive installation by sound artist Francesco Fabris, which aims to create a sonic representation of stars and constellations through a dedicated interface.

The project has been developed using two Arduino Uno, LeapMotion and Max7 software managing data of more than 300 stars and 44 constellations, stored from the open-source software Stellarium, and coded to interact with the robotic arms.

One Arduino Uno board controls four servo motors and a second one controls the led stripes. The motors are controlled with two LeapMotion but since LeapMotion doesn’t support two devices on one computer, he used two miniMac  connected through an Ethernet network.

stellar02

Since there’s no sound in space, Francesco wanted  to conceptualize a link between electromagnetic and sound waves  to create a minimalistic, interactive device which would allow visitors to learn about specific stars through sound information:

The base of the system is a cylindrical structure, on top of which are displayed the most important constellations of the northern sky. Above this representation are two robotic arms. When the tip of one of the arms aligns with a star, information on the selected star is transformed into simple sine waves, changing the colour the star emanates.

Two players can use the system at the same time, by moving their right hands over the two black, circular sensors. This allows them to move the robotic arm both horizontally and vertically.
The data analyzed for each star are: temperature (color index: red star = old and cold, blue star = hot and young), brightness (as seen from Earth), distance (from Earth) respectively transformed into: frequency (Hz), amplitude (dB), duration (ms).
The colder the star, the lower the pitch; the brighter it appears to us from Earth, the louder the sound; the further from Earth, the longer the duration.
For example, a bright, red star four thousands light years from the Earth would generate a low frequency, loud and long sound. A blue star which is closer to the Earth would generate a high frequency, weaker and shorter sound.

The background drone-sound is white noise (which is a combination of all frequencies, the opposite of space-silence). When a constellation is triggered, the number representing its area (squared degrees), becomes the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter for the noise signal. In this way, larger constellations will gradually increase their frequency.

Don’t miss the “Making of” video:

Stellar has been produced with the support of the DE.MO./MOVIN’UP I Session 2015 project, and promoted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage & Activities & Tourism, General Directorate for Contemporary Art, Architecture and Urban Suburbs and GAI – Association for the Circuit of the Young Italian Artists.

Data Cocktail_web02

Data Cocktail is a device which translates in a tasty way the Twitter activity and running on Arduino Due and Arduino Pro Mini. When you want a cocktail, the machine will look for the five latest messages around the world quoting one of the available ingredients. These messages define the drink composition and Data Cocktail not only provides a unique kind of drink, but it also prints the cocktail’s recipe along with the corresponding tweets.
Once the cocktail mix is done, Data Cocktail thanks the tweeters who have helped at making the recipe, without knowing it. Check the video below to see how it works:

Data Cocktail was created in a workshop held at Stereolux in Nantes by a theme composed by Bertille Masse, Manon Le Moal-Joubel, Sébastien Maury, Clément Gault & Thibaut Métivier.

They made it using Processing and Arduino:

A first application, developed in Processing, pilots the device. The requests are performed using the Twitter4J library, then the application processes the data and controls the device, i.e. the robot, the solenoid valves and the light. The robot itself is based on a modified Zumo frame, an Arduino Pro, a Motor Shield and a Bluetooth module. The solenoid valves and the LEDs are controlled by an Arduino Due connected via USB. The impression is realized by Automator.

To prepare a cocktail, the machine can take up to a minute and may provide up to 6 different ingredients!

Take three NRF24L0+ radios, two Arduino Nanos, and a Raspberry Pi. Add a bored student and a dorm room at Rice University. What you get is the RRAD: Rice Ridiculously Automated Dorm. [Jordan Poles] built a modular system inspired by BRAD (the Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm).

RRAD has three types of nodes:

  • Actuation nodes – Allows external actuators like relays or solenoids
  • Sensory nodes – Reports data from sensors (light, temperature, motion)
  • Hub nodes – Hosts control panel, records data, provides external data interfaces

The hub also allows [Jordan] to control things with his Android phone with Tasker. He has the Arduino and Raspberry Pi code on GitHub if you want to ridiculously automate something of your own. You’d probably want to adapt it to your dorm room, house, or RV, though.

[Jordan] continues to work on the project and promises to have voice recognition and other features, soon. We cover a lot of home automation projects including some others described as ridiculous. The video below shows BRAD, the inspiration for RRAD.


Filed under: Android Hacks, Arduino Hacks, home hacks, Raspberry Pi

IMG_2044

Worse for Wear is a clothing company  for women who ride motorcycles. The fascinating clothing they produce is very fashionable, comfortable, and needs to protect riders from impact and abrasion if they have an accident. Jackets and trousers have knee and hip pads  included to protect the rider when sliding many meters across asphalt. That’s why the fabric must be strong and abrasion resistant because if the fabric wears away too quickly, the rider’s skin will be exposed and injured.

To choose the perfect fabric, Scott and Laura, co-founders of the company, created an Impact Abrasion Resistance Testing Machine running on Arduino Uno to perform tests on different materials like knit fabrics, woven fabrics, and leather, to see how long it takes before the material is sanded completely through. I interviewed them to learn more about it!

wear

- What is the impact abrasion resistance testing machine and how does it work?

When selecting fabric to use in our clothes, we have to make sure that it is strong and abrasion resistant. We use the impact abrasion resistance test machine to determine which fabrics will withstand abrasion (scraping and sliding) the best. It is important to us to test the fabrics ourselves and not rely solely on the claims of fabric manufacturers.

worseWear

The machine has a weighted arm, like a hammer, suspended above an abrasive belt sander. A sample of the fabric that we want to test is wrapped around the head of the hammer and then dropped onto the moving sanding belt. An Arduino Uno is used to record the amount of time it takes to sand through the fabric sample.

Check the video below to see how it works:

- Why did you decide to use Arduino?

We have used Lilypad Arduino and Arduino Uno before to prototype some e-textile projects, so it was easy for us to get started on this one with our previous experience. The large number of accessory boards available made it simple to add an informational display and user interface to the machine. In just a few hours, we were able to very quickly create a machine to compare the abrasion resistance of a variety of fabric samples. The simplicity of working with Arduino was a very good choice for us, because our real business is creating clothing, not building test machines!

- What does Arduino control in the machine? 

An Arduino Uno is used to record the amount of time it takes to sand through the fabric sample. The method we use is based on European Union standards for motorcycle safety gear testing. To measure the fabric’s abrasion time, we use two thin copper wires (magnet wire). One wire is placed inside and another outside of the fabric sample before everything is wrapped around the head of the hammer. Each wire is then connected to ground on one end and an to input pin on the Arduino on the other end. The pins are in INPUT_PULLUP mode so a current runs through them. The LCD display on the Arduino tells us when both wires are connected properly.

Then, we start the belt sander and drop the hammer onto the spinning sanding belt. The outer wire breaks very quickly, breaking the connection to that pin [ digitalRead(outerWireIn) == HIGH ]. At this point, the Arduino records the start time. When the fabric wears through – usually within a couple of seconds – the inner wire is exposed to the sanding belt and quickly breaks. That marks the end time, which the Arduino records and displays on the LCD shield. A single type of fabric must be tested at least five times in order to make sure our recorded times are accurate.

Explore the details and download the code on Worse for Wear blog.



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