Category Archives: Arduino-Compatible

Create your own smart heater for $15


Just in time for winter, this Maker added smart temperature control to his infrared heater. 


The IoT refers to the idea that things, in this case an infrared heater, can be connected to the Internet. Although at times this may seem like overkill, in this case, it seems like a very practical solution. As creator Yuvaltz puts it, “Both IR heaters I have at home have only two power levels. Without any control, it’s easy to get to either a too hot or a not hot enough situation.” Naturally the Arduino-compatible and Wi-Fi-enabled Cactus Micro (ATmega32U4) was used to take his heater into the 21st century!

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The Cactus module controls a relay, which turns the heater on when appropriate. The control scheme is based on something called a proportional-integral-derivitave (PID) loop, which allows for several factors to be taken into account when deciding on the appropriate heater state.

Since the Cactus is Wi-Fi-enabled, temperature variation as well as power output can be uploaded to a website. Yuvaltz setup a ThingSpeak channel for this device, and was able to generate two very interesting plots. One comparing the temperature data gleaned from two sensors that he tried, while the other plotted the temperature as well as how much power the heater put out at a certain time.

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As Yuvaltz notes, don’t try something like this unless you’re familiar with high-voltage safety. A simple remote control is suggested as an alternative, but perhaps even that could be hacked for PID control! Check out his entire build here.

Build a simple shot-pouring robot


ShotBot pours you a drink with the push of a button.


The ShotBot, not to be confused–or used in conjunction with–the “ShopBot CNC router,” is a simple machine for dispensing, what else, shots. It’s powered by a Geekduino, an Arduino-compatible board with an ATmega328 at its core, along with two RobotGeek Pumping Stations and a few other parts.

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The build itself is fairly simple, with each of the two pumping stations hooked up to a digital pin on the Geekduino, and two buttons hooked wired in for control. The input tube is inserted into a bottle of your beverage of choice, and the output is, as you might guess, placed into a shot glass.

Per the default code, the pump is activated for 2500 milliseconds (2.5 seconds) to dispense the shot. You can, of course, edit this value, depending on the amount of liquid desired. It should be noted that the pumps used are diaphragm-based, so your liquid source needs to be below the pump itself, otherwise your beverage of choice will simply drain out by itself.

You can see it demonstrated in below, and as noted later in the video, “That is a very dangerous toy.” Definitely use something like this responsibly, as our robot helpers can’t quite drive us home yet.

 

The 101 Sensor Kit is an easy-to-follow, Arduino-compatible kit for Makers


OSEPP’s latest kit will help Makers create interactive projects using common sensors and modules.


Have you always wanted to build your own smart sensing device for the Internet of Things but don’t know where to start? Thanks to OSEPP, you’re in luck! The Vancouver-based startup has developed a comprehensive kit that enables Makers of any level to create interactive projects with the sensors commonly found throughout our daily lives.

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The 101 Sensor Kit consists of a shield and 14 modules, including a temperature sensor, a fan motor, LEDs, a microphone, a piezo buzzer, a knob, a PIR, a photocell, a push button, a 4-digit touch sensor and more. Designed with novices in mind, the set is Arduino-compatible and requires no prior electronics experience. Simply open up the box and follow along with its step-by-step manual, which also features sample codes and diagrams.

“Whether it’s the light sensors in your smartphones and laptops, the motion sensors found to control patio lighting, or smoke alarm sensors in your home, our kit helps you understand these common sensors that encompass our lives,” the team explains. “By the end, you will have a strong foundation of understanding how to incorporate a large range of sensors for any project you can think up!”

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If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get started with electronics, you may want to head over to the 101 Sensor Kit’s Kickstarter campaign where OSEPP is currently seeking $8,585. Delivery is slated for June 2016.

Watch-a got for today’s weather forecast? 


The Weather Watch monitors air pressure and temperature to provide its wearer with the forecast. 


If you want to know the weather, but care more about geeky style than accuracy, this wrist-mounted watch might be a good project for you. As creator “AgentMess” puts it, “It is obvious that the device cannot obtain the accuracy of established forecast services, but what it lacks in precision it makes up for in style.” He also notes that if you’re not interested in its weather prediction capabilities, “You can use it when you are going for a walk at night to be seen by cars and other road users.”

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The display is made using a 16 x 8 LED matrix with a “backpack” to control the display, and its “predictive power” is accomplished using an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4) with a GPS module and barometric pressure sensor. The idea is that the air pressure outside can be used to roughly predict upcoming weather. Since air pressure varies by altitude, the GPS module is employed to compensate for pressure changes due to movement.

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As you might suspect, the accuracy of this gadget can be thrown off when indoors, but hopefully its not as important there anyway. Of course, there are all kinds of other things one could do with a GPS-enabled wrist display. This project, though very cool in its current form, is just begging for improvement. If you have any ideas, the original Maker invites you to leave them in his original article!

3D print a Daft Punk helmet with Bluetooth-controlled LEDs


Harder, better, faster, brighter! 


If there is one musical group that has inspired more electronics projects than any other, Daft Punk has to be it. Besides just producing awesome electronic tunes, the helmets that they wear are filled with blinking lights. Adafruit’s latest helmet build, which is the brainchild of the Ruiz brothers, features a replica of Thomas Bangalter’s helmet and uses two microcontrollers for lighting control.

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Possibly the most impressive thing about this wearable is the work it takes to 3D print something like this. One not experienced with this type of machine might expect to press a button and see a shiny new headpiece to simply pop out of the machine, after printing, the three sections had to be joined together, painted, and sanded in several steps. Additionally, the visor was made separately, and heated to bend it into place.

Of course, the helmet wouldn’t be much fun without an array of blinking LEDs. The visor lights are provided by a NeoPixel strip, cut into two layers and embedded in the helmet. Animations for this portion are enabled by an Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit LE (ATmega32U4), which offers the ability to communicate over Bluetooth. This, in turn, allows animations to be controlled via a smartphone or even a smartwatch using Adafruit’s “BLE Connect” app. Meanwhile, the NeoPixel rings on the ears are managed by a 5V Trinket board (ATtiny85), with both rings sharing data, power and ground; certainly an interesting technique that one might want to keep in mind for later use.

 

Qtechknow’s Qduino Mini is now available


The Qduino Mini is the first tiny Arduino-compatible board with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge.


Adding to 15-year-old Quin Etnyre’s already rather long list of accomplishments was a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign back in March 2015. The Qduino Mini — which has been on display numerous times inside the Atmel Maker Faire booths — is the first tiny Arduino-compatible board equipped with a built-in battery charger and fuel gauge that can notify its user when a LiPo needs a little extra juice.

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“I always struggled to find a way to charge and monitor a battery, bundle with an Arduino and fit inside of every project.” Inspired by his own frustrations, the young Maker immediately went on to prototype his concept with hopes of one day bringing it to market.

Now available on SparkFun, the Qduino Mini is entirely open source and based on the versatile ATmega32U4 — the very same chip that can be found at the core of the Arduino Leonardo and several other Arduino AtHeart devices. The breadboard-friendly MCU runs at 8MHz at 3.3V and boasts plenty of dedicated digital, analog and PWM pins.

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The pint-sized project is not only packed with a battery charger circuit and fuel gauge, but possesses an uber-mini, ultra-thin form factor as well. This makes the shrunken-down, lightweight ‘duino an ideal choice for DIY quadcopter or high-altitude balloon projects, in addition to a wide range of other gadgets like an NFC Smart Lock and B&W Selfie Printer.

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Since its inception, the Qduino Mini has received a few minor upgrades before arriving at its latest iteration. According to Quin, these included two RGB LEDs (one for status, another that’s user programmable), a USB and power switch on the same face, and a LiPo connector on the opposite side of the board. What’s more, it has become even more “mini,” having been reduced from its original 1″ x 1.5” size to 0.8″ x 1.5”.

Sound like the tiny, Arduino-compatible board you’ve been looking for? Well, look no more as the Qduino Mini is available for $29.95 on SparkFun!

Change the color of your shoes with your smartphone


Can’t find the perfect shoes for your outfit? No worries! This pair can change colors in seconds. 


Have you ever spent hours looking for shoes to match an outfit, only to never arrive at a decision? Well, French company Eram, digital agency Phoceis and startup BlueGriot may have come up with a solution… or sole-ution! That’s because the collaboration has developed a lineup of smart footwear, appropriately named #CHOOSE.

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An earlier model consisted of an open toe sandal driven by an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), while the latest iteration — which we had the chance to see firsthand at CES 2016 — is a fashionable white low-top powered by a LightBlue Bean (ATmega328P). With an accompanying smartphone app, users can now change the color of their footwear to match their attire in a matter of a few seconds.

All the electronics are housed inside the sole. Communication is handled through Bluetooth, while optical fiber and an LED are tasked with illuminating different hues. There’s even a battery in each shoe, which can be refueled when placed on an induction-charging mat.

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What’s more, the app even features a color scanner that enables a wearer to truly match the shoe to any outfit, a handbag or whatever other accessory. While clearly still in its early stages, could such footwear become the future of industry? After all, it’s only a matter of time before smart clothing becomes mainstream.

The good news is that you won’t have to wait too long to get your hands on some, as the company hopes to have them on sale by the end of the year. They’ll likely be priced somewhere in the ballpark of $150 to $200.

 

Tinylab is a tablet-sized, fully-integrated prototyping kit


Tinylab provides Makers with a fully-integrated environment for the same price as an Arduino shield.


Safe to say, there’s no shortage when it comes to open source prototyping boards like Arduino. In fact, recent studies suggest that the number of installed hardware dev kits will nearly double from 11 million units in 2014 to 21 million in 2020. But shouldn’t there be a more effective way to bring an idea to life? Between the breadboard, wires, cables and soldering, traditional processes can take a bit longer and become more complicated than desired for Makers. Not to mention, when employing Arduino shields, you generally can’t stack more than a few due to pin overlaps. This was something that Bosphorus Mechatronics looked to solve.

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And so the Istanbul-based startup launched Tinylab — a tablet-sized, open source platform that contains everything you’d possibly need when developing a project. There’s an Arduino at the heart, along with over 20 I/O and all the necessary modules, circuits and components to streamline the prototyping phase.

To get started, simply open up its cap, plug in a USB cable and upload your Arduino sketch. Tinylab is built around the mighty ATmega32U4 — the same MCU found at core of the Arduino Leonardo — and features sockets for XBee, Bluetooth, ESP8266 and nRF24xx modules, in addition to an LCD screen, a microSD reader, a seven-segment display, a real-time clock, a relay, a potentiometer, external EEPROM, a piezo buzzer, a rotary encoder, a DC motor driver, a temperature sensor, a photoresistor, a few buttons, and LEDs.

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“Combine all these things and make your own recipe easily. All of the things are onboard excluding wireless features. There are attachable modules. There are sockets for them on board. If there’s a need to communicate something, just attach and code it,” the team explains. “For all the other things that the board doesn’t include, there is a tiny breadboard”

As if that wasn’t enough, Tinylab is platform agnostic and can be programed in Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It’s also compatible with today’s most popular environments, including Arduino IDE, Atmel Studio 7, Visual Studio, Scratch, Codebender and Eclipse. Designed with portability in mind, Tinylab can be thrown in your bag, taken wherever you need to go and is ready for use right out of the box.

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“Arduino is our hero, we mostly design around it and we realized that we use some common components with it generally. Every time, we need to make same circuits to display, send or sense something,” founder Ahmet Sait Borlak tells TechCrunch. “Using a breadboard turns a torture and using stackable shields doesn’t serve the purpose generally. So we think the Tinylab can be the painkiller. So we designed it, used it and love it… Also, it’s perfect for education. Because it’s compatible with MIT’s Scratch we think it can take place in school laboratories.”

Intrigued? Tinylab is entirely open source, and its schematics and layouts can be found on GitHub. Bosphorus Mechatronics has launched the kit on Indiegogo, where the crew is currently seeking $25,000. The first batch of units is expected to ship early this summer.

Riots is a plug-and-play wireless network of sensors and controllers


The Riots family is a low-cost, minimalistic and Arduino-compatible solution for remote sensing, monitoring and controlling your environment.


It all began when propellerhead Samuli Stenudd fearlessly went to battle against the jumble of wires. He could not fathom how cumbersome and laborious it was to create a useful device out of a kit or components, nor why he had to always physically connect a wire to it in order to program updates. As any engineer would, he decided to roll up his sleeves and tackle these problems head-on. Stenudd set out to devise a new way to easily monitor his environment and smart gadgets in an inexpensive, effective and minimalistic manner. And so, Riots was born.

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The Riots family consists of a “Mama” and several “Babies.” An individual Mama is the gateway to the Internet and can manage hundreds of uniquely tasked Babies, which are interconnected within a mesh network. These nodes can also communicate with one another without any external control.

Thus far, fully-functional prototypes include sensors for temperature, pressure, light and motion, capacitive touch buttons, DC control and USB connectors.

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To get started, simply attach the Babies wherever desired. Connect the Mama to the Internet and add each node to your account. From there, you can remotely link, manage, monitor and even reprogram new tasks for all family members.

For example, say you wanted to keep tabs on the humidity level inside your bathroom. Place a Riots Air on the wall and another inside the vent, and hook the Mama up to the web. These Babies could then collect and visualize real-time information on your smartphone. Other applications include recording energy consumption, tracking belongings, ensuring doors are locked, and even being informed when a loved one arrives home, among many other things right from your Internet-enabled device.

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At the heart of every unit lies a Riots Core, which is equipped with an ATmega328P, an RGB LED and an nRF24L01+ radio module. The real magic doesn’t happen, however, until it is joined with a Riots Base to make it an actual Riots Product. The mesh network itself is completely expandable, and the Riots family is entirely open source and Arduino-compatible.

Programming and data are globally accessible via the Riots Cloud or locally through private wireless networks. The Riots Cloud stores data from all the deployed Riots Products, provides management features and a basic user interface. Beyond that, remote development, over the air updates and debugging of individual Riots Products can be done through the cloud as well.

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Looking for an easy, affordable and open source IoT solution? Head over to its page on Kickstarter, where Stenudd and the Riots Instruments team are currently seeking $30,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in May 2016.

 

CoDrone lets you program your own drone


Robolink has developed a drone that anyone can learn to program and fly. 


Not only do most drones these days seem to be centered around aerial photography, many require you to shell out a couple hundred bucks. However, Robolink is looking to do something a bit different: the San Diego-based team wants to help you learn how to code. CoDrone is an inexpensive, pint-sized flying electronics kit that can be programmed in under five minutes to do whatever you want — whether that’s tracking your movements, following you around, flying custom paths, navigating through a maze or engaging in laser battles.

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CoDrone comes with a series of step-by-step video tutorials that enable you to bring all sorts of cool applications to life. Each kit includes a variety of sensors (air pressure, IR, gyroscope, accelerometer and optical flow for hovering), a controller set, a LiPo battery, a USB charger, a Bluetooth 4.0 module, a USB programming cable, and an ATmega32-based, Arduino-compatible board for its brain. With the ability for you to configure its behavior, the possibilities are truly endless.

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Each CoDrone can be manually operated from a remote-control or programmed to perform various tasks. What’s more, it can even drive around using some convertible wheels.

The idea for such a product was conceived as a unique, more engaging way to introduce kids and adults to the worlds of coding, engineering and robotics. As Robolink CEO Hansol Hong puts it. “Programming can be tedious to learn. But when a few minutes of coding can put a drone in the sky, programming brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

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Weighing in at just 37 grams, CoDrone boasts eight minutes of flight time on a single charge and a maximum distance of 160 feet. Not only is it easy to program, it’s even easier to afford as well. The kit will retail for $179 and only $139 during its crowdfunding campaign. Intrigued? Fly over to its Kickstarter page, where the Robolink crew is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for this spring.