Tag Archives: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Make yourself an automatic ice bucket challenge machine with ATmega32u4

You have likely seen your fair share of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos over the last few weeks, but this new automatic Ice Bucket Challenge vendor demonstrated by gckulo changes the game.

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We featured Christopher Lewis’ automatic Ice Bucket Challenge device last week and this contraption fits in the same innovative bill. The ATmega32u4 based RoMeo V2[R3], which behaves like an Arduino Leonardo, serves as the brains of the DIY build. This Arduino-compatible device dumps the bucket of ice water whenever the sensors linked to its central control system are triggered.


“When the guy is standing in front of the machine, the Arduino controlled system will pull the rope and pour out the ice and water in the bucket,” the Maker describes his contraption.


An ultrasonic sensor is employed to trigger when a user enters the specified splash zone. “The range of this ultrasonic sensor is about 10 meters. However the detecting angle is about 15 degrees. So it could achieve the detection in a specified range,” gckulo adds.

In all, this project works to raise awareness for ALS and the Maker community. What a great combo!

To read the initial tutorial, you can browse through the project’s Instructables page here.

ATmega328 helps make the Ice Bucket Challenge accessible to all

If you’ve logged into any of your many social media accounts over the last few weeks, you have undoubtedly seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Though there are varied opinions on the latest viral phenomenon, a Maker by the name Christopher Lewis has taken the cause to heart when accepting his challenge.


In true Maker fashion, Christopher used his ingenuity to make his Ice Bucket Challenge video stand out from the norm. He wanted to highlight the utility of Augmentative/ Alternative Communication (AAC) devices used by individuals with neurodegenerative diseases like ALS or Parkinson’s.

Using a barometric switch, which is commonly found of AAC devices, and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), Christopher developed a hands-free Ice Bucket Challenge Backpack. The wearer simply blows into a tube to activate a sensor, which then sends a signal to the Arduino, and starts the soaking process.


Christopher used this method to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge in order to raise awareness for what the Maker community could do to improve the lives of those impacted by these diseases. While a vast majority of AAC equipment are quite expensive, as seen with several DIY medical devices, Makers could ultimately create similar tools for much, much less.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has already raised nearly $80 million over the last month and donations are still rolling in at a record pace. Hopefully this social media movement, along with inventiveness from Makers like Christopher, can help fight this disease in the future.

You can view Christopher’s entire tutorial on his blog. To learn more about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, feel free to browse the ALS Association’s homepage.