Tag Archives: Arduino board

Wearing your Wi-Fi signal

Architect Luis Hernan has created a psychedelic Kirlian Device that picks up on Wi-Fi signals and translates them into colored lights.


As Sydney Brownstone of FastCo.Exist reports, the Kirlian Device is named after Russian inventor Semyon Kirlian who developed a mystical, glowing style of photography said to capture the vivid “auras” of torn leaves and other living things. Wired has dubbed Hernan as “a modern day ghost hunter” in search of technological apparitions that surround us in everyday life.

Whereas a vast majority of us are in search of Wi-Fi signals on a regular basis, not many have been on a quest to visualize the networks that keep us connected in order to gain a better understanding of these wireless systems.

“When you actually make this information visible, you at least have the opportunity to adapt these technologies to their specific needs, Hernan told Wired.

“I’m interested in this idea that they have this secret life – they’re unstable, they’re very difficult to capture. I did that as a way to explore this hidden sense of poetry in banal technology.”

Hernan’s Kirlian Device — which picks up on observable frequencies — was originally built with an Atmel based Arduino board and LED lights. It is tasked with translating Wi-Fi networks into colors, with red indicating the strongest signal and blue, the weakest. Essentially, the modern day Kirlian Device uses the same technology as a laptop to scan for the strongest network signal.

It should be noted that Hernan has also coded a Kirlian mobile app, which is designed to reveal Wi-Fi fields by means of long exposure photography and aural atmospheres.

“There is a hidden poetry in these kinds of signals,” Hernan believes.

Intrigued? You can download the Kirlian mobile app here.

EASiLOGO controls your Etch-a-Sketch

Graham Toal has debuted a CNC Etch-a-Sketch robotic platform powered by an Atmel-based Arduino board.

Aside from the board, key project hardware components include:

  • Two stepper motors
Two bracket sets
  • Two couplers and a 2mm Allen Key
  • 12V power supply
  • One Adafruit Stepper motor shield

On the software side?

“I considered using remote procedure calls, I thought about implementing Hewlett Packard Graphics Language (HPGL) as used in pen plotters, but in the end for fun I decided to use GCODE as my drawing protocol – GCODE is how laser cutters and 3D printers and many other CNC machines are driven, so it seemed like good experience to learn a bit about how it worked,” Toal explained in a recent Instructables post.

“I found an Arduino GCODE interpreter and modified it to suit my project. Mostly the mods were just to remove the Z-axis code that wasn’t needed (you can’t lift or lower the pen in an etch-a-sketch – when you move, it always draws a line) but the main modification was to remove some machine-dependent stepper-motor-driving code and replace it with portable calls to the Adafruit libraries.”

To create a functional LOGO interpreter, Toal turned to Marcio Passos from Brazil who quickly coded an interface (EASiLOGO) based on the “Papert” LOGO interpreter written in Javascript by Thomas Figg along with an Etch-a-Sketch demo from the Mozilla Developer network.

“Marcio and I modified Papert to use the ‘Node.js’ system which gave the code the ability to drive the serial port so that we could send GCODE commands to the Arduino and make the Etch-a-Sketch draw,” he said.

“In a mammoth 30-hr session over the weekend, we got the LOGO interpreter working and sending drawings to the Etch-a-Sketch.”

So, what’s next for Toal? Well, the Maker says he hopes to polish the software so that anyone can use it without needing to build a physical Etch-a-Sketch robot.

“The emulation of the computer-controlled Etch-a-Sketch on our web page is very accurate and we’ll continue to work on it to make it look and perform even better. Programs that run on the web page will run just as nicely on the real hardware,” he added.

“If you can’t build the hardware, you can do the human simulation we described in the introduction, by writing down the instructions on a piece of paper, and giving them to your kids to execute on a real Etch-a-Sketch toy by hand. It’s a great way to learn to program, even without a computer.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.

Quin Etnyre talks Makers at the White House

At 13 years of age, Quin Etnyre is already an accomplished Maker and teacher working to change the world – one Atmel powered Arduino board at a time.


Today, Bits & Pieces had the opportunity to interview the young Maker about America’s burgeoning DIY culture on the sidelines of the very first White House Maker Faire.

Atmel: Who, or what inspired you to become a Maker?

Quin: I was inspired by LEGO. Every day I would build a kit. To be a Maker, you have to think outside of the box, and come up with new ideas on your own. Later on, I started ‘hacking’ LEGO, and making my own versions of kits that worked just as good, maybe even better. This concept led to me hacking other electronics and mechanical objects around the house, which made me a Maker.


Atmel: How do you feel about being chosen to attend the very first Maker Faire at the White House?

Quin: It is awesome!!! I can’t believe that last year I started to show my projects at Maker Faire, and just the next year I am picked to go to the White House, and show the President what I’m making! It is super fun to show people what I make, and teach them how they can learn how to make projects, too!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement democratizes the tools and skills necessary to design and create just about anything?

Quin: It allows more and more people the knowledge they need for free (open source), allows them to modify projects – and contribute to to the community in the end. Many people can learn, and many people can teach.

Atmel: What projects of yours are powered by Atmel-powered Arduino boards or stand-alone MCUs?


Quin: All of my projects with a microprocessor are Atmel-powered! Many of them are based on Arduino boards, like the FuzzBot, Gas Cap, and TFT LCD screen Instructables, and the Quasi-duino Arduino clone (also on Instructables!) uses the ATmega328 MCU with the bare minimum components needed to function as an extra small Arduino. [Since it] uses [a minimal number of] components on the breadboard, I even had to rewrite the Arduino core for it!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement and DIY culture make the world a better place?

Quin: The average child or adult will be much smarter! They will have even more access to the digital tools and DIY machinery necessary to build complex projects with ease. Every open source product made will enable an average citizen to learn more and become ore knowledgeable, whether it is building space engines, or making light-up cupcakes.

Samsung builds a Smart Bike

Designed by Italian frame-builder Giovanni Pelizzoli and student Alice Biotti, the Samsung Smart Bike is built around an aluminum frame that boasts curved tubes to soak up vibrations from riding on rough city streets.

As Gizmag’s Ben Coxworth reports, a rearview camera is located between the seat stays of the frame to stream live video feeds to a handlebar-mounted Samsung smartphone.

“There are four lasers built into the frame, that project a bike lane onto the road on either side of the bike, as it’s moving. Those lasers automatically come on as ambient light levels drop, as detected by the smartphone,” writes Coxworth.

“Additionally, an app on the phone uses GPS to make a note of routes that are often traveled by the cyclist. It then offers the option of notifying city officials of those routes, with the suggestion that they add officially-designated bicycle lanes.”

The frame is also equipped with a battery, Atmel based Arduino board, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth modules.

Interested in learning more? Ride on over to Smart Bike’s official page here.

1:1 with Quin Etnyre of Qtechknow

It’s without question that 13-year-old CEO and whizkid, Quin Etnyre, has already become quite an accomplished Maker changing the world – one Atmel powered Arduino board at a time.

During Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, Quin hosted the “QTechKnow Olympics” robotic challenge featuring Arduino, XBee and FuzzBots.

Quin was also presented with the Maker Faire Editor’s Choice award for his Atmel-based demos and projects.

So what does Quin want to be when he grows up? An educator, user experience designer and electrical engineer.

You can read more about Quin the Maker here, the FuzzBot on Instructables and visit his official website here.

A manual milling machine with an Arduino digital readout

A recent Design News magazine featured a neat article about a fellow that built a wood frame for milling machine. It uses a Dremel-type router for the spindle motor. It’s a hand-cranker, as my machinist buddies say, the only motor is for the spindle.


This manual milling machine uses a hand-cranked X- and Y-axis with a Dremel-type spindle.

Cool thing is, the builder, John Duffy used an Atmel-based Arduino board to make a digital readout. This makes the mill much more useful.


This Arduino is used to create a digital read out (DRO).

You can check out Duffy’s detailed instructions in this PDF file here.

CROMATICA lamp fuses light and sound

Powered by an Atmel based Arduino board, CROMATICA creates an ambient experience by fusing light and sound. 

This digital hybrid – which acts as a both a table lamp and speaker – is controlled via a gestural interface and remotely via an app.


“The name has a story. The word ‘Cromatica’ (chromatic in English) comes from the Greek ‘Chroma’ (color). It is used to describe the phenomenon of light but is also common in musical harmony,” a Digital Habits rep explained in a recent CrowdRooster post.


“The Chromatic scale is a specific musical scale consisting of all twelve semitones of the tempered system. We wanted an object that combined music and light, system and warmth. CROMATICA was the perfect name.”

CROMATICA is equipped with white and colored RGB dimmable light to create ambient effects. Light is provided by the combination of two types of LED lighting: white for practical comfort lighting and RGB to create an adjustable array of colored lighting. Meanwhile, warm white lighting creates a pleasant tone; ideal for reading it can be dimmed to produce convivial, welcoming atmospheres. In addition, the two lighting systems are capable of being regulated independently and mixed to produce an infinity of combinations.

So, how does it work? Well, each individual function can be controlled with simple hand gestures, in case CROMATICA isn’t connected or a smartphone isn’t in reach.

“The upper face is embedded with a sophisticated control system consisting of matrix of cap-sense sensors; this system allows CROMATICA to interpret your movements so that any gesture is recognized as a command,” the Digital Habits rep continued.

“Each individual gesture was studied and chosen for maximum simplicity and natural spontaneity; instruction books or manuals are not necessary, each command is natural yet simple because it refers to instinctive gestures.”

More specifically, touching the middle of the circle turns the light on and off. Intensity can be regulated by simply prolonging contact with the device. When CROMATICA is being used as a sound system, dragging a finger on the circle on the upper part of the device will increase or reduce the volume. To ‘pause’, place the hand and fingers on the top of the lamp.


On the sound side, a microphone integrated in the front panel allows the device to be used as a speaker-phone when the handpiece is connected to the lamp. Meaning, the call can be answered or terminated by simply touching the upper part of the lamp. 

CROMATICA is also a powerful Bluetooth speaker with the sound managed by a 7w amplifier. Sound is produced via a pair of loudspeakers, a 3” woofer with a neodymium magnet for the optimal response to the medium-low frequencies and a 1.5” tweeter for crystal clear reproduction of the higher frequencies.

Additional key features and specs include:

  • LED WHITE source, 250 lm, 3000K, 110°, CRI 85
  • Speakers – 3”speaker low/mid range and 2” tweeter
  • Amplification – 2×6 W (12V/8 Ω)
  • Frequency Response: 85 Hz to 20 kHz
  • PLUG supply 12v 2A
  • USB port
Input: 100 – 240 V , 50/60 Hz
Output: 12 V CC, 2 A
  • USB port to upload firmware
  • USB port to charge devices such as smartphones with 5V supply

Interested in learning more? You can check out CROMATICA’s official page here.

DIY LANp controls upcycled RGB lamp

The HackShed crew recently debuted the LANp, a DIY Arduino network controllable RGB lamp made from upcycled scanner components.

Aside from an Atmel-based Arduino board, key project components include:

  • 1x Arduino Ethernet/SD Shield
  • 1x Micro-SDHC Card
  • 1x Scanner LED RGB
  • Various jumper wires
  • QK1-4761 LED scanner bar (Canon PIXMA MP620)

“A few weeks ago we ripped out an RGB LED from an old Canon Scanner that was laying around and going to waste,” a HackShed rep explained in a blog post.

“Since then we’ve been playing around with the RGB LED element and decided to put it to good use. We have come up with LANp. This is an Arduino and Ethernet Shield that controls an RGB LED color real-time with a Javascript color picker.”

The HackShed crew kicked off the project by soldering wires on to the pads of the scanner LED.

“We just soldered wire directly to 4 of the 5 pads. The bottom one isn’t used and the next are R G B +5v going upwards. Make sure that none of the wires, or soldered joints are touching each other as this will skew the color of the LED dramatically,” the rep continued.

“It may be worth taping this up after soldering to avoid the wires touching when you’re moving the LED around. Connect up the Pins to the Arduino; we have used pins 3, 5, 6 for RGB.”

On the software side, HackShed based the webserver code on a previous project which details how to configure an SD Card based web server and serve files over a network (with support for AJAX requests).

“We are using the Flexi Colour Picker by David Durman which is a Javascript based color picker that supports multiple web browsers,” the rep added.

“We have put the Javascript inline instead of a separate file so we are not requesting too many files at once from the webserver.”

Interested in learning more about building a DIY LANp upcycled RGB lamp? You can check out the project’s HackShed page here.