With Arduino Day celebrations just about to kick off, let’s take a look at some cool ‘duino projects!
Atmel powers Arduino. Arduino enables Maker. Maker inspires the world. While there are countless creations all over the web, we’ve compiled just a few of the most dynamic and different ‘duino projects from the past couple of months to help celebrate March 28th.
As you can tell, the open-source platform has come a long way since its inception a decade ago. Today, the Arduino family has grown to include more than two dozen low-cost boards, a community with hundreds of thousands of tinkerers and over a million (and counting) Arduino units in the wild.
So without further ado, here’s some of our favorite projects to kickoff Arduino Day festivities!
Unlocking doors by saying ‘open sesame!’
MIT student Dheera Venkatraman has developed a new way for users to wirelessly unlock their doors with simple Google Now-like commands.
Wearing an Enigma machine
Designed by Maker “Asciimation” the Enigma wristwatch is a fully-functional wearable that replicates the original machine, which was used to cipher secret messages in the 20th century.
Changing the TV channel with your mind
Maker Daniel Davis — who runs the website “Tinkernut” — has developed a homemade mind-controlled TV remote using an old Star Wars Force Trainer game and Arduino.
A wearable that lets you bring your teacher anywhere
Like a hawk-eyed professor, this wearable device literally puts a teacher looking over your shoulder.
This book cover judges you instead
Amsterdam creative studio Moore has turned the tables on an old-school idiom using a book sleeve equipped with an integrated camera and facial-recognition technology that scans the face of whoever comes near. If someone conveys too much emotion – whether overexcitement or under-enthusiasm — the book will remain locked.
Stopping cheaters in online video games
To end cheating in online video game tournaments, software engineer David Titarenco developed what he calls Game:ref. Built around an Arduino Mega SDK, the device is capable of identifying mouse-based cheats that are typically seen in FPS, MOBA, RTS and other competitive games, ranging from auto-clicking to aimbots.
Catch ‘em all with help of Arduino
Pepijn de Vos has created a system that acts as a Game Boy, storing a single Pokémon in EEPROM. This enables a user to trade between first-generation games using only a single console, all by themselves.
Tapping out tweets with on an old telegraph
Maker Devon Elliot outfitted an old telegraph sounder seated in a wooden resonator with some modern-day electronics so that it could tap out tweets.
Detecting air pollution with a Steampunk helmet
The Jacobson’s Fabulous Olfactometer is a head-mounted contraption that offers sensory augmentation for the human olfactory system under extreme living conditions of polluted cities.
Controlling electronic devices using cords
Inspired by a water hose, MIT’s Tangible Media Group wants you to control your connected gadgets with their cords. Imagine if tightening a knot could dim a lamp, attaching a clip on a power cord could put a computer to sleep or kinking its wire could power it on/off.
The Internet of Ethical Things?
Created by Simone Rebaudengo and Matthieu Cherubini, Ethical Things is a project that explores the effects of autonomous systems of the future as they head increasingly towards complex algorithms aimed at solving situations requiring some form of moral reasoning.
A smart table that listens and records meetings
As its name implies, the Listening Table combines pervasive data collection and the Internet of Things into a new concept, one in which office furniture can listen and record your conversations, using an array of dynamic microphones. When a meeting concludes, participants can see a high-level summary digest showing all the topics discussed.
Now that’s doing-knit-yourself!
The duo of Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet recently debuted the open-source circular knitting machine Circular Knitic. Initially built for a program called DOERS, which was curated by Arduino co-founder David Cuartielles, the DIY device was constructed using a RepRap printer along with some digital fabrication, laser cutting and MakerBeam, and is powered by an Arduino Uno.
Teaching a pup to send selfies
One Maker proved that, by using the combination of an Arduino Yún, Twilio and a big red button, anyone can train their puppy to send selfies.
Visualize your city’s mood through tweets
Maker Chadwick Friedman has devised a 3D-printed Twitter Mood Lamp that, as its name would suggest, changes colors to match the attitude of the city. The project is controlled by an Arduino Yún, which causes the device to emit either red, green, or blue based on whether the mood of the city is perceived to be angry, happy, or sad, respectively.
Tracking activities in lower Earth orbit
Berlin studio Quadrature has developed a custom-built machine, called SATELLITEN, that is capable of keeping tabs on the number of satellite flyovers and plotting them in real-time on a paper map with ink.
Playing real-world Space Invaders with real-world lasers
Martin Raynsford — who happens to be one of the owners of UK-based laser cutter manufacturer Just Add Sharks — decided to bring the classic game of Space Invaders to life using the hardware of a modified Whitetooth A1 laser cutter along with a laptop keyboard to serve as its gamepad. An Arduino Nano was mounted to a custom 80W laser controller to enable side-to-side movement to help shoot the paper invaders, each clipped to a plate and driven by stepper motors.
Dispensing music with Juice-Box
For a school assignment, Maker Jae-Hwan Jung devised a soda dispenser-styled jukebox in a project he calls Juice-Box. Programmed with an assortment of musical flavors, users can “dispense” tunes in their own cup-shaped MP3 player. Each dispenser denotes a different genre, such as favorites, jazz, hip-hop or the blues.
Sending encrypted messages using social networks
Made by Jochen Maria Weber, Cuckoo is device that uses social media as a means of private communication, and encrypts messages into randomly generated words, meanings and noise in order to scatter them over multiple networks simultaneously.
Get ready for your own robotic sidekick
PLEN2 is a 3D-printable, humanoid robotic kit consisting of a control board, servo motors and other electronic accessories that let Makers of all levels put together themselves. Programmed to mirror its human counterpart, PLEN2 aspires to revolutionize the relationship between homo and robo sapiens.
Time traveling through augmented reality and smell
A researcher employed an Arduino, an Arduino Wi-Fi Shield, a cheap computer fan and Unity3D software to explore the use of augmented reality within archaeological practice. A mobile app reconstructs real-world images by changing in real-time as the user moves about their environment, while a fan emits scents to make it as if you traveled to another time.
This drone attachment can save your life
Launched on Kickstarter by a group of Connecticut high school students, Ryptide is an Arduino-powered drone accessory that can deliver an automatically-inflating life preserver to a swimmer in trouble in seconds.
Using your brain and visual stimuli to play music
In collaboration with researcher Oscar Portolés, digital artist Fèlix Vinyals has developed a hybrid brain computer machine interface installation that allows him to create music and control the lighting during a performance on stage, all through the reading of the electric potential of his brain and visual stimuli.
A Bellagio-like fountain recreated with strings
Replicating the likes of the Bellagio world-renowned display mixed with a 1950s synchronized swimming performance, Paolo Salvagione has whipped up a kinetic sculpture that uses propulsion to elevate a continuous piece of string into the air.
Crafted by Christopher Connell, this ambient Darth Vader poster wirelessly reacts to music playing in a room with various LED color-changing effects.
Automating your Etch-A-Sketch to recreate famous paintings
Evan Long decided to mod his old Etch-A-Sketch using an Arduino Uno to enable the toy to draw famous pieces of art, including the Mona Lisa. The Maker added 3D-printed custom mounts to its knobs, which housed a pair of two stepper motors and ULN2803 to switch the 12V required for the steppers.
Turning twerking into music
The Booty Drum is a high-tech musical device that, unlike most instruments, isn’t operated by your hands, feet or head for that matter, but by your posterior. This idea is a collaboration between headphone brand AIAIAI, professional dancer Twerk Queen Louise, Branko from Portuguese electronic band Buraka Som Sistema and Dutch design company Owow.
A robot that shovels for you
The next time that you’re expecting 12” of snow, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a machine that could do the tedious task for you — without ever having to step foot outside? Well, a Maker by the name of Boris Landoni has devised just that: a remote-controlled snow plow robot powered by an Arduino Uno.
Right on pointé
Designed by Lesia Trubat, Electronic Traces (E-Traces for short) are a pair of embedded pointé shoes which allow ballerinas to recreate their movements into visual sensations using an accompanying mobile app.
Designed by Oslo, Norway design firm Drap go Design, the Interacket is an ATmega328-powered jacket that lets a wearer interact with the objects around them by mimicking their color.
Click your heels three times and call an Uber ride
Designed by Maker DJ Saul, Dorothy is a physical trigger that can turn a dumb ol’ shoe smart. Adhering to the “if this, then that” principle, the Ruby is an Arduino-based device equipped with a Bluetooth chip, accelerometer and coin cell battery, while its housing is 3D-printed. The small gadget can be either slipped into or clipped onto any piece of footwear and connected to a smartphone app that will automatically call a cab or send a message.
This talking fridge can sell itself
In an attempt to provide shoppers with a less intrusive experience, Samsung equipped a number of its refrigerators with Arduino units that were capable of detecting customers and speaking to them in real-time. Whenever movement was sensed by any of the fridge’s interior compartments, the Arduino sensors activated a voice playback and explained the appliance’s features and benefits to the prospective buyer.
When ‘duino found Nemo
Dutch design group Studio Diip modded an existing tank with wheels and sensors that would allow its inhabitant to operate the vehicle by swimming in a specific direction. The project, dubbed Fish on Wheels, is an attempt to “liberate fish all over the world.”
Color-changing fabrics react to heat and sound
Judit Eszter Karpati, a Budapest-based textile designer, wanted to further blur the fading boundaries between the digital realm and physical world. To do so, the Maker created an e-textile that alters its patterns based on its surroundings, which is made possible by an Arduino board, a 12V power supply and nearly 20 custom PCBs.
An interactive fabric you’ll want to touch
The brainchild of Esteban de la Torre and Judit Eszter Karpati, OCHO TONOS is an audible textile interface for multi-sensorial interaction, involving both touch and sound. The objective of the project was to create a soundscape through sensor technology inviting audiophiles to perform and explore with reactive textile elements.
Re-imagining the radio interface
Audio broadcasting radios have been around since the 1920s. In fact, their control interface share many similarities — knobs, sliders and switches — with those designed by our ancestors nearly 100 years ago. Seeking to redefine the entire radio control experience, Carnegie Mellon University design student Yaakov Lyubetsky built a fully-functional prototype of an Experimental Form Radio using an Arduino Uno.
Wake up and smell the coffee
For a majority of us, mornings just aren’t complete without your daily cup ‘o joe. Now, what if your instant coffee literally woke you up? Nestlé teamed with Mexcio City-based agency Publicis Mexico and Los Angeles studio NOTlabs to debut the Alarm Cap — a limited-edition, 3D-printed lid powered by an Arduino. The unique design is comprised of seven distinct alarm sounds, including a bird song, that are played in tandem with a gently pulsing light. To switch off the alarm, the user opens the lid and is greeted with the invigorating smell of Nescafé coffee.
This washing machine orders detergent when you’re out
Cloudwash — designed by the folks at Berg — is a prototype washing machine (based on a standard Zanussi model) connected to a web platform. The team created the futuristic device to explore how the ever-growing Internet of Things would change the appliances most commonly found in our homes, and to discover what new, innovative features would be made possible.
A floating orb captures and replays ambient noise
Created by Francesco Tacchini, Julinka Ebhardt and Will Yates-Johnson, Space Replay is a giant ball that constantly records and replays the sounds of public spaces, creating a delayed echo of human activity. To make the floating orb, the Maker trio used a latex balloon filled with enough helium to be able to lift a battery-powered, an Arduino, an Adafruit Wave Shield and a small speaker.
Samsung is making your bike smarter
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. The frame is also equipped with a battery, an Arduino board, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules.
Designing your own pair of Google Glass
13-year-old Clay Haight designed something not many kids would have even imagined, particularly at that age: a Google Glass-inspired, intelligent pair of glasses. The young Maker used the sensors on the Arduino Esploraand an Arduino LCD screen, before piecing it all together on a 3D-printed frame.
This robot wants to add AI to everyday household objects
Sure, robotic concepts are dime a dozen these days. The question is, however, how close are we to an era of ubiquitous multi-function droids? According to Flower Robotics, soon. In an effort to lower the barriers for development and adoption of in-house robots, the Tokyo-based design studio launched a futuristic, Arduino-based device that they call Patin.
Saying ‘I Love You’ with the IoT
Israeli design student Daniel Sher has developed a trilogy of creations that can transmit silent gestures between loved ones. Using an Arduino for all three devices, the Maker utilized the Internet of Things to establish a new way for loved ones to communicate from afar. The Maker incorporated a series of sensors and wires that allowed various physical traits to be measured and relayed across long distances.
Free beer for your timesheet
Let’s face it, no one enjoys filling out timesheets — yet they are imperative in order to get paid. That’s why Minneapolis ad agency Colle + McVoy has devised a new way to not only get employees to fill out their time cards, but to reward them with some draft beer. Dubbed TapServer, the multi-keg beer deployment system combines RFID tags and some custom-written software to seamlessly sync with the agency’s time-keeping application. On the hardware side, the program is comprised of several Arduino Uno boards, a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi.
A modern-day message in a bottle
Created by ECAL graduate David Colombini, Attachment is an Arduino Mega-powered poetic machine that enables you to send text, images or videos into the air using a biodegradable balloon with the intention of “rediscovering expectation, the random, and the unexpected” uncommonly found in current means of communication.
Backpack destroys personal data
The backpack — which was originally designed as an Art Center College of Design project — intercepts data that’s about to go to the cloud and ‘vaporizes’ it at the same time, creating both a real and symbolic shield. The backpack includes an ‘inhaler’ device that attaches to your hand and triggers it either when someone gets too close to the inhaler’s proximity sensor or when you breathe into it.
Taste the music on the radio
Can music be translated from something we hear into something we can taste? A group of students believed so, and decided to find out. Beatballs is a project created by 54 students from the Interactive Art Director program at Hyper Island in Stockholm who developed a code that translates specific songs into different meatball recipes based on tempo, cadence, mood, key, and other tuneful attributes. The team also devised a prototype of a machine made with Arduino and recycled objects.
Turning air pollution into art
Media artist Dmitry Morozov — more commonly known as ::vtol:: — found a way to turn offensive pollution into enticing art through a portable, Bluetooth-connected device entitled Digioxide. In an attempt to raise public awareness of the environmental pollution by artistic means, the Maker’s wireless creation uses a set of sensors to measure the presence of gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and even dust in the air, which are translated into volts. An Arduino algorithmically then converts those volts into various shapes and colors.
Lamp changes color with your mood
The Mood Lamp is an Arduino-based project created by Italian developer Vittorio Cuculo. The hacked IKEA lamp adjusts its lighting output based on the facial expression of a user.
A shape-shifting, morphing table
MIT’s Tangible Media Group launched a shapeshifting display that lets users interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM is equipped with 900 individually actuated white polystyrene pins that make up the surface in an array of 30 x 30 pixels. The interactive piece can display 3D information in real-time and in a more accurate and interactive manner compared to the flat rendering often created by computer user interface.
A kinetic-audio installation
In collaboration with FutureEverything and Moscow’s Laboratoria Art & Science Space, media artist Dmitry Morozov has designed a kinetic audio installation that emits quantum entanglement-inspired sounds.
Putting a unique spin on political debates
This interactive installation by Maker Georgios Cherouvim features a real-life demonstration of a vocal debate between two characters. Instead of a productive dialogue promoting their ideas on a range of issues from voting and local government to war and taxes, the “politicians” share a constant yet indecipherable argument with one another, causing the viewers to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.
This wireless iPhone charger is a work of art
Developed as part of a diploma project by a University of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (ECAL) student, Spira is a magnetic docking station that wirelessly restores power to an iPhone while turning the device into a decorative wall clock. Utilizing a blend of wood, metal and plastic, the Maker sought to devise an ambient frame that would enable a magnetized iPhone case to hang decoratively on the wall thereby giving it a “place of honor in the home atmosphere.”
Etching graffiti for those in the distant future
As we look into the future, have you ever considered how you might communicate with your distant offspring — say 50,000 years from now? Well, German artist Lorenz Potthast has. The Maker has created what he calls a “positive vandalism machine,” for communicating with next generations. The Petroglyphomat is a portable, computer-operated milling cutter that can pass along messages by etching them into ancient monuments.
Long exposure photos reveal invisible motions in sports
Canadian photographer Stephen Orlando has introduced a new way to visualize action sports through the use of LED lights and an Arduino. The technique reveals beautiful light trails, which are not artificially created using applications like Photopshop, and represents the actual paths of familiar objects.
This lamp mimics thunderstorms
Richard Clarkson has created Cloud, an interactive lamp and speaker system out of an Arduino, fluffy cotton and cloth cord. According to the designer, the installation acts as both a semi-immersive lightning experience — or as a speaker with visual feedback — to mimic a thunderstorm in both appearance and entertainment.
Experiencing the Northern Lights with Arduino
Many travelers consider the Northern Lights to be a mysterious phenomenon that is nearly impossible to explain to someone unless they have experienced it as well. French graphic designer Bertrand Lanthiez wished to bring that indescribable occurrence to the masses.
Brightening the Japanese waterfront
GwaGwa — a creative duo comprised of Makers Masamichi and Kozue Shimada — is known for a number of their innovative installation, hand drawing and stop motion animations. Most recently, the team was commissioned by Smart Illumination Yokohama 2014 to design “Colors of the Wind Way” along the Japanese city’s waterfront.
This talking foundation wants you to drink more H2O
The Drink Up Fountain, a collaborative project between YesYesNo Interactive Studio and Partnership for a Healthier America, dispenses entertaining greetings intended to encourage everyone to drink more water more often. While the Drink Up device may look like a regular fountain, it sure doesn’t sound like one. When a drinker’s lips touch the water, the Arduino Mega-powered fountain utters phrases like “Refreshing, isn’t it” and “Your feeding one trillion thirsty cells right now,” thereby completing a circuit and activating its built-in speakers. Once the drinker pulls his or her head away from the water, the circuit breaks and the fountain stops talking.
Drawing on glow-in-the-dark surfaces with lasers
An Instructables user named “ril3y” has devised a slick CNC single point projector that can draw on glow-in-the-dark surfaces with lasers, aptly named Laser Glow Writer. The gadget is driven by Arduino Due, which runs the TinyG CNC motion controller firmware. The SAM3X8E-based board then controls the two stepper motors (X and Y axes) in a coordinated fashion, while turning the small laser on/off. Currently, ril3y is converting SVG images to Gcode, and putting them up on some glow-in-the-dark vinyl.
Wearing your Wi-Fi signal
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. In an attempt to do just that, architect Luis Hernan put together a psychedelic Kirlian Device capable of picking up on Wi-Fi signals and translating them into colored lights. Built around an Arduino and LED lights, the project was tasked with translating Wi-Fi networks into colors — red indicating the strongest signal and blue, the weakest.
A night at the museum — with robots
For several nights back in August, four robots roamed around London’s Tate Britain, each streaming video to the masses. If it wasn’t cool enough to have bots navigate a museum in the dark, it got even cooler as people from all around the world were able to control their movements right from their computers. Built in collaboration with RAL Space, the nocturnal tour guides each featured an on-board Wi-Fi receiver, an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi unit, lights, sensors, a powerful electric motor, and of course, video streaming technology. The units maneuvered around the grounds using a sonar sensor and a custom 3D-printed enclosure.
Humanoid can drive its own car
Aldebaran Robotics teamed up with RobotsLab to unveil a NAO robot that was able to autonomously drive a miniature BMW Z4. The vehicle was equipped with an integrated laser range finder linked to an onboard Ardduino, which was responsible for analyzing its surroundings and then relaying steering inputs to the NAO unit in the driver’s seat.