Tag Archives: Arduino Duemilanove

8-bit turkey, anyone?

Most people prefer their Thanksgiving turkey stuffed. Well, engineers like it embedded.

Who’s ready for the IoT? The Internet of Turkeys, that is. As everything around us becomes connected, engineers have seemingly found countless ways to embed technology into once-ordinary objects to make them smart. And well, Collin Cunningham has proven that there really is nothing that can’t be enhanced with the help of an Arduino, not even poultry. Introducing the 8-bit TurkeyShield.

Open source 8 bit turkey accelerometer readings

Several years ago, the Maker decided to embellish the holiday centerpiece by stuffing it with a plethora of technology. This included an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega168), a potentiometer for user input, an accelerometer for knowing its bearings, a compass so it’s always facing due north, a lithium backpack for power and mobility, as well as an LCD screen. He even went as far as wiring on a TouchShield Stealth (ATmega645) for output.

Open source 8 bit turkey putting in touchshield

“I’m always looking out for new ways to add more shields and components to my Arduino, and this felt like a natural (and festive) experiment, so I gave it a shot,” Cunningham explains.

He also threw on a knob for toggling (admittedly this didn’t work) and a button, which enables him to know exactly when the turkey is ready to eat. Now, he can easily monitor vital orientation data with the help of the LCD display.

Open source 8 bit turkey with knob all the way in

In true Maker spirit, Cunningham has made his project open source and has outlined his entire build here. Gobble gobble!

Play a game of Tetris on a pumpkin

Tetris + Pumpkin = Pumpktris!

What do you get when you combine a pumpkin with Tetris? Pumpktris, of course! Three years ago, Nathan Pryor built a fully-playable version of the classic game right into the Halloween doorstep decoration with LEDs for the display and the stem serving as its controller.


Instead of the glow of a candle, this particular pumpkin got his illumination courtesy of 128 LEDs embedded inside. The Maker had originally planned to use an LoL Shield for the LED matrix, but logistically decided that it wouldn’t work. And so, he created his own LED matrix and programmed it. Set to a Halloween-themed version of the ever infectious Tetris soundtrack, Pryor’s project has certainly left all the nerds talking for years.


Pumpktris’ face is comprised of a grid of square and holes, which were made using a drill to ensure consistent size and spacing. Pryor then wired each LED bulb externally so that he could space them apart, filling in each hole of the grid. The entire gadget is driven by an Arduino Duemilanove.


Meanwhile, a short-handled joystick was attached to the stem, which was cut off and reattached to ensure easy mobility when playing. The joystem toggles the internal joystick, enabling players to move the Tetris pieces which light up on the LED grid.

And just when you thought your jack-o’-lantern was awesome… Watch Pumpktris in action below and be amazed!

This Arduino-powered robot will open your beers for you

Having trouble opening your bottle? Let this robotic device do it for you.

We’ve all been there: The big game is about to start, you head over to the fridge to grab a cold brewski, only to find out it isn’t a twist-off cap and there’s no bottle opener in sight. Luckily, thanks to a group of Makers, you won’t even need to get up from the couch let alone have to open your own beer.


Led by Maker Sasha Schrandt, the team successfully modded a non-functioning robot to successfully open a beer bottle using some DC motors, a relay shelf, some resistors and an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega328), among several other electronic components.

After stumbling across the old robotic device, the Makers decided that it would be a good idea to bring this piece of technology back to life and to give it a new purpose, one in which would come in handy for a party, a big game, or just any lazy Sunday. That purpose? To become an automated beer opener.

“The task of controlling a robot to have it interact with specifically shaped objects and operate heavy loads is challenging and required significant prototyping and modelling. After many tests and many failures, we were very excited to watch our robot successfully maneuver through arm movements to open a beer bottle,” Schandt writes.


The robot is controlled by the ATmega328, which is attached to a relay shield. Connected to those are three recycled DC motors, switches, wires, and a couple resistors. Additionally, the Makers employed a couple zip ties, nuts, bolts, washers and short screws, along with a MDF board to mount everything on, and eight empty soup cans plus various scrap pieces of metal and rods.

Schandt reveals that there were four primary tasks to prepare the hardware for the robot. These included weight reduction of the robot arm to allow maximum torque / force from the arm; bottle holders for the beers (which were created using the empty soup cans); mount the bottle opener and limit switches to the robot; and, mount the robot parts to a sheet of MDF to maintain alignment.


To reduce the weight of the arm, the team simply took off the last two motors of the robot arm to make the carriage head lighter. This left them with an arm that was much easier to control and to get the necessary torque to open the bottle caps. From there, all that was left was a bit of coding and connecting the electronics. After some programming magic and electrical know-how, the robotic contraption was ready.

So, did it work? The robot was able to open seven out of the eight bottles successfully. Not too shabby, if you ask us! Interested in crafting your own bottle bot? Head over to the project’s official page here for a step-by-step breakdown of the build.

Making a DIY calculator with Arduino

Get ready to crunch some numbers with this Arduino-based machine.

While it may not be as practical or aesthetically-pleasing as your everyday TI-84, Maker Kale Cloud has devised a pretty slick calculator using an 8×2 LCD, a keypad, a laser-cut case, and an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega328).


The project was conceived after one of Cloud’s teachers had made an Arduino-based calculator of his own, that unfortunately was not able to withstand the classroom setting for very long. Fortunately, the Maker knew just how to rebuild the machine and in doing so, took apart the entire device, rewrote most of the code and constructed it from scratch.

Like just about any other calculator, the DIY device is equipped with a 16-button matrix keypad. In addition, an embedded ATmega328 based Arduino is responsible for decoding the pressed buttons, at which point the appropriate characters are displayed on its LCD screen. While its overall functionality emulates that of any calculator, where this number-crunching mechanism differs is in the controls. First, a user must select a number from the pad, followed by pressing either the “A” and “B” key to scroll through various arithmetic functions, which appear on the 2×8 display. Once a function is chosen, a user then hits “D” (or equals) and goes on to select the next number, before pressing “D” again.


As Hackaday’s Rich Bremer notes, not only does the project boast standard arithmetic functions but trigonometric functions as well — a feature that the calculator’s predecessor was not capable of doing.

“Even though it’s probably not practical due to it’s size, repetitive use of the equals button (due to the lack of keys), and cost (you can probably buy a calculator that does the same thing for $2), it is really fun and adds a few skills to your inventory,” Cloud explains. “I learned alot, spent lots of time debugging, and added many new features. In the end, it was a project definitely worth doing.”

Juraduino will spot the coffee addicts in your office

Let’s face it, there’s a double E in coffee for a reason. Whether it’s a homebrewed pot or a skinny frappa-thingy at a nearby coffee shop, the beverage has certainly become the unofficial technology behind embedded engineers for years. However, this caffeine addiction can become quite expensive, not to mention, deplete the shelves of your workplace.

That’s why Maker Oliver Krohn has developed an innovative way to monitor how much and log how often you and your colleagues are consuming coffee. Appropriately named Juraduino, the device can now single out those caffeine fiends responsible for restocking the coffee supply at the end of the week!


In order to bring this idea to life, Krohn donated his hacked Jura Impressa S95 coffee maker to his office with some hardware cleverly embedded inside the faceplate of the machine. The Maker simply connected an SD card, a real-time clock and a Bluetooth module to an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega168).

“To trigger the coffeemaker, I soldered wires to the buttons (backside of logic print of the coffeemaker) and simulate a button press via an optocoupler (4N 35) and a pre-resistor (220 ohm) for the LED in the optocoupler,” says Krohn.


As soon as a worker taps their RFID card to the front of the ATmega168 based machine, the real-time clock module logs the moment when coffee was requested, and then tracks the amount selected by that person via the microSD card. The Bluetooth module then relays this information to a custom application that was devised using the MIT App Inventor for his mobile device, which displays the information.

“First, I thought about Processing, but since I do not need visualization I decided to use App Inventor,” the Maker adds.


With its export functionality, the acquired data can then be sent in the form of an email to everyone in the office at the end of the week, singling out those caffeine addicts responsible for replenishing the shelves!

Lamp changes color based on emotions

The Mood Lamp is an Arduino-based project created by Italian developer Vittorio Cuculo. As the name suggests, the hacked IKEA lamp adjusts its lighting output based on the facial expression of a user. 


According to Cuculo, the Mood Lamp attempts to redefine the classic human-machine interface with a more natural system built around gestures, gaze tracking and facial expressions. As the Maker’s paper explains,  facial expressions are “particularly relevant because they play‘a fundamental role in nonverbal communication between human beings.”

The Mood Lamp is powered by OpenCV (software) and the Arduino Duemilanove, an older board based on Atmel’s ATmega168 or ATmega328.The board is loaded with 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button.

Watch the video below as the lamp’s color corresponds with varying emotions — turning blue when it registers a frown, pink with a smile, blue for a ‘surprised’ expression.

Interested in learning more about this project? Read Vittorio Cuculo’s entire paper here.


Arduino takes on Simon – and wins!

Simon is an old school electronic game of memory skill invented by Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison, with software programming by Lenny Cope.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, the majority of the Assembly language for the game was written by Dr. Charles Kapps, who taught computer science at Temple University.

Recently, a Maker named Ben North and his 7-year-old daughter designed a Simon-playing robot that is capable of beating the classic game.

As HackADay’s Brian Benchoff reports, North uses a key chain version of the game that is much smaller and easier to work with in terms of automatically sensing lights and pushing buttons.

“The arms are made from LEGO bricks, held up with rubber bands and actuated with two servos mounted on a polycarbonate cutting board,” he explained.

“To detect Simon’s lights, Ben connected four phototransistors to an Arduino Duemilanove (Atmel ATmega328 MCU). The Arduino records the pattern of lights on the Simon and activates the Lego arms in response to that pattern.”

As North notes, the Simon-playing robot, while fully functional, does have a number of limitations.

“This is not an industrial-strength robot. It’s quite fussy about ambient light, even with the calibration. This explains the slightly grainy videos, as they had to be shot without proper lighting,” he added.

“Once or twice, the finger-pulling elastic bands slipped, meaning a finger didn’t completely press its button and the game was lost. Also, I think the robot would have been better with some flashing lights.”

We think the robot is impressive, nevertheless!

Interested in learning more about the Simon-playing robot? You can check out the project’s official page here.