Tag Archives: Arduino Leonardo

Who’s winning the Arduino popularity contest?

You think Arduino is popular? Wait until you see some of the numbers our friends at codebender have compiled.

If you’ve ever wondered which Arduino boards are the most popular, which are the most used processors, which are the most common Libraries (and Example) and how are they being used, you’ll appreciate this post from codebender founder Vasilis Georgitzikis. For those of you who may not be familiar with the site, codebender is an online Arduino IDE that enables you to program your ‘duino on the cloud.


“At codebender we have a unique insight on this, since we have more than 40,000 people using codebender to write Arduino code, and more than 100,000 sketches. This gives us the ability to gather anonymous data on board usage, popular boards, etc. And since we host more than 500 built-in libraries, we also get a great view on the preferred Libraries as well,” Georgitzikis explains.

The Most Popular Kid on the Block

First, codebender took a look into the popularity of each Arduino board. The easiest way to count this is to take a look at which board people use most often. They counted how many times people programmed/”flashed” a particular board (say, an Arduino Uno) versus the total number of times someone programmed a board on codebender during September (which was 123,967 times).

Before diving into the data, a few things should first be noted:

  • When you look at this, keep in mind that codebender only supports AVR-based boards right now, so boards like the Due, Zero and Galileo/Edison are not counted here.
  • This research is based on usage on codebender, not across all Arduino users. But there’s no reason to think that this would be any different, so it’s fair to say that what is seen here applies to the Arduino community at large.
  • There is a caveat to the above — codebender has some partnerships with hardware manufacturers who suggest codebender for their boards, so naturally there will be slightly inflated numbers for these.

So, without further ado, here are the results (showing only boards with more than 1% usage):


Wow! Everyone knows Arduino Uno is the most popular board, but did you know that in more than half of the instances an Arduino is programmed, it’s an Arduino Uno?

“I also personally didn’t expect the Arduino Nano to be so popular, let alone #2! I’m more of a Pro Mini/Pro Micro guy myself, since I’m a bit of a SparkFun nerd. A reason for this spike could be the recent surge of ridiculously affordable Arduino Nano-compatible boards from China, using the very inexpensive CH340G chip for the USB-to-Serial instead of the more common FTDI chip,” Georgitzikis adds.

Another thing worth mentioning is the number of Duemilanove boards still in existence (remember, they are six years old), which are still almost as popular as the Leonardo.

“The Leonardo, by the way, is much lower than I expected. It goes to show that issues with the way the Leonardo’s programming was implemented – the less-than-stellar robustness when programming and all the inconsistencies it brings with existing code and Libraries – outweigh the extra features and lower price,” Georgitzikis shares. “Long live the Uno!”

(By the way, notice that 4 out of the 13 most popular boards are manufactured by SparkFun. Not bad, huh?)

Official Boards Only

Okay, as mentioned above, some boards are bound to be a bit inflated because their manufacturer suggests codebender as the tool of choice for Arduino coding. Let’s look at the same numbers, this time using only the official Arduino boards.

According to codebender, here are the results (showing only boards with more than 1% usage):


Old But Gold

For its last chart, the codebender crew thought it would be interesting to see the most popular microprocessor chip in Arduino land.

On the left chart, they measured the number of boards that use a certain chip. Out of the 80 boards that codebender supports, how many boards use each chip? The right chart reveals the number of times an Arduino is programmed, so you can see how many times people programed a board with a certain processor (i.e. ATmega328), compared to the total number of times people programmed a board.

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And the winner is, of course, the ATmega328 by a landslide.

“First, we see that a good third of the boards supported in codebender are using the ATmega328. ATtiny in second place seems weird at first, but given that there are around 20 different boards for the various ATtiny chips and configurations, it makes sense,” Georgitzikis writes. “And then, you have the ATmega32U4 devices. There are a lot of independent manufacturers making boards based on this chip, but as we saw on the previous chart (and as you can see on the Processor Usage chart above), they end up not being used too frequently.”

As you can see on the Processor Usage chart, more than four out of five times someone programs an Arduino, it’s using an ATmega328. Isn’t that simply amazing? (We sure think so!)

Editor’s note: These insights are based on anonymous usage data gathered by codebender. 

[h/t SparkFun]

BeMap lets you pick the least polluted way to work

This device features GPS for tracking, a lamp for visibility and sensors for measuring pollution along your cycling route.

Most folks typically like commute to work everyday either by car or mass transit. Not only do these vehicles create congestion on the roads, they’re often times costly and not always flexible to one’s schedule. And while cycling is certainly an alternative mode of transportation, many people don’t feel confident riding to work in non-bike-friendly cities. This is something that one team of microengineers have set out to change with their Arduino-based system.


With hopes of encouraging more people to bike to work and improving everyone’s general well-being, four EPFL students have developed an innovative handlebar device with an air pollution gauge and headlight. The system, called BeMap (Bicycle Environmental Mapping), is capable of measuring CO and NO2 levels in the air and transmitting that data to a computer for environmental mapping. These readings can then be crowdsourced online and mapped to help cyclists choose routes with the lowest level of vehicle exhaust and pollution. During any given bike ride, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pollution readings can be taken and then uploaded in real-time over Bluetooth.

Aside from a CO and NO2 sensor, BeMap is embedded with a temperature and humidty sensor along with an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) that handles communication and data collection. What’s more, the gadget is equipped with GPS for tracking the path followed by a cyclist throughout their commute and combining the sensors’ data to points on the map. There’s also an LED light to enhance nighttime visibility and for keeping you up to date on the current pollution levels.


According to its creators, BeMap is geared towards to specific users: municipalities who could provide the device to users in order to collect specific information about cycling infrastructures’ quality and air pollution, as well as data-loving riders who’d like to analyze their cycling routes. Plus, the students are already in talks with OpenSense — a project designed to measure air quality through mobile monitoring — who has already placed sensors on trams and buses in Zurich and Lausanne, for instance.

“With bicycles, we can go down narrow streets and reach other spots that are off limits to buses. The readings crowdsourced by BeMap will also help cover more ground,” explains Chloe Dickson, a member of the BeMap project team.


In true Maker spirit, BeMap is entirely open source and all of its documentation and 3D-printable files are available online. Although the project was initially devised as part of the iCan competition, the group is considering marketing a commercial-grade unit, which we wouldn’t be surprised to find on Kickstarter in the near future!

Optimizing crop irrigation with Arduino

To optimize crop yield, this group of Makers developed an Arduino-based irrigation system that uses sensors and a weather station.

As part of a recent hackathon in Madrid, one team of Makers created a grid system to optimize crop field irrigation through an array of soil moisture sensors and a weather station.


Crop Squares (inspired by alien crop circles) was initially conceived as a way to make the irrigation process both sustainable and efficient by continuously reading and sending sensor data. However, the ultimate goal is that that one day, the system can implemented in developing countries and rural areas with scarce resources.

For its prototype, the group employed an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) along with moisture sensors in potted plants to detect moisture levels, and a Raspberry Pi was used to garner weather data for the area under surveillance. Meanwhile, data was wirelessly transmitted through an ESP8266 Wi-Fi module. As a way to show off its automated potential, an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) was tasked with reading another moisture probe and activating a servo motor that pushed up a water bottle to perform the irrigation process, whenever levels dipped below a predefined threshold.


The project features a graphical touchscreen user interface running Dizmo software that shows a map of the field along with collected sensor measurements. Rectangles assigned to each soil sensor change their colors (green, yellow and red) depending on moisture levels. According to its creators, the display could even share weather station results for that area in real-time.

On the backend, the Makers compiled Node.js runtime and installed the Node-RED workflow tool to deliver sensor information via the IBM Bluemix IoTF MQTT Broker. They also wrote Python scripts based on Adafruit’s libraries to read data from the weather station sensors and broadcast them through MQTT.


Intrigued? Check out their entire project here.

KeyDuino is like an Arduino with built-in NFC

KeyDuino lets you replace keys with your smartphone, NFC ring or any proximity card.

For a while, near field communication (NFC) was being heralded as the future of the Internet of Things. From mobile payments to digital signage, the possibilities of were endless. Now, French engineer Pierre Charlier and his team are hoping to bring the contactless form of technology to Arduino projects with a development board called KeyDuino.


Based on the ATmega32U4, the KeyDuino shares pretty much the same form factor and DNA as the Arduino Leonardo, and will work with most shields. The board was initially conceived as a method of touch-and-go access control, such as unlocking your car door or opening a private drawer in your room, but has since transcended well beyond just entry. Case in point, the Maker recently devised an NFC-enabled infinity coffee tablemagic gift box and even an easy-to-read smart meter, all of which can be activated by simply tapping your phone.

“KeyDuino will be the bridge that helps you wirelessly interact with your environment, drive motors, unlock strikes, control relays, read from a temperature sensor and all thanks to built in NFC connectivity, right out of the box,” Charlier explains.


In addition to some nifty projects, KeyDuino is also a fantastic way to teach yourself or others about NFC. That’s why Charlier has developed an Android app to streamline and establish peer-to-peer communication. Now with that app, for example, you can control every pin or receive an analog mesure from the KeyDuino without any contact.

Currently live on Kickstarter, the team is hoping that the KeyDuino will help spur NFC adoption and usher in an era where phones, smart rings and proximity cards replace those old-fashioned metal keys. (Hence its name.)


Intrigued? The board’s creators are seeking $10,723 and expect to begin shipping in Februray 2016.

This MIDI synth lets you create chiptune music

Obscrua is an Arduino-compatible MIDI synth for creating Nintendo, C64 and Amiga-style chiptunes.

A chiptune refers to a genre of synthesized electronic music which was commonly found in vintage computers, consoles and arcade machines. As its name would imply, the tunes themselves were made by the sound chips within these early gaming systems and microcomputers, with an integrated waveform generator playing an integral role in the process. From Space Invaders to Gun Fight, one cannot help but love the nostalgic 8-bit beats packed inside those classic arcade cabinets.


Not to mention, who could forget the routine of pulling out their Mario Bros. cartridge, blowing into it, slipping it back in, and once successful, being welcomed by its catchy theme song? Well, those looking to spark up some nostalgia will surely get a kick out of the Obscuraan Arduino-compatible synth that allows you to create your own NES, Commodore 64 and Amiga-style chiptune music by simply connecting a MIDI device. What’s nice is that no programming is required — this monophonic MIDI synth comes preprogrammed with software that packs 16 preset patches.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because its creators Arcano Systems recently revealed a similar MIDI chiptune synth on Kickstarter. Taking into consideration the outpouring of feedback and suggestions they received from its early backers, the team decided to rewrite the software to incorporate many of their ideas. Among those upgrades included the ability to configure the synth with the Arduino IDE using only a USB cable, eliminating the need for an AVR-ISP unit or an FTDI cable. This called for a change in hardware as well.

Unlike its predecessor that was based on an ATmega328, the new and improved Obscura is instead built around the mighty ATmega32U4 — the same MCU at the heart of the Arduino Leonardo. The latest synth has gone through a pair of hardware revisions and 12 software versions, with its latest iteration featuring a USB serial monitor mode that is activated by holding down both preset patch control buttons during boot-up. Additionally, this mode lets users view the serial data output from their MIDI machine on either a PC or Mac for debugging and hacking purposes.


“The software for the Obscura is not merely a port of the Arcano Chiptune Synth software, but was written from the ground up and uses wavetable synthesis to generate waveforms, whereas the Arcano MIDI NES Chiptune Synth generates waveforms on the fly using a series of logic statements,” the Arcano Systems crew explains.

Now, users with some programming experience will be able devise their own custom software for Obscura using the Arduino IDE. And thanks to the Arduino Leonardo’s native USB capabilities, the Obscura can be configured to appear as a USB mouse, keyboard or HID, enabling interesting possibilities of unique MIDI-PC interface applications.

Unlike many other MCU-based synthesizers which use PWM to generate weak, noisy and low-quality audio signals, the Obscura employs an auxiliary digital-to-analog converter chip with true 8-bit quantization to produce a clear, high-quality sound. The Obscura is USB-powered and doesn’t require a special wall adapter with a barrel-jack type connector. The simple user interface consists of two patch control buttons, a reset button and a 7-segment LED display. Meanwhile, audio is emitted through a standard 1/8” (3.5 mm) stereo audio jack.

So, are you ready to recreate some of your favorite 8-bit music? Head over to the synthesizer’s Kickstarter page, where Arcano Systems is currently seeking $2,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in February 2016. (And kudos to the team for a rather creative campaign video!)

This pocket-sized, modular synthesizer is based on Arduino

The NS1nanosynth is a modern, analog/digital synthesizer that fits in the palm of your hand.

Back in the 1970s, modular synthesizers were often bulky and expensive. Reproducing an exact patch was not only difficult, but virtually impossible. Throughout the years, these devices began to be largely supplanted in pop music by highly integrated keyboard synths, racks of MIDI-connected gear and samplers. Fast forward a few decades and products like littleBits’ synth kit have made piecing together a modular machine just as simple as interlocking LEGO bricks, not to mention tiny enough that it could fit in the palm of your hand.


Taking that one step further is Italian startup Soundmachines, who has pulled out all the stops with their latest DIY kit dubbed the NS1nanosynthThe all-in-one unit allows you to have fun by mixing together new and exciting combinations from over 20 different building blocks. These include a voltage-controlled oscillator, two low-frequency oscillators, an ASDR (attack, sustain, decay and release) envelope, lowpass and bandpass filters, a voltage-controlled amplifier, as well as an assortment of “micro” modules like mixers and multiples, sample and hold, sum/sub blocks, inverters, analog dividers, clock dividers, fixed voltage generators and sensors.


And that’s not all. Designed with the Maker crowd in mind, the NS1nanosynth is built around the Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and features both MIDI and USB support. The handheld synthesizer measures just 220mm x 85mm in size, enabling it to fit just about anywhere from your bag to your back pocket. What’s more, 5V/400mA of power is supplied either through the classic 5.5mm jack or via microUSB.


“You can, of course, get rid of everything and write whatever you want on a perfectly formed standard Arduino platform. It’s up to you to use your standard or custom libraries and do modulations, connect to wireless stuff, use the on-board dual DAC and quad digital potentiometer,” the Soundmachines crew writes.

Intrigued? Read all about the NS1nanosynth on its official page here, or watch its demo reels below!

IRduino is an Arduino-compatible USB IR receiver

IRduino is an open source and programmable USB infrared receiver that gives new life to old remote controls.

For decades, consumer electronics have relied upon infrared remote controls for operation. However, recent advancements in technology, like Bluetooth connectivity, motion sensors and voice recognition, have led to piles of obsolete remotes collecting dust in closets and storage bins throughout the world. But what if you were able to bring these antiquated gadgets back to life and put them to work in creative, more productive ways? Enter the IRduino.


The brainchild of Longan Lab, IRduino is a peripheral device that enables just about any IR signal to be translated into commands. Based on an ATmega32U4, the board is equipped with an SMD IR receiver and on-board USB interface. It operates by default at 5V with a clock speed of 16MHz, not to mention packs 32KB of Flash, 2.5KB of SRAM, 1KB of EEPROM and a remote distance of over 16 feet.

And unlike many products on the market, the pocket-sized IRduino (just 0.7” x 1.3”) is thick enough to sit snugly inside a USB port. To keep the device humanized, its creators have even screen printed a little robot on its reverse side with a pair of programmable LEDs for eyes.


Beyond that, IRduino comes with the Arduino Leonardo bootloader pre-installed, which makes it fully compatible with the incredibly popular Arduino IDE for programming. According to the Longan Lab team, the board features an open source library that will work with nearly 95% of infrared remotes on the market, such as air conditioner units, TVs, DVD players and household appliances, among a number of other machines.


As for its applications, Makers will find IRduino to be both practical and entertaining. Since it’s compatible with many platforms, ranging from Raspberry Pi to Mac, the possibilities are truly endless. For instance, it can serve as an interface for a single-board media center, a controller for simple games, a remote for PowerPoint presentations, as well as a quick way to reboot a laptop with the push of a button.

Are you ready to give your old remote controls a new lease on life? Then head over to IRduino’s crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply, where the team is currently seeking $2,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in September 2015.

This DIY machine makes paper clips on demand

Think of it like a 3D printer for paper clips.

If you’re ever in need of a paper clip and don’t feel like running out to the nearest Staples, you’re in luck. That’s because a Maker by the name of “Credentiality” has developed a machine that can methodically bend a spool of wire into the shape of one for you.


The aptly named Paper Clip Maximizer 1.0 is comprised of two GWS S125 1T sail winch servos for all the locomotion, controlled by an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and a few pages of code. The machine works not unlike the extruder of a 3D printer in that a knurled brass wheel feeds the wire through, which is held in place by a spring-loaded bearing. The wheel is powered by a servo that has been modified for continuous rotation through an Arduino program. The mechanism then passes the wire through a metal feed block and towards a bending head, which is also attached to and driven by a servo.

“These particular servos have a lot more range of motion than normal servos, and are also easy to modify for continuous rotation. That was important for the wire feed servo, which always needs to turn the same direction,” the Maker writes. “When you disassemble this particular servo, you can just remove the gear that connects the axle to the potentiometer. Then when you drive it, if you tell it to move clockwise of where you left the pot, it’ll turn clockwise forever, and vice versa.”


In addition, there is a bearing on the end of the bending head that is used to curve the wire around the guide block. After making several bends to form the paper clip, the Dremel cut-off wheel swings around to chop the end of the newly-formed accessory. The wheel motor is powered directly by the Leonardo. Admittedly, this portion of the process didn’t work too well.

“The way it was supposed to work was to not reset the bender on the last bend, but instead keep moving past the wire. Then I’d feed out the last leg of the paper clip, and then keep rotating the bending head clockwise until it brought around the cutoff wheel in to finish the job,” Credentiality notes. “That’s why you can see a dished out spot on top of the feed block — I had to spend about 15 minutes manually and very gradually feeding the spinning wheel into the block so that it’d clear when moving into place, yet still end up close enough to the block to cut the wire instead of just deflecting it out of the way.”

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s page here, or see it in action below!

[h/t Hackaday]

Building a low-cost Delta 3D printer out of recycled electronics

Maker creates a Delta-style 3D printer using recycled parts from an old dot matrix printer and flatbed scanner. 

When it comes to the Maker Movement, DIYers never cease to amaze us with new ways to recycle electronic waste. Take Instructables user Hesam Hamidi for instance, who has impressively created a Delta-style 3D printer using parts from an old dot matrix printer and flatbed scanner.


Whereas FDM printers typically posses an aluminum or precision shaft frame, the Maker had swapped it out for five pieces of 16mm MDF, fixed together by wood screws. Three adjustable cabinet legs were attached under the body to keep it level, while another beam was added to the top of the body to support the filament spool. Attached to the trio of vertical MDF frame pieces are rail and carriage assemblies taken from the dot matrix printer, which fortunately already had their stepper motors and belts installed.

“Each slider has a step motor that moves carriage by a timing belt for about 430mm. At the end of sliding course, there is a home position sensor that senses the tractor motion end. Each step moves the carriage for 106 microns and in case of using micro stepping drivers we can reduce this length. Dimensional specifications of our 3D printer were specified based on slider motion,” Hamidi writes.

delta made from scrap epson printers 3

The end effector is also a unique attribute of Delta-style printers. In this project, it was made from a steel plate and provides a mount of the extruder, which is driven by another scavenged stepper motor along with a timing belt pulley and pulley tightening mechanism.

“A U-shaped profile was used to support stepper motor, ball bearings and hotend. Support plate is a CNC cut circular steel plate that has six holes for ball end supports with 120 degrees to each other. Hotend was purchased from a Felix printer with nozzle diameter of 0.3 mm,” the Maker adds.


For the print bed, Hamidi repurposed an Epson flatbed scanner, which was selected due to its durability and smoothness. The inner workings of the device were removed and replaced with a 220V 300W flat heating element beneath the glass. Meanwhile, the bed heater has a 12V element and NTC thermistor to regulate temperature, and is controlled separately by way of a household thermostat.

In terms of its electronics, the 3D printer is based on an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and four different stepper drivers that take the place of the common Arduino Mega/RAMPS 1.4 combination. Beyond that, three analog inputs were employed to sense signals of home position sensors, while eight digital outputs send pulses to four stepper motors. Temperature of the hotend and heater are managed separately by individual controllers.


What’s more, the DIY machine boasts a size of 600mm x 650mm with a build volume of 200mm x 200mm x 200mm and can achieve printing speeds of up to 80mm/second in all three directions. Interested in constructing one of your own? Head over to the project’s Instructables page, where you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the build including its schematics and code. In the meantime, watch it in action below!

Tah is a LEGO block for the Internet of Things

Tah is an open-source dev board that lets Makers create their own projects and connect them to their mobile device.

Developed by Indian startup Revealing Hour Creations, Tah is an Arduino-compatible, open-source development board that helps Makers build their own smart projects and connect them to their mobile device over Bluetooth Low Energy. Designed for use as a beacon, a microcontroller and an HID device, the platform employs a smartphone’s built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors to trigger events in the physical world.


Embedded with an ATmega32U4, Makers can easily apply their Arduino programming skills to the Tah. The megaAVR MCU at its heart features on-board USB 2.0 support, which directly programs the Tah without the need of a USB-to-Serial converter. In addition, the board can act as a USB human interface device (HID), thus enabling a user to devise their own keyboard, mouse, joystick, or other input devices without having to install special software on the host computer.


“We’ve already made sample applications that allow you to control your PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation and Xbox (coming soon) without ever needing to write any code for those platforms — all you need to do is program your Tah board and make a smartphone app, for which we’ve also provided open source examples for both iOS and Android to get you started,” its creators add.


Each Tah can serve as a Bluetooth beacon as well, which communicates a smartphone to reveal its exact location based on its unique identifier — something that can be quite useful for indoor navigation and contextual notifications.


And what’s more, the open-source board is expandable through a relay and sensor, IR transceiver and Arduino Uno breakout shields. For instance, a user can devise a universal remote for their smart appliances or control their gaming system right from their phone.

Late last year, Revealing Hour Creations launched a crowdfunding campaign for its project, where it quickly surpassed its initial pledge goal. If you’d like to get your hands on one, head on over to its CrowdSupply page here. Tah is now shipping to backers.