A Maker duo created a Rubik’s Cube-solving robot using recycled FAC system parts, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module and an Arduino Mini.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube is no easy feat. In fact, for a vast majority of folks, it’s a downright daunting task. But what if there was an automated mechanism that could do it for you? That’s exactly what the duo of Maxim Tsoy and Wilbert Swinkels has developed. Inspired by other DIY cube solvers comprised of LEGO and Fischertechnik, the Makers brought their creation to life using antiquated FAC-System parts — a modular system developed back in the early 1950s.
At the heart of the machine lies a Raspberry Pi Compute Module along with Arduino Mini. The Compute Module actuates a series of motors and grippers, while also running a two-phase algorithm from Herbert Kociemba. Aside from that, the ATmega328 board was employed to control an LDR-based scanner which consists of three modified ColorPAL sensors. The data is sent to the Arduino and based on the incoming set of information, the program begins computing how to solve the cube and relays commands to the motors.
“It turned out to be very easy to connect Arduino to Raspberry and make them work together,” the Makers reveal. This called for nothing more than two wires and a level converter from SparkFun.
The entire system is mounted onto an MDF base, which houses all of the electronic components. It should be pointed out that, at first, an Arduino was implemented as the brains of the entire operation. However, the Makers realized that an RPi would be a much better suitor for the job. After all, the sophisticated cube solving algorithms required quite a bit of memory — more than the Arduino could provide.
Arduino will keep you from over-steeping your tea.
While coffee has been the fuel of engineers for years, others like Brian McEvoy sometimes prefer tea for their daily jolt in the morning and afternoon pick-me-up. In order to receive the maximum amount of caffeine, however, mastering the brewing time is imperative. Over-steeping tea sometimes can lead to a bitter taste and a reduction in caffeine levels, and as someone that gets easily distracted, this tends to happen to the Maker more times than not. In order to prevent this from occurring on a regular basis, as any DIYer would do, he decided to automate his tea cup to perfect every brew.
While tea timers are nothing out of the ordinary, McEvoy was determined to “(over)engineer something” using inexpensive hobby-grade electronics, and more importantly, something that would differentiate his project from countless others on sites like Instructables. This included incorporating a text display and having the cup (which as any Star Wars fan would agree, his choice was awesome) clip onto the machine.
In order to do this, the Maker devised a 3D-printed, tea-bagging mechanism that employs a 9g servo motor to control the amount of time that the leaves attached to the arm spends dipping into the mug. Meanwhile, another 3D-printed enclosure houses an Arduino Mini (ATmega328), a potentiometer to properly set the brewing process, an LCD screen to reveal the time and a start button to, well, get things going. A USB charging cable with its wired ends cut was soldered to the Arduino for power supply.
Funelab notes in a recent Instructables guide that he chose to embark on this project because he “wanted to give his room some special design, with smooth lighting.” Therefore when he had the option to use RGB LEDs and an Arduino board, he decided upon making a chandelier.
After some initial deliberation, the Maker decided upon an acrylic frame base with a 6.5” diameter, as it would easily fit within his room.
Maker beware: Funelab does caution users to be delicate when sawing through the acrylic frame, as he broke his first attempt due to cutting too quickly.
The creator then spent two days wiring the project and found that rechargeable batteries best fit the chandelier’s needs.
“The battery cell is ideal to power lights for outdoor activities where electricity is not available.” He also details that if the battery runs out, one should charge the batteries, “about 2 hours to be able to continue using.”
In the end, this Arduino-powered chandelier can create a mellow and relaxing mood at any sort of outdoor gathering.
“The Apollo [model offers] 16 degrees of freedom, while the Rex has 9. Operated by an efficient controlling system, the Ai.Frame executes your commands almost instantly.”
AI.Frame can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet, gamepad or even a wearable harness that accurately captures upper torso movements.
“As experienced engineers, we have a thorough understand of robot configuration and construction, [so] we incorporated rich body details into the Ai.Frame to simulate the structure of the human body,” said the rep.
“The Ai.Frame Apollo’s skeleton contains 109 pieces and its outer shell contains 12, while the Ai.Frame Rex consists of 98 pieces. We also made made a concerted effort to optimize the molding and screws for the strongest possible structure. Nonetheless, you can choose to either build an Ai.Frame from scratch or to have us assemble it for you.”