Tag Archives: Arduino Pro Micro

This system lets you experience the hidden politics of networks in everyday products


Politics of Power explores how a mass-manufactured products could behave differently depending on the nature of its communication protocol. 


If the U.S. presidential election took place tomorrow, and only power strips were running, at least we would now still have a choice of candidates and political ideologies. Shunning the two party system, design consultancy Automato has decided to create a three types of power strips, each with its own method of distributing electricity.

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“With a growing number of networked and autonomous objects as well as the outbreak of fields such as ‘the IoT,’ communication protocols used by connected products are increasingly important as they act as the network’s backbone. Since the end product is ‘black-boxed’ to the user, we often assume that all nodes of a network are equal,”the team writes. “But is it? For example, in a home, two appliances in the same network must be working at the same time, but because of a power shortage, they cannot run in parallel. This bring us to question, who should be given the priority and why?”

Politics of Power is an exploration into these questions on a micro-scale by employing a simple ubiquitous gadget, the multi-plug. These power structures include the generally democratic and physically circular “Model D,” featuring five plugs all running at 220V. In this system, a delegate (socket) is elected and it’s power grows until it’s unplugged. “Model M” is somewhat more repressive, with one plug running at 220v, two plugs at 180v, and three plugs at 110v.

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Finally, the “Model T” power strip is most repressive, with one one plug running at 220v, while the other four have to be content with 5V. They protest their situation at times by blinking power on an off, however the leader can shut power off to them if it so chooses. It is noted that this strip can turn into a “Model D” if the leader is taken out of the equation, though one might suspect another socket would rise to power in a violent power grab.

Politics aside, these power strips are controlled by an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4), with a phase detector to sense changes in current. Meanwhile, a TRIAC gate circuit is used to control the power output to the sockets.

The whole setup is quite interesting, both visually and as a social commentary. This project offers a simplified way of looking at what’s at stake in debates over net neutrality, peer-to-peer networks, encryption backdoors and other modern-day controversies. And as smart devices continue to emerge throughout our daily, it certainly makes us wonder: Who’s actually in charge of making the decisions? Meaning, what are some of the hidden rules, structures and logic behind products such as power strips that were often thought of as being ‘neutral?’ You can see the results in the video below.

[h/t Creative Applications]

 

What’s the temp in your house? This Arduino-based Nixie tube thermometer will tell you


Because every engineer loves a good Nixie tube thermometer.


If you want to know the temperature, normal digital thermometers, or increasingly the Internet, are usually good enough. Visually though, it’s hard to beat the warm glow and retro look of a Nixie tube. What better way to display this than with a three-digit tube display like Luca Dentella’s build.

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His process is outlined in a series of 10 posts that can be found here, or you can just skip to the completed version. The “brain” of this display is a Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4). It uses a thermistor-style temperature sensor, which has a resistance than changes depending on the temperature, to tell how hot it is.

The display is, of course, three nixie tubes. The first thing that’s interesting about the setup is that the third tube shows “°C.” Dentella is using an “IN-19A” tube for this purpose, which can also reveal a number of other symbols. In this case, it shows the degrees Celsius value at all times.

The other interesting part of this design, besides the generally clean layout and printed circuit board use, is that each tube has a programmable LED under it. This allows for a unique coloring, and could certainly have produce many interesting visual effects. Perhaps in another life, this type of display could serve as a sound level meter, with the LEDs pulsing on and off to the beat of the music.

 

Maker builds a $20 mouth-operated mouse


This DIY mouthpiece allows those with disabilities to easily surf the web. 


Out of more than 170 submissions, Maker Tobias Wirtl’s Mouth Operated Mouse has been named the winning entry in Thingiverse’s Assistive Technology Challenge.

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After reading about difficulties those with disabilities face in accessing new technologies, Wirtl wanted to create an affordable and easily accessible device that could enable more people without the use of their arms and hands to navigate the Internet. Even better, the mouth-operated piece can be built for $20 using a 3D-printed case and off-the-shelf components — a mere fraction of the cost of commercial solutions on the market today.

“There are many new technologies that people with disabilities can’t access and in my opinion everyone should be able to benefit from today’s media, especially the Internet,” Wirtl explains.

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The mouth-operated mouse moves the cursor by using a mouthpiece, which works like a joystick. Pushing the mouthpiece towards the case operates the right mouse button, while the left button is emulated by a $5 e-cigarette sensor that recognizes when the user sucks air through it. The system is all controlled by an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4) and can be connected to virtually any PC via USB.

This winning design follows in the footsteps of several other Maker projects, including Hackaday Prize champion Eyedrivomatic, that could ultimately change the lives of others.

Creating fake passports from your personal data


This robotic installation will steal and share your data — with your help. 


The brainchild of ECAL student Martin Hertig, Sensible Data is a unique project designed to show just how easily people are willing to give up their personal information in exchange for fun. The playful installation collects a user’s data, judges their mood, age, gender and beauty, and creates a faux passport that is also randomly sent to another participant without them knowing.

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If you think about, what really happens when you openly give your name, numbers and other information online, and where does it go? Although the experiment was done intentionally to test a small sampling’s confidence in how data is collected, it does highlight a much broader privacy issue that exists today, especially in the wake of several mainstream leaks.

The Maker’s exploration is comprised of three machines that are essentially modified versions of the Piccolo CNC, an open source drawing device based on the Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4). Meanwhile, a Raspberry Pi acts as the brain of the installation, running a Python script for every step of the process. Each script listens to the desired input and relays the plotting commands to the necessary gadget.

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How it works is pretty straightforward. First, a participant snaps a selfie with an iPad that’s automatically synced up to a Raspberry Pi using Dropbox. A Python script takes this picture and converts it into a line drawing with the help of OpenCV. The user is then prompted to send a blank email to the project’s iCloud address.

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From there, the person’s face is analyzed. Upon receiving an email, the Raspberry Pi transmits the previously taken image to the Rekognition API. The facial recognition program is able to properly determine one’s mood, age, gender and their beauty, which is measured as a percentage. This information is stored in a database and inked onto the novelty passport letter by letter using a laser-cut stamp-wheel.

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Last but not least, the participant is asked to press a dubious button that is actually a fingerprint scanner. Once the validation step is complete, an email with a matching participant’s data including their fingerprint, photo and email address is sent to the user. (Absurdly, the matchmaking is determined by the amount of lines in the portrait.)

The idea is that, when encountered with a decision, more times than not people are willing to just hand over their likeness, not knowing what will be done with it. Intrigued? Check out the entire project here, and be sure to watch it in action below!

Let this swiping bot pick your Tinder dates for you


This Tinder robot will automatically choose users you find attractive based on your preferences. 


Online dating has come a long way in recent years, especially with the advent of Tinder. While in search of Mr. or Mrs. Right, the app lets you quickly swipe your way to a potential match. But sometimes all that swiping can be tiring for your thumb. And so, Saurabh Datta has developed a robotic mechanism that can do it for you.

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The project, which he calls Conditional_Lover, is a robotic swiper that employs a connected camera to analyze profile pictures and then approve or reject users with its two prongs that serve as fingers. To get started, you first select your preferences (age, smile, glasses and ethnicity) which the bot uses to perform actions depending on the extracted information from the Tinder images. As Datta explains, it is intentionally made just to act, not so much to learn. Meaning, don’t count on the device being a substitute for a human matchmaker.

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Conditional_Lover was originally created as weekend project, based on the belief that tasks which don’t require human dexterity will eventually be delegated to machines. The unit itself consists of an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4), two styli attached to servos, limit switches, a Bluetooth module for communication, and a mounted webcam that looks down at the phone screen.

“The underlying intention was to see what it takes for conditional logics to appear as pseudo unconscious AI. A kind of idiosyncratic manipulation of rule-based behavior to achieve different ends, reflecting on human dependency over software decisions,” the Maker writes.

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Needless to say, even if it’s just an experiment, the bot could very well be a sneak peek at the future of how online dating. Intrigued? Head over to Conditional_Lover’s page here, or watch it in action below!

Retrofitting an NES console with a Nexus Player


This project doesn’t just boast the features of a media player, it still works as an NES system as well. 


Chances are that, if you have an old Nintendo system lying around, at one time or another you’ve thought about tearing it apart and rebuilding it with a Raspberry Pi. While Maker Adam Haile could never find the time to get around to doing that, he did recently manage to cram a Nexus Player inside his NES console. Even better, the weekend project doesn’t just work as a modern-day media player, it still functions as a gaming system should he want to relive the days of Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and Blades of Steel.  

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The low-cost Nexus Player runs Android and packs much more power than the original Chromecast. With this in mind, Haile  knew that this would surpass the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and even enable him to run NES emulators.

“My main desires for this build was that the NES look completely stock and unchanged from the front and that original, unmodified, NES gamepads worked via the original gamepad ports. Fortunately, this turned out not to be too bad,” the Maker notes.

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Unlike today’s gaming consoles, the NES turned out to be pretty simple to pull apart, requiring nothing more than removing a few screws and the motherboard. To do this, he also had to disconnect the power connector and two gamepad connectors.

The Maker used a custom PCB, an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4) and an NES gamepad library to interface the original controllers to the Nexus Player. 3D-printed brackets were employed to ensure that everything fit nicely inside the NES case, too.

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“The reason I use an Arduino Pro Micro is that it is based on the awesome ATmega32U4 (just like the AllPixel) which includes on-chip USB functionality. This makes it really easy to make the board show up as a USB keyboard and send keystrokes to a computer. 100 lines of code was all it took to convert the gamepad button presses (for both gamepads simultaneously) into keystrokes that could be used on anything that supports USB keyboards,” he explains.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page, where you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of the build along with all of the necessary files and software.