Tag Archives: Arduino Project

Cast your ballot using the Arduino Vote-O-Matic

In the spirit of today’s midterm elections, what better time to to highlight this nifty little project? A group of Makers recently decided to turn an ordinary box into an interactive, web-enabled vote counter using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).


The contraption is comprised of three individual tracks from a children’s marble run toy, each equipped with its own light sensor wired into the Arduino via some Sugru and a cocktail straw. To begin, an individual simply drops a marble into the cut-out mouth of the candidate he or she would like to cast a vote.


The team programmed the ATmega328 unit to check every half a second for a change in the light sensor’s value. When the dropped marble passes through, the Arduino records the change for that analog input connection and a vote is counted for the respective candidate.


Once it has gone by the sensor, the marble is fed into a common funnel where it is collected and reused.


In addition, the Makers also affixed three LED lights to the breadboard as a bit of a debugger to notify its users when a sensor had been tripped.

While it may not be used for the next presidential election, this project can certainly be a welcomed addition for your school’s next student counsel contest! Read more about the build here.

Turning pollution into art with Arduino

Media artist Dmitry Morozov — more commonly known as ::vtol:: — recently 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 the shapes and colors you see below.

The interactive project utilizes an Arduino Nano (ATmega328), HC-06 Bluetooth module, gas and dust sensors, as well as an LG mobile printer.


The gadget was programmed to print vibrant colors in dirtier air and bright green colors when air was relatively clean. As an artist, ::vtol:: prefers the brighter colors.

“The more pollution I get, the more beautiful the images are… It’s a little bit ironic,” he explains.


The device’s mobile printer enables instant printing of this air “snapshot” that can either be left as an evidence on the place or given as a present to a passerby, ::vtol:: concludes.

Oh, and that nose, well that’s merely a visual effect. If you want to find out more about the project, head on over to the Maker’s website. From a wearale machine that turns tattoos into tunes to an electro-acoustic orchestra bot, check out all the latest creations from ::vtol:: here.

Turning a 1930s typewriter into a social networking device

Recent graduate Joe Hounsham has revived a 1930s typewriter as part of his final project at UK’s Plymouth University. Inspired by a presentation on smart technologies, the Maker created a vintage typewriter that services as a communication portal to the rest of the world using an [Atmel based] Arduino. Get ready for the IoT, Internet of Typewriters that is…


Hounsham’s device, dubbed Dico, works by connecting a user to others through Internet forums. As soon as its ultrasonic sensors feel a user approaching, the retrofitted device begins looking for a stranger to engage in online chatter. Meanwhile, the other person’s messages are processed by an Arduino, which controls the solenoids that pull down the typewriter’s keys, and type the message out on paper.

“I was in the University’s Writing Café and they had an old typewriter which didn’t work. I have always really enjoyed taking old technology and giving it new purpose, and suddenly thought it would be great to create a functioning typewriter with a technological twist. It was incredibly challenging to build the hardware, and I had to contact a supplier in Germany to get precisely what I needed, but people had great fun with it and seemed to love the novelty of having a conversation with someone by typewriter,” the Maker reveals.


The communication isn’t just one-way either; in fact, a user can reply into the typewriter which is then sent back in real-time. With security in mind, Hounsham’s system will occasionally encrypt a random message — requiring a booklet to decrypt it.

While we’ve seen a typewriter make music from ordinary sentences and create ASCII portraits, communicating in online chatrooms surely rounds out this Maker trifecta!