Tag Archives: ATmega128

Novi is a 4-in-1 DIY home security system

Say goodbye to contracts, monthly fees and false alarms.

Did you know that four burglaries occur every minute in the United States alone? That’s a startling one every 15 seconds. The good news is that most convicted burglars (90%) claim they want to avoid homes with alarm systems, saying that if they did encounter an alarm, they would abandon the attack. However, the bad news is that nearly two-thirds of homeowners fail to turn it on at all times. And, when it comes to security, many are often faced with expensive systems and pricey monitoring fees. Understandably so.


However, one Provo, Utah-based startup is looking to change that with their new IoT solution. Novi Security is a 4-in-1 DIY security system that’s making it increasingly easier for homeowners to install small detectors throughout their house that can notify them of any motion or smoke — all without the need of contracts and monthly costs!


The kit is comprised of a base station and sensors, and are equipped with an ATmega128 radio and an Atmel | SMART SAM4S processor. The battery-powered sensors are simply affixed to the ceiling and boast an HD camera, motion and smoke detectors, and siren. This allows the system to provide homeowners a peace of mind by sending a series of three photos right to their mobile device, while immediately emitting a siren if smoke or motion are recognized while away.


In the event that this occurs, the alarm will sound, the monitor will relay the images to the base station (plugged directly into a router), and the base station will transmit the photos over to an accompanying app. Once the alert is received on the smartphone, the user will then have the option to call for help, check in at home, arm/disarm, as well as request more pictures for greater clarity.

uRADMonitor measures and tracks air quality

From the Hackaday Prize to Indiegogo, the uRADMonitor is an ambitious project to fight pollution and protect your health. 

It’s no question that pollution, particularly matter that goes unseen by the human eye, ranks high among the leading causes of chronic illnesses and terminal diseases. Hot on the heels of the 2015 Hackaday Prize, Radu Motisan has launched an Indiegogo campaign for his ongoing efforts to fight and track poor air quality using a global infrastructure.

Back in 2014, the Maker first introduced an automated, web-connected radiation monitor capable of detecting beta and gamma emissions. That plug-and-play, ATmega328P powered gadget would go on to become a semi-finalist in Hackaday’s inaugural contest and generate quite a bit of popularity along the way.


Following its initial success, Motisan continued developing his project by going one step further with mobility in mind. His most recent creation, a Portable Environmental Monitor, can measure alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, dust, air quality, temperature and pressure, and then upload that data to the Internet over Wi-Fi.

“Since our biological senses can do little to warn us of such possible dangers, we have designed the uRADMonitor as a first line detection and warning system,” Motisan explains. “Powerful sensors, capable of detecting both the chemical and the physical harmful factors, were deployed globally and share their readings to the uRADMonitor network. With a click, you see the entire world mapped in colors, hopefully as green as possible.”


Using his established backend infrastructure, the uRADMonitor comes in a variety of models and is embedded with top-grade sensors to deliver real-time readings and notifications to protect your health. These measurements are mapped to geographical locations, for better understanding of pollution as a phenomenon. The goal is that this will slowly become a new standard for checking environmental quality similar to how we use weather forecasting today.

Admittedly, the uRADMonitor along with the Portable Environmental Monitor unit is a lofty project, aiming to improve awareness on pollution, its factors and evolution, and ultimately to increase the quality of life worldwide. In order to make this possible, Motisan has various hardware designs to suit everyone’s needs.

First, Model A features an aluminum enclosure with a rubber gasket for rain protection. This version has an internal temperature sensor and a Geiger Tube to detect gamma radiation. Measurements are transmitted automatically, via the Internet, using a cable Ethernet connection.

Next, KIT1 is an open source variant that enables Makers to build their own. Once complete, it analyzes the gamma radiation and employs the integrated Ethernet connectivity to send all measurements automatically via the web to the central server. It can also be used as a portable dosimeter, showing information on its built-in LCD screen.

And then, there’s the Model D — the first portable unit in the series. As seen in this year’s Hackaday Prize, this particular device is capable of measuring temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, dust concentration, VOC (volatile organic compounds), as well as alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray radiation. It’s equipped with a large color LCD touchscreen, a rechargeable battery, a detachable antenna and WLAN 802.11 b/n/n connectivity that allows it to communicate with the central server. Meanwhile, an internal alarm provides audible warnings for elevated readings, which are deemed dangerous to your health. These notifications can even be transmitted automatically via email or SMS.

Motisan says the project will “push environmental surveillance to the next level, by using a verified global infrastructure of fixed detectors.”

Ready for healthier air? Then you’ll want to head over to the uRADMonitor’s Indiegogo campaign, where he’s currently seeking $10,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in February 2016. Until then, you can check out our exclusive 1:1 interview with the Maker here.


This lower-limb exoskeleton is controlled by staring at flickering LEDs

Scientists have developed a brain-computer interface for controlling a lower limb exoskeleton.

As recent experiments have shown, exoskeletons hold great promise in assisting those who have lost the use of their legs to walk again. However, for those who are quadriplegic, diagnosed with a motor neuron disease or have suffered a spinal cord injuries, hand control is not an option. To overcome this barrier, researchers at Korea University and TU Berlin have developed a brain-computer interface that can command a lower limb exoskeleton by decoding specific signals from within the user’s mind.


This is achieved by wearing electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, which enables a user to move forwards, turn left and right, sit and stand simply by staring at one of five flickering LEDs, each representing a different action. Each of the lights flicker at a different frequency, and when the user focuses their attention on a specific LED, this frequency is reflected within the EEG readout. This signal is then identified and used to control the exoskeleton.

The exoskeleton control system consists of a few parts: the exoskeleton, an ATmega128 MCU powered visual stimuli generator and a signal processing unit. As the team notes, a PC receives EEG data from the wireless EEG interface, analyzes the frequency information, and provides the instructions to the robotic exoskeleton.


This method is suitable for even those with no capacity for voluntary body control, apart from eye movements, who otherwise would not be able to control a standard exoskeleton. The researchers believe that their system offers a much better signal-to-noise ratio by separating the brain control signals from the surrounding noise of ordinary brain signals for more accurate exoskeleton operation.

“Exoskeletons create lots of electrical ‘noise,’” explains Professor Klaus Muller, an author on the paper that has been published in the Journal of Neural Engineering. “The EEG signal gets buried under all this noise — but our system is able to separate not only the EEG signal, but the frequency of the flickering LED within this signal.”


The control system could serve as a technically simple and feasible add-on to other devices, with EEG caps and hardware now emerging on the consumer market. According to the researchers, it only took volunteers a few minutes to get the hang of using the exoskeleton. Because of the flickering LEDs, participants were carefully screened and those suffering from epilepsy were excluded from the study. The team is now working to reduce the ‘visual fatigue’ associated with long-term use.

“We were driven to assist disabled people, and our study shows that this brain control interface can easily and intuitively control an exoskeleton system — despite the highly challenging artefacts from the exoskeleton itself,” Muller concludes.

Those wishing to learn more can read the entire paper here, or watch the brain-controlled exoskeleton in action below.

[Images: Korea University / TU Berlin]

Lumi hopes to make lighting smarter and healthier

One startup believes health is the future of lighting. Better sleep, sight and mood! 

Research has proven that light can impact our sleep, our sight, and even our mood. With these things in mind, a new Delaware-based startup hopes to spark up a new conversation around smart lighting, and more importantly, its role in our health. To do so, Lumi has launched a new smart LED ceiling light equipped with presets to provide scientifically-correct luminosity contingent upon a user’s activity.


“People don’t know that simply having light turned on is not as good as it gets — not even close,” the team writes. “We believe health is the future of the lighting industry. In a few years, the functions we have now will be the standard, globally.”

Sure, flashy disco LEDs can be fun, but Lumi aspires to alter our perception of light controlling to include how it can positively effect our well-being, ranging from reducing eye strain and improving self-worth to enhancing safety and making food more delicious. What’s more, no hub is required. For example, Lumi can be used to avoid unnecessary dry eyes and eye fatigue by using a “Watching TV” preset, which emits a softer, relaxing light of about 400lx. Or, an illumination of 500lx or more can lead to better concentration, comprehension, retention and even test scores.


Can’t find a preset that suits your needs? Users can create a customize their ideal light, name it and then share its story via social media. And, much like other smart solutions on the market today, Lumi comes with a companion app that allows users to take control of their lights remotely. This includes turning them on/off, dimming or brightening, as well as adjusting color temperature and intensity. You can even manage multiple Lumi lights in the same room or the entire building with grouped functions.

For those who tend to be on the forgetful side, you’re in luck. Lumi will soon be equipped with a scheduling option so that, upon learning your routine, will ensure that the lights are on when needed — whether that’s returning home from work, heading into the kitchen to whip up some dinner, or walking into your closet to change clothes. Upon entering a room, the lights will already be on, and shortly after leaving, will turn off. Furthermore, the team is currently developing a sunrise function, which will gradually increase light to emulate the sunrise so you can wake up feeling energized and ready for the day. Conversely, you will be able to use Lumi’s sunset feature to gradually decrease light before bed to ease into a better night’s slumber.

In terms of hardware, its creators set out to develop a unique driver that would make the device compatible with virtually all existing lighting solutions on market today. The driver possesses a variable wattage from 0-24W for each set of LEDs, giving an accumulated range of 0-48W and enabling its dimming and color changing capabilities. Additionally, the light packs 96 LEDs, 48 white and 48 yellow. The Lumi is powered by an ATmega128 MCU along with a Marvel LBWA18HEPZ Wi-Fi chip. Each of its components are housed in a 16″ x 24″ shell that was strategically designed to diffuse light.

At the moment, Lumi is compatible with a wide-range of smartphones (iOS 7.0 or Android 4.0 and higher), supports 802.11b/g network standards, and is operated by Amazon AWS. To protect against potential hackers, Lumi leverages 128-bit AES encryption. Interested? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $40,000. Pending all goes to plan, shipment is slated to begin in October 2015.

Watch out for those snake robots!

Every engineer loves robots, it’s one of the few disciplines that mechanical, electrical, and software engineers all admire. There is a class of robots called snake robots due to their means of locomotion resembling the way a snake works. One such robot , Wheeko, was recently unveiled by the folks at NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the self-same place that Vegard Wollen, the inventor of the AVR microcontroller chip, attended before starting at Atmel.


Wheeko, a snake robot developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

When I asked a Norwegian co-worker if Wheeko might have Atmel microcontrollers in it, he was not sure about Wheeko, but pointed out and earlier robot at NTNU, the Anna Konda was run by eleven mega128 AVR chips.

The Anna Konda was intended as a fire-fighting robot that could crawl through burning or collapsed buildings. There are other applications as well, anywhere that a robot has to work in confined spaces.

So whether Wheeko goes to Mars or his little sister crawls through your veins, you can bet there will be a snake robot in your future.

Build your own wireless home security system with Arduino

Are you planning on installing a security system in your home soon? Before you start pricing, take a look at this DIY guide from Instructables user Deba168. After all, why buy when you can make your own?


Deba168’s system utilizes a pair of Arduino boards, an RF transmitter, a PIR motion sensor and a few other components to piece it all together. The device primarily uses a PIR motion sensor to detect movement, once triggered, this sensor pings an Arduino unit that catalogs the data. Along with the infrared sensor and Arduino, another Arduino board is employed to control alarms and alerts. The Maker notes that he selected an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) for the transmitter, but that either an Atmel-based Arduino Uno or Pro Mini would also suffice.


In an effort to further secure his home, Deba168 lengthened the range of his device by including an antenna on the RF transmitter and receiver module. “If you look carefully in to the RF transmitter and receiver module there is no external antenna included,” the Maker notes.

While the system now alerts users to motion, Deba168 hopes to include even more functionality in the future. The Maker plans on looking into including an alert for open doors and another notification if appliances are left on. He is also is contemplating how to incorporate a digital camera to take pictures when the motion sensor is triggered.

Pieces this all together and you’ve got a pretty cheap and easy way to keep an eye on things around the house. To read Deba168’s full tutorial, you can check out the original Instructables post here. If you want to browse other ingenious Arduino-powered projects, head over to our Bits & Pieces archives.

Atmel-Arduino controls this beer brewing machine

A Maker by the name of “The_Meatloaf” recently built a fully automated beer brewing machine using an Atmel-based Arduino Mega (ATmega128) to power a 4-button interface capable of saving and executing up to 26 different recipes.

The machine – designed in the context of a computer engineering degree program – was constructed entirely from scratch over the course of a year. As HackADay’s James Hobson notes, the automated brewing system removes most of the guesswork from an otherwise complex brewing process.

“The machine starts by heating the water in the first keg using a 2000W heating element, after which the water transfers into the mash vessel via servo valves, where it’s stirred by a mixing motor,” Hobson explained.

“The machine then drains the wort (the resulting liquid after mashing) and sparges (adds more water to the mash tun) the grains as programmed. The wort is brought to a boil for the programmed amount of time, while a servo-controlled ‘hopper’ automatically adds the hops. Finally, a counter-flow heat exchanger rapidly cools the solution to room temperature using ice water, then dispenses the solution for fermentation.”

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-Arduino automated brewing machine? You can check out the original Reddit post here and additional photos here.