Tag Archives: ATmega2560

This robotic guitar can strum itself


For those of us who’ve always wanted to shred like Hendrix, B. B. King or John Mayer but lacked the necessary skill and know-how, Giuseppe Pilla has come up with the perfect solution. As seen on display at Maker Faire Rome, the Maker has built a fully-automated, acoustic guitar-playing robot.


Impressively, the music-making machine is capable of playing tracks ranging from Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” to Leonard Cohen’s “Allelujah,” to “Jessica” by the Allman Borthers. To get started, a user first selects a song on an Android smartphone. Commands from the device are transmitted over Bluetooth to an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), where they are then decoded, processed and matched up to one of the tracks already stored in the robot’s memory. This provides the actuators (motor steppers and servo motors) with all of the necessary instructions to begin strumming.

The guitar itself is placed horizontally on a smooth and even surface where handcrafted supports keep the various actuators mounted in place. Each servo motor is equipped with a pick allowing it to pluck away with precision, while six stepper motors located near the handle are used to correspond to a note. The motors, drivers and switches are all powered by the Arduino.

As to why we didn’t come across this project any sooner, we have no clue. But boy, are we glad we stumbled upon this at Maker Faire Rome! See it in action for yourself below.

Building a robotic bed with Arduino

Self-driving cars? How about an autonomous bed instead? 

Randy Sarafan over at the Instructables Design Studio has created a robotic social bed that seeks out people and makes new friends along the way.


You can think of it as an autonomous vehicle, just in the form of a queen-sized bed. Bedfellow is more than a futuristic piece of furniture, it’s capable of achieving some pretty impressive high speeds and sustaining 8 horsepower of force with peaks of 25 horsepower. Not to mention, the bed has quite a bit of torque behind it as well, having carried up to at least 12 people at once without ever slowing down.

Thanks to its wooden torsion frame box frame and sturdy central drive column, Bedfellow has been made to support up to 3,000 pounds. Additionally, the outer casters have springs to absorb some of the shock and account for uneven surfaces. The Maker does note, though, that there really isn’t any sort of suspension, so taking it outdoors may not be the best idea. There are also two drive wheels located underneath the bed, aligned in such a way that it can turn on point like a tank, along with a pair of high-powered DC motors, two Alltrax motor controllers and a 20:1 gear reducer.


“My specific model is capable of handling up to 400 amps. In the motor control circuit there is also a solenoid for engaging the power, and a reverse contactor for reversing motor direction. Each motor has its own separate drive circuit and battery bank,” Sarafan explains. “Currently, the drive system is operating at 24V, but I can be boosted to 48V for increased speed. However, traveling any faster than it is currently capable is likely not a good idea. There are also two chargers for each battery bank onboard.”

Bedfellow is built around the mighty Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), which reads 12 ultrasonic sensors and interfaces with the Alltrax motor controllers. How the system itself works is fairly simple: the bed picks a random direction to move, checks to see if there is anything in the way, and begins to move if all clear. If there happens be an object in the way, it will randomly choose another direction and try again. There are four safety bumpers which are linked to the Arduino using interrupts. If they’re hit, Bedfellow immediately stops in its place and restarts its routine.


Keep in mind, this project was admittedly done for sheer entertainment value and as a way to motivate Makers to go build something that’s fun, exciting and somewhat out of the ordinary. Sarafan explains, “Before you flood a thousand discussion boards talking about how pointless these instructions are, I just want to point out that I get it. No one is likely ever going to recreate this and, even if they wanted to, they probably don’t have access to all of the tools necessary to easily do so. This project uses a ton of expensive parts, is designed around a discontinued IKEA bed frame, takes forever to make, is largely cost prohibitive, and does not make sense to many highly rational individuals.”

Putting rationality aside, this would make for one heck of a bed racing vehicle! Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s exhaustive, 74-step breakdown of the build here

Okay, now everyone hop on!


The Eleven is an open source desktop 3D printer

The Eleven is an affordable 3D printer with a large build area and high precision. 

Developed by Canadian startup ISG3D, the Eleven is a hackable desktop 3D printer with an open-air design. Boasting an impressive build envelope of 22cm x 40cm x 40cm, the machine is capable of creating decently-sized objects in a variety of filaments like PLA, ABS, Nylon and NinjaFlex.


Inspired by the Prusa i3 and based on RepRap mechanics, the newly-revealed gadget was built specifically with Makers in mind, not to mention hackers thanks to its open source nature. Its stripped down composition provides users with the ability to make improvements of their own, and customize it to their liking.

What’s more, the Eleven features a sleek open-air body, resembling that of the Prusa, and can easily fit on any desktop or workbench without taking up too much space. The printer is equipped with a heated bed, a user-friendly LCD screen for menu navigation, a resolution of up to 100 microns, and can precisely extrude layers as thin as 0.1mm. With a print speed of up to 100mm/second, objects can be spit out relatively quickly with a great degree of accuracy. In terms of hardware, the desktop device is driven by the mighty combination of an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 along with a set of NEMA 17 stepper motors, and runs Repetier Host software.


The Eleven’s simple design makes it convenient to swap out filament spools, accessible for quick repairs or tune-ups, and pretty portable with a weight of roughly 30 pounds. Meanwhile, its frame is comprised mostly of aluminum, which offers enhanced stability and reliability during a print job. Plus, to give the gadget a little personality, the team has even added a series of LEDs that lets users choose from up to 15 colors and for different effects.

  • Printer size: 33cm x 60cm x 60cm
  • Build volume: 22cm x 40cm x 40cm
  • Layer resolution: <100microns
  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: PLA, ABS, Nylon (1.75mm)
  • Print speed: 100mm/s
  • Power supply: 240W
  • Connectivity: USB
  • OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Software: Repetier

Sound like a 3D printer you’d like to have in your Makerspace? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where ISG3D is currently seeking $8,402. The first batch of units is expected to ship in February 2016.

Clara is a smart lamp that helps you stay focused

Working on a project? Cramming for an exam? This brain-sensing, environment-augmenting lamp uses EEG technology to tell how focused your are and block out distractions. 

We’ve all been there: It’s late at night, you’re cramming for an exam when suddenly you’re interrupted by the simplest thing. How cool would it be to have a desktop accessory that could give you a kick in the right direction and increase your intensity as you try to finish your studying? Thanks to a group of Makers from the School of Visual Arts, that will soon be a reality.


The brainchild of developers Mejía Cobo, Belen Tenorio, and Josh Sucher, Clara is a brain-sensing lamp that employs EEG technology to tell how focus you are at a task at hand. Embedded with speaker and LEDs, the scene-augmenting device is capable of responding to changes in brainwaves, then reacting to your level of concentration by increasing the ambient music and shifting the light levels.

To bring this idea to fruition, the team used the combination of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an MP3 shield, several Adafruit NeoPixels, a SparkFun Bluetooth modem and a Neurosky MindWave Mobile EEG headset to wirelessly measure your “attention” and map the lamp’s color temperature, thereby subtly altering your environment.


As you begin homing in on a specific idea, the light will become crisper and cooler as the volume of the ambient noise emitted from the speaker slowly rises. This helps to enhance your ninja-like focus and block out other distractions.

“The basic structure of the Arduino code is straightforward. The NeoPixel strip is instantiated, then the Music Maker shield is instantiated, then we take advantage of interrupts to listen for, receive and act on Bluetooth serial data while the music is playing,” its creators reveal. “When the MindWave detects ‘activity’ (a number from 0-100 generated via some proprietary algorithm on the Neurosky chip), we initiate the ‘fade’ of the music and the light.”


Looking ahead, don’t be too surprised if you see Clara on Kickstarter in the coming months. Plus, the team hints that they may even migrate to an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) for its next iteration. Until then, check out rather unique project on its page here.

Makerarm is a versatile robotic arm for Makers

Makerarm is a complete personal fabrication system crammed into a single, beautifully-designed robotic arm for your desktop. 

While a handful of robotic arms have emerged onto the scene recently, we’ve been holding out for one that was brought to our attention back in May. And the time has finally arrived! Now live on Kickstarter, the aptly named Makerarm is a complete personal fabrication system packed into a sleek robotic arm that sits right on your desktop.


The affordable gadget, which has an impressive work area of 378.5 square inches, is equipped with interchangeable heads for various applications. These include 3D printing both filament and resin, plotting on any surface, CNC milling at high speeds, engraving with a 500mW laser and soldering PCBs, among countless others. What’s more, Makerarm boasts a reach of 15.7 inches and is capable of assembling electronics by picking parts up and placing them down using either vacuum pump coupled suction cups, electromagnets or grippers.

Makerarm is being billed with many of the components you would expect from today’s most popular 3D printers, namely a 10″ Z-axis and the ability to extrude an assortment of materials. The modular tool also comes with features like auto-leveling to ensure consistency and Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless control. Plus, it can work in coordination with other Makerarms to accomplish specific tasks.


The impressive SCARA robot is built around an ATmega2560 responsible for handling the I/Os and motion control, as well as another MPU that serves as its brain. Makerarm comes with its own browser-based software, which allows remote management from any device via Wi-Fi. This means you’ll be able to do things like view Makerarm in 3D, train it to perform repeated actions, load designs and models for one-click 3D printing, milling and engraving, connect third party apps, and even create custom apps of your own through its hardware development kit and API.

On top of all that, Makerarm’s UI can detect which head is attached and will only display options and information relevant to that particular function. And, should you wish to use your favorite CAD/CAM and tool path generation program such as Autodesk Fusion 360, you can go right ahead!


Is this the piece of machinery you’ve been dying to have on your workbench or desktop? Then head over to Makerarm’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $349,750. Units are expected to begin shipping a year from now.

Building an Arduino-based alarm shield

Maker develops an anti-theft alarm shield compatible with a range of sensors, RFID, GSM and a web server.

No stranger to the Hackaday Prize, a Maker by the name of “IngGaro” has developed an Arduino-based anti-theft shield that offers users many of the same functions as a commercial home automation system for a fraction of the cost.


Simply put, the project is a shield for an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560). The unit includes connections to an alarm, a GSM modem, temperature and humidity sensors, magnetic and IR movement sensors to detect tampering and intruders, as well as an Ethernet module, a siren and a small UPS 2.2Ah battery for power. The Arduino discreetly attaches to a remote control box mounted near the front door, which boasts an LCD display, an NFC and RFID reader for authorization, a speaker for feedback, and capacitive buttons to arm and disarm the system.

“The panel is connected to the shield with a long 2/4 wire cable. The result is pretty good and it works perfectly. Since the I2C cable that connects to the main circuit is long, more than [the] I2C specification, I planned to add some kind of serial translator,” IngGaro explains. “However, it already works perfectly so I didn’t need it; the only trick to make it working fine was to add some capacitors to the magnetic sensors pins near the Arduino, since the rolling shutter electric motors randomly introduced some noise that caused I2C errors.”

The whole system can be remotely managed from a web-based interface or a smartphone via its app. When activated, owners can receive notifications by way of text message and email. It also connects to other in-home automation systems, which allows the DIY device to do things like open/close the blinds, turn on/off lights, control security cameras and monitor the temperature and humidity inside the house. What’s more, users can even manually trigger the alarm to sound for “emergency purposes.” Pre-set times and other options are fully programmable and stored in the Arduino’s EEPROM.


What’s nice is that users can choose to enable both perimetral and volumetric sensors, or just perimetral only if they’re in the house, and then activate it with NFC. This will trigger a predefined domotic action, like closing the rolling shutters and turning off all the lights, and then provide an owner with a pre-defined amount of time to exit the house — no different than the grace period in traditional systems.

“If some windows (perimetral sensors) are opened before activating the system, they’re automatically disabled until they’re closed again. If you open a windows, the alarm sounds immediately; if you open the door (e.g. coming back home) or move in front of a volumetric sensor, you have a (configurable) amount of time to disable it. You can also configure how many consecutive times the siren will be activated on alarm, for how long, and the ‘pause’ length between two alarms,” IngGaro writes.


Beyond that, the anti-theft shield’s software was written with Arduino IDE. According to the Maker, he employed the help of several libraries, including UIPEthernet for Ethernet, time and timezone for time management, and LiquidCrystal_I2C for LCD, among a few others.

“The system configuration (sensor number/type, authorized NFC IDs, etc.) has to be hard-coded in the Arduino code in some proper sections; system options (siren duration and other timings, domotic control, etc.) may be runtime configurated through the web server, and will be stored in the Arduino EEPROM. Date and time are automatically and periodically acquired with NTP,” he adds.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s page on Hackaday.io here.

Dobot is an open source, ATmega2560 based robotic arm

Dobot is an affordable robotic arm with industrial precision that can be controlled in seven different ways.

Inspired by robotic arms found throughout the industrial setting, one Bay Area startup is looking to bring that same precision and versatility to the desk of Makers. Dobot is driven by the combination of Arduino and stepper motors, and boasts a sleek aluminum alloy frame.


Designed for just about everyone, the low-cost, four-axis Dobot can follow your commands as it draws, writes, texts, moves and grabs objects. Not only can you select from five different nozzles depending on the task, it can be controlled in a number of ways — a computer mouse, a smartphone app, EEG, voice, gesture, Leap Motion and vision — and can even double as a tabletop 3D printer, capable of printing with both plastic and food-based filaments. Have your hands full? Hate repetitive chores? Now there’s an intuitive robotic arm that can take care of all that for you.

“Can Dobot use a mobile phone to turn off the lights? Can Dobot fetch an apple in a folder by brain control? Of course! We are firm believers in furthering the possibilities of the Dobot robot arm! Now it’s your turn to make your magic of Dobot happen,” its creators explain. “Dobot can help you feed and tickle your pets, play interactive games with friends, and play board games against the robot.”


The arm itself is built around the mighty Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) along with an Arduino shield, and includes a high accuracy speed reducer motor that provides a consistent supply of power. Meanwhile, communication is handled through UART/Bluetooth.

“For software, we have done a great deal of optimization. The software supports speed look-ahead small line blocks interpolation algorithm, able to fit any type of curve and ensure processing efficiency,” the team writes. “Moreover, with the Three Axes Linkage Method fine interpolation, you can control the trajectory of the end effector of the Dobot accurately, empowering it with complex curvilinear motions.”


However, arguably its most notable feature is its incredible precision, which is down to 0.2mm when performing repetitive actions. So when it’s not laser etching, jotting down notes or even transforming words into Chinese calligraphy, Dobot can basically do anything you want it to. What’s more, Dobot will be a welcomed addition to any household or workbench. That’s because its customized stepper motor minimizes the noise associated with movement, making it much quieter than other low-cost servo robotic arms. And thanks to its four axes of motion, it will take up less room.

Keeping the Maker crowd in mind, the team says that they will open source the robotic arm following its crowdfunding campaign. Users will soon be able to write their own commands, upload them to the server and share them with others in the community. Currently live on Kickstarter, Dobot soared past its initial goal of $36,000 and is inching closer to the $500,000 mark. Delivery is expected to begin in December 2015.

Sensing the atmosphere with an Arduino-based high-altitude balloon

Titan 1 is a high-altitude balloon sensing the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field.

The brainchild of Emanuel Bombasaro, Titan 1 is a high-altitude balloon (HAB) tasked with sensing the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field of an altitude up to 35 ,393 meters (116,118 feet).


Launched on August 21, 2015 in Denmark, the system is comprised of a helium-filled latex balloon, a payload box housing its flight computer, various sensors and a parachute. A GoPro camcorder is also mounted inside the payload to capture an image every second while up in the air.

The flight computer is based on an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and a HABduino shield, which logs the position, pressure, temperature, humidity, luminosity, magnetic field and acceleration — all measured by the embedded sensors. The global position of the HAB is determined by a MAX-M8 series GPS module and the data is transmitted via a Radiometrix MTX2 434MHz radio module.


Among the other sensors connected to the Arduino aboard Titan 1 include: a DS18B20 temperature sensor on the HABduino to show the flight computer compartment’s temperature, a MCP9808 maximum accuracy digital temperature sensor to monitor air temperature, a HTU21DF temperature and humidity sensor to track temperature and relative humidity of the air, a MPL3115A2 precision altimeter to keep tabs on atmospheric pressure, a TSL2561 light to digital converter, a BST-BMP180 pressure sensor, a L3GD20 3D gyroscope, a LSM303DLHC 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer module. Meanwhile, power is supplied through a LSH20 Saft LSH 20 lithium battery and feeds into the low input voltage synchronous boost converter on the HABuino shield.

Intrigued? You can read all about the mission in its detailed paper here, and watch its maiden flight for yourself in the video below!

Check out the world’s first 3D-printed hotel suite

A hotel owner in the Philippines has 3D printed an entire suite — jacuzzi and all. 

It goes without saying that 3D printing will revolutionize architecture. However, despite recent projects that range from a 3D-printed estate in New York to an apartment building in China, none of these structures have actually been put to use for residential or commercial purposes. That was until now. First reported by 3DPrint.com, the Lewis Grand Hotel in Angeles City, Pampanga is now home to the very first 3D-printed suite in not just the Philippines, but the world.

The idea to 3D print an entire room was proposed to hotel owner Lewis Yakich by none other than 3D printing specialist Andrey Rudenko, who you may recall from his 3D-printed castle. The 1,500-square-foot suite features two bedrooms, a living room and a spa with its very own 3D-printed jacuzzi, of course.

“The Philippines is actually a great place for concrete printing because of the weather,” Yakich tells 3DPrint.com. “Currently everything is made out of concrete, and it’s a third-world country so it can do a lot of good in disaster zones, etc.”


Construction of the 3D-printed space has been completed, measuring approximately 35 feet x 41 feet with 10-foot ceilings. In total, the project took roughly 100 hours to print, though not continuous due to the installation of plumbing, wiring and such.

Yakich, who also happens to be a material science engineer, worked with Rudenko in designing the massive 3D printer that spews out a mixture of sand and volcanic ash. While it took two months to develop the first printer, they believe the method can now be replicated to build it in about two weeks. According to 3DPrint.com, the machine has been created in such a way that it can easily be assembled or disassembled and then moved to another location.

It should be noted that this is only the beginning of Yakich’s plans to introduce 3D-printed, fully-functional buildings throughout the Philippines. He has, in fact, secured permission from the government to build 200 living quarters for low-income families, which is made possible by the 60% cost savings of 3D printing opposed to traditional methods of construction. He even hopes that this number will grow to 2,000 houses in the coming years.

“I plan to roll over some of the cost savings of using a 3D printer to give a more quality house for the low-income homes. It would be great if I could give them all mini mansions! The people here would go nuts over my homes,” he adds.


As for the printer itself, even despite its size, it still uses the same Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and software that you’d find in many of today’s more popular desktop devices. The RepRap-inspired unit boasts large motors that enable it to extrude layers 30mm wide and 10mm tall. Want to see more? Be sure to check out Rudenko’s official page, or watch the mesmerizing 3D printer in action below!

[h/t 3DPrint.com]

Creating the world’s first Android autonomous vehicle

One team of students turned an RC car into a self-driving vehicle capable of following street lanes, parking and overcoming obstacles.

A future full of driverless cars is just around the corner, with reports predicting over 10 million to hit the roads over the next five years. And while many of today’s vehicles already boast high-tech capabilities like self-parking and automatic braking, their price tag often keeps them out of reach of most young folks like University of Gothenburg student Dimitris Platis.


Platis, in collaboration with his classmates Yilmaz Caglar, Aurélien Hontabat, David Jensen, Simeon Ivanov, Ibtissam Karouach, Jiaxin Li and Petroula Theodoridou — who collectively go by the name Team Pegasus — decided to develop an impressive autonomous vehicle of their own. The only difference? It’s much smaller than the ones you’d find on the road, and unfortunately, won’t be able to give any of them a lift to class.

Originally conceived as a school project, the scaled-down, self-driving vehicle utilizes machine vision algorithms along with data fed by its on-board sensors to follow street lanes, perform parking maneuvers and stay clear of obstacles in its way. Basically, the unit is an RC car that they hacked by replacing its ESC, DC and servo motor with several electronic parts housed inside various compartments and affixed to the shell.


An Android phone handles the image processing, decision-making and wireless transmission of steering instructions (via Bluetooth) to an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) embedded inside its chassis. This board connects to three ultrasonic distance sensors — two of which are mounted to the front and another to its rear. A trio of IR sensors are linked to the Arduino as well, while a speed encoder is attached to one wheel.

Aside from that, a 9-DOF Razor IMU board (ATmega328P) is fitted to the front bumper to provide feedback on the car’s movement, though it is not too reliable due to magnetic interference from the motors. The vehicle is also equipped with LEDs that act as head and brake lights along with an ATtiny85 based driver board that receives signals over serial and blinks the lights.

An electronic speed controller, powered by a 7.2V battery, is tasked with driving the motors according to a PWM signal that it receives from the Arduino. The servo motor determines the angle of the vehicle’s front wheels.


The Makers created an Android app called CARduino that communicates via Bluetooth with the on-board MCU, drives the motors and parses the sensor data.

“On the software dimension of the physical layer, an Arduino library was created, which encapsulated the usage of the various sensors and permits us to handle them in an object oriented manner. The API, sports a high abstraction level, targeting primarily novice users who ‘just want to get the job done.’ The components exposed, should however also be enough for more intricate user goals,” Platis explains. “This library was developed to be used with the following components in mind: an ESC, a servo motor for steering, HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors, SHARP GP2D120 infrared distance sensors, an L3G4200D gyroscope, a speed encoder, [and] a Razor IMU.”

Want to learn more? You can race on over to the project’s detailed logcheck out its latest write-up in MAKE: Magazine, or see it in action below!