Tag Archives: ATmega328

Maker mods his NERF blaster into a fully-functional Halo 5 MA5D


A DIY weapon for Humans vs. Zombies — with an ammo counter, scope and all!


Jeremy Chang is a big fan of Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ), a live-action game where players try to survive a post-apocalyptic world using soft toys like socks and foam dart guns. Well, in this case, the Maker decided to do something a little different and add another layer of roleplaying to his HvZ experience by modding his NERF blaster to resemble a Halo MA5D assault rifle.

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This device boasts a number of impressive features, which range from a digital ammo counter to a functional scope. Based on the fictional United Nations Space Command weapon, the 3D-printed replica certainly looks ready to obliterate zombies.

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In order to get the iconic shape of the MA5D, Chang used some 3D-printed part to upgrade his blaster. On the inside, Chang employed an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) to detect trigger pulls, a few reed switches in the chamber to determine the current ammo count and an Adafruit 128×64 OLED lit with a NeoPixel LED. (The color on the screen change as the percentage of ammunition goes to zero.) The display even has a functional mission timer and will reveal if the clip is not fully closed. Aside from all that, a 5V scope adds a nice finishing touch to the MA5D prop.

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Intrigued? You can check out Chang’s entire build here.

Have your Arduino let you know when your package arrives


How to program your Arduino to query the FedEx API every time someone comes to your door in order to determine whether that person was delivering a package.


If you’re expecting a package, and can’t be bothered to go to the door to actually check and see who is bothering you, Adafruit has your solution. That’s because they’ve developed a guide, which will teach you “how to program your Arduino to query the FedEx API every time someone comes to your door in order to determine whether that person was delivering a package. Then, you’ll program the board to use the Zendesk API to alert you if a package was delivered.”

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Physically, this task is fairly straightforward, involving only an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) with a Wi-Fi shield (AT32UC3) for communication, and an infrared sensor to detect whether or not someone is at your door. Setting up the software, as you might suspect, is somewhat more involved, including getting a Temboo account, a Zendesk account, and obtaining FedEx developer keys.

If you’re thinking about doing this project, it’s much easier to obtain the FedEx keys than you might suspect, and what you need to do to set everything up is laid out in a step-by-step procedure. On the other hand, if you’re expecting something from UPS or the U.S. Postal Service, you might still need to actually go to the door and see what it is. Besides, you’ll have to get the package eventually!

For another idea on how to interface devices in your house with the Internet, why not check out this Amazon Echo controlled wheelchair experiment?

This 3D-printed, Arduino-powered robotic mower will take care of your lawn for you


Build your own Ardumower for less than $300.


Mowing the lawn; it’s a nice slice of solitude and exercise for some, and an arduous task for others, to be avoided at all costs. If you fall into that second category, then the Ardumower might be for you. According to its description,“With this download project you can build your own robotic lawn mower at a fraction of the cost that one would have to apply for a commercial one.”

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The mower itself is an interesting build, with a nicely sloped canopy and driving wheels that resemble something found inside of a clock. Housed inside is an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a motor driver board for control. Two 12V electrical motors are used for locomotion around a yard, while another motor turns the cutting blade.

The robo-mower is kept within your yard using a boundary wire fence to tell it when it has reached the limits of its domain. As seen in the video below, it also has some obstacle avoidance capability, though it would likely be best to keep it in an area free from animals, children, and irresponsible adults!

If you want to assemble one yourself, you can do so for about $250-$300 — a fraction of the cost of its commercial counterparts. A manual, which is available for $12.16, claims to give step-by-step directions to build your own Ardumower (or maybe two for larger lawns!), as well as info on how to create the boundary fence.

Trojan 77 is a gamified simulation of the Trojan virus


Inspired by labyrinth, this project highlights the most significant effects of the Trojan virus.


Developed by a team of students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Trojan 77 is a gamified simulation of the infamous Trojan virus — a malware that provides unauthorized remote access to a user’s computer. The game, which was originally devised as a tech museum exhibit, aims to shed light on the most important effects the virus.

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Much like the labyrinth game you played growing up, Trojan 77 simulates a few key effects of the virus, such as passwords leaking out and files being deleted, culminating in a system failure. To help explain the intricacies of the malware, the team built the project on the metaphor of a maze with players having the perspective of the hacker.

As you can see in the video below, the ball represents the Trojan virus. The player must get the ball to stop at cetain touchpoints throughout the maze by tiling the structure back and forth. Each touchpoint holds valuable data, like passwords and pictures. Once a touchpoint is hit, the data can be then be ‘accessed’ by the hacker. If successful, the vrius will crash the system once the final touchpoint is reached.

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“The idea of designing something analog to explain a digital construct was an exciting challenge to undertake. The way that computer viruses operate can be very complicated and hard to explain without overloading people with detailed information,” the team writes. “Making this information visual via animated projections helped to communicate the effects in a fun and memorable way. It also enabled us to communicate the same information to children without any negative connotations, but simply educational.”

Housed inside the wooden structure lies an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and two servo motors, controlled by a joystick that enables the tilting.

 

Hate clapping? Simone Giertz’s latest machine is for you


Let’s give this project a round of applause! 


Guess who’s back with another robotic solution to yet another problem. Simone Giertz, of course! Any of us who’ve ever had to sit through a graduation ceremony, an hour-long presentation, a tennis match, a ballet recital or a political debate know all too well how annoying having to constantly give an applause can be.

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So, as part of her aptly named “There Must Be A Better Way” series, the frequent YouTuber and Maker has developed an automated applause machine. Why? Because “clapping your own hands is tiresome and a cruel practice.”

For the mechanism itself, Giertz employed a pair of kitchen tongs and attached a metal spring below the grippers, then put an oval-shaped DC motor between the two arms. This way, when the motor spins, it forces the tongs to open and close, creating a clapping motion.

“For the machine’s hands, I wanted to find a pair that would create the most realistic clapping sound possible. So I bought four different types of plastic hands from a party-supply store. After some experimentation, I decided that hollow hands made of rigid plastic created the best noise. I fastened them to the tongs’ grippers with small bolts,” the Maker explains.

The machine was brought to life using no other than an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) connected to a MOSFET, housed inside a laser-cut base. What’s more, a slider was added to the front of the device to control the speed. According to Giertz, she can now gradually adjust the applause from a “snarky slow clap” to a “breakneck 330 claps per minute.”

Admittedly, this may be one of her best, most practical and well-polished projects yet. We love it! Now how ‘bout a round of applause for Giertz?! You can watch the future of clapping hands below, as well as read her recent write-up in Popular Science here.

Hear the sound of 300 stars with Arduino


Artist Francesco Fabris created a sonic representation of stars and constellations through a dedicated interface.


Unlike some science fiction movies would have you believe, there is no sound in space. With this fact in mind Francesco Fabris created Stellar. This interactive art installation was designed to be “a sonic representation of stars and constellations through a dedicated interface.”

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This project takes the form of a cylinder with several important constallations represented below its transparent cover. Inside this cover are two robotic arms which are controlled by hand motions via a non-contact sensors and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328). These arms are used to select the star that is seen and heard.

Once selected, several aspects of that star are analyzed, including temperature, brightness (as seen from Earth), distance (from Earth), frequency, amplitude and duration. These statistics are then represented and displayed as a sound and color. The video below shows the installation in action, or you can check out the “making of” video at the end for more insight into this project.

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“The project has been developed using Arduino and Max7 software,” Fabris explains. “Data of more than 300 stars and 44 constellations have been stored from the open-source software Stellarium.org, and coded to interact with the robotic arms.”

In addition to Fabris, several other people helped make Steller a reality: Patrycja Maksylewicz, Przemysław Koleszka and Eloy Diez Polo. It looks like this was a huge undertaking, involving quite a bit of programming, and a lot of work at the project’s location to get everything set up.

Hacking a rotary phone into a recorder and playback machine


Rotary X turns an old-school device into a modern-day question and answer machine.


For you youngsters out there, touch tone phones were an interesting piece of technology that used a rotary dial to create a certain number of on-off pulses. This told the phone company what phone number you, literally, dialed. Though this technology was phased out beginning in the 1960s, these resilient devices could still be found many years later. They can also be purchased and turned into something else. As Maker Lizzy Brooks puts it, “Like a lot of analog technology, rotary phones operate with a series of high/low switches that can easily be wired into an Arduino for programming adventures.”

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In this case, Brooks is referring to her Rotary X question and answer machine. The guts of this phone are hooked up to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) which interfaces with a hidden PC to state questions and record responses, controlled by the pulses generated by the rotary dial. Or, as the video below puts it, it’s “magic.”

In addition to wiring the dial and hook switch up to the Arduino, Brooks had to create a new electromagnet for the ringer by simply wrapping insulated wire around the bolt that held the orignal magnet. The microphone and speaker in the phone’s headset were replaced with a microphone scavenged from an earbud set, and a headphone speaker. Brooks notes that, although she used a PC, one could probably use an Arduino audio shield and forgo the PC altogether.

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Looking ahead, the Maker is also hoping to add a sensor so it can ring whenever someone approaches, and to connect to the Internet so that it can react to various API data (like ring as you receive a tweet).

If you’d like to try something like this yourself, the Rotary X Arduino and Processing files are available online, and more info on wiring these old phones can be found on Andrew Stella’s “audio_maelstrom” blog.