Tag Archives: ATmega32U4

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.

 

Bring the weather forecast to your Chucks


Hack a pair of Converse using an Adafruit FLORA, NeoPixels and a Bluetooth LE module that relays weather data from your phone.


San Francisco-based creative studio Chapter, in collaboration with Converse, have hacked a pair of Chuck Taylors to bring the forecast to your feet.

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The Converse Beacon consists of an Adafruit FLORA board (ATmega32U4), a Bluefruit LE module and a NeoPixel ring, which together, can alert you to custom weather conditions through IFTTT. In other words, your sneaks can let you know when rain is coming, when the surf is just right, or when conditions are perfect to take a stroll outside. Talk about walkin’ on sunshine!

What’s more, you’re not just limited to weather. Once you’ve connected IFTTT to the Adafruit channel, you open the door to hundreds of possible recipes that link various inputs to your NeoPixels.

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Think you want to relay data from your smartphone to create stylish alerts on your Chucks? Then check out Chapter’s full project write-up on Hackster.io.

The Ski Buddy is a FLORA-powered coat that teaches you to ski


A DIY wearable system that can make learning to ski fun for kids.


As anyone who has ever hit the slopes will tell you, learning to ski can be quite challenging — especially for youngsters. Tired of seeing children be screamed at by parents trying to teach them to ski, Maker “Mkarpawich2001” decided to develop a wearable system that would make the process much more enjoyable for kids.

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The Ski Buddy is an electronic jacket that helps novice skiers through the use of lights. Based on an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), the coat is equipped with an accelerometer, a AAA battery pack, and conductive thread that connects to LED sequins.

“Knowing that childhood memorizes can unintentionally affect our adult lives, I sought out to come up with a tool to help making the process of learning to ski fun for kids at young ages,” the Maker writes. “Of course, all children love light-up toys, so why not transfer that love to learning? With changeable settings, you can use this coat for a variety of lessons.”

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According to Mkarpawich2001, the Ski Buddy can be used to teach linking turns, parallel skiing, hockey stops and even gradual pizza stopping (the act of pointing your skis together and pushing your heels out to form what looks like a slice of pizza).

The lights will flash once to suggest that they are working, and then guide the user along the desired path, including direction, speed and stops. While on the slopes, instruction is provided via the LEDs, depending on the particular lesson. For instance, alternating lights can let a person know to slow down, or when turned off, can mean they’re going the right way.

You can see it in action below, and head over to its page here. Those looking for a more commercial solution should check out Carv.

 

 

KeKePad is an ATmega32U4-powered wearables platform


KeKePad is a plug-and-play platform that replaces conductive thread with tiny connectors and thin cables.


Like most Makers, Michael Yang enjoyed using the Arduino Lilypad for his wearable and e-textile projects. However, he discovered that conductive thread has a few drawbacks: it is expensive, it has no insulation and its resistance is quite high. Plus, in order to achieve a tight connection, the wires need to be soldered (which means that it becomes rather difficult to remove if there are any mistakes).

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So, as any DIY spirited individual would do, he set out to solve this problem. The result? KeKePad, a new modular platform that’s 100% compatible with the Arduino LilyPad USB and can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. The board is based on the ATmega32U4 — the same chip that can be found at the heart of the wildly popular Adafruit FLORA — and features built-in USB support, so it can be easily connected to a PC. Like other wearable MCUs, the controller boasts a familiar round shape (which measures 50mm in diameter) along with 12 tiny three-pin Ke Connectors and 11 sew tab pins.

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What really sets the platform apart, though, is its unique wiring and connection method. The KeKePad entails a series of small sewable modules that link together via the Ke Connectors and special cables, or Ke Cables, with crimp terminals. This eliminates the frustration often associated with using conductive thread. With a diameter of only 0.32mm, the wire is extremely flexible, super thin and coated in Teflon.

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At the moment, there are approximately 20 different modules to choose from, including sensors for detecting light, UV, sound, barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, and acceleration, as well as actuator modules for things such as LEDs, MP3s, OLED displays and vibrating buzzers.

Intrigued? Head over to KeKePad’s Indiegogo campaign, where Yang and his team are currently seeking $2,000. Delivery is slated for April 2016.

Turn your room into a night club with these sound-reactive lights


This Maker installed 12 meters of FLORA-driven NeoPixels to his apartment for a lighting system like no other. 


If you’re having a hard time deciding on which of the excellent (?) candidates to vote for this election cycle, perhaps Charlie Gorichanaz’s sound-reactive room lighting will swing your opinion. He doesn’t appear to actually be running for office, but at least he will have the website setup for any future political aspirations.

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Regardless, he has our vote for the most fun bedroom, as he’s mounted 12 meters of NeoPixel strips in the corners where the walls meet the ceiling. The lighting is controlled by an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), which is normally meant for wearable use, but as shown here, can be quite versatile. This could be compared to how mere mortals put up comparatively boring crown molding.

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This setup (explained here with diagrams and a parts list) was originally used in Gorichanaz’s apartment in Tokyo. After some code cleanup, it is now alive and well in the United States. You can see it shown in the video below.

If you notice that the audio is a little cleaner than you would normally expect, it was actually combined with the video after the fact. This is explained in the second link above, and could be useful for taking your DIY videos to a new level.

For another option, if you only want lights on one of your walls instead of the ceiling, here’s a sound-reactive panel idea inspired by the movie Ex Machina.

The Feather 32U4 FONA combines an ATmega32U4 and a GSM module


Let your ideas fly anywhere in the world with this all-new Adafruit board.


Another week, another Feather! Adafruit continues to expand its newest ‘all-in-one’ microcontroller family with the Feather 32U4 FONA. The latest in their constantly-growing lineup boasts the same form factor as its siblings along with a LiPo battery charger and microUSB. Unlike the others, however, this bad boy is equipped with a FONA 800 cellular module.

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As you can see in the Lady Ada’s demonstration video below, the Feather 32U4 FONA can do quite a bit: make and answer calls (connect a microphone and an external speaker to make your own phone), transmit and receive GPRS data, send and get SMS messages, as well as scan and receive FM radio broadcasts. What’s more, it’s even pairable with Bluetooth, so you can connect from your computer and control data and/or have an audio link for your hands-free headset. Don’t forget, like the rest of the Feathers, you can add any of the wide range of FeatherWings to create your own unique device.

“Connect your Feather to the Internet or make phone calls with our trusted-and-tested FONA module. At the heart is a GSM cellular module (we use the latest SIM800) the size of a postage stamp. This module can do just about everything,” the crew writes.

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Beyond that, the Feather 32U4 is built around an ATmega32U4 clocked at 8 MHz and at 3.3V logic. This chip packs 32K of Flash and 2K of RAM, and built-in USB.

Since you’ll be taking this on the road, Adafruit has added a connector for any 3.7V LiPo batteries and an integrated charger. It should be noted, though, that a 500mAh+ LiPo battery is required for use, as it “keeps the cellular module happy during the high current spikes.”

The board itself measures 2.4″ x 0.9” x 0.28”in size and weighs just over eight grams. It has plenty of GPIO, eight PWM pins, 10 analog inputs, a single analog output, a power/enable pin, four mounting holes and a reset button.

Intrigued? Head over to Adafruit to get your hands on this sweet $45 board!