Tag Archives: Ben Heck

Building an anti-texting device with the ATmega328

Yesterday we took a closer look at a rather impressive AVR-powered hot glue gun designed by master modder Ben Heck which one tech journalist characterized as “more like an extruder from a 3D printer” than your typical dispenser. Today we’re going to check out an “anti-teen-texting device” created by Heck for concerned parents to install in their kid’s car.

“Of course in my day this problem would have been solved by 1) cell phones barely existing 2) my parents would never have bought me one if they had 3) they also didn’t buy me a car,” said Heck.

As you can see in the video above, the master modder’s anti-texting device is built around Atmel’s versatile ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU), a hand-wired MicroSD card for datalogging and a really loud siren.

Essentially, the device is tasked with detecting the amount of current being drawn by the MicroUSB charge jack: Current being drawn = phone in dock = no alarm.

“If the car is started without the phone in the jack your teen has about 10 seconds to stick it in, else there’s an alarm and the infraction is logged to the SD card,” Heck added.

Interested in learning more about Ben Heck’s Atmel-powered anti-texting device? You can watch the video above or check out additional pictures here.

Ben Heck’s glue gun has Atmel under the hood

It’s probably safe to say that most Makers have experienced bad glue gun days. You know, the kind of day that start off nicely enough, only to be ruined by incessant dripping all over the workbench and basement floor. Some of us have even muttered “I bet this doesn’t happen to Ben Heck” under our collective breaths.

As it turns out, master modder Ben Heck probably hasn’t suffered from a bad glue gun day since designing an innovative device that HackADay’s Brian Benchoff describes as “more like an extruder from a 3D printer” than your typical dispenser.

“By far, the most difficult part of this project was the glue stick extruder. For this, Ben used a DC motor with a two-stage planetary gear system,” Benchoff explained.

“This drives a homemade hobbed bolt, just like the extruder in 99% of 3D printers. The glue stick is wedged up against the hobbed bolt with a few 3D printed parts and a spring making for a very compact glue stick extruder.”

On the electronics side, Ben included an Atmel-based AVR board, a thermistor attached to the hot end of the glue gun, a solid state relay for the heater and analog controls for speed /temperature settings.

“The finished product is actually pretty nice. It lays down consistent beads of hot glue and thanks to a little bit of motor retraction won’t drip,” Benchoff added.

We couldn’t agree more!