Tag Archives: GSM shield

This Arduino-powered baton will tell on you if you hit someone

Nice going, tattletale! Don’t hit someone or else this billy club will tell your mother. 

Moscow-based Maker ::vtol:: and his art-inspired projects have are no stranger to the Atmel Bits & Pieces blog. Whether it’s modding a typewriter to print ASCII selfies or turning air pollution into images, the hacker-artist continues to surprise us with new innovations. Added to the growing list is a police baton equipped with a GSM-module and powered by an Arduino that automatically sends a text message reading “Mom, I hit a man” to your mother whenever it is used to strike someone.


The idea for Antenna was conceived following the latest string of incidents surrounding police brutality. While a number of states, including California, are putting body cameras on cops in hopes of reducing violence and complaints, vtol:: had a something else in mind — a concept that would incorporate “maternity as the last stronghold of human kindness and responsibility.” After all, no matter what age you are, there’s nothing worse than getting reprimanded by mom! And so, the Maker combined this childhood (and adulthood) fear with a connected device to strictly curb any unnecessary cruelty.


Its setup is pretty straightforward: An Arduino is attached to a piezo sensor to detect impact, while a GSM shield handles the SMS messaging. Whether or not it’s practical, it’s still a pretty neat creation to say the least. See it in action below!

Swapping post-it notes for an Uno

Writing for Makezine, Tom Piluti says he often slaps post-it notes on the office door to alert co-workers of his whereabouts.

Unfortunately, removing or updating paper post-its notes without physically returning to the office is somewhat of a problem, especially if one is sick or on an extended vacation.

The solution?

Piluti built a remote text message display platform using an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a GSM shield.

“Once in the Arduino, the text message is extracted, manipulated a bit, and then displayed scrolling across a 16×2 LCD affixed to my office door,” Piluti explained.

 “To mount the display on the door, a bracket was made with an [Atmel-powered Makerbot] 3D printer, [with] a cable connecting the Arduino to the LCD.”

Kudos to Piluti, as the electronic post-it substitute is his very first project with an Arduino board.

“It is a combination of getting the GSM side of things to work and programming the message for the LCD,” he adds. “The display bracket was affixed to the door glass with transparent mounting sticky things. There are lots of opportunities to make tweaks to fit your particular needs, especially [in terms of] mounting the display.”

Interested in learning more about how Piluti replaced his physical post-it notes with an Uno-powered text display? You can check out his detailed blog post and sketches in Makezine here.

Designing an open source baby monitor

Earlier this year, a team of researchers from FabLab Pisa and the University of Pisa’s Center for Bioengineering and Robotics kicked off an exciting new project known as OS4BME, or Open Source for Biomedical Engineering.

The project’s goal? Introducing the medical device world to a DIY & Makers philosophy. Indeed, OS4BME wants to help facilitate the development of simple, low-cost and high-impact biomedical devices such as neonatal baby monitors.

The course took take place at Kenyatta University (Nairobi) and involved a number of staggered tracks, including configuring a 3D printing system, developing a neonatal monitoring device, using open source and designing solar-powered electronics based on the Atmel-powered Arduino platform.

In July, Arduino announced its official support for the project, sending the research team a number of UNO boards (ATmega328), along with Wi-Fi and GSM shields used during the course. The components were subsequently donated to the Kenyatta University and Fablab Nairobi.

Arti Ahluwalia (Professor of Bioengineering), Daniele Mazzei and Carmelo De Maria (Biomedical Engineers, co-founders of FabLab Pisa and researchers at the Center) have since returned to Italy where they were recently interviewed by Arduino’s Zoe Romano.

“We decided to use open source tools to design and prototype the baby monitor because we believe economic barriers can’t stop the creative process. Our results will be the starting point for future projects, following the open source philosophy,” the FabLab Pisa team told Romano.

“[Our] baby monitor [was] composed by a 3D-printed mechanical frame, an electronic board and a control software. Thus, in order, we used FreeCAD for mechanical design, MeshLab to analyze the quality of the mesh, Slic3r to generate the machine code, Pronterface to send commands to a Prusa Mendel RepRap. The brain of the baby monitor, electronic and software, is based on Arduino. ”

According to FabLab Pisa, the project was an “immediate” success, if even most students and staff were initially unaware of the existence of tools such as Arduino, FreeCad, Slicer and Media Wiki.

“The course was instrumental in bringing this knowledge to the participants, and their keen interest throughout the introductory part, particularly on 3D printing and rapid prototyping was apparent,” the FabLab team added. “[Currently], the University of Pisa is working with the ABEC and Boston University to raise funds for further courses and student and staff exchange.”