Tag Archives: HackADay

Unlock your car door with a fistbump

Maker Pierre Charlier shows how he was able to add NFC control to his car door with a KeyDuino.

In the year 2016, the idea of having to use an actual key to lock and unlock your car is as obsolete as listening to a cassette tape. Pretty much every vehicle these days comes with a remote, which lets you wirelessly control your doors from afar. Not to mention, some whips can even sense when you’re in close proximity and automatically unlock as you approach.


Pierre Charlier, on the hand, decided to retrofit his old ride with a KeyDuino and a relay shield, which enabled him to experience keyless entry in the form of a fistbump via an NFC ring. To accomplish this, the Maker removed his car’s internal lock switch and modified the wire harness to take the connection to the ‘duino. For a permanent 12V power supply, he plugged a wire directly on a fuse and another to the ground of the vehicle. (However, it should be noted that connections differ from car to car.)


As you can see in the video below, the system also works with a smartphone for those who rather not wear a ring. Charlier has shared all of the code and a step-by-step breakdown of the project for those interested in adding NFC-enabled entry to your set of wheels. Looking ahead, the Maker hopes to have an improved prototype with a BLE+NFC board right on the door handle.

The brainchild of Charlier himself, KeyDuino is Arduino-like board with built-in NFC capabilities that was successfully launched on Kickstarter late last year. Based on the ATmega32U4, the KeyDuino shares pretty much the same form factor and DNA as the Leonardo, and is compatible with most shields.




RumBot is a party machine that makes drinks in seconds

Simply place your cup on any of its five locations and a pre-programmed recipe will begin dispensing.

If you plan on hosting a holiday party in the coming weeks and anticipate a decently-sized turnout, you may want to check out this project from Alex Bucella. The Wake Forest University student has developed an drink-making robot that’s capable of dispensing up to five different cocktails at the same time.


RumBot is equipped with a set of five reflective optical sensors, each represented by a different drink. Whenever a cup is placed on one of these sensors, the machine is triggered and a pre-programmed recipe begins dispensing the beverage of choice into your mug in as little as three seconds.

Drink selection is handled by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), which communicates via simple digital I/O with an all-in-one servo motor. This moves the nozzle into place, and then controls the on-time of five pumps to begin pouring the cocktail. RumBot’s frame is comprised of wood and several 3D-printed plastic parts.


One of its most notable features, however, is the strength knob in the top righthand corner. This old-fashioned interface allows you to select the alcohol level of a particular drink — from “virgin” (none) to “lightweight” to “problem” (you’ll probably need a DD). Any recipe can be accommodated, too.


The source code is written to dispense a variety of mixes, including a Hurricane, a Daiquiri, a Bolo Lemon, a Bolo Lime and Bucella’s special concoction. Impressively, the Maker estimates that this nifty device could keep a party of 100-plus people going without anyone having to wait in line.

Intrigued? Head over to the 2014 Hackaday Prize quarterfinalist’s page here, or watch the Maker provide an overview of the project below.

Watch your mouth! This ATtiny85 can swear

This project is @$!%^& awesome! 

The first Speak & Spell was introduced back in the late 1970s. Admittedly, upon coming across a speech synthesizer like that, one of the first things any of us would do is try some profanity. Well, Maker Alec Smecher has taken that concept to heart and applied it to a simple buzzer mechanism that he recently developed. Powered by an ATtiny85, the “satisfyingly minimalist project” swears repeatedly when you connect its wires to a trio of AA batteries.


“Electronic beepers are ubiquitous — in microwaves, cars, smoke alarms, etc. You can buy them for a few dollars,” Smecher explains. “But since beeping also invokes censorship, I wanted to make an ‘un-censor’ that allows the electronic device to articulate itself properly.”

The Maker had gutted an existing electronic beeper for its plastic shell, which houses the electronics, and used an 8kHz sound sample from Google Translate’s text-to-speech synth. The sample is stored in the code and written to one of the PWM outputs of the ATtiny85 from a timing loop to directly drive the small speaker.


“If you’ve had a little bit of experience with Arduinos and want to try moving to the bare Atmel chip, you can’t go wrong with the ATtiny85. It’s just shy of magic. There’s a little bit of poking around getting the Arduino to program the ATTiny85, but overall it was simple enough and I will definitely be doing more projects using this approach,” Smecher adds.

Total cost of the build: $7. The amusement that follows: priceless. You can check out Hackaday’s writeup on the project here, as well as watch a video demonstration by clicking this link. (WARNING: Video contains foul language.)

Creating a custom, self-learning TV remote

Reminiscent of the seven-function remotes of yesterday, this Maker built a barebones controller for the elderly.

While on the topic of slick remotes, we couldn’t help but share another one. This time, it’s not from a high-end brand of smart home devices; rather, it’s from no other than the Maker community. You see, Hari Wiguna’s 90-year-old father found himself having trouble pressing those darn little buttons on his TV clicker. So, doing what any DIY spirited individual would do, Wiguna decided to build his dad a custom controller with only a few key buttons.


To create this minimalistic unit, the Maker mounted an ATmega328 and several of its other components onto a stripboard, which he then housed inside a laser-cut acrylic case. The barebones gadget features an IR transmitter and receiver, an FTDI jack for reprogramming, a switch to select whether it’s in use or being programmed, an LED, and a beeper for additional feedback.

As eluded to above, the controller is equipped with only the buttons necessary for the most frequently used functions, including power, channel up and down, volume up and down, and a directional pad. Each one can be programmed by simply pointing an original remote to this DIY self-learning unit. Come to think of it, many old-school clickers only had seven buttons anyways.


Perhaps one of, if not, the most interesting aspects of the project was that Wiguna lived thousands of miles away from his father, so he didn’t have the original remote on hand to do the programming. Fortunately, he found an emulating Android app that allowed him to mimic his dad’s cable box and TV remote, basically giving him a duplicate copy right at home. This enabled the new remote to learn from the other remote, which this case was actually the smartphone.

Not only can you find a breakdown of the project along with its source code and schematics here, you can watch the Maker give a detailed overview in the video below!

Building a barebones Arduino Zero

One Maker has created a minimalist Arduino Zero-like board with an OLED display and LEDs.

Looking to migrate from the world of 8- to 32-bit Atmel MCUs, Maker “kodera2t” — who you may recall from his SD card-sized Arduino — decided to build a barebones version of the popular Arduino Zero. His goal? To design a board that packed the punch of the Cortex-M0+ using nothing more than a few key components.


First, he created a minimalist MCU with only a USB interface — no output. With an Atmel SAMD21G18 at its core, the board included zener diodes, an XTAL for the clock, a 3.3V regulator and some supplemental capacitors. According to the Maker, this helped him “learn the difference between AVR and the SAM D [family].”


From there, kodera2t proceeded to develop another one, this time with a little more functionality. For this iteration, the Maker once again included a SAM D21 along with a I2C OLED, three LEDs for operation check, and a USB connector for uploading code. The Arduino Zero-like device is also powered by a 3.3V battery pack.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s Hackaday.io page here, or watch kodera2t provide an overview of the two boards in the video below.

Rigging the dashboard of an actual car for a driving simulator game

Instead of buying or building a console, one Maker decided to use the dashboard of an actual car for his ETS2 game.

Like countless other gamers out there, Leon Bataille has always been on the lookout for new ways to make driving simulator games like Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS 2) even more immersive. And though homemade steering wheels, pedals and gear shifters certainly enhance the levels of interaction, what better way to really enhance the life-like experience than by integrating the game with a dashboard from a real automobile?


Doing just that, Bataille repurposed the control panel of a VW Polo 6R with the help of the Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a Seeed CAN Bus Shield, which enabled him to read and record vehicle diagnostics. This project was originally inspired by fellow Maker Silas Parker’s Arduino-driven control panel that was comprised of a cardboard box, servos, LEDs and an LCD screen. Though it was completely functional, knowing that every unit made in the past decade has a CAN bus, all he would need to bring his idea to life was a CAN bus shield for an Arduino along with a dash that could be found at any local junkyard.


Currently, Bataille is in the process of figuring out the CAN bus addresses for each of the relevant dials and LEDs on the dashboard. Though he may still have a little ways to go, he has been able to find the tachometer at 0x280, the signal lights at 0x470, as well as the KPH gauge at 0x5A0. Pair this with a standard computer steering wheel and the telemetry API for ETS 2, and the Maker is pretty darn close to driving a virtual big rig right from the comforts of his own home.

Until then, you can follow along with his build on Hackaday here, and watch it in action below.

ShakeIt is an interactive light game

And the Makers gonna make, make, make, make, make. Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake!

When it comes to education, learning can be much more engaging with just a little bit of entertainment and gamification. Knowing this, Arkadi Rafalovich has developed an interactive art exhibit that is based on his earlier Smart Juggling Balls project along with a 3D-printed fixture embedded with several RGB LEDs. Dubbed ShakeIt, this Hackaday Prize entry is intended to demonstrate to kids how colors are mixed and then reward them with a fun-filled light game.


The system is comprised of three embedded balls and the light fixture. Each of the juggling spheres are equipped with an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), a 6-DOF sensor, a few addressable LEDs and a LiPo battery. An external magnet activates a reed switch inside the balls and triggers them into action. As for ShakeIt’s light fixtures, these consist of an Arduino Nano (ATmega328), an NRF24L01+ with SMA antenna, a buck converter, 74 addressable LEDs, a Bluetooth module, along with some capacitors, a 3.3V regulator and a Diode 3A for reverse voltage protection.

The fixture connects to an accompanying smartphone app via Bluetooth, allowing it to be utilized as an interface and to adjust the various modes. A built-in accelerometer is tasked with measuring hard a ball is being shaken, while an NRF module handles the communication with the balls. Rafalovich also wrote some code for the system, which is designed to interact with up to 15 small balls at once, mixing up their colors and generating new hues. For this demonstration, however, only three were used.


The real fun starts when the interactive game mode is enabled, though. Rather than simply combining the light, the fixture generates patterns based on how strong the balls are shaken (hence the name of the project). First each kid is given a smart ball, each with a predefined color (red, green or blue). Once the sphere is jiggled, the light inside the ball becomes stronger. Each of the players then battle it out to see who can get their color to fill up the sphere completely until only one color remains. That person is declared the winner.

Not only does ShakeIt make for a great learning tool, it seems like it can be one heck of a party game. Want one of your own? Head over to its Hackaday.io page here to get started. Otherwise, watch the video below to see some grownups have a little fun.

Project Jarvis is your very own Tony Stark-like home automation system

This A.I. assistant can make smart decisions based on environmental factors.

A Maker by the name of IamTeknik once again has his sights set on the Hackaday Prize crown with the latest iteration of Project Jarvis, an affordable, Arduino-powered home automation system. Inspired by Iron Man’s A.I. assistant, the DIY solution is capable of controlling nearly every aspect of a modern-day house, while helping save on electricity. Great for you, your wallet and your environment, it’s no wonder the hacker’s artificial intelligence-based system was named a semi-finalist in last year’s Hackaday contest.


As the world around us becomes increasingly connected, this environmental home manager can make even the ‘dumbest’ of houses smart. Not only can the system help save energy and reduce monthly bills, IamTeknik says his project can lend a helping hand in a number of daily tasks. These include fetching a coffee in the morning, waking you up with the weather forecast or keeping you company when alone. Having trouble with some homework or just too lazy to go hit the light switch? Lucky for you, Jarvis can solve complex math problems and command home lighting through verbal cues — all for under $200.

“It’s all driven by sophisticated hardware and software to help make your life, and the life of others, much better,” the Maker notes. What’s more, Jarvis can handle reading notifications, SMS messages and social network feeds, and can go as far as replying to each of them if told what to write through its built-in speech-to-text technology.


“This is present on the mobile and computer apps but the Android app can even use text if you are not in the mood to speak. If you have speakers and microphones set-up in you house or room, Jarvis is accessible simply by saying his name at any time,” IamTeknik adds.

Aside from being controlled via voice recognition, its accompanying computer app works on Linux, Mac, Windows and Solaris, and can be configured for remote access. According to the Maker, he has already embedded NFC technology into the solution and is currently working on employing gesture recognition, too. This way, a homeowner can have Jarvis perform an action by tapping a smartphone to a tag or waving a hand.


In order to be both energy and cost-effective, electricity usage from each room is logged by an SD card on an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560). The code on the board interacts with a more complex neural network, which has been programmed in a separate application. Using the environment and its sensors, its software can then make intelligent decisions to help beat the current month’s data that is still on the SD card.

“You don’t need to pull out your phone and ask Jarvis to do something, he is always there. Jarvis is wherever you are, in the home, office and in your pocket if you use our Android mobile app.”


Jarvis can also manage a home’s infrastructure in order to ensure environmental efficiency. Say for instance a light is left on or a charger is left plugged in, Jarvis can sense this and turn off the device, thus lowering the home’s energy consumption. Tired of having to turn back around to make sure you turned off the stove? With Project Jarvis, just log in to the app and switch ’em off manually — or let the system do it automatically.

Jarvis truly is the next step in home automation. When watching an Iron Man movie, you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a personal assistant like Tony Stark’s. And thanks to projects like this one, the omnipresent virtual assistant is inching closer and closer to reality.


When complete, Jarvis will feature a fingerprint scanner, an automated door lock and a wall-mounted tablet. With plenty of parts still in development, the Maker has rendered a black box that will house all of the system’s wireless transceivers and hardware. Moving ahead, he hopes to incorporate sensors that track sleep patterns and monitor temperature, humidity and light. Intrigued by this futuristic project? Head over to its official Hackaday.io page here for a more detailed breakdown of the build.

A Pro Trinket-based movement alarm for your bag

A portable, battery-powered device that sounds an alarm when your bag is moved. 

Your pocketbook. Your backpack. Your gym bag. Each of which hold a number of expensive, personal belongings. And, as you know from walking around the mall, through campus, into the gym, or throughout an event like Maker Faire, lugging around a hefty bag can be a burden. Wouldn’t it be much easier to set it down, give your shoulders a rest and have a peace of mind that no one will take it? Well, a Maker by the name of “MakerSelf” has devised a solution that will allow us to do so: a motion sensing bag alarm.


Based on a Pro Trinket (ATmega328), the Movement Alarm is a portable, battery-powered device that sounds an alarm when your bag is moved. Once armed, it can only be turned off by your secret code.

For those who may not know, the Pro Trinket is a sort of break out board for the fan-favorite ATmega328 MCU. A “big” sister to the original, uber-mini Trinket (ATtiny85), the board offers the familiarity of an Arduino Pro Mini with more pins and a USB thrown in the mix. With the Pro, Makers have the choice of either programming with the Arduino IDE, using AVRdude with the “-c usbtiny” programmer flag, or flashing the chip directly with an AVR programmer like the AVR Dragon.


In this case, MakerSelf hooked the Trinket to a GY-521 accelerometer to enable the detection of movement. Therefore, when the Trinket senses that the device has been set into motion, such as picked up or removed from its resting place, it emits a high-pitched alarm from its built-in piezo speaker.

“It is 9V battery operated, but without an on/off switch, otherwise the potential thief could just hit the off button. As a result, I have an ‘arm’ button, and then you have 20 second to but the bag + device stationary,” MakerSelf adds.


Once armed, if the bag/device is moved for more than 5 seconds and above a certain threshold level, it sounds an annoyingly loud alarm until the correct code is entered. The secret code uses a four-button interface, but the code itself can be any length and easily modified in the Trinket software. After the passcode is entered, the status LED will turn solid indicating to the user that the device must be placed stationary. The status LED will turn off after the designated time period, advising that the alarm is now armed and listening to the accelerometer.

If the bag is moved for more than five seconds at a time, the alarm will sound. Just in case that someone needs a piece of gum, phone or some other item from their bag, entering the secret code after or during the settling time, the status LED will blink once long, followed by three short, and then the device will turn itself off without turning the alarm on.

Intrigued? Head over to the alarm device’s official Hackaday.io project page here.

Video: Check out this dead-bugged GPS/GLONASS/Geiger counter

Maker creates a GPS/GLONASS/Geiger counter mashup dead bug-style with tiny 0402-sized parts.

Even if you’re a champ when it comes to soldering uber mini parts onto a PCB, you’ll be left scratching your head after watching the video below. That’s because, a Maker by the name of Shibata recently devised a GPS/GLONASS and Geiger counter mashup dead-bug style with tiny 0402-sized parts.


As our friends at Hackaday note, the device is comprised of an extremely small GPS/GLONASS receiver, an ATxmega128D3 MCU, a standard Nokia phone display and a Geiger tube with a mica window to track its location and the current level of radiation.

“The idea behind this project isn’t really that remarkable; the astonishing thing is the way this project is put together. It’s held together with either skill or prayer, with tiny bits of magnet wire replacing what would normally be PCB traces, and individual components making up the entire circuit,” Brian Benchoff writes.

While there’s not much detail around what’s actually going on in the build, the Maker’s soldering skills are certainly worth checking out… You’ll have to see it to believe it! (You can also read more on Hackaday here.)