Tag Archives: maker

Let this swiping bot pick your Tinder dates for you

This Tinder robot will automatically choose users you find attractive based on your preferences. 

Online dating has come a long way in recent years, especially with the advent of Tinder. While in search of Mr. or Mrs. Right, the app lets you quickly swipe your way to a potential match. But sometimes all that swiping can be tiring for your thumb. And so, Saurabh Datta has developed a robotic mechanism that can do it for you.


The project, which he calls Conditional_Lover, is a robotic swiper that employs a connected camera to analyze profile pictures and then approve or reject users with its two prongs that serve as fingers. To get started, you first select your preferences (age, smile, glasses and ethnicity) which the bot uses to perform actions depending on the extracted information from the Tinder images. As Datta explains, it is intentionally made just to act, not so much to learn. Meaning, don’t count on the device being a substitute for a human matchmaker.


Conditional_Lover was originally created as weekend project, based on the belief that tasks which don’t require human dexterity will eventually be delegated to machines. The unit itself consists of an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4), two styli attached to servos, limit switches, a Bluetooth module for communication, and a mounted webcam that looks down at the phone screen.

“The underlying intention was to see what it takes for conditional logics to appear as pseudo unconscious AI. A kind of idiosyncratic manipulation of rule-based behavior to achieve different ends, reflecting on human dependency over software decisions,” the Maker writes.


Needless to say, even if it’s just an experiment, the bot could very well be a sneak peek at the future of how online dating. Intrigued? Head over to Conditional_Lover’s page here, or watch it in action below!

Stay safe and stylish with this futuristic e-bike lighting system

A Maker has created a colorful bike lighting system that can be easily controlled with your smartphone. 

Philip Verbeek — who many of you may recall from his impressive littleBits and LEGO creations — has developed an innovative, app-controlled bicycle lighting system. Inspired by the city of Masdar, the Maker and eight other designers decided to dream up the electronic two-wheeler of tomorrow.


The aptly named IOMbike is equipped with visual indicators for drivers sharing the road, as well as easy-to-use, interactive steering capabilities. Responsible for the electronics, Verbeek embedded a series of LED lights inside the handlebars. Not only does this enhance the over aesthetics of the futuristic ride, but allows for cyclists to stay safe and visible at night.


Verbeek’s advanced lighting system boasts left and right turn signals along brake lights, much like the recent Kickstarter campaign for the Lumos smart helmet. Aside from that, it even includes various disco modes for a little extra pizazz. Switching between modes is done by simply pressing a red button located alongside the hand grips or by connecting the IOMbike to your smartphone using the IOMbike’s accompanying Android app.

At the heart of the unit lies an ATmega328P, while a Bluetooth module enables wireless communication between the bike and the app. What’s more, riders can unlock all sorts of different features such as a speedometer and odometer.

“The idea is to give feedback to the user and let them control their IOMbike,” the Maker concludes.


Want to take a closer look at the next-gen e-bike? Head over to the project’s official page here, or watch it in action below.

Freaks3D may be the most portable 3D printer ever

ElecFreaks Tech has designed a 3D printer for Makers that is both portable and affordable.

A classroom desk. A living room floor. A meeting space. A coffee shop. An outdoor picnic table. These are just some of the places that were not well-suited for 3D printing until now. That’s because ElecFreaks Tech has unveiled a revolutionary FDM machine that is not only affordable but portable as well. Measuring 11.4” x 12.6” x 12.8” in size and weighing a little over six pounds, Freaks3D will undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms by the DIY community.


The idea for the Maker-friendly device was born out of their own frustrations with most of today’s commercial printers. As advanced as the technology has become, it’s not without the sacrifice of either form factor, quality or price. The team explains, “Most of them are bulky, not lightweight enough to be carried around, a hassle to use, plus the prices are ridiculously high. We want a reliable, affordable and portable 3D printer that we can take everywhere. More importantly, it should be easy-to-use for general consumer crowds like artists/designers, educators, household wives, even children who are curious about creations.”

Now live on Indiegogo, Freaks3D boasts a design that will surely separate itself from a rather saturated market with an extremely small and lightweight frame that can be picked up by its customizable handle with only a few fingers. Due to low power consumption, the printer can run on a 12V battery pack, or a pair of 9000mAh lithium batteries for two hours if an outlet isn’t accessible.


The device features a v-slot slider system that provides users with precise seamless positioning, as well as simplified extruded-aluminum beams for enhanced stability. Additionally, Freaks3D is equipped with an interactive LCD display for intuitive monitoring and configuration.

As mobile and low cost as it may be, Freaks3D is still able to produce high-quality prints with detailed layer resolution. With no pre-heating required, an all-metal nozzle spews out PLA/TPU material in a wide range of colors without easy breaks or damage, making it an ideal instrument of DIYers of all ages. Simply feed the filament into the entrance path and the printer will take care of the rest.

Freaks3D prints via both USB and SD card. What’s more, the machine is super quiet — so no need to worry about upsetting librarians, teachers or neighbors — and is extremely easy to operate. Once a print job is done, just twist to remove the object.


  • Printer size: 11.4” x 12.6” x 12.8”
  • Build volume: 5″ x 6″ x 4″
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Resolution: 100 microns
  • Connectivity: USB and SD card
  • Software: Cura, Repetier Host

Following in the footsteps of its latest crowdfunding success, the ELF VR drone, ElecFreaks Tech has already well surpassed Freaks3D’s initial goal of $20,000 on Indiegogo. Shipment slated for August 2015.

This 3D-knitted onesie purifies the air around its wearer

One Dutch designer has created a 3D-knitted, Arduino-powered onesie that can purify the air around its wearer.

Borre Akkersdijk recently made a name for himself with a unique form of intelligent clothing: a 3D-knitted onesie capable of turning someone into a walking Wi-Fi hotspot. As the concept of modularity continues to rise in popularity and evolve throughout the Maker community, the Dutch designer decided to further develop his concept of interchangeable, high-tech fashion with a platform that adapts to one’s location of the wearer.


Akkersdijk believes that the current generation of wearable technology — ranging from smartwatches to fitness bands — isn’t so much something you wear as it is something you attach to yourself. This is what he likes to refer to as “carry-able technology.” His original garment, dubbed BB.Suit, was created in an effort to turn this so-called “carry-able technology” into a much truer wearable form.

This project was inspired by his earlier work on a Wi-Fi pillow that established a positive interaction between a caregiver and an individual suffering from severe dementia. He accomplished this by designing a thick padded shell of conductive yarn, copper wire and internal motors, so that the patients could share their gestures with a loved one holding the other side through vibrations. The innovation prompted the interest of SXSW organizers, who requested Akkersdijk come and show it off; however, he wanted to make a bigger splash than just a pillow.

And so, the first version of the BB.Suit was conceived, which featured electrical threads woven into a 3D-knitted fabric along with a GPS tracker, a Wi-Fi access point and a crowdsourced musical library. Beyond that, a wearer’s location was displayed on Google Maps using the suit’s built-in GPS. Initially conceived as a demo for the SXSW 2014 music festival, the Maker collaborated with 22tracks to allow its user and their community to access and upload songs.


As you can imagine, the initial prototype of the suit caught the attention of mainstream media as well as the organizers of Beijing Design Week. Riding the wave of its success, Akkersdijk returned with a second iteration of the conceptual onesie, one in which would solve a meaningful conundrum. Inspired by the city’s smog and pollution problem, version 0.2 introduces a few additional features, most notably an air purification system. In order to bring this to life, the Maker collaborated with Martijn ten Bhomer from the Eindhoven University of Technology, Daan Spangenberg Graphics, Eva de Laat, StudioFriso and Dutch magazine WANT.

Once again, electrical yarn was woven into the body and legs of the outfit, while the sleeves and hood are comprised of ordinary textiles. BB.Suit 0.2 employs a patented technology called Cold Plasma, which divides oxygen and water molecules into free radicals that then easily react to toxic gases, bacteria, viruses and dust particles to clean air. The air quality sensor is located at chest level and is connected to a hidden Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), which receives and processes the data from the sensor and GPS receiver. The Arduino also controls the air cleaning device. This system communicates with a hacked TP-Link router running OpenWRT which sends the data to an online database.


What’s more, Akkersdijk sees these projects as the very first step to the ultimate goal for wearables: to enable communication in an organic, smartphone-free way. To make this a reality, the designer is already conducting experiments that use sensor-laden clothing to transmit thoughts and feelings. As its creator notes, the updated suit highlights the opportunities of such next-generational intelligent clothing.

Intrigued? Head over to the the Maker’s official page, or read WIRED’s elaborate write-up here.

Building a $60 SLA 3D printer with LEGO and K’NEX

Don’t want to spend big bucks on an SLA printer but tired of FDM? Make your own with LEGO, K’NEX and Arduino.

While the market for 3D printers has surely grown throughout the years, up until now a majority of Makers have turned to Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) machines. These work by heating a material, extruding it out of a moving nozzle and giving it time to cool. On the contrary, Stereolithography revolves around UV lighting to harden the liquid resin, which enables Makers to create projects in one piece and with smoother surfaces. However, this convenience comes at a cost. Those seeking a higher resolution print have no choice to dig deep into their wallets for an SLA device. Unless, you are Instructables users “mastsermind,” who has created one for less than $60 using some LEGO bricks, K’NEX pieces and a few other electronic components.


Inspired by the mythological creature comprised of three different animals, the Chimera 3D printer is made up of recycled parts from three different categories: projectors, toys and old computers. What’s impressive is that the unit doesn’t entail a whole lot of parts: just a projector, a computer disc drive laser deck with stepper motor, any ATmega328 based Arduino, an EasyDriver v.4.4, some tools and wires, along with the option to etch a circuit board and construct a wooden frame. That’s it.

“Top down DLP printers in their simplest form have only one axis of motion, a video projector, and minimal electronics. They do not require a heated or perfectly level bed, there is never a clogged or wrong temperature in the extruder as it does not use an extruder. And the resin used has a comparable price to FDM printers,” the Maker explains.


The Chimera was built around two frames, one of LEGO to hold the Z axis, platform and resin tank, the other of K’NEX to hold and move the projector. Beyond that, the resin tank can basically be any container that’s waterproof and strong enough to hold the solvent.

Obviously, the most important component of the system is the projector, which matsermind employed an inexpensive Mitsubishi XD221u. He does recommend staying above a 1024 x 768 resolution for optimal results. In order to make this suitable for printing, a few modifications are required such as getting the focus distances closer and removing the UV filter to allow for more light through.

“Making it cure the resin faster is easy, just remove the filter (glass square) on the front of the bulb.  Making the projector focus at ≈7 inches was a bit more difficult. The service manual has been attached for assistance in disassembly if you are using an XD221u projector, but the modification should be similar for most projectors,” the Maker reveals.


Meanwhile, the Z axis consists of a laser deck assembly from an old computer disc drive. An Arduino is tasked with driving the stepper motor salvaged from the drive and ensuring it moves at the right rate.

“The one I used is one that I have had around for a while, waiting for a good use for it. I do not know what model drive it came out of, but any assembly will work as long as it uses a stepper motor with four wires and not a DC motor with two wires,” he adds.

What’s nice about a top down system is the simplicity of its electronics. Whereas a vast majority of complex printers today are embedded with the combination of an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and a RAMPS 1.4 shield, this machine only requires an inexpensive Arduino Uno seeing as though there is only one axis to control.


“If you want to put a little more work into it, you can program an ATmega328 chip with the firmware and etch an all-in-one board whose design is included in the files attached,” matstermind notes.

In terms of firmware, the Maker selected GRBL 0.9i and runs the open source Creation Workshop software on it. While as fully-functional as it may be, mastermind has a few more plans for Chimera in the weeks to come. These include increasing the size of the resin tan, designing a wooden frame out of MDF or particle-board shelving, enhancing its stability, as well as adding a shutter attachment to prevent the resin from being exposed to accidental light.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s elaborate Instructables page here.

SmartCap tracks your liquid consumption and reminds you when to take a sip

By syncing with your FitBit dashboard, this smart cap helps record, remind and rehydrate! 

Evident by the sheer number of health and fitness trackers on the market today, people are increasingly becoming focused on their general well-being. As fixated on eating right and exercising as they may be, it is often easy to overlook one of the most basic and vital things the human body needs: water. Though everyone is cognizant of the benefits of staying hydrated, a vast majority tend to neglect it with our busy lives. And so, a number of startups have emerged with innovative ways to remind us to sip on some high-quality H2O, including most recently Hidrate Me and Trago. Next on that list is SmartCapthe brainchild of Maker by night and software engineer by day Ben S.


What began as a mere idea for himself that he designed and continues to use has now transcended into a hopeful product with mainstream appeal. This smart cap, which fits any standard bottle, is capable of tracking water intake and updating a web-based dashboard by syncing with FitBit.

“I didn’t want to burden myself (or you) with yet another smartphone application. The SmartCap application does nothing more than ferry data between FitBit and allow simple configurations such as authentication, notification on/off and frequency,” Ben explains.


Like Hidrate Me, users will be notified to consume some water through an illuminated light, while also be able to choose to receive an alert on their smartphone or their Apple Watch. Sips of both water and Soylent (powdered meal replacement) are accurately tracked with a push of a button and registered into FitBit.

Based on an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), the cap features a flow meter and a Bluetooth module tasked with the pairing of devices and wireless communication of the collected data. It also boasts a battery for power, which is rechargeable via a USB port.

“Yes, competition is good. But I have killer features, such as FitBit integration and Soylent mode that others are not offering. I also hold provisional patents on these innovations. A defensive position is my only intention. I want my product to continue serving those who enjoy using it,” Ben shares with regards to the competitive marketplace.


Admittedly, the SmartCap is not market-ready. Currently in prototype form, the Maker is looking to beef up development for the next iteration of the project. This includes shrinking down its form factor, custom PCB etching and CAD design, along with the help of some 3D-printed parts. Intrigued? Head over to SmartCap’s Kickstarter page, where Ben is seeking $45,000 to make this all possible.

Electronic component art sculptures

My pal Phil Sittner sent a link to this picture of a rock band made out of electronic components. You have to love the title: L.E.D. Zeppelin.


Apparently that picture inspired this mom to make her own art:


All this creativity is near and dear to my heart, since my dear departed analog pal Jim Williams was also a lover of electronic art. One nice feature of Jim’s art was that it often functioned as a real working circuit as well as being a free-form sculpture.


So if you have an artistic bent, think about soldering up some items from your junk box to make something beautiful and fascinating.

Creating an Arduino-based laser rangefinder

A talented Maker by the name of “Berryjam” recently created a slick Arduino-based laser rangefinder.

As HackADay’s Nicholas Conn reports, the project was originally inspired by a LIDAR system built around the popular board.

“[Berryjam] decided that he wanted to successfully use an affordable Open Source Laser RangeFinder (OSLRF-01) from LightWare. [He] measures the time between an outgoing laser pulse and the reflected return pulse; this time directly relates to the distance of the object,” writes Conn.

“Sounds simple? In practice, it is not as simple as it may seem. [Berryjam] has done a great job doing some real world testing of this device, with nice plots to top it all off. After fiddling with the threshold and some other aspects of the code, the resulting accuracy is quite good.”

In terms of final thoughts for the project, Berryjam notes that even though the OSLRF-01’s $150 price tag may seem a bit steep, it is still “pretty good” for such a device.

“For me it is very hard to imagine all those conversions/ detections and other magic happening at the speed of light [without the OSLRF-01],” he adds. “Imagine how much time light travels 50cm distance. About 1.67 nano seconds, nano – thats one billionth part of second. Amazing, isn’t it?”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Video: Creating an ATtiny robot family

A Maker by the name of “shlonkin” has created a number of mini autonomous vehicles capable of perceiving the world with sensors and adjusting their behavior accordingly.

According to HackADay’s Brian Benchoff, all the ‘bots are powered by Atmel’s versatile ATtiny85 microcontroller (MCU).

In addition, the uber-mini ‘bots are equipped with a small battery, two motors, at least one phototransistor and an LED.

“One robot has left and right eyes pointing down, and can act as a line follower. Another has a group of LEDs around its body, allowing it to signal other bots in all directions,” Benchoff explained.

“The goal of the project is to create a whole series of these tiny robots capable of interacting with the environment and each other.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page on HackADay here.

Designing a handheld game system with an ATMega328

A Maker named “randrews” recently created a handheld gaming system using a small LCD purchased from Adafruit, two custom PCBs, an ATMega328 microcontroller (MCU) and a number of buttons that function as de-facto control pads.

As HackADay’s Rick Osgood reports, Adafruit’s LCD display is a low-power sipper, making it a particularly good fit for the project.

After testing the screen, randrews kicked off the circuit design with Eagle.

“He hand routed all of the traces to avoid any weird issues that the auto router can sometimes cause. He made an efficient use of the space on the board by mounting the screen over top of the ATMega328 microcontroller (MCU) and other supporting components,” Osgood explained.

“The screen is designed to plug in and out of the socket, this way it can be removed to get to the chip. randrews needs to be able to reach the chip in order to reprogram it for different games.”

Once the initial board design was complete, randrews recruited his Shapeoko CNC mill to cut it out of a copper clad board. After milling it out, he used a small Dremel drill press to form all of the holes. 

On the power side, randrews designed a second, smaller PCB to fit 3V coin cell batteries and an on/off switch.

In terms of actual games, randrews says he will likely code a version of “Snake,” a popular title found on old Nokia phones.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.