3d printed upgrade for animatronic hand

Arduino, Xbee and Makerbot… Get a grip!

This formidable looking man-claw is the latest gripping output from Easton LaChappelle, a ninth-grade student at Mancos High, Colorado.

Drawing on some tech advice from hardware hacker and Arduino guru Jeremy Blum, the initial incarnation made from PVC tubing clearly wasn’t badass enough… even though it deservedly won Easton the blue ribbon at the San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair.

Thanks to Jeremy’s Makerbot and an open source hand from Thingiverse, Easton was able to give his animatronic gripper a serious upgrade. The electronics inside are still the same, with Xbee modules sharing info between Arduino powered sensors and servo drivers. Now with 3d printed digits and a fibreglass forearm shell, the whole setup boasts a much more refined visual presence – not to mention increased functionality.

Click through for a little walkthrough of the design features as well as a series of demonstrations of the hand grasping different objects, all nicely topped off by Easton having the rather unique experience of shaking hands with himself. (more…)

Tired of overexposed celebrities? Auto-mute your TV with this Arduino project

silence on-demand

Enough Already is an awesome DIY electronics project/device that auto-mutes your TV on whatever keyword you set.

When a keyword is received via the closed captions, which are broadcast along with the video signal, the tv is muted for 30 seconds. If a keyword is again received during the 30 second mute, there’s another 30 seconds of mute time — ensuring you won’t have to hear about anything you’re sick of.

The project combines an Arduino board and a Video Experimenter Shield and uses a mashup of pre-existing code plus a few lines of custom code from project creator Matt Richardson.

MAKE has a fantastic video (shown above) that explains the project and provides all the hyperlink resources you need to make and customize your own version of the Enough Already.

P.S. If you’re new to DIY electronics or Arduino, check out this month’s blog giveaway. One lucky winner will win a Getting Started with Arduino Kit v2.0 from the Maker Shed store plus a subscription to Make: magazine. 4 other winners will get the subscription.

All you have to do is tell us the coolest thing you’ve ever made and include a link to a pic. It can be absolutely anything as long as YOU made it.

Rich Decibels disrupts brainwaves using an Arduino

Audio-visual brain entrainment using an Arduino
Rich Decibels Brainwave Disruptor
There are some interesting theories about the ability of low frequency light and sound to alter brain states. I created the Rich Decibels Brainwave Disruptor to investigate some of the theories. (more…)

Arduino for beginners: SparkFun ProtoSnap

Pre-wired boards make it even easier to get your Arduino groove on

We all know how Arduino opens the doors to an electronic wonderland…
Well, the bumpy beginner’s road has just become a little smoother thanks to the clever ProtoSnap range from SparkFun.

Pre-wired and ready to use, these units simply need a little programming magic to bring them to life.

Gone are the breadboards, wires, soldering and other preparation/assembly processess. Or rather, not quite gone – they have been sidelined, to return later on when you have become used to the Arduino programming and feel ready to get physical with your hardware. At this point, simply break the ProtoSnap pieces apart and use them individually as your projects require.

Sometimes you just want the hardware to work, so you can focus solely on the software…

It’s all explained in a brief video from one of the SparkFun engineers after the break.   (more…)

Laser engraved art from Marius Watz

Drawing with a computer and a laser.

Software artist Marius Watz created the project Automatic Writing using generative design methods (as in programming) and laser engraving. The laser engraving was done by Future Cities Lab. This is the same artist who was the first ever artist-in-residence at MakerBot earlier this year. These artworks, along with what he made while working with MakerBot, are currently on display at Super Frog Gallery at New People in San Francisco.

Check out more images after the jump.

Rubbery robot

Stretchy connected modules turn everything into an interactive robot

Think of the possibilities if the structural components for your very own robot came from whatever you have lying around. Everything is fair game when Gabriel Paciornik’s Plick robot enabler enters the scene.

Plick is the culmination of Gabriel’s studies in Industrial Design at Shenkar College, Israel. Working in partnership with the miLab of the IDC Hertzlia, the project integrates product design, electronics, programming, and prototyping.

Although there is some clever stuff going on inside the modules, it is the learn-through-play aspect of the finished product that really sets Plick apart.

Sensors can be connected to many actuators, and actuators can be connected to many sensors. This way many complex behaviors can be achieved with no programming, and by trial and error learning.

Click through for a short video of Plick in action. (more…)

Arduino: Android and Ethernet

July brings more goodies for Arduino

Where would the DIY scene be without Arduino? That nifty little all-in-wonder has lifted the stakes once again, with two fantastic new additions to the open source hardware platform that runs so many of our favorite creations.

The first feature that’s got more than a few makers excited is an onboard Ethernet jack. This added connectivity is likely to empower a whole new generation of web-enabled devices, and there is even an optional PoE (Power over Ethernet) module to further reduce cable clutter and get all your hardware talking.

Our second noteworthy addition is a board for the Android Open Accessory Development Kit, an add-on that allows Arduino powered devices to become a part of the Google juggernaut via any Android device when in “accessory mode”.

Both of these are available for purchase now, either bundled together in kit form or as individual modules. Pair them up with some Ponoko laser cutting or 3d printing, and there are sure to be fun times ahead.

via Engadget

Hobo codes for digital nomads

Covertly communicate with your smartphone-wielding brethren.

During the 19th and 20th centuries hobos (a wandering homeless worker) developed hobo codes, a system of marks made with chalk to help each other find useful opportunities and avoid danger. Golan Levin and Asa Foster III have updated this system for the digital generation with QR code stencils.


Photoduino camera controller

Advanced photography techniques using Arduino

Photoduino uses an Arduino to interface multiple sensors with a camera, enabling advanced photography techniques. (more…)

Open PCR — an open-source DIY DNA kit you can buy

“DNA stuff useful to regular people” ~ Tito Jankowski of Open PCR

Open PCR — which stands for polymerase chain reaction — is an open-source, build-it-yourself kit that can replicate DNA.

We’ve mentioned Open PCR a few times here on the blog. Yana interviewed Tito Jankowski, co-founder of the Open PCR project, about how he and Josh Perfetto started building parts of the Open PCR prototype with their Personal Factory.

And then we wrote about how the project doubled their Kickstarter funding goal and presented at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

One year after successful funding, and the Open PCR is now available and already shipping worldwide! (Huge congratulations guys.)

Read all about how the Open PCR project evolved — from the idea to create an affordable PCR machine (They usually cost about $3,000) to the crazy hard work to now offering the world’s first open-source PCR, first PCR commercially available for $512 AND the first Arduino USB storage device.

The Open PCR kit is $512 and includes: “all the parts, tools, and beautiful printed instructions – you ONLY need a set of screwdrivers.”

Get your own Open PCR kit and start sequencing some DNA.