Monthly Archives: January 2018

Kid’s kitchen beeps with the help of an Arduino

via Arduino Blog

While Roald Hendriks is quite pleased with the build quality of the IKEA DUKTIG play kitchen, it does lack one thing—the ability to say “beep.”

This feature was requested by his daughter, who for her third birthday wanted “a kitchen that says beep, just like mommie’s.” Not wanting to disappoint, he dutifully installed an Arduino, along with a real-time clock module, buttons, and a speaker to allow her to set the cooking time, and have it count down just like the adult equivalent.

The mods are extremely well done, and the buttons and time display on the front look like they were meant to be there. Hendriks even installed lighting inside the oven so she can see what she’s baking!

Check it out in the video below!

Rotary encoders and Arduino combine for awesome universal remote

via Arduino Blog

In his latest hack, “Matlek” has come up with an entirely new take on the universal remote, using a pair of rotary encoders instead of an array of buttons to output up to 400 individual signals.

One 20-step encoder in his remote selects the device to be controlled, while the other picks the function, like changing the volume or channel.

Pressing down on a built-in button on the action selection encoder executes a command, while if it’s held down for long enough, it can be programmed via an IR receiver. An Arduino is used to control the gadget because of its small size, and the project expands on several helpful concepts like SD card usage and IR signaling.

Of course, the remote has an IR receiver to “absorb” the IR signals of the remotes you want to “clone”, and an IR LED to send them. These protocols are saved on a microSD card, therefore you can switch OFF the remote (and the Arduino board), it keeps the information concerning the signals on the microSD card. There are also 2 rotary encoders with 20 positions each, and that is how you can have 400 buttons. Each rotary encoder is also a pushbutton. There is a LED to inform whether the universal remote is receiving or sending IR signals. This device works on a Lithium Ion battery (18650 cell), so it is portable. And finally, there is a switch, so you can switch it ON and OFF.

Want to create one of your own? You can find out Matlek’s entire tutorial here.

Heated Earmuffs

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

heated earmuffs

It’s been an exceptionally cold winter across the country, and quite frankly, I am over it. To make the remaining winter days more comfortable for myself, I developed these Heated Earmuffs, a stylish winter accessory that stands out and keeps me extra warm!

This project features two 5cm x 10cm heating pads and 80 WS2812 LEDs (two rings of 16 and two rings of 24). To see how it works and even build your own, visit our full tutorial.

The earmuffs posed a unique design challenge as a wearable device because the parts require a decent amount of current. Because of this, the power source is kept off my head and instead placed in my pocket. The earmuffs connect to the power source via two soft and flexible silicone wires, giving the earmuffs a similar feel to headphones. A big thank you to Mary for helping with the circuit!

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These earmuffs go well beyond your average pair by keeping your ears toasty with heat. Through a good amount of wear, I can confirm that they generate a comfortable amount of heat that will effectively warm you up without burning your ears.

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Not only are they functional, but they also offer a unique and striking visual effect. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas about the Heated Earmuffs in the comments below!

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Automatic guitar strumming with Arduino Uno and chopsticks

via Arduino Blog

If you like to make music, but don’t consider yourself particularly talented, YouTuber Make It And Fake It has come up with an innovative solution.

Her device uses an Arduino Uno, along with a hobby servo motor to move a pair of chopsticks that holds the pick. This means that the guitar can literally strum itself, and thanks to a small control box, she can even select from one of three rhythm patterns.

If you’re wondering what this could be used for, the answer comes at 1:40 in the demonstration video, where Make It And Fake It is shown drinking tea, playing another instrument, and even texting her mom while still producing music from the guitar. Code for the build can be found on GitHub.

Astro Pi Mission Zero: your code is in space

via Raspberry Pi

Every school year, we run the European Astro Pi challenge to find the next generation of space scientists who will program two space-hardened Raspberry Pi units, called Astro Pis, living aboard the International Space Station.

Italian ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli with the Astro Pi units. Image credit ESA.

Astro Pi Mission Zero

The 2017–2018 challenge included the brand-new non-competitive Mission Zero, which guaranteed that participants could have their code run on the ISS for 30 seconds, provided they followed the rules. They would also get a certificate showing the exact time period during which their code ran in space.

Astro Pi Mission Zero logo

We asked participants to write a simple Python program to display a personalised message and the air temperature on the Astro Pi screen. No special hardware was needed, since all the code could be written in a web browser using the Sense HAT emulator developed in partnership with Trinket.

Scott McKenzie on Twitter

Students coding #astropi emulator to scroll a message to astronauts on @Raspberry_Pi in space this summer. Try it here: #Rm9Parents #CSforAll #ontariocodes

And now it’s time…

We received over 2500 entries for Mission Zero, and we’re excited to announce that tomorrow all entries with flight status will be run on the ISS…in SPAAACE!

There are 1771 Python programs with flight status, which will run back-to-back on Astro Pi VIS (Ed). The whole process will take about 14 hours. This means that everyone will get a timestamp showing the 1 February, so we’re going to call this day Mission Zero Day!

Part of each team’s certificate will be a map, like the one below, showing the exact location of the ISS while the team’s code was running.

The grey line is the ISS orbital path, the red marker shows the ISS’s location when their code was running. Produced using Google Static Maps API.

The programs will be run in the same sequence in which we received them. For operational reasons, we can’t guarantee that they will run while the ISS flies over any particular location. However, if you have submitted an entry to Mission Zero, there is a chance that your code will run while the ISS is right overhead!

Go out and spot the station

Spotting the ISS is a great activity to do by yourself or with your students. The station looks like a very fast-moving star that crosses the sky in just a few minutes. If you know when and where to look, and it’s not cloudy, you literally can’t miss it.

Source Andreas Möller, Wikimedia Commons.

The ISS passes over most ground locations about twice a day. For it to be clearly visible though, you need darkness on the ground with sunlight on the ISS due to its altitude. There are a number of websites which can tell you when these visible passes occur, such as NASA’s Spot the Station. Each of the sites requires you to give your location so it can work out when visible passes will occur near you.

Visible ISS pass star chart from Heavens Above, on which familiar constellations such as the Plough (see label Ursa Major) can be seen.

A personal favourite of mine is Heavens Above. It’s slightly more fiddly to use than other sites, but it produces brilliant star charts that show you precisely where to look in the sky. This is how it works:

  1. Go to
  2. To set your location, click on Unspecified in the top right-hand corner
  3. Enter your location (e.g. Cambridge, United Kingdom) into the text box and click Search
  4. The map should change to the correct location — scroll down and click Update
  5. You’ll be taken back to the homepage, but with your location showing at the top right
  6. Click on ISS in the Satellites section
  7. A table of dates will now show, which are the upcoming visible passes for your location
  8. Click on a row to view the star chart for that pass — the line is the path of the ISS, and the arrow shows direction of travel
  9. Be outside in cloudless weather at the start time, look towards the direction where the line begins, and hope the skies stay clear

If you go out and do this, then tweet some pictures to @raspberry_pi, @astro_pi, and @esa. Good luck!

More Astro Pi

Mission Zero certificates will be arriving in participants’ inboxes shortly. We would like to thank everyone who participated in Mission Zero this school year, and we hope that next time you’ll take it one step further and try Mission Space Lab.

Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab are two really exciting programmes that young people of all ages can take part in. If you would like to be notified when the next round of Astro Pi opens for registrations, sign up to our mailing list here.

The post Astro Pi Mission Zero: your code is in space appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

via Dangerous Prototypes


Every Tuesday we give away two coupons for the free PCB drawer via Twitter. This post was announced on Twitter, and in 24 hours we’ll send coupon codes to two random retweeters. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times a every week:

  • Hate Twitter and Facebook? Free PCB Sunday is the classic PCB giveaway. Catch it every Sunday, right here on the blog
  • Tweet-a-PCB Tuesday. Follow us and get boards in 144 characters or less
  • Facebook PCB Friday. Free PCBs will be your friend for the weekend

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Check out how we mail PCBs worldwide video.
  • We’ll contact you via Twitter with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.