Monthly Archives: November 2020

Homemade recycling rig turns plastic waste into new products

via Arduino Blog

While that plastic cup, bag, dish, or other item may have served its purpose, more than likely it could be formed into something new. With this in mind, the SOTOP-Recycling team of Manuel Maeder, Benjamin Krause, and Nadina Maeder developed an automated injection molding machine that can be built at home and is small enough to allow you to run your own recycling operation!

The “Smart Injector” receives shredded pieces of plastic in a small hopper, then transports them down an extrusion pipe where heat is applied. This material is clamped together via a pair of stepper motors, with screws and timing belts implemented to apply sufficient pressure. Everything is controlled by an Arduino Mega.

As shown in the video, the plastic waste is converted into phone covers in just minutes, though other things could also be made depending on the form tooling used.

Our newest robot, 3pi+, is here—Arduino-compatible, USB, encoders, full IMU and more!

via Pololu Blog

I am thrilled to announce the release of our newest robot, the 3pi+! This new platform is a major upgrade from the original 3pi robot we introduced twelve years ago. At 97 mm, the diameter is just 1mm larger than the original, and the general concept of a tiny, fast robot powered by four AAA batteries and two micro metal gearmotors remains the same. However, just about everything has been redesigned from the ground up to add the extra features everyone has been asking for.

First off, the 3pi+ is now a platform that encompasses a range of products, not just one particular robot. This is enabled primarily by the chassis now being an independent structure rather than being a specific circuit board with motors strapped on:

3pi+ Chassis Kit (No Motors or Electronics).

The chassis incorporates the battery holders, motor mounts, and ball caster. An outer bumper skirt is removable and the motors can instead be held in by separate clips (also included in the kit). The left-most picture shows the chassis with motors installed but without the bumper skirt or motor clips, and the next two pictures show the motor clips installed:

Making the chassis separate from any electronics means that you can use it with your own electronics and that we can make various versions with different capabilities and microcontrollers.

3pi+ 32U4

The first full 3pi+ robot we are launching is the 3pi+ 32U4, which is based on an Arduino-compatible ATmega32U4 microcontroller from Microchip (formerly from Atmel). Like the original 3pi, the 3pi+ 32U4 has five integrated downward-looking reflectance sensors, making the robot a great starting point for line following and line-maze events.

The 3pi+ 32U4 offers many major improvements over the original 3pi, including:

  • ATmega32U4 microcontroller with Arduino-compatible bootloader can be programmed directly through a USB connection
  • Quadrature encoders on both motors for closed-loop position and speed control
  • Full 9-axis IMU (three-axis gyro, accelerometer, and compass)
  • Bottom-loading battery holders keep batteries accessible even if additional levels are added
  • Full wrap-around bumper to protect electronics from collisions
  • Two bump sensors on the front

3pi+ 32U4 Robot features, top view.

3pi+ 32U4 Robot features, bottom view.

The 3pi+ 32U4 is also available with three motor options for different usage scenarios:

3pi+ 32U4 Version Products Micro Metal Gearmotor Top Speed Comments
Standard Edition assembled or kit 30:1 MP 6V 1.5 m/s great all-around balance between controllability and speed, with top theoretical speed above that of the original 3pi
Turtle Edition assembled or kit 75:1 LP 6V 0.4 m/s longest battery life, easiest to control, appropriate for swarm robot projects or classrooms where you might not want robots flying around the floor (or desktop) too quickly
Hyper Edition assembled or kit 15:1 HPCB 6V ~4 m/s ridiculous speed, which can definitely be fun. But, controlling that speed can be difficult, which can make the robot more prone to self-destruction (or at least self-inflicted damage), so we recommend this only for advanced users

These three 3pi+ 32U4 motor options are available in assembled or kit form, and for those who want to do your own thing, the parts are available separately so that you can pick some other motor or gear ratio.

Normally we would have an introductory special for this big of a new product release, but since we are about to launch our annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale, you can get a great discount on the new 3pi+ there!

Monitor your heart rate while asleep with ZazHRM

via Arduino Blog

Have you ever wondered what your heart rate looked like when you were catching some Zs? Or perhaps you would like to check up on how someone nearby is sleeping, without actually disturbing that person. The ZazHRM monitoring system by Alan Do lets you do both, with a pulse sensor hooked up to an Arduino Uno, which in turn sends data to an Android phone in almost real-time via Bluetooth.

The receiving device runs an MIT App Inventor routine, which can output alarms if the person under observation’s heart rate goes out of range. Results are also logged for later analysis.

While interesting, Do does note that ZazHRM is not a piece of medical equipment, nor is it intended for medical diagnosis. Code and App Inventor info are available on GitHub.

What’s not to love about this realistic beating heart?

via Arduino Blog

Your heart is an amazing organ, pumping blood through your body and literally keeping you alive. However, building a realistic model of one — as explained in this write-up by Holiday McAllister — can actually be pretty simple.

Here, silicone is poured into a four-inch heart mold to create the structure, partially hollowed out to accommodate a metal gear micro servo.

This little motor rotates back and forth under control of an Arduino Uno, making it appear to pulse up and down on a table. One could see this enhanced in a variety of ways, perhaps with a bit of fake blood for an even more lifelike look, or with inputs to the Arduino for interactive capabilities.

Transgender Awareness Week: spreading gender awareness in the Arduino community

via Arduino Blog

Transgender Awareness Week, which culminates today with the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), aims at raising the visibility of the transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues their community faces.

At Arduino, we believe that technology should improve the lives of everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, nationality, and body. Being inclusive is at the core of our mission: making technology easy to use, we want to empower everybody to be free to innovate. 

We have decided to join the Transgender Awareness Week and the TDOR because we feel a duty to our community, and to all its members, including the GNC and trans community. Our goal today is not only to celebrate all the diversities of our community — in particular the trans and GCN community — but also to start a conversation with our users about inclusivity in general. Finally, our celebration wants to empower our community members to spread awareness by being everyday their authentic self. 

At Arduino, we believe role models are important to inspire people, to show the way, to reveal what’s possible so we’re going to talk more and more about the people who helped build the technologies who make what we do possible. 

Today, we celebrate two transwomen that, even indirectly, have contributed to the Arduino Project. Sophie Wilson and Lynn Conway not only represent a fundamental inspiration for us, but are also a beacon of hope for the next generation of trans and GNC scientists in our community. 

Sophie Wilson studied computer science at the University of Cambridge; in 1978, she designed the Acorn Micro-Computer, System 1, an early 8-bit microcomputer for hobbyists and, later, co-designed with Steve Furber  the prototype of what became the BBC Microcomputer. In 1983, Wilson started to design the instructions set for the “Acorn RISC Machine” processor that became popular as Arm. The Arm became one of the most successful microprocessor architecture  in history and is now used in billions  of different products, from mobile phones to laptops, from digital TV to video games and our beloved Arduino boards. (All of our latest boards are based on Arm.) Wilson was listed in 2011 in Maximum PC as number 8 in an article titled “The 15 Most Important Women in Tech History.”

Lynn Conway studied at the M.I.T. and Columbia University and was then recruited by IBM Research to co-design the architecture of the Advanced Computing Systems (ACS) project. With the invention of the multiple out-of-order dynamic instruction scheduling, used by most computers to improve their performance, she made foundational contributions to computer architecture. In 1969 she underwent gender transition and was fired. This didn’t stop here and the work she did with Carver Mead led to the so-called  “Mead & Conway revolution.” Their book “Introduction to VLSI Systems” was the first VLSI chip design textbook usable by non-physicists and resulted in a worldwide restructuring of academic materials in computer science and electrical engineering education, and was paramount for the development of industries based on the application of microelectronics.
She was also recognized by Time Magazine in 2014 as one of the most influential LGBTQ figures in American Culture. Lynn is a gender activist and has always worked to protect and expand the rights of transgender people.

As Arduino users, we have to thank Lynn for “democratizing” the design of complex silicon chips, which paved the way for people like Sophie who we must thank for designing the Arm processor architecture that is central to all of the work we do now. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today in technology!

So, Lynn and Sophie, thank you from the bottom of our open source hearts here at Arduino. 🙂

The celebration of the Transgender Awareness Week and the TDOR is only the beginning of an important journey that will mark Arduino’s commitment to inclusivity. Stay tuned for more! 

(NOTE: The biographies are edited from Wikipedia articles used under the  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.) 

Arduino Explore IoT Kit vs Arduino Oplà IoT Kit: a detailed comparison

via Arduino Blog

If you are looking for a solution to learn and experience the Internet of Things, there are two popular choices: the Explore IoT Kit and the Oplà IoT Kit. But which one should you pick? Here‘s a handy guide.

The kits share a very similar set of hardware and are in the same price range; moreover, they both offer a free one-year subscription to the Arduino Create MKR Plan, Arduino premium coding platform.

That is where the similarities end though! The Oplà IoT Kit is designed for individuals to use to add connectivity to devices around the home or in the office. Whilst the Explore IoT Kit is an educational kit developed for students to learn how to control objects remotely using digital dashboards and learn the fundamentals of the Internet of Things. Moreover, they offer different online platforms, different projects, in other words, a completely different experience. 

We’ve created a super simple guide to help you decide which is the right kit for you and your projects! 

Both kits include: 

And now, let’s explore  what you can do with the Explore IoT Kit and the Oplà IoT Kit

Explore IoT Kit

The Explore IoT Kit teaches you fundamental concepts to control objects remotely.

This educational kit includes 10 online student activities that adopt a learning-by-doing approach.               

Step-by-step, students will acquire knowledge by constructing fully functional solutions including experiments, challenges, and building real-life applications. Students also learn to control objects remotely using a digital dashboard – the Arduino IoT Cloud. 

Oplà IoT Kit

The Oplà IoT Kit adds connectivity to your home, office appliances, and applications. 

This kit comes with a complete set of 8 Internet of Things projects ready to turn everyday appliances into ‘smart appliances’ e.g. thermostat.

Suitable for more advanced users so they can create their own connected devices and IoT applications through the open programmable platform providing ultimate control.