Monthly Archives: May 2021

Back to Compressed Earth Blocks

via Open Source Ecology

It is an interesting convergence – lumber prices shooting through the roof – and Compressed Earth Block being some of the most robust building material known to humankind. After all, the Smithsonian did claim that sophisticated buildings will be made of mud. As such, we’re returning to CEB construction as part of the Seed Eco-Home project – AND building an industrial grade sawmill this summer. The CEB press and the sawmill are 2 important machines in the Global Village Construction Set. Making construction materials is necessary for cost control as we deploy our 1000 square foot house that can be built for $50k in materials. Our goal is to reduce this cost to 1/5 of this with 3D printing of construction materials from waste plastic – by developing open source plasic recycling as part of’ the ambitious Summer of Extreme Design-Build 2021.

If you want to order a CEB press, we can produce a fully automated version that makes at least 6 block per minute for $10k, or you can build one yourself for about half that in materials cost. This machine requires a hydraulic power unit to run, such as a tractor or our Power Cube. We sell Power Cubes for $4k (2500 PSI, 10 gpm). To order our Compressed Earth Block press – see more information on our wiki and email us at info at opensourceecology dot org to order one.

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You take care of a pet eyeball in this bizarre video game

via Arduino Blog

“Avant-garde” is a French term that translates literally to “advance guard,” as in the vanguard that leads an army into battle. In the arts, the term describes people or works that are experimental and push the boundaries of their medium. Emily Velasco, of the Emily’s Electric Oddities YouTube channel, used an Arduino Nano to build a bizarre video game and “avant-garde” is the best way to describe it.

This handheld device runs a video game that charges players with the care of a pet eyeball. A CRT (cathode-ray tube) screen displays that eyeball in beautifully low-res monochrome graphics. An Arduino generates the composite video signal for the CRT screen using the TVout Arduino library. The Nano, CRT screen, and controls are housed within a retro-style enclosure that Velasco made out of an old motor controller case and a custom walnut wood face plate.

The only user input controls are a joystick and a button. The player can move the joystick to direct the eyeball’s gaze and push the button to make it blink. The eye’s pupil even reacts to the ambient light in the room, which the Arduino monitors through a light sensor. The game doesn’t have a goal in the traditional sense. The player isn’t given any quests or objectives. Their only job is to control the eyeball. Velasco described her creation as “the worst fake video game,” but we prefer to say that it is avant-garde and that the masses simply won’t understand its genius.

The post You take care of a pet eyeball in this bizarre video game appeared first on Arduino Blog.

This YouTuber created an Arduino-powered Luxo Jr.

via Arduino Blog

YouTuber Allyson decided she wanted a real-life version of the Pixar lamp mascot, and actually made one in the video below. Her version uses a servo to raise the modified Luxo lamp up and down via the elbow joint, and another two servos to pan and tilt the shade like a wrist.

The device is controlled by an Arduino Uno, along with a compact vision system. This allows the lamp assembly to move in pre-defined paths and even track objects. The new setup now employs an LED inside of a ping pong ball as the bulb. This can be turned on and off as a “clapper” through a sound sensor.

It looks like a lot of fun so far, and perhaps we’ll see it develop further in the future!

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Spinning gyroscope “boat” stabilization

via Arduino Blog

When you use a “gyroscope” in Arduino and robotics projects, generally this means a small IMU that leverages several methods of sensing to tell how a device is moving. However, physical gyroscopes are able to employ a spinning disk stay upright mechanically. Could one be combined with advanced electronics to stabilize a robot or other craft?

James Bruton answers this question in the video below, going from a “bare” gyroscope, to an unpowered gimbal, and finally to a simulated boat. This utilizes a powered gimbal for stabilization that’s tilted in one axis by a DYNAMIXEL servo. Angle is measured using an Arduino Pro Mini along with an MPU-6050 IMU, and the gyroscope is controlled by an Arduino Mega.

You can check out the progression of this fun experiment in the video below, and find code/CAD info on GitHub.

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This arm-mounted contraption provides guidance in VR

via Arduino Blog

Virtual reality (VR) technology has improved dramatically in recent years and there are now a number of VR headsets on the market that provide high-quality visual immersion. But VR systems still struggle to stimulate our other senses. When you can’t feel the virtual objects that you can see, the immersion falls apart. That’s why an international team of researchers has developed GuideBand, which is an arm-mounted contraption that physically guides players within VR.

This device looks a bit like an external fixation apparatus for securing broken bones. It straps onto the user’s arm and has three motors controlled by an Arduino Mega via TB6612FNG motor drivers. The first motor moves the device’s gantry radially around the user’s arm. The second motor adjusts the angle of attack, offset perpendicularly from the forearm. The third motor acts as a winch and pulls a cable attached to a strap on the user’s arm.

The unique layout of GuideBand lets it impart the feeling of pulling onto the user’s forearm, like a parent tugging their child through a grocery store. That guidance could correspond directly to action in the virtual world, such as an NPC (Non-Player Character) pulling the player out of the way of danger. Or it can provide more subtle direction, like a game tutorial demonstrating how the player should move to interact with a virtual object.

As with many other VR haptic feedback systems, GuideBand is highly experimental and we don’t expect to see it on the market anytime soon. But it is still an interesting solution to a specific problem with virtual reality.

You can read the team’s published paper here.

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