Author Archives: Arduino Team

Levitate water drops with RGB LEDs and Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Water normally falls from the sky to the ground, the time fountain from hacker isaac879 appears to work much differently. As shown in the video below, water droplets somehow levitate from a circular orange apparatus to a blue one on top.

The trick here is that the water isn’t actually falling up, but appears that way by carefully controlling the flashing of RGB lights using an Arduino Uno. If the lights flash at the same rate as the water drops, they appear to stand still, while if the light is flashed more slowly, they appear to rise.

This is the prototype RGB LED Time Fountain I designed and built. It uses RGB LED strip lights to strobe a stream of water drops to make them appear as if they are levitating. By strobing the different colors out of phase with each other some incredible effects can be created.

An Arduino Uno controls the timing of the RGB strobe and the PWM of the pump. Bluetooth communication was achieved using an HC-05 Bluetooth module and the “Arduino bluetooth controller” app by “Giumig Apps.”

Be sure to check out the video to see it in action, especially the bit around 3:40 where drops appear to rise out of a cup while it’s getting filled with water.

Play Striker Air Hockey on a capacitive touch surface

via Arduino Blog

After discovering capacitive touch interactions with a Makey Makey device and an Arduino Leonardo, Jason Eldred realized it could also be used to control the Unity game engine. After a night of hacking, he had a basic interface that could change the scale of a virtual circle. From there, he teamed up with Alex L. Bennett to produce an art installation called Bee that invited users to interact with it by physically touching a panel to change graphics on the panel itself and a screen in front of them.

While not meant as a game per se, after more experimentation including work by Gabe Miller and Dustin Williams, this interactive display method was finally turned into a virtual air hockey table via a giant crisscrossing grid of copper tape and wires.

In the game, two players push a virtual puck projected onto a horizontal surface for colorful AR interactions at a very low cost. You can see it in action below, and read more about the project on DigiPen’s website and in Gamasutra’s recent article.

Water speakers enhanced with an Arduino Mega

via Arduino Blog

Maker “cool austin” is a fan of water speakers, which pulse jets of water inside plastic enclosures to the beat of your music, but thought they could be improved.

What he came up with is a multi-tower setup that not only dances with light and water to the beat of the music playing, but splits up the pulses into frequencies a la a VU meter.

The project uses an Arduino Mega—chosen because it has sufficient PWM outputs to control the water and lights in five of these enclosures via MOSFETs—to output signals to the water units for an excellent audio-visual display.

Water speakers from the store are great to watch, but I felt they could do more. So many years ago I had modified a set to show the frequency of music playing. At the time I used the Color Organ Triple Deluxe II, combined with a set of photocells potentiometers and transistors I was able to get a set of 3 speakers to function.

I then a few years ago had heard about the IC MSGEQ7 which has the ability to separate audio into 7 data values for an Arduino to read. I utilize an Arduino mega 2560 in this project because it has the required number of PWM pins to drive five water towers.

You can find more details on the water speaker equalizer here, and see it in action below!

Video game head tracking with Wii Remote camera

via Arduino Blog

While the Nintendo Wii has been on the market for well over 10 years, its controllers continue to provide a variety of tools for hacking. One component you may want to consider for your next hack is the camera from the Wii Remote, which senses the position of nearby infrared light spots and outputs them as X/Y coordinates via I²C.

While that may instantly set off multiple use ideas, if you need inspiration, be sure to check out this setup by Jack Carter. He mounted one of these cameras to the top of a computer screen, and uses it to track an IR LED mounted to the top of his headset.

From there, an Arduino Uno translates this information as joystick inputs to the computer, which is then configured to control an in-game camera as seen in the video here.

YouTuber creates an organ out of 44 Furbies

via Arduino Blog

If you think Furbies have become extinct, think again, as musical hacker “Look Mum No Computer” has decided to revive a number of them to create his own Furby Organ.

To make this horrifying yet awesome instrument, he placed 44—yes, 44—of these strange creatures on top of an organ frame with a keyboard and several dials, along with a switch labeled ominously as “collective awakening.”

Each individual Furby is controlled by two Arduino Nano boards, and as you might imagine, the whole project took a massive amount of work to wire things together. You can see the incredible results in the first video below, while the second gives a bit more background on the device’s origin.

Recreate Optimus Prime’s blaster with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

YouTuber Bob Clagett has dreamed of creating his own life-sized Optimus Prime ion blaster for years, and now after hours of 3D printing and finishing, he finally has something worthy of that universe.

While he opted to construct it in a 1:2 scale, it’s still an impressive physical build, looking comically large, but not entirely unwieldy as a full-sized 8-foot blaster would have been.

Inside, sound and lighting effects are controlled by an Arduino, which plays clips from the show and flashes in different patterns via an Adafruit sound board and RGB LED strip.

I wanted the blaster to play sounds and have lights come out of the barrel so I rigged up an Arduino Nano with an Adafruit sound board and amp that would cycle blaster sounds and lights when a button was pressed. And because there’s always more than meets the eye, I had a separate button that played just Transformers sound clips. To defuse the LED strip when the lights fired, I printed a semi-translucent disc that would stand-off from the sides so that sound could still escape, but the light would be diffused. I decided to mount all of the audio components in the barrel so that the cannon could be taken apart to charge the battery back.

You can see the entire process in the video below, or check out his post for a summary.