Author Archives: Arduino Team

Arduino-controlled 360° camera trap for animal photography

via Arduino Blog

Using an Arduino, wildlife observer and hiking hacker Andrew Quitmeyer modified a spherical camera to take pictures when motion is detected.

If you’d like to photograph wildlife without actually being there to scare the animals off (or because you would eventually get bored), a great solution is a camera trap. These devices can trigger a camera when animals move nearby, hopefully capturing interesting images. Generally, you need to point your camera in the right direction, but Quitmeyer got around this by using a 360 camera instead to eliminate this placement bias.

In order to control the device, he rigged up his own system with PIR motion sensors and an Arduino Uno to prompt the camera as well as power it on and off. The hack looks effective, though voiding an expensive camera’s warranty like this will certainly scare a few Makers off!

You can see more about how this project was pulled off on Instructables, and find the Arduino code used on GitHub.

Testing microswitches with a (not quite) Useless Machine

via Arduino Blog

Pete “Raster” Prodoehl shows how to test microswitches with an Arduino Uno.

As referenced in his write-up, Prodoehl needed a way to test microswitches that he’d be using for an exhibit. After all, when something is on display, the last thing you want is to have to replace components. Inspired by how Consumer Reports tests things, he decided to build his own setup with a counter and 3D-printed “pusher.”

What he found was that when you’re testing the life span of a component made to work over and over, your testing components have to also be robust enough to handle the very gradual abuse. It’s an interesting exercise, and something that engineers in manufacturing have to deal with constantly. Getting something to work once or even a times is neat, but getting it to function thousands of times for a test or otherwise takes a different way of thinking!

You can see more about this project on Prodoehl’s page here, and check out the video compilation below for a quick overview.

An interactive LED floor to get the dance party started

via Arduino Blog

If you want a light-up dance floor for your next wedding or other special event, you can rent one; however, that can be quite expensive. On the other hand, you and your hacker friends can always build one. How hard can that be?

Turns out, very hard. While it may be simple to get one translucent panel to illuminate with LEDs, this 17-square-foot interactive dance floor used 64 panels with four lighting cells in each, for a total of 256 lighting arrays and 7,680 RGBs arranged as 2,560 addressable pixels.

Even with some advanced tools like a pick-and-place machine for PCB manufacturing, as well as a laser cutter, it still took volunteers many hours over the course of 11 months to get it working. LED control is accomplished via a Teensy 3.1, while 256 pressure switches under the surface are read by an Arduino Mega.

You can see more details of the impressive project in the video below (including a round of multi-player Dance Dance Revolution) and a few more technical details in AvBrand’s write-up here.

Build a motorized gimbal on a budget with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Tadej Strah, a freshman at Gimnazija Vic in Slovenia, made a motorized gimbal using only $60 worth of parts.

After joining a photo and film club at his university, Strah was inspired by a member with cerebral palsy to build an inexpensive gimbal to keep a small camera level. His project uses an MPU-6050 sensor to detect motion, and an Arduino Mega to process this data and control the device’s two servos. The setup includes a handle from an angle grinder, while the servos are mounted on bent pieces of metal, helping keep the cost down.

Strah believes that with a few upgrades, such as a smaller battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 3D-printed frame, it should be able to provide many of the features of those available for $500 or more. Hopefully we’ll see this design become even better in the future!

Until then, you can follow along with Strah’s progress, and perhaps another iteration of his gimbal, on his YouTube channel.

 

Selectively silence a landline phone with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Silencing a smartphone at night isn’t difficult, but if you have a landline, Arduino can help!

Before computer hacking/modding became accessible, the next best thing was to creatively explore the phone system via custom electronics. Though this pursuit, known as “phone phreaking,” has largely gone away, some people still have landlines. As “MolecularD” shows in this Instructables writeup, with a few components you can creatively trick your phone into not ringing on your end, while appearing to the caller to simply ring and ring as if no one is home.

In order to make it much more useful, MolecularD hooked up an Arduino Mega with a real-time clock module to turn the device on and off depending on the time of day. Now calls from phone solicitors, or “IRS agents” at 4 in the morning can be eliminated automatically. As noted, this may or may not be legal where you live, so attempt it at your own risk!

Build an Arduino-powered magnetic drawing machine

via Arduino Blog

As touched on in this video by Charlotte Dann (aka “Charbytes”), she has magnets in her fingers.

This may or may not seem like a small detail, but either way it allows her to draw interesting shapes by passing them over a magnetometer mounted to an Arduino Uno. Dann’s sensor/Arduino package passes serial data to a computer, which does the “heavy lifting,” turning the input into beautiful colors on a computer screen.

It’s an interesting project, and the build process is nicely narrated in her video. A few highlights include a problem with “plastic weld” at 4:00, and a few electrical issues around 7:30 that she eventually solves. You can see more details on this project on its GitHub page, as well as check out Dann’s Twitter account to see what else she’s up to!