Designing a 3D-printed EMG bionic hand as a low-cost alternative to prosthetic limbs

via Arduino Blog

The cost of a new prosthetic arm can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands, putting them out of reach for many people. Ahmad Ikram recognized this need and decided to design and build a far cheaper, open source version that has myoelectric capabilities.

To begin this project, Ikram decided upon using the InMoov 3D-printed arm design from French sculptor Gael Langevin due to it being easy to construct. The hand itself contains a single wire connected to each finger, while the other end gets wrapped around a servo motor horn so that the finger can bend whenever the serv moves. A Myoware muscle sensor is responsible for reading the electrical signals generated by muscle contractions and converting them into a readable analog voltage, which is read by an Arduino Nano’s analog pin.

The program Ikram created for the Arduino simply takes continuous readings from the myoelectric sensor and checks if it above a certain threshold. Once it is, the servos are set to a position for contracting the finger, otherwise it releases tension from the wire and makes the fingers return to their original position.

To see more about this project, you can read Ikram’s post here on Instructables and watch its demo video below.

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Why using 3D printing in your smart home is so useful

via Arduino Blog

Why using 3D printing in your smart home is so useful

3D printing, the stuff of science fiction only a few short years ago, is becoming more widely available all the time. Buying your own 3D printer to keep in your home is now fairly accessible, with entry-level printers available for just a few hundred dollars.

But why would you buy one? It’s easy to think 3D printers are still a niche toy, exciting for a few enthusiasts but largely useless for the general population. But this couldn’t be more wrong — 3D printers have a wide range of very practical uses for everyday households.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why 3D printing is so useful and some of the many reasons to consider adding a 3D printer to your own smart home.

Why 3D printing is so useful

  • It’s fast and convenient. With a 3D printer, you can produce simple objects, creations, and components for existing items in a fairly short amount of time — much quicker than ordering the same things online or heading to a local store.
  • You get a ton of control over what you print. Need a very specific shaped object to repair a broken item in your home? It may be impossible to buy what you need anywhere, but a 3D printer allows you to create exactly the right size and shape you need.
  • It’s relatively affordable. As mentioned, basic 3D printers can be had for fairly cheap nowadays, and printing — for smaller objects, at least — costs very little.
  • It’s sustainable. It’s much more sustainable to print your own things than order them across large distances, and this is especially true for niche items that might need to be shipped across the globe to reach you.

Using 3D printing in your smart home

So what can you use a 3D printer for? There are many potential uses for a 3D printer in your smart home, and they range from practical tasks like repairing broken furniture to more creative hobbies. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons to own a 3D printer.

Create useful items for your home

3D printers are perfect for creating small, useful items to use around the home. Some examples are coasters, decorations, lampshades, stationery, and small kitchen tools. This is a great way to combine practical use with a fun creative hobby, putting your own personal spin on the little items you use every day.

Repair items

You know that table you have that just never sits right? The door handle that doesn’t quite match the others in the house? The light switch that doesn’t fit exactly flush with the wall?

3D printing is the perfect solution to many of these small defects and faults. Because you have so much control over what you print — 3D printers can print according to virtually any instructions — it’s easy to create components to fix and spruce up the objects and appliances around your smart home.

Education

3D printers aren’t a regular fixture in classrooms around the world just yet, but it’s only a matter of time. These machines allow students to take a more hands-on and creative approach to their learning. Some examples could be:

  • Science projects like creating models of the solar system of the structure of an atom
  • Geography work like printing detailed models of mountains or volcanoes
  • All kinds of product design work
  • Creative work like art

Arts and creative projects

Creative projects aren’t just for the classroom — many people own 3D printers purely for their own artistic work. There’s almost no limit to what a 3D printer can do in this area, and with a little experience, it’s possible to create truly beautiful and incredibly detailed works of art at home.

Build your own smart home with Arduino

3D printing is just one aspect of a smart home. There’s an almost endless list of things you can do with the right home automation tools — from growing a smart garden to keeping your pets entertained and fed.

Check out Arduino Project Hub for inspiration on projects you can build with Arduino’s tools, or visit our homepage for more information.

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Enjoy the ultimate espresso machine on a budget with Gaggiuino

via Arduino Blog

There are few beverages on this planet that enthusiasts take more seriously than espresso. Aficionados care about and tune everything from steam pressure to bean roasting temperature. But espresso machines that provide both accurate and precise adjustments are very expensive — easily several thousand dollars. Fortunately, you can tackle the Gaggiuino project to upgrade an affordable Gaggia espresso machine to something comparable to a high-end machine.

Gaggia espresso machines cost less than $500 and they’re quite good for that price point, but they aren’t a match for something like a $6,000 La Marzocco Linea Mini. However, the building blocks are there; Gaggia espresso machines have high-quality parts, they simply lack precision electronic control. Gaggiuino addresses that shortcoming with a handful of affordable components. For around $100 worth of hardware, you can dramatically upgrade your Gaggia Classic or Gaggia Classic Pro to create an exceptional machine.

The hardware required for the Gaggiuino upgrade includes an Arduino Nano board, a 2.4” Nextion touchscreen LCD, a thermocouple, a solid-state relay (SSR), a pressure sensor, and a dimmer module. A few 3D-printed enclosures and mounts help to secure those components. After performing this upgrade, you’ll get a ton of great features. Those include: steam control, sensor graphs, manual flow control, a descale cycle, an auto shot timer, user profiles, and a nice UI to access and configure everything. Thanks to the new hardware, those functions all operate with great accuracy and precision, so you can dial in your perfect brew and get the same results every morning. 

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Spotlight on primary computing education in our 2023 seminar series

via Raspberry Pi

We are excited to announce our next free online seminars, running monthly from January 2023 and focusing on primary school (K–5) teaching and learning of computing.

Two children code on laptops while an adult supports them.

Our seminars, having covered various topics in computing education over the last three years, will now offer you a close look at current questions and research in primary computing education. Through this series we want to connect research and teaching practice, and further primary computing education across the globe.

Are these seminars for me?

Our upcoming seminars are for everyone interested in computing education, not just for primary school teachers — you are all cordially invited to join us. Previous seminars have been attended by a valuable mix of teachers, volunteers, tech industry professionals, and researchers, all keen to explore how computing education research can be put into practice.

Learner using Scratch on a laptop.

Whether you teach in a classroom, or support learners in a coding club, you will find out how our youngest learners develop their computing knowledge. You’ll also explore with us what this means for your learning context in practical terms.

What you can expect from the online seminars

Each seminar starts with a presenter explaining, in easy-to-understand terms, some recent research they have done. The presentation is followed by a discussion in smaller groups. We then regroup for a Q&A session with the presenter.

Attendees of our previous seminars have said:

“The seminar will be useful in my practice when our coding club starts.”

“I love this initiative, your choice of speakers has been fantastic. You are creating a very valuable CPD resource for Computer Science teachers and educators all over the world. Thank you. 🙏”

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising this. It was brilliant to hear the presentation but also the input from other educators in the breakout room. I currently teach in a department of one, which can be quite lonely, so to join other educators was brilliant and a real encouragement.” 

Learn from specialists to benefit your own learners

Computer science has been taught in universities for many years, and only more recently has the subject been introduced in schools. That means there isn’t a lot of research about computing education for school-aged learners yet, and even less research about how young children of primary school age learn about computing. 

Young learners at computers in a classroom.

That’s why we are excited to invite you to learn with us as we hear from international primary computing research teams who share their knowledge in our online seminars:

  • Tuesday 10 January 2023: Kicking off our series are Dr Katie Rich and Carla Strickland from Chicago with a seminar on how they developed new instructional materials for teaching variables in primary school. They will specifically focus on how they combined research with classroom realities, and share experiences of using their new materials in class. 
  • Tuesday 7 February 2023: Dr Jean Salac from the University of Washington is particularly interested in identifying and addressing inequities in the computing classroom, and will speak about a new learning strategy that has been found to improve students’ understanding of computing concepts and to increase equal access to computing.
  • Tuesday 7 March 2023: Our own Dr Bobby Whyte from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will share practical examples of how primary computing can be integrated into literacy education. He will specifically look at storytelling elements within computing education and discuss the benefits of combining competency areas.
  • May 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 6 June 2023: In a collaborative seminar, Aim Unahalekhaka from Tufts University in Massachusetts will first present her research into how children learn coding through ScratchJr. Participants are encouraged to bring a tablet or device with ScratchJr to then look at practical project evaluations and teaching strategies that can help young learners create purposefully.
  • Tuesday 12 September 2023: Joining us from the University of Passau in Germany, Luisa Greifenstein will speak about how to give children appropriate feedback that encourages positive attitudes towards computing education. In particular, she will be looking at the effects of different feedback strategies and present a new Scratch tool that offers automated feedback.
  • October 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 7 November 2023: We are delighted to be joined by Dr Aman Yadav from Michigan State University who will focus on computational thinking and its value for primary schooling. In his seminar, he will not only discuss the unique opportunities for computational thinking in primary school but also discuss findings from a recent project that focused on teachers’ perspectives. 

Sign up now to attend the seminars

All our seminars start at 17:00 UK time (18:00 CET / 12:00 noon ET / 9:00 PT) and take place in an online format. Sign up now to receive a calendar invitation and the link to join on the day of each seminar.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and to discussing with you how we can apply research results to better support all our learners.

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Introducing Arduino’s IoT Bundle and what it means for you

via Arduino Blog

Introducing Arduino’s IoT Bundle and What it Means for You

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new Arduino IoT Bundle. This is built to help you dive into the complex and fascinating world of the Internet of Things with even more confidence and possibility — giving you the hardware, software, and components you need to create your own connected IoT projects.

So how does it all work? Let’s find out more.

What is the Arduino IoT Bundle?

Getting started with the IoT can be a daunting process. It requires a certain set of tools and a level of knowledge to take those first steps, but building your own connected IoT devices can be an incredibly rewarding process once you figure out the basics.

Arduino IoT Bundle unbox

The Arduino IoT Bundle is designed to bring together all the tools and knowledge you’ll need to get started with your first connected IoT devices. It’s built around the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, and the bundle also contains electronic components and a series of step-by-step tutorials to help you get started quickly and confidently.

How it works — some examples

The IoT is an incredibly rich area when it comes to building your own connected projects. There are a ton of exciting opportunities here that don’t require an enormous amount of knowledge or resources to get started with.

Let’s take a look at some examples of IoT projects, you’ll find more in the bundle:

Pavlov’s Cat

Training a cat is a tricky business, as any feline owner will know all too well. However, you can now use technology to make this task easier, using an IoT-enabled device you build at home to keep your cats in line.

This project — using only components found in the Arduino IoT Bundle and some cardboard — allows you to build a device that plays a certain melody whenever it dispenses food for your cat. At other times, it will play a different tune and your furry friend gets nothing. 

Just like Pavlov and his famous dogs, you’ll be able to train your cat to associate certain sounds with a reward — teaching your cat when it’s time for dinner.

The Nerd

Remember the days of the Tamagotchi? Caring for a digital pet was something millions of people devoted large chunks of their day to (or not, in the case of the many deceased Tamagotchis).

Now, with Arduino’s IoT Bundle, you can make your own digital pet. The Nerd lives on your desktop and survives by eating food and absorbing sunlight. Your task is easy: just make sure it’s adequately fed and has enough light to bask in. The Nerd will even help you by sending you an SOS in Morse code through a built-in speaker when it’s getting hungry.

You can feed The Nerd by pressing a button which is connected to the Arduino Cloud. Just don’t forget to keep on top of things — these creatures don’t die quietly.

Puzzle Box

This puzzle box is designed to keep your belongings safe(ish) in a cardboard container which is controlled by a fun combination lock. All you need is a few pieces of cardboard and the components from the Arduino IoT Bundle.

The box is kept closed with a servo motor, and will only open up if you turn all the potentiometers to get the right combination for access. You can set the combination in the Arduino IoT Cloud dashboard. To make things more fun, an LED on the box gives you feedback in the form of different coloured lights, letting you know how close you are to guessing the correct combination and gaining access to the box.

The puzzle box works best as a fun game to entertain others, rather than an actual security feature — but it’s still well worth giving a try.

Tap into the IoT with Arduino

Arduino’s IoT Bundle is the perfect introduction to tinkering around with your very own IoT devices at home. It gives you everything you need to get started with some simple projects, and requires very few pre-existing components and not much prior experience at all.

The post Introducing Arduino’s IoT Bundle and what it means for you appeared first on Arduino Blog.

Always know current room conditions with the Oplá IoT Kit and Arduino Cloud

via Arduino Blog

Robert John likes to keep a constant eye on the current temperature and humidity of his room, as even small fluctuations can lead to uncomfortable conditions. And although he can remotely turn the air conditioning on or off, he still needed a way to track these values throughout the day and log them for future reference.

To create this smart device, Robert used an Arduino Oplà IoT Kit, as it contains a MKR WiFi 1010, a MKR IoT Carrier with a built-in screen and capacitive buttons, and a PIR sensor for detecting motion. Once connected together, he then configured a new dashboard in the Arduino IoT Cloud with two variables for the temperature and humidity, which are updated once every minute by the MKR WiFi 1010.

In addition to these values being shown in virtual gauges, the dashboard tracks them in a set of two graphs for up to 15 days. The carrier board also displays the current time, temperature, and humidity on its screen for convenient viewing which turns off automatically to save power when no one is nearby.

To see more about this project and how it was built, you can read John’s write-up here.

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