Want to help familiarize someone with the rules of checkers? Tired of cheating opponents? Well, Bogdan Berg has just the thing for you!
After discussing the idea for an electronic board that teaches kids how to play chess, Berg decided to make this a reality. Hall effect sensors on each square tell the Smart Game Board—rather the Arduino Mega controlling the board—where pieces are, and when one is picked up, LEDs highlight what moves are possible. These lights can also show the pieces’ starting positions, assisting novice players in this important part of the game.
Currently, the device is programmed to play the international version of checkers, but there’s no reason other games like chess and tic-tac-toe couldn’t be added as well. You can see more about this project, which took about six months to complete, in Berg’s write-up here.
Have you ever hopped off the plane at LAX with a… rolling backpack, and wished it would just push itself? Using an Arduino and motor controllers, “TannerTech” made his own robo-backpack.
Carrying backpacks around is so 20th century. Modern travelers, of course, get their robotic minions to drive the bags around for them. Or at least that’s what this Maker’s vision seems to be. The backpack in question is wheeled around by two motors on mounts made out of paint sticks. Control is provided by an Arduino Mega using an H-bridge motor controller to handle the relatively high current required.
In order for a human to call the backpack to him or herself, an “Arduino bluetooth controller” Android app is used to send characters to the Mega and Bluetooth module in the bag. Electronics are housed inside of a pencil case, making this a surprisingly accessible project.
This Arduino-based project creates interesting tumbling patterns using a system that tilts a plane in a controlled manner while deforming its surface.
NEOANALOG, a “studio for hybrid things and spaces,” was commissioned to build the Particle Flow installation, which explores how granules tumble under the control of gravity. This mechanism takes the form of a large hexagon held in three corners by linkages pushed up and down by NEMA 24 stepper motors. As these rods are lifted, the granules inside the “arena” are steered over to the opposite side producing a zen-like experience.
Inside the main hexagon are 19 smaller hexagons, each controlled by servos to lift an individual section of the rolling surface up and down. Control of the entire system is accomplished via a PC running Processing, which sends commands via Ethernet to an Arduino Mega and the steppers to an Arduino Uno with three motor drivers.
A moving slanted plane and a grid of motorized stamps control the elements to form infinite variations of behaviors and patterns. The result is a zen-like experience that is both: fascinating and contemplative. Software controlled motion follows a complex choreography and enables precise steering of physical particles in a variety of ways: from subtle to obvious, from slow to high paced, from random-like to symmetric.
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.
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.
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!