Electronic interfaces have advanced from plugging things in, to keyboards, touchscreens, VR environments, and perhaps soon temporary tattoos. Led by Martin Weigel, researchers at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany have come up with a way to turn your skin blemishes and wrinkles into touch-sensitive controls for devices like smartphones and computers.
“SkinMarks” can be transferred onto the skin using water and last a couple of days before rubbing off. As seen in the video below, these e-tattoos can take the form of buttons, sliders and visual displays, and even sense when a joint is bent. For example, knuckles on a hand made into a fist could act as buttons and then become a slider when the fingers are straightened.
Another type of SkinMark is electroluminescent, meaning that an image printed on your skin could light up to signal a phone call or other important notifications.
These tattoos are connected to a wrist-mounted Arduino Nano and an Adafruit MPR121 capacitive touch shield via wires and copper tape; though if the system can be shrunk down even further, this could open up many different possibilities!
Modding vehicles to do something different and unique has been a pastime of “motorheads” almost since cars began to replace horses. Many modifications involve speed, but some like these fancy turn signals by Shravan Lal, simply supplement the looks of his ride.
An Arduino Nano was used as the brains of this hack in order to control strips of WS2812B LEDs acting as blinkers (similar to those on the new Audi A6) in the video below. In addition to signaling a right or left turn, Lal’s build also has a neat startup animation, and can act as a set of hazard lights if needed.
As Maker Alex Gyver points out in his video, Chinese bike computers are quite cheap, but “why not?” It’s a great question, and one that motivates many of the hacks seen here, including his mountain bike speedometer.
Although he could have simply used a numerical display to show how fast his bike was going, he instead employed a small servo to point to the speed like an analog gauge. The custom speedometer is based on an Arduino Nano, and wheel revolutions are measured by a magnetic and Hall effect sensor.
Given an input and some sort of indicator, is there any device that can’t be hacked into a timepiece? With the help of an Arduino Nano and an ESP8266 module, Guilio Pons has created a unique clock out of a 1950s-era multimeter.
Pons’ project not only displays time with an indicator originally meant to reveal electrical values, but is also able to output sounds as needed using a speaker recovered from an old toy. He integrated three LEDs as well as a PIR sensor, so the unit can light up at night.
PWM control from the Arduino takes care of moving the gauge, while the ESP8266 allows the time to be synchronized via the Internet and the alarm adjusted over WiFi.
If you need to quickly launch certain apps on your MacBook Pro, Carl Gordon has your solution using an Arduino Nano.
Although the TV ads for your notebook computer would perhaps have you believe that everyone who uses it is a DJ, artist, or rock climber, chances are you just use it for a handful of programs and folders over and over. If this sounds like you, you can at least speed up access to them using Gordon’s “Laptop Control Box.”
As seen below, the box acts as a grid of shortcuts to your favorite applications, with a button to select sets of programs and an embedded RGB LED module to show you which set is active without having to look at the screen. Control on the computer side is accomplished with Processing, and though it might look like its window needs to be active in the video, it can work in the background as well.
This version currently gives me to access 24 different functions which are divided into six categories of four functions for ease of use, these categories include: tools, media, browser, utilities, social and lifestyle. Categories can be navigated through using the small button on the side and each category is visualized with a unique color by an RGB LED within the device, illuminating the plastic buttons from underneath.
Using an Arduino Uno, Nano, and two Bluetooth modules, engineering student “Roboro” can now remotely control his sumo robot.
Like many hackers, Roboro had an old gaming controller that he wasn’t using, in this case an Xbox steering wheel and pedals. Naturally, he converted it into a controller for his sumo robot, which can now be driven manually. This involved wiring the wheel controls into an Uno; the smaller Nano was used onboard the bot.
Rewiring a controller is nothing new, but what is also quite interesting from a hack point of view is that the Arduinos communicate over Bluetooth. When initiated, the controller connects itself to the robot, which can then be driven around (as long as it doesn’t get stuck in the hardwood).