Tag Archives: instructables

Maker creates his own coilgun using an Arduino Nano

via Arduino Blog

If you suppose that electromagnetically-propelled projectiles are strictly the purview of well-funded government research labs, think again! Using two sets of coils wrapped around custom 3D-printed base structures and an Arduino Nano for control, YouTuber “Gyro” created his own coilgun capable of propelling steel fast enough to dent a piece of wood.

When fired, a photodiode at the end of each electromagnet coil sends a signal to the Arduino. This, in turn, shuts off the coil, allowing it freely escape the barrel.

As noted in his Instructables write-up, the gun is constructed without large capacitors, which can be expensive and dangerous. Instead, two LiPo battery packs are combined to produce around 22 volts, though this and the number of coils used, could be increased to produce a more powerful device!

Create an interactive laser sheet generator with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

What’s better than a laser? How about two rapidly rotating lasers, attached to servo motors and controlled by an Arduino Mega? That’s exactly what Jon Bumstead made with his “Interactive Laser Sheet Generator.”

In addition to controlling the lasers, his device can sense hand motion on top of it using an array of 12 ultrasonic sensors, and can even coordinate music through a built-in MIDI output.

As seen in the demonstration video, Bumstead’s project–which was constructed with the help of a CNC router–looks like a cross between a coffee table and a test fixture for a space vehicle. When activated, a brushless motor spins the two lasers at a high speed, while the Mega controls the laser angles via two servos, creating a unique vortex-like light show!

I included distance sensors in the device so that the laser sheets could be manipulated by moving your hand towards them. As the person interacts with the sensors, the device also plays music through a MIDI output. It incorporates ideas from laser harps, laser vortexes, and POV displays. The instrument is controlled with an Arduino Mega that takes in the inputs of ultrasonic sensors and outputs the type of laser sheet formed and music generated. Due to the many degrees of freedom of the spinning lasers, there are tons of different laser sheet patterns that can be created.

You can find more details on the laser sheet generator on Instructables.

Get into shape as you game with Cykill

via Arduino Blog

If you’re having trouble finding time to work out because you’d rather play video games, then this is the solution you’ve been waiting for. The Cykill device modifies a normal exercise bike into a device that won’t let you power on your Xbox unless you’re pedaling sufficiently fast enough.

Making this even more motivating, is that if you stop pedaling fast enough, it immediately cuts power, ruining any in-progress game, and potentially even damaging your hard drive!

To implement this hack, Instructables user “Fuzzy-Wobble” used an Arduino Uno to intercept the bike’s normal control signals. From this data, as well as settings on a custom control panel, it decides whether or not to activate switchable plug that provides power to the Xbox.

If you’d like to build your own forced-fitness setup, be sure to check out the project’s write-up here. Gaming not your thing? Perhaps it’s Netflix binge-watching getting in the way of your healthy lifestyle instead…

Binge-watch and burn calories with the Arduino-powered Cycflix

via Arduino Blog

As entertaining as watching Netflix may be, you’re not burning a lot of calories while binging on your favorite shows. In order to do both at the same time, hacker “Roboro” modded a stationary exercise bike to stop streaming if he’s not maintaining his fitness goals.

Bicycle speed is derived from the signal that’s normally sent to the built-in display. He uses an Arduino Nano to hijack the square wave, and sends this info to the streaming computer serially via USB.

Starting the Python script and inputting some information, Firefox will start to stream Netflix and display in real-time for current workout information such as round, speed, nominal speed for this round and time to next round. If the user goes below the nominal speed for too long, Netflix will pause until the user has gotten back up to speed.

If you’d like to try this yourself, you can find an Instructables write-up with all the necessary details and check out his code on GitHub. Though designed around Netflix, Roboro notes that it can be used with other streaming services with a few changes.

Portal fan recreates a sentry turret using an Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Steven Gioiosa recently signed up for a “Makecourse” class at the University of South Florida, where he was required to build something that featured both an Arduino and a 3D-printed part. As a fan of Portal, and especially the sentry turrets in the game, it was an easy decision to construct one of these devices for himself.

Gioiosa’s turret recreation is based on an Arduino Uno connected to an HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor, and features motion-activated lasers that move back and forth, along with audio feedback, depending on how far away the human target is. The project also involves a bunch of servos: one to open the arms out, another to pitch them up and down, and two more to move each arm left and right.

You can see Gioiosa’s sentry turret in action below, and find more details on his Instructables write-up here.

Shelfchecker Smart Shelf: build a home library system

via Raspberry Pi

Are you tired of friends borrowing your books and never returning them? Maybe you’re sure you own 1984 but can’t seem to locate it? Do you find a strange satisfaction in using the supermarket self-checkout simply because of the barcode beep? With the ShelfChecker smart shelf from maker Annelynn described on Instructables, you can be your own librarian and never misplace your books again! Beep!

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Harry Potter and the Aesthetically Pleasing Smart Shelf

The ShelfChecker smart shelf

Annelynn built her smart shelf utilising a barcode scanner, LDR light sensors, a Raspberry Pi, plus a few other peripherals and some Python scripts. She has created a fully integrated library checkout system with accompanying NeoPixel location notification for your favourite books.

This build allows you to issue your book-borrowing friends their own IDs and catalogue their usage of your treasured library. On top of that, you’ll be able to use LED NeoPixels to highlight your favourite books, registering their removal and return via light sensor tracking.

Using light sensors for book cataloguing

Once Annelynn had built the shelf, she drilled holes to fit the eight LDRs that would guard her favourite books, and separated them with corner brackets to prevent confusion.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Corner brackets keep the books in place without confusion between their respective light sensors

Due to the limitations of the MCP3008 Adafruit microchip, the smart shelf can only keep track of eight of your favourite books. But this limitation won’t stop you from cataloguing your entire home library; it simply means you get to pick your ultimate favourites that will occupy the prime real estate on your wall.

Obviously, the light sensors sense light. So when you remove or insert a book, light floods or is blocked from that book’s sensor. The sensor sends this information to the Raspberry Pi. In response, an Arduino controls the NeoPixel strip along the ‘favourites’ shelf to indicate the book’s status.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

The book you are looking for is temporarily unavailable

Code your own library

While keeping a close eye on your favourite books, the system also allows creation of a complete library catalogue system with the help of a MySQL database. Users of the library can log into the system with a barcode scanner, and take out or return books recorded in the database guided by an LCD screen attached to the Pi.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Beep!

I won’t go into an extensive how-to on creating MySQL databases here on the blog, because my glamourous assistant Janina has pulled up these MySQL tutorials to help you get started. Annelynn’s Github scripts are also packed with useful comments to keep you on track.

Raspberry Pi and books

We love books and libraries. And considering the growing number of Code Clubs and makespaces into libraries across the world, and the host of book-based Pi builds we’ve come across, the love seems to be mutual.

We’ve seen the Raspberry Pi introduced into the Wordery bookseller warehouse, a Pi-powered page-by-page book scanner by Jonathon Duerig, and these brilliant text-to-speech and page turner projects that use our Pis!

Did I say we love books? In fact we love them so much that members of our team have even written a few.*

If you’ve set up any sort of digital making event in a library, have in some way incorporated Raspberry Pi into your own personal book collection, or even managed to recreate the events of your favourite story using digital making, make sure to let us know in the comments below.

* Shameless plug**

Fancy adding some Pi to your home library? Check out these publications from the Raspberry Pi staff:

A Beginner’s Guide to Coding by Marc Scott

Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Anne Philbin

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi by Matt Richardson

Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton

The MagPi Magazine, Essentials Guides and Project Books

Make Your Own Game and Build Your Own Website by CoderDojo

** Shameless Pug

 

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