Maker “cool austin” is a fan of water speakers, which pulse jets of water inside plastic enclosures to the beat of your music, but thought they could be improved.
What he came up with is a multi-tower setup that not only dances with light and water to the beat of the music playing, but splits up the pulses into frequencies a la a VU meter.
The project uses an Arduino Mega—chosen because it has sufficient PWM outputs to control the water and lights in five of these enclosures via MOSFETs—to output signals to the water units for an excellent audio-visual display.
Water speakers from the store are great to watch, but I felt they could do more. So many years ago I had modified a set to show the frequency of music playing. At the time I used the Color Organ Triple Deluxe II, combined with a set of photocells potentiometers and transistors I was able to get a set of 3 speakers to function.
I then a few years ago had heard about the IC MSGEQ7 which has the ability to separate audio into 7 data values for an Arduino to read. I utilize an Arduino mega 2560 in this project because it has the required number of PWM pins to drive five water towers.
Arduino boards by themselves are, of course, great for making a wide array of projects. Sometimes, however, you’ll need to add other integrated circuits (ICs) for extra functionality. If you want to be absolutely sure that the IC you’re using in your project is working correctly, this tester by Akshay Baweja will input the signals to the device, and analyze the outputs that it produces on a 2.4” touchscreen.
While this type of equipment would normally be quite expensive, Baweja’s Arduino Mega-powered gadget can be built for around $25.
I designed a shield for all components to fit-in and chose the Arduino Mega as my microcontroller board since both the ZIF Socket and LCD can be put side by side giving the build a compact and portable look and feel.
When you play a video game, the controls are normally a compromise between what you have available (a keyboard/mouse) and the actions you’re trying to convey. This, however, wasn’t good enough for Kerbal Space Program enthusiast Hugopeeters, who instead of accepting this limited input method, designed a new control panel with an Arduino Mega as its heart.
Notable features of his build include dual joysticks, a throttle slider, a multi-purpose LCD display, LED bars for fuel gauges, and a beautifully laser-cut enclosure.
While video games have grown more and more complex over the last few decades, TWANG takes things in the opposite direction as an Arduino Mega-based 1D dungeon crawler consisting of an RGB LED strip.
The player—a dot—is controlled via an accelerometer mounted to a door spring used as a joystick. With it, the player can move forwards, backwards, and attack by “twanging” the spring to make it vibrate. The LEDs display a wide array of colors, including representations of glowing lava, water, and player disintegration when a mistake is made.
Rather than buying a coffee table, Marija from Creativity Hero decided to build her own, adding an array of 45 programmable LEDs on top of a pine base.
An Arduino Mega is used to take input from 45 sensors corresponding to each LED in a grid made with MDF baffles, and commands each light to change colors based on whether something is placed on that square section. The on/off colors used can be selected via a Bluetooth smartphone app, allowing you to customize the furniture to your liking.
This unique LED coffee table can create beautiful atmosphere and will be a real focal point in my living room. I wanted to make a simple design with some interesting features that will take my room to a whole new level. It is controlled via a custom-made Android application, so I can easily change the reactive color, or the background color, and I can even adjust the brightness.
The display was prototyped on a huge breadboard assembly, along with an Arduino Mega, then finished using a custom PCB and Arduino Nano.
3D-printed parts are used to form the housing, in addition to a variety of electronics. These include an actual GPS unit, along with a custom three-segment LED assemblies to display “+” and “-” as needed.
Be sure to check it out in the video seen here, showing off its interface, as well as an MP3 unit that plays back a 1962 JFK speech about going to the moon.