Have you ever wanted a vending machine for snacks but didn’t know where to start? With an Arduino Mega, some motors, and an infrared sensor to detect coins, Dejan Nedelkovski decided to build his own using only hand tools.
The DIY vending machine’s structure is made out of MDF, and uses wires bent into helical shapes to twist items out of four storage spaces with continuous rotation servos. While they could just drop to the bottom, Nedelkovski added a little extra flair and constructed an elevator system powered by stepper motors to gently lower the chosen treat to the exit opening.
Quiz games, where contestants try to “buzz” in and answer questions make for fun televised game shows, but they can also be great for making learning fun. In order to avoid paying several hundred dollars for an official quiz machine, Instructables user “arpruss” decided to build one for his school using an Arduino Mega.
The device uses a series of CAT-6 cables to connect individual arcade-style buttons to a central control unit with RJ45 connectors, allowing each contestant to buzz in with an answer. While not approved for official competition, the system can pick out button presses down to a precision of 50 microseconds or less and displaying the order on an LCD screen, reliably determining the fastest individual nearly all of the time!
The Certamen quiz team competition from the Junior Classical League involves quiz questions on Greek/Roman subjects. Individual contestants press buzzer buttons when they have an answer. The machine keeps track of the order in which buttons were pressed, subject to the team-lockout rule that once a player on a team presses a button, the other presses from that team don’t count. The machine we built was for three teams of four players each. Additionally, so that other school groups could use the machine as a standard quiz machine, there is an option to disregard teams and just keep track of button order.
Building robots can be difficult, and if you want to construct something humanoid, designing the mechanics alone can be a significant task. ASPIR, which stands just over four feet tall, looks like a great place to start.
John Choi’s 3D-printed robot can move its arms, legs, and head via 33 servo motors, all controlled by an Arduino Mega, along with a servo shield.
The documentation found here is excellent; however, it comes with a warning that this is a very advanced project, taking several months to build along with $2,500 in parts. Even if you’re not willing to make that commitment, it’s worth checking out for inspiration, perhaps parts of the ASPIR could be adapted to your own design!
While this seems like a very “back to nature” project, he didn’t forget to include modern conveniences via an automation system that uses both an Arduino Nano and a Mega. The chickens can come and go through an automatic door, while ventilation windows on the top of the dome can be opened as needed. Even plant watering is controlled automatically.
The dome is also equipped with a GSM module that allows Mikkelsen to check on things using his phone via SMS, as well as a potentiometer for manually varying the watering levels and a speaker that is triggered upon entering the greenhouse.
As our lives become more and more automated, we tend to rely on computers and unseen algorithms to “protect” us from unapproved experiences. In order to illustrate this concept, and hopefully introduce serendipitous events to our digital lives, David Columbini has come up with an installation that feeds information to users via a web app, available only when it’s on display.
Instead of implementing a carefully designed algorithm, what users experience is based on constantly evolving local weather data sensed by a physical machine equipped with an Arduino Mega, a Raspberry Pi, various sensors, and some other components.
“The Weather Followers” is comprised of four different instruments: a wind-driven messaging app, a pollution-distorted selfie tool, a music player based on the rhythm of rain, and even a device that erases your feed depending on the sun’s intensity!
The installation is comprised of two elements, the four weather instruments and the webapp. Users are invited to connect to the weather machine through the webapp and choosing between one of the four weather instruments: Windy encounters (when your digital social life follows the wind), Polluted Selfie (when your digital individual life follows the pollution), Drizzly Rhythms (when your digital audio life follows the rain) and finally Sun(e)rase (when your digital overwhelming life follows the sun).
While it might seem like a long time away to most people, if you’re looking to make an amazing automated display for Halloween, it’s time to start planning! One idea would be an automated skeleton robot like SKELLY.
This particular robot was built using an Arduino Mega, a Cytron PS2 Shield, a modified sensor shield, and a wireless PS2 controller. SKELLY is equipped with a total of eight servos: six for bending his shoulders, elbows and wrists, one for running his mouth, and another for turning his head. There is also a pair of LEDs for eyes, and a small motor in his head with a counterweight that allows him to shake.
SKELLY is programmed using the Visuino visual programming environment. As seen in the videos below, the robot–which is the author’s first–is quite nimble, waving and moving along with an automatic piano!