When Amir Avni made a busy board for his then-one-year-old daughter, he left a variety of buttons and switches unconnected. While these were still likely interesting at the time, now that she’s two, he’s added an Arduino Mega-controlled 32×64 LED panel to the rig, taking advantage of these formerly unused input devices.
The busy board images are changed using four potentiometers positioned above it, which select two icons that are each displayed on half the screen. It can also act as a drawing board when the first one is set to its maximum value.
Below that, more potentiometers and some switches are implemented for further image control, along with a power switch to cut things off when playtime is done.
While you may know on some level that an Arduino can help you make music, you probably haven’t seen as good an implementation as this MIDI controller by Switch & Lever.
The device features a numeric pad for note input, which can also be used as a drum pad, and a variety of knobs and even a joystick for modifying the beats. Controls are housed inside a beautiful laser-cut, glued, and finished wooden enclosure.
An Arduino Mega (with its 54 digital IO and 16 analog pins) is used to accommodate the inputs, and data is passed on to a digital audio workstation, or DAW, to produce actual sound.
Code and circuit diagrams are available here if you want to build one, though your setup can be customized however you like!
Nerf guns can be a lot of fun, but what if you want your launcher to shoot 10 projectiles simultaneously? Is so, then look no further than James Bruton’s custom blaster.
His 3D-printed project employs two BLDC-powered rollers to accelerate cartridges of 10 darts each, and allows for quick reloading via a clever manual locking mechanism. The device holds five magazines, for total of 50 darts.
When loaded, an arcade-style button fires the darts, pushing them into the rollers at the same time using a couple of servo motors. Everything is powered by a six-cell 24V LiPo battery, while an Arduino Mega is used for control, and to track which cartridge is in place, enabling the operator to concentrate on getting shots downrange!
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a novel hand-based input technique called Tip-Tap that amazingly requires no batteries.
The wearable device uses a series of three custom RFID tags on both the thumb and index finger with half an antenna on each digit. When the fingertips are touched together, a signal is sent to the computer indicating where the thumb and index finger intersect, which is mapped as a position on a 2D grid.
Usability experiments were carried out using an Arduino Mega, with both on-screen visual feedback and without. Possible applications could include the medical field, where Tip-Tap can be added to disposable gloves enabling surgeons to access a laptop without dictating inputs to an assistant or sterilization issues.
We describe Tip-Tap, a wearable input technique that can be implemented without batteries using a custom RFID tag. It recognizes 2-dimensional discrete touch events by sensing the intersection between two arrays of contact points: one array along the index fingertip and the other along the thumb tip. A formative study identifies locations on the index finger that are reachable by different parts of the thumb tip, and the results determine the pattern of contacts points used for the technique. Using a reconfigurable 3×3 evaluation device, a second study shows eyes-free accuracy is 86% after a very short period, and adding bumpy or magnetic passive haptic feedback to contacts is not necessary. Finally, two battery-free prototypes using a new RFID tag design demonstrates how Tip-Tap can be implemented in a glove or tattoo form factor.
When using a virtual reality (VR) system, you may need to flip a switch, touch a button, etc., which can be represented by a carefully coordinated series of pixels in front of your eyes. As a physical alternative — or augmentation — researchers at the National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan have developed a system of interchangeable physical control panels, called FaceWidgets, that reside on the backside of head-mounted unit itself.
When a wearer places their palm near their face (and headset), this is sensed and an on-screen canvas appears depending on the application. They can then manipulate these widgets both physically and in the virtual world to control the experience.
Physical interactions are detected with the help of an Arduino Mega and the facial control pad even extends and retracts for optimal usage via a motor shield and stepper motors.
We present FaceWidgets, a device integrated with the backside of a head-mounted display (HMD) that enables tangible interactions using physical controls. To allow for near range-to-eye interactions, our first study suggested displaying the virtual widgets at 20 cm from the eye positions, which is 9 cm from the HMD backside. We propose two novel interactions, widget canvas and palm-facing gesture, that can help users avoid double vision and allow them to access the interface as needed. Our second study showed that displaying a hand reference improved performance of face widgets interactions. We developed two applications of FaceWidgets, a fixed-layout 360 video player and a contextual input for smart home control. Finally, we compared four hand visualizations against the two applications in an exploratory study. Participants considered the transparent hand as the most suitable and responded positively to our system.
If you’ve ever thought that your musical performance needed more LEDs, then James Bruton’s DJ helmet may be just the thing for you.
The YouTuber’s wearable device is built on the base of a protective face shield, substituting in a 3D-printed support for an 8×32 LED matrix, as well as four smaller 8×8 LED matrices arranged above and below the main section.
The 512 LEDs are powered using a portable LiPo battery and a 10A power regulator. Control is via an Arduino Mega, which is connected to an RJ45 jack that enables it to work with DMX lighting data.
The result is a spectacular display, shown off nicely in an electronic concert (with his barcode guitar) starting at around 8:20 in the video below!