Snake is a classic game — more a genre of games — that dates all the way back to 1976 with the release of the Blockade arcade game. Many consoles and devices have received variations of Snake, putting it in the same league as Tetris and block breakers. Now Ty and Gig Builds have used an Arduino to construct a giant coffee table version of the game.
One of the reasons that so many variations of Snake exist is because it runs well on very low-resolution screens. That also made it perfect for this project, since an LED matrix makes for a great low-res display. Ty and Gig originally built that matrix for an interactive coffee table project and they were able to repurpose it for this game.
WS2811 individually-addressable RGB LEDs form that matrix. They shine through a holes drilled into a sheet of plywood mounted underneath the coffee table glass. An Arduino Mega controls those LEDs, but any Arduino board would work for the job. The only other hardware components are a 5V power supply and an analog joystick module.
The joystick is comprised of two potentiometers, so the Arduino simply checks those to determine which direction to move. Programming was a small challenge, because the 1D array of LEDs had to be translated to the 2D display. With that figured out, programming the game was straightforward. Players direct the LED snake to collect as many apples as possible without colliding with itself, like they have done for the past four decades.
Your favorite device has just run out of juice, so you quickly take off the cover and reach into that old stash of alkaline batteries you have lying around. After trying countless combinations, you still cannot be sure they’re working properly, as each one has been slightly used. If only there were a way to know.
In comes a maker named Moragor with his take on a battery analyzer. The one he built doesn’t just measure the voltage for a certain type of battery. Instead, users can select from three different types (alkaline, NiMh, or Li-on), along with the current from a sleek OLED display. Then, values get read, shown, and also logged to an SD card for more advanced analysis. The entire device is based on a custom PCB that acts as a shield for an Arduino Mega.
Moragor might have gone a bit overboard, however, as he eventually got around to testing 25 different types of alkaline batteries! After measuring four batteries from each brand with discharge rates of 100mA and then 500mA, he was able to create this neat little chart that shows the energy loss from high current consumption. As seen below, there were a couple of standouts that lost nearly 60% of their energy at 500mA vs 100mA.
You can check out Moragor‘s write-up for more information on exactly what components were used and how it was made, plus all the detailed battery analysis one could hope for.
“Have you ever wished you had an extra pair of hands in the workshop to handle the camera, while you were concentrating on your project?” KronBjron has, which led them to create an automated overhead camera assistant to help document instructional videos.
The device hangs a camera overhead and uses a trio of stepper motors to pan, tilt, and slide it around for extra interesting shots. It’s all controlled by an Arduino Mega and RAMPS 1.4 board, with user interface implemented via the serial monitor. Users can set up to 10 keyframe positions, and the camera rig will move from one point to another while it captures what’s going on below.
The assistant is made out of readily-available components, along with a structure that can either be 3D-printed or CNC’ed. However you construct it, this build looks like just the thing to take your videos to the next level!
Escape rooms can be a lot of fun, though with today’s conditions, you may instead be staying at home. As seen in the video below, the Spacecase gives you the best of both worlds as an entirely portable escape “room” in a box.
The Spacecase consists of only a hard suitcase, along with a NASA tote bag. Each of these contain different elements that allow you to “repair your spaceship and escape before you and your crew run out of oxygen.”
Inside the bag is an emergency power module, which must be opened to reveal the key to the suitcase, and plugged in to power it. Hidden within the suitcase is about 20 puzzles that are solved interactively via the Arduino Mega-based electronics under the control panel.
The build features voice feedback, as well as a variety of knobs, LEDs, switches, and more, providing what looks like a fun and challenging puzzle to get your spaceship off the ground!
Today with most people working from home using teleconferencing applications, a custom control panel for such interactions could come in handy. This inspired professor Elena Long to design her own Zoom interface around on an Arduino, a 3D-printed enclosure, and a series of pushbuttons that allow for custom printed icons.
Long’s device features 12 main buttons — five momentary, seven latching. These are wired to light up via LEDs. There’s also large red mushroom button on the end provides a final latching input, which is perfect for aborting calls with a flourish.
Whereas many would assume the console is powered by either a Leonardo or Micro, Long’s unit is actually based on a Mega set up with the HoodLoader2 bootloader that enables it to act as a virtual keyboard.
Bands on through-hole resistors conveniently indicate their value at a glance. On the other hand, you have to actually know the code to interpret this meaning. Alternatively, you could use the Ohmmeter 2.0 — developed by Miguel Alejandro Ramírez Anaya and José Miguel Galeas Merchán from the University of Málaga in Spain.
Their Arduino Mega-powered device has three modes. First, it enables you to enter resistor value with a keypad and then displays the corresponding resistor colors on a large resistor model via RGB LEDs inside. You can also input the color values directly using the keypad along with a small OLED screen. Last but not least, the Ohmmeter 2.0 can even measure a component’s resistance through a pair of terminals, replicating color values on the 3D model.
You can find more details on the students’ Ohmmeter 2.0 here and see it in action below.